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Eastern Europe - Russia - Mongolia - China - ? Summer 2013

Travel Forums Travel Companions Eastern Europe - Russia - Mongolia - China - ? Summer 2013

1. Posted by tobske (Budding Member, 3 posts) 30 Dec '12 10:41

Hello everybody! :)

I am a German guy studying in France and most probably spending my study 'year abroad' in China from autumn 2013 on.
But before, I will have holidays from the beginning of June until the end of August - and I would like to use this free time to get to China by landway... some dream I used to bear in my mind since a couple of years...

ROUTE:

having a weakness for Eastern Europe, I would start hitch-hiking in the south of Germany around the beginning of June to get to Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia (Moscow!) and from there along the Transsiberian Railroad to Ulaanbaatar and Beijing.
I am not sure how good chances in Siberia are to get a ride - so if necessary, one could also take the train to advance (advice? train
prices?).
In China, I especially aim to discover its 'Midwest' - i.e. Xi'an, Chengdu, Chongqing (perhaps some stop for a hike in the mountains?) to turn to Shanghai then, or if there will be still some time left to turn Laos & Thailand and back by plane... not certain yet - depends on you...!


HITCH-HIKING

it's actually the first time that I will be hitch-hiking. Couchsurfers told and convinced me about it and as thistrip is too long to cycle it within three months (which I would have prefered...), I plan to hitch-hike it! Do you have any advice concerning hitch-hiking customs in the countries I mentioned? How to improve chances? Possible dangers? Equipment (maps)?

ACCOMODATION:

wherever possible: couchsurfing!!

YOU:

it would be great to have some company during such a long voyage. I am generally easy-going, humorous, travel experienced
(cycled from France to Estonia last summer), speak some Chinese (so at least there, we won't get totally lost...), never give up, and have I like for History, visiting museums, Nature (--> hiking) ...
Actually, I consider myself to be able to get along with anybody who has not yet been disturbed by the description above - speaking some of the languages on the way (Russian?) would be an asset, but is no must.

Let me know and perhaps we could meet up before during the next half year ;)

Cheers^^ ;)

Tobske

2. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 301 posts) 30 Dec '12 14:10

Sounds a great idea! Wish I had more to suggest, but look at way to Russia and real Russia websites. I believe you can buy train tickets on the trans siberian routes as you go, and it's pretty cheap, but you risk having to wait a day or so if fully booked, and I've read that sometimes slipping a tip to a carriage podvodnik can make a space come up on a fully booked train.

I've also read that payment is often expected for lifts in Russia, and it's common for foreigners to be charged a lot more.

The single most useful advice for visiting Russia is to spend a week or two practicing reading the Cyrillic alphabet, it brings a surprising amount of the signage into focus.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1940 posts) 1 Jan '13 12:05

I have heard that most of those rides given to hitchhikers are on commercial trucks.

A friend of mine is taking a similar route this summer on the train - from Central Russia across Mongolia into E. China

4. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member, 113 posts) 2 Jan '13 06:47

Here are a few helpful sites for you.

http://hitchwiki.org/en/Russia

and

http://www.waytorussia.net/Transport/Domestic/Hitchhiking.html

The pics show the classic, bent arm, thumb up approach, but the locals use another sign. Stand by the side of the road with your arm straight and at about a 30 degree angle from your body. The palm of your hand should face down.

Re. Russian Language.

Learning the alphabet will make your life easier and it only takes a few hours.

Your French will be very useful as many Russian and French nouns sound the same, => you will be able to read the signs! Nouns for new things, like CD's , will sound like the Eglish word, e.g, CD => Compact Disk (with a Russian accent!)... You will recognize it.

As for the verbs..... Good Luck!