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trans-siberian express - 'the vodka train'

Travel Forums Asia trans-siberian express - 'the vodka train'

1. Posted by kiffster (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y

I'm planning on taking the Vodka train from Beijing to St Petersberg in August. I was wondering if anyone had any experience dealing with them or perhaps any other companies who offer a similar deal. I've never done an organised tour before and have previously backpacked solo around south america, europe and australia/nz. How easy is it to get across china, mongolia and russia solo considering I don't speak a word of chinese or russian.
cheers.

2. Posted by buttmunch (Inactive 77 posts) 11y

You will have to let me know how you get on! I am hoping to do the Trans Siberian on my way home from the 'big trip'. I would like to do it on my own but considering paying to do an organised trip. If anyone knows hoe easy it is to purchase a ticket from the Beijing end it would be helpful! Also, any idea of price compared to an organised trip?

3. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Bear in mind that if you are buying in Beijing, you should try and have your visa beforehand. The Russian embassy in Beijing is notorious for only giving transit visa's except to chinese peopel or those with resident permits. As such, you may only get a transit visa, which means you would have to travel right across Russia (without stopping) to Moscow, and continue from there straight out - Baltics or Finland are easiest - to get a proper tourist visa to go back and see Russia!

By all accounts the Consulate in Shanghai is much easier to get visa's.

But one thing you do not want to do under any circumstances is feck up the Russian visa process (awkward and needs preplanning), or overstay a visa.

4. Posted by buttmunch (Inactive 77 posts) 11y

Thank you. Any idea how easy it is to get a visa in Seoul? x

5. Posted by shinyshiny (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

Hi all

My boyfriend and I are doing the Trans Siberian trip on September 6th. Regarding organised tours, we researched this and finally decided on an Australian company. We currently live in Taiwan and speak enough Chinese, plus my boyfriend knows a little Russian. But everything we read said how even if you do speak the language, travelling independantly ends up costing more. Plus we decided we need all the help we can get, especially with arranging the visas.

One problem we have found is that the Chinese visa is valid from the date of application, you cannot specify the dates. So Timing is crucial. We are trying to get the Russain one sorted first as that one is a bit of a bugger, then get the Chinese one, and we think we will get the Mongolian one from the UK, by sending our stuff DHL
Basically we want to have all the visas in our passprts before we set off. We'll see eh?
Will keep you updated on the progress!

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Quoting kiffster

I'm planning on taking the Vodka train from Beijing to St Petersberg in August. I was wondering if anyone had any experience dealing with them or perhaps any other companies who offer a similar deal. I've never done an organised tour before and have previously backpacked solo around south america, europe and australia/nz. How easy is it to get across china, mongolia and russia solo considering I don't speak a word of chinese or russian.
cheers.

I met up with a couple of the vodka train owners at a conference in spain last year. They seemed like a decent bunch and the photos they had looked great. It seems to be a pretty flexible type trip and they have a lot of options to choose from. Not as cheap as doing it on your own I'm sure but they take a lot of hassle out of the equation (sp?)...

7. Posted by Lis (Budding Member 10 posts) 11y

Why taking Transibirian express? I think it's too turistic and overpriced. Try taking local Russian trains - they are much cheaper and you will get more cultural experience. For example if you want to go through Mongolia you can take a train fron Chita, Ulan-Ude, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, etc, to Moscow. (cost around $200 for 1st class sleeper). There are direct trains from Beijing and Ulan-Bator to Moscow. (they all go through Trans-Sebirian railway as well)

If you purchase tickets directly from trains station it is much cheeper then travel agencies abroud and it's very easy regarding language barriers

Also can consider going to Russia through Kazahsatan. There is a train from Urumqui to Almaty (from ALmaty daily train to Moscow and other cities in Russia)

check this sites www.transib.ru (could be outdated)
www.poezda.net

I would suggest you get all the visas before going. Russian visa can take some time or way to expensive if you do it overnight