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Laurie
Kinshasa

Laurie from Kinshasa asked

Trans-siberian train: any recommendation?

Hi! Trans-siberian train has always been something I would like to experiment. Do you know how long does it take? when is the best period of the year to do it?

Russia

3 Answers
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top answer by
Robson from Istanbul

Hi Laurie!  

Transiberian is in my bucket list :)

There are 3 routes:
Moscow to Vladivostok, about 6000 miles and takes 6 days.

Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia, the 4700  miles journey lasts 6 days,

Moscow to Beijing via Manchurian Plain,  5600 miles covered in 6 days too.

The Mongolian route is said to be the most interesting. 

Regarding the best time, my choice will be  between sept - nov.  You can see the landscape changing from fall to winter. 




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Laurie
Thanks Robson!
 
 
 

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  1. Moscow (city)
  2. Vladivostok (city)
  3. Beijing (city)
  4. Mongolia (attraction)
  5. Manchurian Plain (attraction)
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answered by
Oliver from Darmstadt

I can recommend Moscow - Beijing via Mongolia, did it in Aug '13. But take more time than 4w, is there are so much experiences to digest. 

Most important: get your visas for russia & china in order. Mongolia is less a problem. Booking train tickets in russia is easiest on-site at the ticket-machines, as you can switch to english, pay with visa, try out different options and there is basically never a queue, compared to the normal ticket counters.

Watch out: NOBODY speaks english, its hands and feet for talking, although Mongolia is slightly better than Russia/China.

Highlights: Novosibirsk, Irkutsk (incredible), ozero Baykal Nature (towns at the lakeside less so), Mongolian Steppe and Gobi Desert, Highlands between Datong and Beijing - look like a mix of alps and Tuscany, Beijing in all its glory, go eat in Ping'Anli.


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Debbie
Sounds absolutely incredible, Oliver. Thank you for sharing! By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer! :)
 

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Laurie
Thanks Oliver!!!!
 

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Oliver
@Laurie: hope you go for it, it's such a lasting experience: Russia, Mongolia and China each have their very distinct and amazing cultures. The russian correctness, directness and passion, mongolian resilience, positivity and spirit, chinese ambition, food culture and somewhat egalitarian public life with huge crowds dancing, playing badminton or just walking around in their pyjamas in central beijing. I'd recommend avoiding 1st class in trains. 2nd is already perfect but 3rd is an amazing experience. We only rode one of the last legs in it and should've done it in the first place. Also keeps cost down. Also getting a SIM-card is hugely beneficial, esp. in china where public Wifi requires a password sent to your chinese mobile number. Most Russian trainstations had an free open Wifi. Happy traveling!
 

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Lyn
What was the cost?
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Moscow (city)
  2. Beijing (city)
  3. Mongolia (attraction)
  4. Novosibirsk (city)
  5. Irkutsk (city)
  6. ozero Baykal (attraction)
  7. Gobi Desert (attraction)
  8. Datong (city)
  9. Beijing (city)
  10. Ping'Anli (attraction)
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answered by
Peter from Brussels

A few years ago we drove from Brussels to Beijing, through the Baltics and covering mainly the same route as the train in Russia and Mongolia. Just five friends, unorganized, in two cheap cars that had seen too many winters. Took us 20 days to arrive. Not expensive (we stayed at local places via hospitality.org), friendly people everywhere. And incredible cities and landscapes along the way. Lots of people afterwards said 'If only I could something like that one day'. Well, actually, you can. Just do it. I guarantee the experience will put a smile on your face for the next decades, each and every time you look at a globe :-)

As for timing, we went in August. Quite hot. (so much for the snow chains we dragged along)

Tips:

-  if you have the chance to start in Saint Petersburg (Russia) instead of Moscow, do it. Take a boat tour.

- Moscow: try to get a 'private taxi' (it's Uber from before there was Uber. We had one with a rear view mirror that looked like it was stolen from a mid size Tupolev)

- Kremlin

- Omsk by night (same for Novosibirsk by the way)

- Krasnoyarsk Krai, and especially the cultural-historical museum. Looks like something from time of the faraos. But only because the stubborn architect was a big fan of Egypt. Has absolutely nothing to do with the inside, which is quite good.

- Irkutsk stroll alongside the river. And of course swimming in ozero Baykal.

- Gobi Desert: don't know if the train stops somewhere else than the Chinese border, but there are quite a few deserted ghost towns and military airport fields.

(oh, and yes, indeed: make sure the visa are ok. If you have larger filming material with you, you might need extra documents for that too. For Russia that is.)


Comments (2)

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Debbie
Amazing recommendations, Peter! I never thought to do this trip, but now I really want to! By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer! :)
 

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Luc
Hi Peter! This is really inspiring! I've always wanted to go to the Lake Baikal and Gobi Desert, and I think I'm just gonna go for it. What do you think about doing the same trip by motorbike? In terms of security and weather especially? Thanks a lot :)
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Brussels (city)
  2. Beijing (city)
  3. Russia (attraction)
  4. Mongolia (attraction)
  5. Saint Petersburg (Russia) (city)
  6. Moscow (city)
  7. Kremlin (restaurant)
  8. Omsk (city)
  9. Novosibirsk (city)
  10. Krasnoyarsk Krai (attraction)
  11. Irkutsk (city)
  12. ozero Baykal (attraction)
  13. Gobi Desert (attraction)
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