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– Russian travel experience from A to Z
The Trans-Siberian train is one of the most famous trains in the world. For me, it was a bright spot in my trip to Russia in the past three months. I traveled from Vladivostok to Moscow (most people would start from Moscow) slowly, taking about a month or so and the train stopped in 5 major cities.
The Trans-Siberian train has a total length of 9,288 km, connecting Moscow to Vladivostok. Two shorter itineraries are also popular: the Tran-Mongolian, which connects Moscow and Beijing, and the Trans-Manchurian, which connects Moscow and Beijing, via Mongolia. All three stages go through 6 to 7 days in a row if not stopping for too long.
Most people start east from Moscow on their Russia travel itinerary , and if you want to practice Russian with the locals, head from Vladivostok or Beijing and head towards West. You will meet many locals instead of tourists, because most of them take this train as public transport only.
Beijing is more of a choice than Vladivostok and has more transportation options, because in Vladivostok you can only fly back to Moscow (costs about 250 USD) or take a ferry to Japan or South Korea ( Cost about 400 USD).
On this journey, you will also pass through Mongolia and China, which means that you will definitely need to apply for a visa to Russia and other countries, so please research carefully about the visa forms of each country by clicking here. Please go to the website or embassies of each country.
Unless you want to spend seven days just on the train, I recommend stopping at several places along the way. With this journey through Russia, you have the opportunity to visit more than just Moscow or St. Petersburg. Here are some of the cities I’ve visited:
Almost everyone I met on this journey through Russia advised me to stop by this 1,000-year-old city to see how beautiful it is. Leaving aside the fact that I had to wade in the snow under an overcast sky, I must admit that the city is truly beautiful.
The Kremlin in Kazan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in my opinion it is much more beautiful than the Kremlin in Moscow. There is a large mosque in the center, flanked by pine hedges, and there are vendors sitting along the wall selling souvenirs. I spent several hours here visiting the Islamic museum, the Russian Orthodox church and the natural history museum.
Yekaterinburg is known for being the place where the last tsar, Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918. My impression of the history of the Russian empire made it impossible for me to ignore, especially Ganina Yama is where their bodies were dumped. It is now considered a sanctuary with seven chapels built in the area, each dedicated to a member of the royal family. I was really moved when I saw the photo of their daily life, making their deaths all the more horrible.
The city itself is nothing special, but I stopped here on my Russia itinerary because of the Stolby Nature Reserve, which has a series of giant volcanic rock columns dotting the mountains. hills around the city. Came here on a late November day, I was quite surprised because there were so many people with the same interest in climbing knee-deep in snow, in sub-zero temperatures, to explore this wonderful rocky region. .
The city of Irkutsk is a great place for a journey to discover Lake Baikan famous as the deepest lake in the world. If you don’t have much time in your itinerary around Russia , plan a day trip to Listvyanka, a small town on the shores of Lake Baikan and only 90 minutes by car from Irkutsk.
If you have at least three days, make sure to stop by Olkhon Island, the largest island in the lake. In Khuzhir, the town of the island, takes you back in history a few decades ago with its sandy dirt roads and cows roaming the streets.
5. Ulan Ude
Located eight hours by train from Irkutsk and close to the Mongolian border, Ulan Ude is the capital of Buryatia, home to the most famous people of Russian descent, the Buryats. I only had a day and a half here in my Russia tour, so I visited the Buryatia history museum and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon sunset in Ulan Ude.
Ulan Ude is also known as the center of Buddhism in Russia. I hired a Guide for 12 USD/hour for one session to accompany me to the Buddhist monastery in Ivolga, 40 minutes from the city center. She showed me the basics of Buddhism and an insight into the culture of the Buryat people.
6. The cost of traveling around Russia
The total cost of traveling by train around Russia is about 1000 USD for transportation and accommodation.
The cheapest train ticket from Moscow to Vladivostok is about $360 for economy class, business class can be three times more expensive. Not to mention ticket prices can change by day, so consider planning your schedule closely, because not every day there is a train that passes through the city you are stopping at. The earlier tickets purchased, the better the price will be.
7. What’s on the train?
– Toilet: Each car has a toilet at the end of the car, and it will be locked before, during and after the train stops. I was quite surprised because the toilet is very clean, and there is always toilet paper
– Food and water: You will find a boiling water area at the end of the car, which will usually be opposite the passenger compartment. If you bring your own water bottle, you can get water from the waiter. Food is available on board and from stalls when the train stops, but prices can be very high and there isn’t much choice. You should prepare your own food, especially for those of you who have a multi-day journey across Russia.
– Electricity: Power outlets line the corridors, and most cars have folding seats so you can use your phone at the same time, although I have observed that most people will leave their phones there unattended. watch.
At the end of my trip, I was exhausted, delighted, satisfied, and extremely elated. I’ve met the most amazing Russian friends, had the most Russian experiences, and probably had the best Russian trip of my life.