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8 replies
Crossing Russia...
youknowwhat4q
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    A main part of my coming trip involves crossing all of asia.  I plan on taking a train directly through russia, but all I can find are rail tours.  I really just need one way from Moscow to Vlaidestok.  If any one has any information I would be very thankful.

Alastair
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Aha, it’s you again!

Best to avoid the rail tours and agencies if you want maximum authenticity on this trip. Are you going all the way to Vladivostok for sure or are you diverting into China or Mongolia?

Once I know that I can give you some advice.

I lived in Russia for 4 years, and I spent 2 months crossing Russia back in 2001 (from Petersburg to Vladivostok and back). I actually wrote some epic -and I mean epic posts from the road which are archived on this site if you want some ideas about places to go while crossing Russia.

You should be able to find them by doing a search for ‘Siberia’ or ‘Siberian’. Look back for posts from 2001.

Alastair

youknowwhat4q
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I do not plan on crossing into mongolia or China simply because it is far too dificult to get the proper visas.  I’m not really looking to see much or russia, I am mainly trying to avoid flying to ge to japan, and I have been told by quite a few credible sorces that you can catch a ride on a freight ship from Vladivostok to the northern island of Japan pretty easily and you usually just have to pad the captains pocket a bit.

I’m not really sure how I am going to work it out, but I have plenty of time to plan and I’m sure that I will figure something out.

Alastair
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Yes, you can catch a freighter to Hokkaido from Vladivostok -I think they go to Sapporo. Lining the captain’s pocket shouldn’t be a problem.
 
As for trains -outside summer there is only 1 direct train from Moscow to Vladivostok, the famous train No.1/2, the ROSSIYA. This is a ‘flagship’ train and so is by no means the cheapest one to take. However, you could easily take a train to Novosibirsk or Khabarovsk and change there -there are many different trains running to Vladivostok which originate at points much further east than Moscow. This is something that agencies fail to make clear, for obvious reasons. For example Kharkov (Ukraine) -Vladivostok, Novosibirsk-Vladivostok, Penza-Vladivostok, Khabarovsk-Vladivostok etc. Many of them are much cheaper than the ‘flagship’ trains (i.e. any train with a special name as well as a number). You always have options along the main Trans-Siberian route, and you’ll find that there are also many many trains which only do a part of the route, Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk for example, or Omsk-Irkutsk.
 
If you travel only in 3rd class (platskartny) and avoid the name trains it is possible to get from Moscow to the Pacific for $200-250 one way.
 
During summer there is usually a shadow service laid on from Moscow to Vladivostok on a non-flagship train. If you can get on that one you’d get a good price.
 
Alastair
 
 

youknowwhat4q
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Awesome, Thanks!

frihed89
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The trans-siberian RR is not that expensive if you can book a ticket in Russia in advance, but that’s hard during the summer because it is so fully booked. 
 
The previous poster obviously knows the ropes.

titikaka
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Wow, Russia’re more interesting , are you diverting into China or Mongolia? And taking to Tibet by train, http://travelbackpacker.blogspot.com

DF
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I think you will find that getting the Russian Visa is the hardest. I did the Trans-Siberian from St Petersburg to Beijing in early 2006 and had no troubles getting a mongolian and chinese visa. Took a day for each.

Also if you have time I would definitely recommend experiencing a few Russian cities. Its fairly cheap, and pretty cool. Especially Siberia. If your on a budget, avoid Moscow.

You’ll have the time of your life on the trains in Russia. Just make sure you have a good book with you though, and plenty of vodka. Wink

heavydrinker
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you may want to get a haircut before entering Russia, they frown upon the alternative movement.