My mothers big brother, who is well over 60 and has not travelled much, is going to go to this trip soon whit a friend, who has done it several times. It is supposed to be very beautiful this time of the year as the nature is in its autumn colours. Some people do suprise me – occasionally.over 5 years ago
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It’s a long story but I ended up doing this trip (on my own)from Vladivostok to Moscow kind of by accident. Luckily, I had been living in Russia and spoke reasonable Russian. It turned out to be the most amazing 10 days of my life, a 24-hour party train trundling through the taiga!!
My tips for anyone considering doing this trip:-
1) Not for the faint-hearted but going third class (platzkartny) is a lot more fun and the atmosphere is much more relaxed and friendly.
2) Knowing some Russian (or having a phrasebook) is absolutely essential. You will be lucky to meet anyone who speaks English.
3) Don’t eat in the restaurant car. The food is lousy and expensive and it will mark you out as a tourist. Take bread, cheese, cold meats, sweets, chocolate and fruit. Make use of the station stops to stock up.
4) Share your food. It’s a great ice-breaker. Avoid offering junk food.
5) Russians are amazingly generous and the more you refuse an offer (of food, vodka, etc), the more they will persist. Polite but firm wins the day but do be adventurous. Russians adore whole dried, salted fish washed down with ‘pivo’(beer). You might say it’s an acquired taste but absolutely worth a try.
6) If you only make one stop, make it Lake Baikal and Irkutsk. Worth exploring.
7) It’s a bit of a cliche but do take your own toilet paper. Also, take plenty of wet wipes and tea bags. If you want to look like a local, take your slippers to wear on the train.
This has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. Nine days on a train sounds like a dream vacation to me. No silly marching around museums and monuments like an idiot tourist… just sitting on a train and soaking up the culture like an idiot tourist.over 6 years ago
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For me, the train is the best mode of foreign travel – it’s fast enough to satisfy my need for near-immediate gratification, yet pokey enough to allow for gradual immersion in a new place. The view out the window is usually interesting. Furthermore, (3rd class Indian bogeys are a notable exception to this) train travel is usually comfortable and conducive to reading/writing/sleeping/conversation/catatonia. I sleep like a baby on the train.
The TSR seems like the ultimate train journey, which is reason enough to go.over 6 years ago
We’re planning to leave on 20 December to go via St. Petersburg – Moscow – Ekaterinburg – Harbin – Beijing – Xian – Shanghai. Really excited… and am packing my warm socks!
Also thinking of taking a ferry from Shanghai to Japan (apparently it takes 2 days)…
This was one journey I’d been wanting to do for ages, and I finally did it last summer. When they say longest train journey in the world, you’d better believe it! Think about it: what would you do with yourself for 3 days straight in a very small space? Train life is a matter of getting used to,though, and turned out to be really great. A lot of great conversation, amazing sunrises and sunsets. And a lot (lot lot!) of time to just…be.over 7 years ago