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Old 02-19-2007, 07:36 AM   #1
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Default Trans Siberia

Hi there! Im thinking about doing the trans siberia, Moscow to Beijing and would love some feedback of how people have done it, i would like to break the journey up, but need to spend as little as possible.
Once in Beijing, i would like to travel to Vietnam and the coast, if anyone has done somthing similar, it would be great to hear back form you.
Also im going around August/September, so ive anyone is interested in tagging along, the more the merrier!


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Old 02-19-2007, 09:41 AM   #2
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Hi !

I guess you already know about the russian visa and the letter of invitation.
I haven't done the siberian yet but a friend of mine did Moscow-Ulan-Ude (east of Lake Baikal), and although he had planned on doing the whole trip until Beijing then back to Mongolia, he got bored and changed his way. He went to Mongolia (his favorite country so far, and he has travelled quite a bit!) then entered China from there.

To help you plan, all I can do is give you excerpts of his emails.
Between Moscow and Irkutsk the villages, towns and cities gradually become
more boring! but it started great. Nizhny Novgorod/ vladimir and Suzdal are
all worth seeing.

Train rides are the best things in Russia, the people are really friendly
and i have made lots of friends through talking my terrible Russian!!!!!!!
My russian does not include grammer, accents, or feminine/masculine. But
they understood.......i think.

Right now i am about to head to Ulan Ude, my last stop in Russia before
Mongolia. Would love to continue East to Vladivostok but its 3 days on the
train and i think i have no more patience to go there and back to Mongolia.
its becoming an endurance test

Much of Russia is not made for tourists, yet, but i think it will get
better. But definitely the best thing has been the people, who can either
genuinely like you or genuinely hate you) theres no fake smiles.the
miserable face often wins especially in a ticket office
So i left Russia through the backdoor, i got a ride with a mongolian beer
smuggling woman. The Russians really wanted me to stay, and spent an hour going through my passport to find a problem, or a
potential bribe. anyway, i made it too Mongolia.

Mongolia was inceredible, and so much easier to travel through than
Russia! I spent 7 days travelling through the Gobi, rolled down sand dunes,
ate camel cheese (not good), and camel(not good either), and rode a camel
(not the one we ate). walked through the ice valley aswell, which was
amazing. and got caught in a sand storm which was different, better than
rain anyway.

i did a 6 day horse trek and camping through mountains, finished by the lake
where i got a well earned ice bath in the crystal clear water.
Did some more hiking for a few days in a place called Terelj, where we
stayed with a 'real nomadic family', the grandad had just come back from
Paris to visit his daughter

And after i headed for Beijing, the border was a little different, the
guards arent in control, the van drivers are, one distracts the guards while
the others open the gates, and then one passenger has to put their foot down
to get us across.

china is great, great on the eyes and great on the pocket,
>whatever your currency, it travels far in China.

people are people

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Old 02-19-2007, 01:38 PM   #3
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China is great, especially off the beaten route and out into the countryside and mountains! :D Once you get to Beijing, you're still pretty damn far from Vietnam. If you have the time, you can work your way South at leisure - China's BIG, so which way you go depends on what you want to see. China's train system is great and you can normally find a sleeper train to get you overnight to the next place, all for good prices. If you need to get places quicker, China's domestic flights seemed pretty decent too.

You can cross into Vietnam via the train from Nanning in Guangxi, or you can cross overland through Yunnan. I did the latter after finishing three months in China - I went from Kunming to Hekou by bus, walked across the border and took a moto to Lao Cai and then a train to Hanoi and from there traveled down the coast of Vietnam. I think there may be one more border crossing option but I can't remember right now. Yunnan was beautiful so you may enjoy checking that out - maybe more so than the south-east anyhow, which is rather industrialized and I have heard can be dirty.

If you want anymore help deciding what to do in China/Vietnam, do ask away and I'll try to answer.

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