Russia Journals

Trans-Siberian Express!!!

Best of IgoUgo

An October 1997 trip to Russia by mkrosin

Quote: Fighting boredom with vodka and selling Mongolian furs for food, I crossed the worlds largest landmass from Beijing to Moscow over the course of 5 days by train!

Trans-Siberian Express!!!

Overview

Quote:
Selling cheap Chinese clothes from the train to Siberians is a great way to earn a few dollars and mix into the fray with the locals. The simple experience of the longest train line in the world, the gorgeous views of the Gobi desert, Siberian tundra and Lake Baikal, and the insanity of mixing with travelers, salespeople and schiesters from all over the world makes this a classic voyage for anyone.Quick Tips: Get Russian visa in advance. Book your cabin with Monkey business (aka Moonsky star) in Hong Kong or Beijing to be put in a cabin with Westerners (rather than Vodka-crazed Russians). Monkey Business will take care of Mongolian visa for you. Bring more food than you think you will need...Read More
Quote:
Backpacker constantly strapped for cash: here's a great way to earn a few extra nights out! Aside from a means of transportation, the Transiberian is a roving market, hauling cheap counterfeit Chinese goods to brand name-starved Siberians. Not only can you pull in a few hundred bucks over the course of a few days - selling off the train is fun and a great way to meet people!. Moreover, because of the exchange rate on the train (very unfavorable), here is a good way to save money by earning rubles without having to trade in dollars (you should always carry some greenbacks in these parts). Here's how to do it: First, using your best fashion judgement and taking weather into account, go th...Read More
Quote:
Let me tell you about the scar on my back. It's an inch long, rather thin, and I got it scurrying under a stopped train to catch my rapidly receding train one track over. The notion of time on the Transiberian is rather complex. Never, ever, ever will you have so much free time in your life. You will sit staring at the same landscape, mind wandering, for hours and hours. You will fidget with boredom, wishing upon the future, wishing you could save these stagnant hours for another, more necessary occasion. Postcards, books, chess, eating and intoxication can only take up so much of the trip: 100 plus hours in a train cabin. Sometimes, it goes painfully, painfully slow! Meditate on time. In a fl...Read More

Before the Journey

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Buying tickets: The best palce to buy tickets is at Monkey Business AKA Moonsky Star ltd. headquarters in the Chungking mansions building, in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong. Not only is the staff very friendly and animated, but they offer a variety of products such as Russia guidebooks, monkey business vodka, and lots of information on the Transib. One direct ticket (5 nights/6 days) cost about $260 aside from visa charges. The best reason to book with Monkey Business is that they put you with other westerners. Not that non-westerners are undesireble, but there is a very very high likelihood if you gamble on a roommate, you WILL get a large Russian man reeking of vodka for 5...Read More

Food on the Transib

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Eating on the transiberian can range from average to just plain awful! Here are a few suggestions to keep your palate from committing hari-kiri! Before you board: As there is somewhat of a limited selection on the train and at stops, I highly recommend some pre-departure shopping. Remember, only non-perishables. You will have access to hot water on the train but that's it. First. Bring COLD water. There is only hot water on the train. I did not know this and spent several hours holding botttles of scalding water out the window to be cooled by the frigid siberian air. Also, a cup for hot water drinks is advisable. This is to be kept inviolably separate ...Read More