Now that our Ascension tickets have been confirmed and paid for, it’s time to start planning the rest of the trip. The most complicated and stressful part is the Trans-Siberian. Before we even have to contend with Russian or Chinese visas, we need to get to Moscow first. As we don’t want to cheat by flying, we’re going to be taking several trains from Leamington Spa (England!) all the way to Moscow. Stopping off in Germany and France for 2-3 nights each.
After we’ve entered Europe, we’ll need help to get to Moscow onwards. For that we’ve used a company called http://www.realrussia.co.uk/. They mainly deal with the Trans-Siberian express trips, but they can also help with visas and general enquires when travelling through Asia.
Real Russia will help us getting from Germany to Moscow through Poland and Belarus as well as organising Belarusian visas. After that we’ll jump on to the Trans-Mongolian (train number 4) from Moscow, and head through Siberia just north of Kazakhstan. We’ll then enter Mongolia where the train carriage will be swapped around. We’ll now be on a diet of rice and mutton! Moving on the last stop will be Beijing, China. Again as we enter Chinese territory the train carriage will change again. The Chinese visa is arguably one of the more difficult visas to get, we’ve asked Real Russia to help us with this.
There are a million smaller details that I’ve missed out that we need to worry about, but our initial email went something like this:
My brother and I are looking to travel from Berlin to Moscow then Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Mongolian express early next year. We both hold UK passports.
We believe the costs are as follows:
Berlin to Moscow (via Belarus) – £261.00
Moscow to Beijing – £759.27 (2 berth first class)
Belarusian transit visa – £77.00
Russian visa – £117.60
Mongolian transit visa – £89.00
Chinese visa – £93.00
We would like to travel from Berlin on the 22/03/13 which will hopefully allow us to board the trans-mongolian on 26/03/13
As we’re staying in Moscow for 3 nights, can we book a hotel ourselves and do we need to report to the local police station or is that something you can sort out?
We are looking to book this as soon as possible.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Mark & Craig Nykamp
As you can see there are smaller details in there like needing to have permission from the Russian police to be able to sleep in their city.
I think I’ll be a bit happier when we step on to the train. Until then, we just have to keep planning.