Francisco (left) with a meeting during the Trans-Siberian
Hello, can you tell us a little about who you are? Hi my name is Francisco, I am 43 years old and a great passion ... ..Travel. For me, travel in all its forms means knowing cultures, people and comparing my country and my people with what is around and being able to understand many things. In the end I don't know and I can't get enough…. So what should I do?… Restart!! What is the Trans-Siberian? For me, the solo trans-Siberian is the "TRIP" par excellence that everyone should do in life. It is a unique and unrepeatable experience, it means going through 3 states that by nature and culture are wonderful (Russia, Mongolia, China), it means living for about 9.000 km on a train that cradles and relaxes you, it means sharing a compartment with other travelers who change at each stop, it means sharing everything with them, from life experiences to food and toothpaste to times, it means crossing 9 time zones and seeing how every 1000 km the faces of the people who get on the trains change and their eyes get thinner and the way of speaking is different, it means following precise rules on the carriages and in the stations who have made this railway line a perfect machine that has been running since 1905.
Trans-Siberian Moscow Beijing
Can you tell us a little about how it works so that those who want to do it know where to start? If you want to do everything yourself, follow these practical and efficient tips to organize the logistics part. Definitely must be organized with at least 3 months in advance; first of all you have to decide the duration of the trip and break it into 3 to manage the stay and visas for each country. Once the 3 different periods have been established, it is necessary to apply to the relevant Embassies which take up and take some time, the offices of the embassies of China and Russia are in Rome, while the Mongolian one is in Turin, I suggest: rely on a safe and fast agency. Once this is done, the simplest part arrives: buy a one-way plane ticket to Moscow and a return one from Beijing online. For train tickets, of course, if you don't go away in August, I advise you not to buy anything, but to get them directly in the train stations at each stop you make, or in local travel agencies with a small surcharge. Another important recommendation, all the times of all trains on the entire Trans-Siberian line in Russia refer to the Moscow time zone, so always travel with 2 clocks, one analogue to Moscow time and one satellite that automatically moves according to time zone change; to save time, try to organize travel at night so the train never stops!
Trans-SiberianHow long did the trans-Siberian take, what was your itinerary? My stay in the 3 countries was a total of 23 days, of which 3 in Moscow at the beginning, and 3 in Beijing at the end, in the 17 of traveling on and off the train I followed this itinerary. I visited Moscow for 3 days and 2 nights and on the evening of the third day I took my first train to Win. Arrived early in the morning, there I left my backpack at the luggage room and visited Kazan which is one of the very few cities in Russia with a Muslim culture. Via we leave again in the evening in the direction Ekaterimburg, a very beautiful and lively city where I decided to stop for a night; the next morning after spending a busy night between poker and discos with 3 Russian friends I met on the streets of the city, I'm ready to take another 24 hours by train. Direction Taiga where then I take a local train to go and visit Tomsk, the ancient capital of Siberia: here everything is much more peaceful and beautiful, the landscapes and the old wooden houses are something unique to see. The adventure restarts from Taiga in the direction Irkutsk, goal island of Olkhon on lake of Baikal, the landscape and the colors during the journey continue to change and everything is more and more blue and green; people are friendly and very helpful, everyone helps you here! Arrival in Irkutsk that it is night and I am looking for a minibus to take me to the island: after 7 hours of crazy ride I finally arrive in the most beautiful, clean and uncontaminated place in the world: Khuzir where I stay for 2 nights at Nikita's Guest house, highly recommended for the organization they have in everything: food, beds, excursions, evening entertainment… Go there !! After 2 days on the island, I leave again with the minibus and return to Irkutsk that I visit calmly in a single day with 2 local girls that I had contacted with couchsurfing… what can I say… even here hospitality is always at the highest level !! I leave at night in the direction Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and after 1 day of travel everything changes: the landscapes I see from the windows are breathtaking, prairies as far as the eye can see, the physiognomy of the people is totally oriental. Finally I arrive in the capital of Mongolia and I decide to stay there 2 days and 1 night. I am very lucky because I arrive during the celebrations of the national day, the Naadaam, and even more fortunate because I can see the Naadaam Festival, a triumph of people, culture, games, folklore, national sports, and good food. Everything is magnificent and totally different from Russia; here too people are incredibly hospitable and kind, it's almost embarrassing their willingness to help you or just to stop you for a chat. It is time to start again in the direction Beijing and I take my last train to cover the remaining 1000 kilometers before the end of my amazing and memorable journey. Too bad I was used to the noises and being lulled by this strange railway! The arrival in the Chinese capital is a great impact, it's all huge and all very curious: the history of Chinese culture has left enormous treasures to be absolutely visited. They impress the Chinese wall, the Forbidden City, life, children, the curiosity of the Chinese towards us, the food, the palaces, the temples, the gardens, everything is absolutely not to be missed.
Mongolia (credit Andi Gentsch)
Have you met other people and managed to establish a relationship? Yes, if you travel alone, every day is perfect to get to know anyone and you are obliged to; during my trans-Siberian I met many locals who helped me in several situations and with whom I shared good moments, one above all the twinning on one of the many trains taken between my compartment and the one next to it that ended up in salami Piacentino, which I had brought from home, Russian chicken wings, and Russian wodka, beautiful evening !! Then you meet many travelers from all over the world with whom you can share pieces of travel, experiences and keep company on the very long routes. Even today, thanks to social networks, I am in contact with some of the people I met in the 3 countries and during the trip. Is there a place that has particularly remained in your heart? Surely the Lake Baikal andOlkhon island, advice for those who have time to take the railroad that runs around the lake, unfortunately I was not able. How long do you think a perfect itinerary should last? The perfect itinerary for me, according to the visa times, is about 45-50 days .... For those who can, do it! What advice would you give to those who want to take the Trans-Siberian? 1 - I did the trans-Siberian in the summer, so backpack and (technical) clothing essential to stay in the 9-10 kg, the climate varies from 40 degrees of fly in the sun up to 4 degrees in the evening if it rains in Mongolia and in Baikal. 2 - Always shop in supermarkets before getting on the trains, or buy fresh food from the women on the tracks (very characteristic) 3 - If you can bring some food to share in the compartment with others. 4 - If you eat or drink something, always offer to whoever is in the cabin with you. 5 - To get tickets, know that in Russia there is no queuing, the public at the counters is funnel-shaped, so be patient and shove your shoulders with the Russians and Mongols to buy your ticket. 6 - Super comfortable clothing and the most Russian possible to be on the trains, so adidas tracksuits and slippers. 7 - The train and the bathrooms are very basic but very clean, the Chinese one a little less. 8 - There is no shower on trains, know that a sink is used for the essentials, so plan your stops well. 9 - Concentration always and always on the piece, there are no dangers, but always attentive to everything and everyone. 10 - Pay attention to the double train schedule; the Moscow time zone is the reference for the entire Russian route.
Lago Baikal (credit Délirante critter)
But how much did Francisco spend? What is the cost of the trans-Siberian? Here's what he replied: Voli: Euro 150 one way x Moscow and Euro 500 from Beijing to the return. Watched: About 100 Euro per state lasting 1 month each total Euro 300. Second class trains on the whole route about Euro 500, if you do the third one would have spent about Euro 200. Room and board in 2-star hotels and hostels in the cities I visited in 23 days total about Euro 1.200, but you can save money. I didn't miss anything. Total cost of the trans-Siberian: approximately Euro 2.700. Thanks Francisco, yours Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Beijing it must have been an incredible experience, we hope sooner or later to be able to live it too!