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Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
41 posts
269 reviews
Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

We’ve read that the Trans Siberian trip to Vladivostok is less interesting than going via Mongolia to Beijing. Has anyone done the trip to Vladivostok? What is that journey like? We studied Russian years ago.

I’ve been to Beijing a number of times and would prefer not to end up there again.

15 replies to this topic
Oodnadatta...
Level Contributor
336 posts
1. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

Vladivostok and Beijing are as different as the surrounding landscape that they can't be compared

so there is no way of classing one or the other as less or more interesting

from/to Vladivostok it is a short flight to/from Japan with easy access to/from Australia

Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
2,987 posts
83 reviews
2. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

We took the train to Vladivostok and it was a fairly restful journey watching the scenery, reading etc. Vladivostok is interesting for a couple of days and has onward travel options, although I wouldn't recommend the ferry to Korea/Japan.

Quainton, United...
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
9,461 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

I have done BOTH.

1) Moscow to Beijing on train 4 via Mongolia: 50 westerners on board as well as Chinese, Russians, Mongolians, a party atmosphere prevailed, most travellers doing the whole run, 4 days of Siberian scenery including the best bit around Lake Baikal, 1 day Mongolia, the Gobi desert, yurts, camels (wow!), 1 day Chinese mountains, Great Wall (wow!). Fabulous trip.

2) Moscow to Vladivostok on train 2, 'Rossiya': 7 days of the same Siberian scenery day after day. No westerners at all on board until 2 professors from Alabama got on at Irkutsk. Few Russians make the whole trip, so shared with a succession of different people. Even I was going stir crazy by the end. Best bit was the ferry to from Vladivostok to Japan, a lovely 2-night cruise.

I think that puts the merits of each option into stark contrast!!!!

USA
Level Contributor
26 posts
24 reviews
4. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

following, I taking trans siberian Ekaterinburg to Ulan Bator in May

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
41 posts
269 reviews
5. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

Thank you, train guru! Your detailed advice on your website is much appreciated and I’ve read your Trans Siberian section twice. We are now older and less inclined to a backpacker party atmosphere on the Mongolian route. Nevertheless, stilted conversations in broken Russian might be too much for a whole week of autumnal taiga in late September or early October.

Can one get off in Mongolia and then head back to Vladivostok or is that too time consuming and a bit silly?

Oodnadatta...
Level Contributor
336 posts
6. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

interestingly negative report from the train expert

I don't agree with the sentiments at all

each to their own - which makes it difficult to recommend something to a complete stranger

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
41 posts
269 reviews
7. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

What did you like about the Vladivostok route compared to the Beijing route?

Vladivostok, Russia
Level Contributor
38 posts
44 reviews
8. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

if you will need some help or advice about Vladivostok and what to do here feel free to email me to yourlocalguide.vl@gmail.com

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
323 posts
9 reviews
9. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

I went the opposite way - from Vladivostok to Moscow (and further beyond from there - infact from Vladivostok to Montreal the long way - without flying).

The only bit that is different than the trip to Beijing is Vladivostok to Chita, and it's nice enough scenery for some of the trip, however from Chita the next big town is Khabarovsk which is almost 2 days and was our longest leg without stopping off. We found it great to travel on the train at night then stop at a big town in the morning (left our bags at the train station) and leave that night for another town. We explored the towns on our own or booked single day private tours to show us around We did have a few nights at hotels along the way to freshen up. Our trip was a total of 23 days, so it's basically 7 days of train travel then 16 days of sightseeing in towns. I don't think I could handle 7 days straight on the train without stops.

We happened to run into a New Zealand couple on board so they spoke English, but everyone else mostly Russian, but a few who wanted to practice English. One young teenager wanted to practice and translate what the provodnitsa said to us and vice versa.

We only had one provodnitsa (carriage attendant) who spoke English (and it was very rudimentary) but we managed to get by with hand gesturing and basic Russian.

You will have to purchase separate tickets for each leg but can mix and match classes of trains - sometimes we went first class, sometimes second etc. Some trains there are meals with the fare included, but it seemed to be random. Sometimes we were not expecting a meal and then it was on offer to us.

The advantage of Moscow-Vladivostok is that you only have to organise one visa.

We found a flight to Vladivostok from Hong Kong on S7 airlines. Of course, Australia to Hong Kong there are many options.

I haven't done the Mongolia / China bit so I can't compare, just thought I would share a bit of my experience on the Vladivostok option.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
323 posts
9 reviews
10. Re: Trans Siberian to Vladivostok or Mongolia?

<Can one get off in Mongolia and then head back to Vladivostok or is that too time consuming and a bit silly?>

This is problematic as you need a dual-entry visa for Russia, which is not only more expensive but more red-tape involved in the visa application process (for Australian passport holders)

Edited: 20 March 2018, 21:01
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