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Budgeting Bolshevik - Eastbound

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Budgeting Bolshevik - Eastbound

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Moscow

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Beijing

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Budgeting Bolshevik - Eastbound

Begint in:

Moscow

Eindigt in:

Beijing

Aantal reizigers:

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Type reiziger

Type verblijf

Accommodatie

{{departureType}}

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Dit is zonder vliegtickets. Wij helpen je graag om de goedkoopste tickets te vinden. De prijs hierboven is per persoon, maar gebaseerd op 2 volwassenen die samen reizen.
Wat is inbegrepen?
Want to hit the highlights without breaking the bank? Eat, sleep and travel like a local on the world’s greatest railway journey. Kick things of in Moscow and admire the opulent architecture of the Tsars then cross the Urals and enjoy a Siberian adventure. Swing southwards into the wild reaches of Mongolia before rolling into Beijing on one ripper ride.
Prijs per persoon 1.575 EUR
Dit is zonder vliegtickets. Wij helpen je graag om de goedkoopste tickets te vinden. De prijs hierboven is per persoon, maar gebaseerd op 2 volwassenen die samen reizen.
Wat is inbegrepen?
Reisroute

Budgeting Bolshevik - Eastbound

Days 1-2: Moscow

Arrive in Moscow and meet your fellow adventurers. Get acquainted with Russia as you take in iconic sights like the Kremlin, St Basils Cathedral, and Red Square. Hop on the dazzling metro system to visit an embalmed Lenin or head to Zarayade Park for a sweet view over the city’s impressive skyline. Take a stroll through the city to marvel at the extraordinary architecture or ask your Honcho for help organising a Soviet tour. It’s one way to get into the Russian psyche before you board the Trans Siberian. Discover a buzzing nightlife, from live music to underground dance parties to casual ping-pong bars. Whatever your niche, you’ll find it in Moscow.

Days 3-5: Trans Siberian Railway

Welcome aboard, it’s time to enjoy your first taste of life on the rails. This is a good opportunity to make friends with your group and plan what you’d like to see and do at Lake Baikal and beyond. Grab your phrasebook and try out some new words on locals. With a little inventive sign language over shared provisions, you’ll make friends in no time. Watch out the window as you pass the Ural Mountains and over the vast expanse of Siberia and imagine what life is like for those that call it home. The train will pull in at rural stations along the way, check how long it's staying then hop off and sample homecooked delights from burly babushkas that line the station platform.

Day 6: To Lake Baikal

Welcome to the heartland of Siberia. Settle into your shore-side home at Lake Baikal, take a stroll around the water’s edge and soak up the scenery. As the largest freshwater lake in the world, it holds 20% of Earth’s freshwater and seems to stretch on to an infinite horizon. Take a dip if you’re feeling brave, and taste the local cuisine. Omul is a fish endemic to the lake and served up in many ways; smoked, raw and barbequed. Bon Appetit.

Day 7: Irkutsk

Return to Irkutsk. Originally, a winter fur trading post, it became home for revolutionaries and the intelligentsia who were exiled here after the Decembrist Revolt. Today, Irkutsk oozes history and is filled with universities, museums and a signature style of intricately carved wooden architecture.

Day 8: Trans Mongolian Railway

Back on board for your journey to Mongolia; a great chance to contemplate what you’ve already discovered ahead of the next culture switch. Brush up on some Mongolian words and plan your Terelj activities over a hearty meal from the dining car. Watch out the window as the silvery Siberian light gives way to the verdant steppe, look out for hairy yaks, Bactrian camels and nomadic herders whose settlements dot the landscape.

Day 9: Terelj National Park

Head out to a traditional ger camp in a protected nature reserve. Meet real nomads and see how they live. Their roving traditions haven’t changed for hundreds of years, except for the introduction of solar power to light their gers at night. Soak up the stunning surroundings and enjoy a hike in the wilderness. If you want to horse ride across the open steppe or try your hand at archery, your Honcho can help organise this. If a local offers you a drink, it’s culturally rude not to accept at least one; this could be homemade vodka, or it could be the local delicacy, fermented mare’s milk. Bottoms up!

Day 10: Ulaanbaatar

We return to the bustling city to spend our final night in Mongolia, pausing en route to see the giant statue of the mighty Genghis Khan. See the ruby-robed monks going about their daily lives at Gandan Khiid Monastery, take in the panoramic views from Zaisan Memorial or listen to some traditional Mongolian throat singing – a unique sound that has been practised across Mongolia for centuries.

Day 11: Across Mongolia

Say goodbye to marvellous Mongolia as you reboard the train, cutting across the legendary Gobi Desert and on to the Chinese frontier. Take a moment to relax and brace yourself for bustling Beijing. Plan your hit list of must-dos and get ready to taste the eight cuisines of China on one street.

Days 12-13: Beijing

Welcome to China! Check out the Forbidden City for a window into Imperial times, sink your teeth into Chinese culture as you people watch in Tiananmen Square and explore the hutong neighbourhoods. Many of these ancient alleys have been around since the 13th Century - a time when Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty. Test out your haggling skills and try local delicacies at colourful markets - you’ll find a mind-boggling array of options speared on sticks or squished in buns - from deep fried insects to candied fruits and everything in between!

Note: Upon your arrival in Beijing, please meet your Honcho outside the first ticket-checking point, not on the platform.

Extend your experience: Spend a couple more days immersing yourself in Beijing, take a bike ride around the city, and marvel at the perfect patchwork of old and new, visit the Arts District and feel a bit of Berlin in Beijing. And of course, no visit would be complete without a wander along the Great Wall.

Inclusions

- Visa support for pre-booked services

- Accommodation nights
4 hostel (shared), 1 ger camp (shared), 1 Siberian guesthouse (shared), 6 train (4-berth / 6-berth)

- Tickets and transfers
All train tickets and included. Once you have joined the group, all arrival transfers are included

- Honchos
Local legends that help you hit the highlights and the hidden gems. They are included at every stop on your journey.

- Sightseeing
With no pre-arranged sightseeing, you have complete freedom to roam. Stay with your group or explore on your own.

- Expertise
Our friendly bunch of specialist Travel Advisors are hand to support you with all the essentials, such as travel insurance, flights, Visa applications and destination information.

Please note: Arrival transfer on Day 1 and departure transfer at the end of your itinerary are not included.
Overzicht

Wat is inbegrepen?

Extra kosten tijdens tour
None

Accommodatie

Carriages (Wagons):
Each 4-berth carriage has about 9 compartments and sleeping arrangements for 2 attendants. Your carriage attendants (conductors) are there to provide information, make sure the hot water is available, keep communal areas clean and tidy and shepherd passengers back on the train when it’s ready to leave. Although they rarely speak English, they are adept at sign language and great fun! Without doubt, they are one of the most important elements of your rail adventure. The bathrooms are small but adequate, containing a sink with running water and a toilet (western-style mostly or squat-style on some Chinese trains). In our experience, the bathrooms are spacious enough to have a strip-wash and also to wash your hair if you wish. Most trains do not have shower facilities and you should expect to go without showers on all train sectors.

Compartments:
Compartments contain 4 comfortable berths, with ample room to stretch out or sit up. There is a small table in the middle under the window, individual reading lights for each berth and on Chinese trains there are often thermos flasks of hot water also. In each compartment there can be a mix of group members and local travellers (mixed sex), the perfect opportunity to experience daily life aboard a transcontinental train.

The Budgeting Bolshevik journey includes travel in 6 berth "platskart" train carriages between Moscow and Irkutsk. All other rail sectors will be in the standard 4 berth compartment. Plastskart compartments have 6 beds with walls and curtains (not doors) to separate each section. Space is limited but opportunities to meet and socialize with the locals couldn’t be better!

Off the train:
A mixture of hotels, hostels, local guesthouses and traditional gers (Trans Mongolian) or Yurts (Silk Road) are used. The emphasis is on good value, cleanliness and friendly hosts. Your accommodation for every night of the itinerary is included in the price. We've chosen them for their character and with your costs in mind. Sometimes you will be in multi share but mostly twin share, with a mixture of private and shared bathroom facilities. We cannot guarantee that you will have private facilities.

Lokaal vervoer

Trains along the Trans Siberian, Trans Mongolian, Silk Road and within India are a destination in themselves. Along with ideas, religions and an enormous variety of goods, these trains ferry families, traders, students, soldiers, business people, travellers, monks & acrobats... You name it, they're on it and there is a good chance you'll be sharing with them at some stage of the journey.

Let's get something straight from the start: These are not chartered trains but scheduled services. Overnight accommodation is in four-share sleeping compartments - two upper and two lower bunks. Depending on group size, you may be sharing with other group members, or with local travellers. Don't be afraid to say hello!

Compartments have bedding, reading lights, a big window, a small table, room for a rucksack or two and if you're REALLY lucky - a vase with a plastic flower. Carriages have two washrooms (no showers), boiling water and a couple of friendly attendants... Each train has its own personality and regulars, so check out the dossier for specifics.

On the Budgeting Bolshevik sleeping configurations and facilities will differ:
6-berth train tickets Irkutsk to Moscow
4-berth train tickets Beijing - Ulaanbaatar - Irkutsk

Maaltijden

In keeping with the "no-inclusions-keeping-the-cost-down" policy and keeping your journey flexible - there are no meals included in your Vodkatrain journey (you might get lucky with a hotel breakfast - but once you've tried one, you'll see why we don't include them). Here you will find usefull advice how not to go hungry!

Eating on the train:
Most trains have a restaurant car located in the middle of the train. These cars are open from breakfast till dinner most days and operate on local time. Chinese and Mongolian trains serve standard local fare, including rice, vegetables, chicken and mutton (Mongolian specialty). Russian and Uzbek trains serve soup, salad and meat mains. The restaurant is waited and restaurant staff will point out which menu items are available. Prices in China and Uzbekistan are reasonable, but can reach US$10 for a meal in Russia. There is usually a vegetarian option.

Platform food:
A great way to feed yourself (and anyone sharing your compartment) is to buy home cooked food from the "Babushkas" (grandmothers) selling home grown and cooked food, out of date processed food and everything from stuffed toys to chandeliers on train platforms across Russia. Seasonal fruit and berries are also a big hit with commuters. Chinese platforms have food carts offering everything from pickled pig snout and chicken feet to noodles and more recognisable dishes. Just make sure you check the hygiene situation before handing over the cash. Follow the simple travellers food rule - peel it, cook it or wash it and avoid nasty tummy bugs. Watch out for delicious fish that may have been re-smoked, products that are way out of date and Babushka hygiene when buying platform food… is that FRESH horse milk?

The train from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk (and vice versa) and many of the trains in Central Asia do not have restaurant cars. There are also few opportunities to buy food on the platforms and you will need to buy enough food for the journey before you board.

Self-catering:
A constant supply of hot water means noodles, instant mash, tea and coffee are all great options for those playing it safe. There is a good selection of fruit, vegetables, bread, noodles and deli food in all cities so self catering on the trains is no problem. Most locals self-cater and will often insist you eat with them!

Houd er rekening mee

Trains are generally not designed for travellers taking photos! While the compartment windows are great to watch the Gobi desert, the Tien Shan mountain range of Kazakstan or Siberia pass by - if you are really keen on photos from the train, take a squeegee and window cleaner to avoid disappointment. Attendants are more concerned with cleaning the hand rails and signs at stations, but you could try slipping them a couple of bucks to clean the windows as well - it has worked in the past.

What are "Honchos"?
Young, fun and energetic - your local Honcho is a friend in a distant city ready to share their life with you for a couple of days. A regular tour operator might call them tour guides or city guides, but they’re not, they’re Honchos. Honchos have grown up in their city and love showing you around, not just the tourist sites (they are important too!) but the real heartbeat of the city, its people and those underground places you normally need weeks to find. They're not libraries of local history, but can definitely show you where to find one. They can show you how to use local transportation, where to change money, their favourite cafes, bars and restaurants, can translate all the latest gossip and if there is something they don't know they have the language skills to find out. Your Honcho probably has some ideas about what you should see in their city - but there is no pressure to do any suggested activities. If you want to do your own thing they will help you with directions, a few local sayings or maybe scrawl a basic map on a napkin, and then leave you to it!