Wanderlust Wendy

Asia

Trans-Siberian Railway: The Summary

12 trains, 115 hours, and 14,645km. This Trans-Siberian Railway journey took us 27 days. What an incredible experience, and it all went by in a flash. I could have easily double the time for this trip, and dig deeper into each of the places that we visit. If this trip has been on your bucket list, I encourage you to find a way to make it happen. You won’t regret … Read more

Getting Russian & Mongolia Visa in China

Preface  Xavier (French) and I (Taiwanese-American) were living in Shanghai at the time of this trip prep. I was staying in China on my Taiwanese ID, but will be traveling on my US Passport, so I needed to obtain Russian visa in Hong Kong. US citizens do not need a Mongolia visa at this time. French needs both a Russian and a Mongolia visa, but the Mongolian Consulate in Shanghai … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 8 – 3 Days in Kazan

Journey to Kazan Our train left for Kazan from Yekaterinburg early in the morning. The 13-hour journey was our first non-overnight train; the perfect time to do some good old-fashioned reading without the distraction of Internet. I read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and completed Hillbilly Elegy in one sitting. I cannot remember the last time I read a book cover-to-cover in one sitting!  We shared our second-class cabin … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 7 – 24 hours in Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

During my planning, I had read that Yekaterinburg is a good stop point to break up the Trans-Siberian route, but that it was an industrial city not worth lingering. I took that silly advice and only allowed for less than 24 hours in this lovely city.  Self-Guided Walking Tour If there’s any place that I wish we could stay longer, it’s Yekaterinburg. To maximise time and see as much as … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 5 – 4 days in Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Day 1 – Irkutsk Wandering We checked into our hostel at Katyusha Travel Centre, a no-frills hostel that is clean, spacious with a large common space. I didn’t realise that bathroom wasn’t en-suite for a double room, but hey, a little hostel living is good for the soul.  First order of business is to get a Russian SIM card. I did a bit of research and turns out Megafon has … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 4: Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk

ulan bator to irkutsk

Our train departing from Ulaanbaatar was already at the station when we arrived, but boarding didn’t begin until around 30 minutes before departure. When booking this trip, I booked second class for journeys that are around 24 hours or less, so for this 23-hour leg, we were in second class.  Old World Charm The 305 train is markedly older than our ride from Beijing, but it has that old world … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 3: 24 hours in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

As soon as we got off the train, we felt the breeze of that fresh Mongolian air with a shining sun. We saw a guy holding a sign of our hostel (Zaya Hostel), and walked towards him.  But first, cash. With 3 ATMs in the train station, only one worked with my Charles Schwab VISA card. With 2,000 to one USD, I withdrew 60,000, and it was only $25. To my … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 2: Beijing to Ulaanbaatar

Trans-Siberian Railway Beijing to Ulaanbaatar

Goodbye China We arrived at the Beijing Railway Station a whole 90 minutes before departure. The night prior, we had seen long lines at the square, where people were getting into the station, and feared the same. Turns out, at 5:30am, while still a lot of people, the lines were short.  Upon entering the station, I was immediately impressed by the Russian architecture. I seem to have traveled back in … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 1: Shanghai to Beijing

The day has finally come to begin our grand goodbye tour! The first leg from Shanghai to Beijing was fairly ordinary. We took the high speed rail from Shanghai Hongqiao to Beijing South station. I’ve taken this journey several times throughout my time in China, but this time would be without a return ticket.  As usual, I purchased all the train tickets within China on Ctrip.com, and picked up the … Read more

10 Days in Thailand & Cambodia

bangkok, Thailand, flower market

Day 1: Bangkok Arrived in Bangkok. There were 4 of us; one coming from Shanghai, two from Washington D.C., and another from Michigan. We managed to all arrived within 24 hours of one another. We spent the night at THA City Hotel, a no frill, cozy boutique in a nice part of the city. Conveniently located and easy to get around. Day 2-4: Koh Samet The hotel arranged a taxi … Read more