Wanderlust Wendy

russia

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 10 – 3 Days in Moscow

Journey to Moscow After hours upon hours of long-distance train travel, we hopped on a high-speed rail to reach Moscow. The train was impeccably new yet comfortable. Somehow, having been used to the luxury of spreading out on our beds during train journeys, the 4-hour ride on a seat felt long and rigid. We could have taken the slow train down, but the time didn’t seem worthwhile. There are also … Read more

Trans-Siberian Railway Part 9 – 3 Days in St. Petersburg

Journey to St. Petersburg After 3 wonderful days in Kazan, we headed back on the train for St. Petersburg. For this 22-hour journey, we shared our cabin with a young man who looks like he was in the military. His parents sent him off at the platform. I snapped a photo of the emotional moment between mother and son. The similarities of humanity continue to humble me. All cultures across … 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 6 – Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg

This was the longest leg of our entire train journey, lasting over 48 hours. I splurged on first class for this leg, in order to have the comfort of privacy. We took train #1, the Rossijia. When I was booking tickets, not all the trains had first class. We stayed in Irkutsk for an extra day to be able to catch this train.  The only advantage of first class is … 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