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How do I travel the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow with longer stopovers and visas?

+2 votes

I would like to clarify some questions regarding travelling by train from China, through Mongolia and into Russia (the trans-Siberian railway).

I am a Swedish man and will try to travel the world around and do not want to miss out on this amazing experience!

What kind of visa would I need and how much would it cost to make this trip. I am considering to sleep over in some cities in Russia during the train trip from the east towards west and St. Petersburg. I have read that a tourist visa is valid for 30 days so that is how long I intend to plan my visit and experience of Russia and then leave the country.

How do I get the invitation for the visa? Am I to mail a letter to the hotels I will stay in or should I do in another way?

Is it possible to apply for a visa if I am not in my own country at the moment? I will be working in Australia a couple of months before entering Russia. Will do some travelling around south-east Asia and China after my time in Australia.

If I decide to stay for a couple of weeks in Mongolia as well before entering Russia, will that affect the train ticket and price? For example, what is the difference between booking the whole trip from Beijing to Moscow or St. Petersburg and booking shorter trips individual. For example, Beijing to Ulan Baatar and then Ulan Baatar to Irkutsk and then Irkutsk to Moscow.

I would like to travel as cheap as possible.

Thanks for all the help I can get
asked May 12, 2019 in Transport by #ErikOnTour (140 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Hi Erik,

It's a great journey that you want to undertake!

All the information about the Russian visa is available on http://waytorussia.net/Travel/VisaSupport.html

Generally, you can do the trip on a 30-day tourist visa, but you can also get a business visa, which is basically the same thing but extended (you can get it for 3 months and double-entry also). Both business and tourist visa take about 2 weeks to get once at the consulate but the business visa may be slightly more expensive. Also, the invitation for a tourist visa is issued in only 1 day while the invitation for a business visa might take about 2 weeks. I'd go with the business visa if I were you as it's more flexible, although a bit more expensive and longer to wait for.  You don't need to book any hotels for any of those visas, the visa support themselves is like a preliminary booking, but you don't need to stay at the hotels listed there.

And yes, you can apply from Australia, especially if it's a business visa that you try to get.

Finally, regarding the stopover in Mongolia, definitely go for it! You might be able to get a cheaper train from Ulan-Bataar to Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude (a nice city to stop by in as well!) and if not you can always take a bus!
answered May 12, 2019 by Ivan Stepanenko (2,730 points)