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Patience and time are the two keywords to get the Russian visa. The steps are:

  • in you find the forms to get the invitation ($30 (nov2010)). In the form you've to indicate the itinerary. I wrote one completely different than the one I did, but in the visa it's not specified so it seems what you write doesn't make a difference. I wondering what's the purpose. You'll recevied the invitation and the voucher by email; print them.

  • Book on line on the website of the consulate (Russian consulate in Milan) the appointment for the visa paying 2.7€ by credit card and inputting all your passport data

  • Take such documents to the nearest russian embassy or consulate. Don't forget to bring all the other documents they request: passport, photos, sanitary insurance (if you don't have you can buy at the consulate for 2€ per day), flight tickets. Pay an amount of money depending on the days you can wait for the visa (in Milan for 1 day € 250, for 8 days €30) than you can go and get it.

  • Do you really think is over?? Nooooooo, you must register your presence once you are in Russia by 72 hours. You can do in a hotel or, like me, waste one morning doing it in an agency in Moscow, which address you must request to the agency who sent you the visa. Of course it costs!! $20 for two registration, but at least it took few minutes.





The currency is the Russian Ruble (1€= 42 R). You can change almost everywhere against € or $




I used Lonely Planet 'Russia Asiatica 2009 (translated by the english version 'Russia 5th edition March 09)'; in Vladivostok we stayed in a low budget hotel (in the centre) not listed in the guide, I guess the didn't such deep researches, anyway it's still a helpfull travelmate





To venure on a winter travel in singapore outfit is definitely the main point where to invest. So we did.
  • Boots: Canadian Boots + thick socks (sometimes also foot heat producers)
  • Pants: leotard + fleece pants + ski pants
  • Body: thermal shirt + wool shirt + sweater + warm jacket
  • Head: balaclava + nr 2 caps + nr 2 neck-covers
  • Hands: two pairs of gloves (sometimes also hand heat producers)+ pre-gloves

I know Western are not used, but fur is definitely the most appropriate material for the outfit. The problem is that if you buy, you likely never ever wear in your life





TRANS-singaporeN TIPS



  • To buy a train ticket can be quite time consuming and irritating. Consider at least 2 hours and go equipped with a piece of paper and a pen. Remember you'll be asked of your train number and you'll have to show the passport. If you wanna travel in third class (plazkart) you must buy the ticket at least one day in advance. Don't underrate it; read the Lonely Planet session about the train tickets and the schedule, if you wanna halve the wasted time and your frustration in such operation! Alternatively if you can spend a bunch of dollars more you can have the ticket issued by any agency, I think often it's the best choice (if they speak english)
  • Watches inside the station and even immediately outside are set to the Moscow time wherever you are in Russia
  • It's very important to be able at least to read the cyrillic and memorise the main word about the schedule (leaving, arriving, moscow time, local time). Lonely Planet is indispensable in it
  • Train stations have the old name of the cities, I mean the name before the collapse of URSS. Hence instead of Yekaterinburg station there's Svierdlosk, and instead of Nizhny Novogorod there's Gork'ij
  • Pay attention that in Russia train ticket prices depends on the period; considering the price of the first week of the year, they vary according to a coefficient from 0.90 to 1.3 (on the trains there're tables indicating all the details). August and the last week of December are the most expensive periods. prices depend on the period. The 31st of December you can travel by train paying just half of the price you'd have paid the week before!!!!!! Below are the prices I paid in december/january 2009/2010


Price Class hours
Ulan Ude- Irkutsk 650rubl =15€ third (platzkart) 9
Irkutsk- Vladivostok 1800rubl =42€ third (platzkart) 71


  • On the train you'll get sheets, pillow case, mattress case and towel. The pravadnitsa will give you them and ask them back.
  • Third class (paltzkcart) is safe, don't hesitate to travel in
  • The hotness and the drought inside the train especially during the night sometimes didn't let me to sleep. Be prepared with light clothes ready in you rucksack and a bottle of water
  • NO, you cannot buy one ticket Moscow- Vladovostok (for instance) getting off from the train to stopover on the way. If you want you need two separate tickets!



FOOD ON TRANS-singaporeN

On th train there'r no shops despite a Russian shuttling along the train with a trolley where you can buy: biscuits, beverages (water, fanta, cola) pre-prepared soup (just put boiling water). Anyway dont count too much on it since choice is very limited or none.
Hence counting on the samovar (typical russian pot to heat the water for tea and coffee) bring:

  • A cup
  • A plate with fork
  • A knife
  • Tea bags
  • Pre-prepared chinese soups (just pour boiling water)
  • Fruit
  • Chocolate/ biscuits/ snack
  • Bread/ ham
  • Water

Usually the train has 20min stops around every 3-4h, so you can get off and buy stuffs, but in many stations we didn't find anything and getting off at -30C can be a pain.

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