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To and from

by Ad747 Online Now Jan 13, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Hi. Me and a friend are planning on taking the Trans-siberian express ending in Moscow this winter. From there we hope to go to Murmansk. From there to Finland before flying home. Does anybody know the best/easiest way to get to Murmansk from Moscow and the best/easiest from Murmansk to Finland. Both journeys will be in December.

Also if anyone has any ideas how to get from northern Finland to the U.K. cheaply and easily this will be VERY helpful!

Thanks for your help!

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13 Answers
  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 13, 2008 at 2:58 PM

    The only "Transsiberian Express" I know is 2-3 times a year. A single journey costs about25000, The train is called "Carskoe Zoloto"/"Zaerngold". Not sure, it's what you are looking for.

    Otherwise - FYI - the world's busiest railway section is between Barabinsk and Novosibirsk with freight and passenger trains passing every few minutes. NONE of these is called "Transsiberian Express" tough. Some go between Moscow and P'yongyang, some between Kiev and Vladivosok, some between Moscow and Vladivostok and so on, it's basically a mass-trainsit with prices as low as 172 Euro round-trip instead of25000.

    For busses to Norway - I did see this question as an opportunity to post deals on VT, won't mind if you "vote" for them, was a bit tricky to find! :-)

    deals.virtualtourist.com/vie...
    deals.virtualtourist.com/vie...

    For busses to Finland:

    Murmansk->Ivalo: 300 km the bus is starting 8:30 AM on Monday, Wednesdy, Friday from intercity bus station next to the railway station. It will arrive 8:45 in the local hotel "Poliarnye Zori" to pick up the guest there and will arrive Ivalo, Finland at 14:00 local time.

    Going back from Ivalo at 15:30 local time, arrving Murmansk 23:30. The tickets are available at the intercity bus station.

    Kandalaksha-Kemijärvi (270 km) each Monday and Thursday, departing Kandalaksha 8:00, arriving Kemijärvi 14:00, departing Kemijärvi 15:30, ariving Kandalaksha 21:55

    Murmanskavtotrans seving these destinations.

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 13, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    After little more research here is the deal between Kandalaksha and Kemijärvi

    deals.virtualtourist.com/vie...

    There are regular domestic Russian trans between Murmansk and Kandalaksha, so reaching it should not cause much headache.

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 13, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    Now, after all this is done - may I ask also few questions?

    1) there are few "no frills" airlines to/from Helsinki and as Lev did mention, nothing what apples to Norway can be described as "cheap". Finnish Railways are very reasonably priced but you have to think a bit how to buy your tickets. Once you do reach Helsinki, you have the headache how to reach London. Perhaps, by ferry to Tallin. But not sure, why all the headache with Murmansk before.

    2) the suicide rate of Russians/Fins/Norse/Icelandic people in the Winter due lack of sunshine is a known problem. Who can afford it, usually go south. I understand, you may have a desire to move "against the crowd" - but to THAT degree?

    3) The Transsib during the Winter could be fun - or not. Sure, a New Year
    (apropos, New Year - to Lev: C HOBIIM TOAOM! --- if there is no fish, the crayfish can be regarded as a fish, na bezrybie i rak ryba, no better way to write in Cyrillic on the VT)
    celebration in the dining car is interesting but it will be pretty cold outside

    4) It won't be that easy to operate camera(s): mechnical and electric and optic issues.

    5) re-thinking how to get to UK from northern Finland the cheapest way. Well, it's going by bus from Kemijärvi to Kandalaksha, from Kandalaksha to St. Peterburg, in St. Pete buy a CITY-STAR ticket to Kosice or Bratislava in Slovakia, from there fly to UK.

    But than - since your transsiberian ticket will be most likely to Slovakia anyway, why not just go to Slovakia? Or at worst, make the side-trip to the north.

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  • Ad747's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by Ad747 Online Now Jan 14, 2008 at 5:27 AM

    Thanks for your advice, its very helpful! From what people have been saying about Murmansk i'm starting to think it might not be the best idea! Not at that time of year anyway. Its a shame because it looks a very interesting place and I want to go into the arctic circle some time.

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  • Ad747's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by Ad747 Online Now Jan 14, 2008 at 5:32 AM

    Oh, the Trans-sib we are taking we are booking through www.ostwest.com. In pounds sterling it will be about £360. Also, we know its going to be horribly cold, but thats part of the fun... :) We tend to have a fascination with baron/cold places most people would never think of going to! Thanks again for the information. Its the first time i've used virtualtourist and you guys are way more helpful than any literature i've been able to find!

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 14, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    Adam, for £360 I can do probably a couple of more tickets. You don't need to buy from these. Look at the CITY-STAR ticket deals. 172 Euro is a round-trip for one person, 258 Euro for two persons. And it's a ROUND-TRIP, not from Moscow but from Bratislava in Slovakia via Kiev, Moscow. Why on Earth buy from "ostwest.com"?

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  • Ad747's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by Ad747 Online Now Jan 15, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Because we are not setting off from Europe. Its the last leg/return journey from South Korea. That was the cheapest i've seen. If you have the address of where I can get tickets at 150 Euros that would be amazing.

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 15, 2008 at 12:51 PM

    This is fine, my former colleague used this ticket going FROM Vladivostok, not TO Vladivostok.
    It's a r/t ticket and unlike airplane tickets it can be used either way, you can use it as only "there", also as only "back" and also as a "round-trip". Think about it as of a 60-day Russia Railpass but with a fixed routing.

    img403.imageshack.us/img403/...

    Comments to the above price:

    a) it's for two people
    b) it's first class
    c) it's before the price increase of December 9, 2007

    The current pricing over 1500 km each way in Russia is:

    2nd class: 172 Euro for first adult person, 86 Euro for second, third, fourth, fifth adult, 43 for kid
    1st class: 258 Euro for first adult person, 129 Euro for second, third, fourth, fifth adult, 64.5 for kid

    The current pricing under 1500 km each way in Russia is:

    2nd class: 104 Euro for first adult person, 52 Euro for second, third, fourth, fifth adult, 26 for kid
    1st class: 156 Euro for first adult person, 78 Euro for second, third, fourth, fifth adult, 39 for kid

    The ticket will take all the way from Vladivostok to any point in Slovakia. There is a direct sleeper from Vladivostok to Moscow (obviously!) and many more services. From Moscow on you can continue to Kosice, Zilina, Bratislava, Zvolen with direct sleeping cars. I would suggest, go till Zvolen because of the scenery!

    From Zvolen the same train will go to Vienna, it's only few hours. An additional ticket Slovak border->Vienna to your City-Star will be (roughly) an Earth-shaking 10 Euro.

    Don't forget, you will also need the sleeper reservations. It is possible to travel from Vladivostok to Moscow and also from Moscow to Vienna withut sleeper reservation but it will be a torture. The price/person of the Vladivostok-Moscow sleeper reservation is 145 Euro in "T4" (in "Rossiya"), the price of the Moscow-Zilina in T3 is 21 Euro. It is possible to "cut" the price of Vladivostok-Moscow reservation by using North Korean car instead of Russian, it will cost ca. 1800 Roubles (= 55 Euro) - but you have to be tricky!

    railfaneurope.net/pix/ne/Nor...

    As you see from the pictures, while the Korean car is well-heated inside, the weather outside (Helmut traveled during X'mas 2006) is NOT!!! Korean car goes only twice a month and is attached to the "Rossiya" train at Ussuriisk, few hours from Vladivostok.

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 15, 2008 at 1:05 PM

    A collection of Slovak-issued City-Star tickets is here:
    railfaneurope.net/pix/sk/tic...

    A collection of Russian-issued tickets and sleeper reservation is here:
    railfaneurope.net/pix/ru/tic...

    Pay attention to this one:

    railfaneurope.net/pix/ru/tic...

    It's precisely for the Korean car, the price is so far the same - 1842 Rbl

    Look at my home page first, than at the ticket collection.

    Most important:
    - you have to get the Russian visa in UK, just in case.
    - if you get exited about new possibilities based on the pictures: these possibilities are not new, the Korean car travels that route since late 50-s or maybe longer. It's not my fault and not Korean fault, the tarvel agencies organizing tour to NK have no clout about it.

    FYI: a while ago a company in the U.S. proudly announced, they organize tours to NK. I called them out of curiosity, they claimed, there is no train. I say, WTF is that? Than they say, "foreigners are not allowed there". Than I say, is Helmut a Korean? Than they say after few days: "OK, going FROM NK by this tran is OK" and named the price. I told them, the price is far from the official NK/Russian 1842 Rbl.
    There was no language or misunderstanding issue because... believe or not, the owner of company in USA was a Russian guy. :-O

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  • Ad747's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by Ad747 Online Now Jan 17, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    Where can I buy those tickets from though? Do you have to get them directly from the station in Slovak? I've looked for a website that sells them and I cant find one anywhere?!

    Also, will they be able to sort out the booking of the compartments for each stop? (we will be stopping in Irkutsk and Omsk for a night or two in each). We need to ensure we get beds, TRYING to sleep in ordinary chairs on trains is not even worth doing (we tried this going to Vienna, it was awful).

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  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by GyuriFT Online Now Jan 17, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    - You cannot buy any of these tickets on-line.

    - You may consider a flight to Slovakia by Ryanair, Wizzair, Skyeurope (you name them) ca. 4 month before you travel. If you go to continental Europe in late Summer/Autumn, you may consider to visit Bratislava for a day to pick up these tickets.

    - We will move back to Europe (Hungary) this Summer, ca. 40 minute drive from Slovakia. After that I may consider to send such tickets to VT-ers "at cost". It did work so far for few cases, but please no huge requests!

    - I think, Helmut does sell these tickets, contact him at helmut.uttenthaler@gmx.at, he seem to be a nice chap, but this is in no way an endorsement.

    - Similar things do apply for other ('MPT'-tariff N.Korean, Russian, Chinese) tickets it's even more adventure, of course - hope will tell more deeds from this Summer on.

    - You/we/whoever can buy the reservations at any time. A good ATOC agency in UK should be able to do. If they are stranded, ask them for e-mail I can help them out. The reservation and the through ticket are completely different animals and ATOC in UK can do the same for the same price as everyone else.

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  • Re: To and from

    by kammie Online Now Jan 18, 2008 at 6:22 PM

    Hi! As far as your flight from Finland to the UK, I would recommend looking at www.harefares.com which is a site that lets you choose multiple origin and destination airports and then shows all the cheap airlines that fly those routes....very handy when trying to navigate your way through all the airlines. Good luck!

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  • yumyum's Profile Photo

    Re: To and from

    by yumyum Online Now Jan 24, 2008 at 12:21 AM

    What about the airline "blue1"? It's cheaper than Finnair and I'll be using it in March.

    I think the Transsib in winter maybe fun too. I only travelled Beijing-Moscow in November once and the carriage attendants had to shovel coal to heat the carriage and the connections between the carriages were very cold and full of snow. So if you take the trip to the restaurant car make sure you wear proper shoes and not just slippers.

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