Russia, Mongolia and China

@Porcospino (19804)
Denmark
April 9, 2013 10:45am CST
In the local newspaper I read about two women who travelled from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Railway. In Russia they used Couchsurfing and they stayed with 3 different host families. Their hosts were very friendly and they learned a lot about the Russian culture through their stays with the families. In Mongolia they chose to stay with a group of nomads and in China they stayed in hostels. They travelled for 4 weeks and they were able to keep the expenses down because they used Couchsurfing in Russia and cheap hostels in China. I think that their trip must have been really interesting. They learned new things about the local culture through their Couchsurfing hosts and would have missed those things if had stayed in hotels. It must also have been interesting to stay with the nomads in Mongolia. What do you think about their trip? Which types of accomodation would you choose if had the chance to visit Russia, Mongolia and China? Would you prefer Couchsurfing or hostels/hotels? Why?
5 responses
@maximax8 (29032)
• United Kingdom
9 Apr 13
Wow! That sounded like a very economical way for the two ladies to travel from Moscow to Beijing. Them doing couch surfing in Russia was an excellent idea. I see they had to rely on cheap hotels once they reached China. It is wonderful they stayed with nomads in Mongolia. They had a superb time learning about the different cultures. For a long time I have dreamed of traveling from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans Siberian Railway. As I travel with my 5 year old son and my 3 year year old daughter a triple room is best for us. I believe couch surfing is more suitable to one or two people not three like a family group. I nearly die of shock when I see the prices a Brit pays for visas to Russia. That combined with visas to Mongolia and China would be loads of money. We would stay at hostels in a double, twin or triple room in Moscow and Beijing. At Lake Baikal we would stay with a local family for a cultural experience. We would have to have an adventure in Mongolia staying in a traditional yurt. We would try to do at mega trip as cheaply as possible. I would like to travel from London to Moscow by train. I wouldn't feel like getting a visa for Belarus. I would do a longer trip via Kiev or Riga.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
9 Apr 13
I haven't used Couchsurfing, but I have visited the site, and I think that it is true that it is more suitable for a person who travels alone or maybe two friends or a couple. I think that it could be very interesting to try Couchsurfing one day. It is a cheap way to travel and at the same time I think that it could be very interesting to meet some of the locals and get to know more about their culture Visas for both Russia, Mongolia and China would definately make the trip more expensive, but it is impossible to visit any of those countries without a visa I think that hostels would be a good place to stay. It would be really interesting to stay with a local family at Lake Baikal. I think that Mongolia would be an interesting place to explore as well and I would love to stay in a yurt, I have only seen them on pictures.
@maximax8 (29032)
• United Kingdom
9 Apr 13
There is a ship which sails from Finland to St Petersburg in Russia. It allows around 48 hours in that Russian city. No Russian visa is necessary. On a website I saw a question asking travelers how keen they would be to visit Russia if no visa was necessary. Like me many others would love to go. I so wish couch surfing had been invited when I was young and single. I had to stay in dorms in youth hostels and backpacker hostels in my younger days. Mongolia would feel very off the beaten track if I could stay in the yurt. It is lovely to stay with a local family.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
9 Apr 13
I didn't know that. I think that it is fantastic you are able to spend 48 hours in St Petersburg without a visa I have often thought about visiting Russia and the visa fees are one the of reasons why I haven't been there yet. When I had read your comment and I found the website of the ship between Finland and St Petersburg. It looks interesting. I have been to Finland, but I have only seen a small part of the country, so it could be nice to spend some time there before we sail to St Petersburg. I guess I will have to add a new place to my travel wish list
@doggydimon (1372)
• Philippines
11 Apr 13
I really like their adventure. When I travel alone, I usually stay with a host courtesy of Couchsurfing. One time, my host in Jakarta has another guest from Ukraine while I was there. And this Ukrainian guy just hitched a ride from Ukraine all the way to Indonesia. And while stopping over to the countries in between, he would use couchsurfing... It is a very good way to experience the local culture of a place. As for me, I would like to mix both. As I am a travel agent, I need to update myself with the hotels and inns at the places I go to for added knowledge for our clients.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
11 Apr 13
I think that the two women managed to plan a very interesting trip. They had the chance to visit both Russia, Mongolia and China, and hey met many locals during the trip. When I read about their trip I felt inspired to visit the same countries. I enjoyed hearing about the guy from Ukraine and the way that he travelled. It sounds like an amazing way to experience other countries. I have never tried Couchsurfing, but I always thought that I would like to try it one day. Not just because it is a cheap way to travel, but because I think that it would be really interesting to talk the locals and learn more about their culture. I think that it great that you use a combination of Courchsurfing and hotels. My friend used to work as a travel agent as well and she loved her job very much.
@beta715 (57)
• Australia
10 Apr 13
I think you just give me a fresh idea to travel, and next time I will try to use couchsurfing if it is possible. Sometimes I feel it is unnecessary to spend a lot of money just for sleeping. I do not mind too much about the beds. Off course they are not comfortable with a cheap price,but what is the point for that? I would like to pay more for experiencing more cultures in different countries rather than stay in 5 star hotels to enjoy the life. I can use that money to improve my home and make it more comfortable. I got a friend who spent 200 dollers in Hilton hotel in New York on night. Don't you think she is creazy? She is actually not as that rich as you think. I have asked her for the reason, and she told me she just wanted to enjoy the experience in that hotel. Anyway, different people got different views
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
10 Apr 13
I have never spent $200 on a hotel room, that is a lot of money for one night I prefer to stay in a less expensive hotel and spend my money on other things. I don't need a luxurious room. I just need a simple place to spend the night My ex-boyfriend was like your friend and he always wanted to stay in expensive hotels, so we constantly disagreed about that topic. I have never used Couchsurfing, but I have visited the site and it sounds like an interesting alternative. It is not only a way to save money on accomodation it also sounds like a great way to learn more about the local culture and lifestyle.
@jricky1 (6808)
• China
10 Apr 13
I just so wanna join this trip and i'm currently living in a hostel in China and i enjoyed a lot.I changed several to experience time there.Since these countries are near and can make a plan out that is cheaper.So hope you enjoy yours and have a great trip here.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
10 Apr 13
Mongolia and Russia are close to your country and I think that transportation would be less expensive for you. I live in Europe so those places are quite far from my home, but I would love to visit them just like those women did. I think that their trip sounds very interesting. They travelled for several weeks and they were able to visit both Russia, Mongolia and China during that time. It is great to hear that you enjoy your stay in the hostel. I hope that I will manage to visit your country one day. I am not sure what a visa for China costs, but one day I hope to be able to go there
@LittleMel (14055)
• Canada
10 Apr 13
if I had the chance, probably the same way I've heard about transsiberian the good and the bad things but then again it fits the price. also staying with nomads it will be a good experience survival in nature I'd love to do that when I had the opportunity
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19804)
• Denmark
10 Apr 13
I also think that it could be an interesting experience to stay with the nomads. That would be very different from a ordinary vacation where you stay in a hotel and I love to try something different. It could be interesting to learn more about their lifestyle that way. If I travelled from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans Siberian railway I would like to use Couchsurfing in Russia just like those women did, but I would probably choose to find some Couchsurfings hosts in China as well instead of staying in hostels in China. Not so much because it would be cheaper but because I love to learn more about the culture through meetings with the locals.