Wednesday, April 11, 2012

connecting Europe to the sea of Japan by railway thru Trans-Siberian Train

Hold your breath: Manila-Kuala Lumpur-London-Paris-Brussels-Cologne (traveling across Germany-Poland-Belarus)-Moscow-(crossing Siberia) Ulan Bator-(crossing Gobi Dessert)-Beijing-Lhasa (Tibet)-Beijing-Qingdao-(ferry) Incheon-Seoul-Busan-(ferry) Fukuoka-Osaka-Manila 

I am fascinated with long train rides. A ride that takes a week or longer, perhaps. Not only because of the steady and leisurely pace these rides bring, but I am also drawn to the clickety-clack sound it makes as the train rolls by the track.

If lovers of these slow and sappy train rides are hopeless romantics then I am guilty as charged. I imagined long train rides to be like the ones I see in movies. Old world charm. Cramp bunk beds but with a window that empties to a vast and beautiful countryside.

At dinner, everyone is dressed to the nines and head out to the salon (though modest in size, the tables have elaborate cutlery and offers full course meals). Nothing short of grand.

In this time and age, just when most people thought the Orient Express mystique does not exist anymore, it still does. It's very much alive! The iconic train ride starts in Singapore and will snake its way to Bangkok. From Bangkok, the journey continues until Chaing Mai or Laos. Rate starts at around P100,000.00 for Pullman Superior/Single or P150,000.00 for State Cabin. Rates are per person and inclusive of table d'hôte meals, complimentary tea or coffee and sightseeing tours. Wishful thinking lang muna.

Two years ago, in two separate occasions, I actually traveled the distance by train (not via Orient Express, though I wished it was) from Thailand to Malaysia for forty three awesome hours: Chaing Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Butterworth (Penang) and then from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur.

Though it didn't come close to the Orient Express experience, it was an amazing ride nonetheless. For one, it saved me two nights worth of hostel bills. I also met interesting travelers on board (majority of the passengers were local). Above all, it fulfilled my childhood dream of taking one long train ride. That leaves me now with only one epic train ride in the pipeline.

Adventures in the Trans-Siberian Railway 
A story waiting to be written in my travel journal is the Trans-Siberian train ride. Could it be an adventure or romantic comedy? I'm still clueless. One thing's for sure though, it's going to be epic (and it doesn't come close to an Orient Express comfort).

The Trans-Siberian train connects Europe to the Far East. More specifically from Moscow to Mongolia and China. Even up to North Korea. But the adventure I have in the pipeline actually begins in London and ends in Japan. That's how epic it's going to be. And the budget, as it appears, is going to be epic, too.

The Route
Manila-Kuala Lumpur-
London-Paris-Brussels-Cologne (traveling across Germany-Poland-Belarus)-Moscow-(crossing Siberia) Ulan Bator-(crossing Gobi Dessert)-Beijing-Lhasa (Tibet)-Beijing-Qingdao-
(ferry) Incheon-Seoul-Busan-(ferry) Fukuoka

The Trans-Siberian Railway, the third longest continuous railway service in the world, connects large and small cities in the European and Asian parts of Russia spanning 9,259 kilometers across 7 time zones. It takes 8 days to complete this journey. But my journey does not start in Moscow and it might take months on end.

There are actually three Trans-Siberian train routes: Moscow to Vladivostok, Moscow to Beijing and Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia. The Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia is arguably the best route to take.

In the pipeline, I will take the train from London to Moscow. Then transfer to the Trans-Mongolian Railway before I take the ferry to South Korea then to Japan. I got loads of information about this trip from

But of course, a visit to Tibet! I wouldn't miss it for the world!

As I said, it's an epic journey! So, instead of saving up for a condo unit and a brand-new red convertible volkswagen beetle, you have an idea already where my savings (if there's any. lol) will go! Skyflakes and instant noodles for the win! haha

Train rides. How it feeds my imagination. And it continually does. Until the next jackpot!

What's your ultimate destination (aside from heaven or hell. just kidding)? 

Whether they've been there already or the dream is still in labor pains, 
Filipino Travel bloggers share their stories
exclusive for the 18th Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival hosted by Robbie Bautista of

first three photos courtesy: oriental express


  1. RV, kelan to? sama ako! haha.

    matagal ko nang pangarap Trans-Sib.
    Pero mas off-the-beaten ang east to west ;)
    i'm also dreaming of Central Asia. *sigh*

    1. shawi, maybe in a year or two. malaking kaban ng kayamanan ang kakailangin sa trip na yan. hihihi

  2. it was great you had the courage to take the train from Chiang Mai to KL and it was awesome experience. I had been to KL and was dreaming of BKK to Chiang Mai via train and this post helps me alot about my future travel plans which will definitely be an exciting journey I should say.

    Salamat sa post mo na to. Useful sya RV.

    1. dok wends, nice talagang experience yon. dapat sana the ride begins sa Singapore mismo. kaso, isinara na nila ang train station don. ang pinakamalapit ay yong nasa causeway-Johor na lang.

  3. You make train rides sound so easy an sosyal. The only transit I've experienced is the MRT and it's a pain! Hahaha. 43 hours?!?!?!?!

    This is also the first time I've heard of the Trans-Siberian Transit. And it's only the 3rd longest?!?! It does seem like an epic journey waiting to happen. Gawin mo na to!!! Excited na rin ako to read your stories!

    1. hahahaha. the photos and ambitions lang ang sosyal. gusto ko e try din and Bicol Express MNL-NAGA :)

      tataya pa ako sa lotto para if manalo, pang tustus sa bisyo na to! haha

  4. i myself have been dreaming of these long, train rides. lucky for you, you're only a few steps away to making it a reality. :)

    i'm wondering, if it will be a travel for weeks, are there stopovers?

  5. That's an expensive train ride but definitely worth the try. :)

  6. Smile, without a reason why
    Love, as if you were a child,
    Smile, no matter what they tell you
    Don't listen to a word they say
    Cause life is beautiful that way.

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What's your two-cents about this travel adventure and/or misadventure? Do leave a comment here. Thank you.