Globe Trotting and New Beginnings

Archive for the ‘Mongolia’ Category


We have been asked many times what the Trans-Siberian express was like and what we did for so many days on the train. This post serves to give a glimpse into the Trans-Siberian experience on Kupe (2nd Class).

Apart from general relaxation, reading, soul searching and world domination planning, here are a few other things to do.

Look outside the window
While traveling across several thousand kilometers on a train, there is a certain satisfaction gained from looking out your window and observing the slow change that unfolds around you with respect to people, cities and landscapes. This activity could arguably take up the entire journey!

View7 Russian Forests

View 11 Fall Colors in Russia

View 11 Lake Baikal

Sun Settings over a Ger in Mongolia

View7 Sun set over Mongolian Plains

View7 In China

View7 On the way to Beijing

Samovar (Tea). Vodka. Beer. How can this not be fun?

Drinks - Samovar Samovar, the lifeblood of train travel


Drinks 2

Hang out
Get to know your compartment mates. Meet people from other compartments. Practice your Russian. Imbibe Vodka.

Hnaging out Random Redhead 🙂

Random - ShotgunCareful of the little kid walking around with his shotgun

Random Dog Our neighbor for 4 days

Eat and get ripped off at the Restaurant Cart. Strategize what to buy at the next stop. Figure out what flavor of instant noodles you are in the mood for.

Food Sellers 2 Vendors at a quick stop selling fish to people on the train

Food Sellers

FoodPiroshki and Fish

Food2Smoked Omul fish, from the Baikal and instant noodles.

Fur Sellers If you do not feel like food, maybe some fur?

Play Cards
You will learn many different card games along the way. We learnt “shithead” from some british backpackers, and “NP” from some swedish folks (who are really fun to play the game “Bluff” with, since they never pass, just bluff.)

Cards - Drinks

Cards Playing shithead

Playing Bluff with the swedes


Preferably to Punjabi music.

Irritate People
At your own Risk.

Annoy your wife, while she is sleeping

Find a random mongolian lady and annoy her

Once sufficiently annoyed, she should try to break your neck.

Get a massage
If you are lucky enough to have a masseuse in your compartment.



Enjoy Border Crossings

Mongolian Border Entering Mongolia. 10 Hours to go through Russian and Mongolian Immigration. What do you do? Refer to above items for more information.

TrainLifted Entering China. At the Mongolia-China border, due to differences in the train track gauge width, the train is lifted, while the passengers are in it, in order to change the gauge. I heard the train tracks have different widths in order to prevent military movement between the two countries.


Starting City: St. Petersburg, Russia

Ending City: Hong Kong, China

Total Distance travelled overland: 10,751 Kilometres

Total Duration on Trains/Buses: 185.5 Hours

Time to hit the beach!!!!

Overland Journey

During our short visit to Mongolia, we had the chance to visit a few Buddhist monasteries. The one we trekked to in the Terejl National Park had the usual spinning prayer wheels, Mongolian Buddhist architecture and generally serene atmosphere. However, on closer examination, we found some disturbing imagery painted on outer roof of the monastery depicting scenes that I do not associate with Buddhism. Here are a few of these images:





Our “guide”, who happened to be a Mongolian and a Buddhist, informed us that these are images of the ten different spirits that punished humans for their sins. This could be an example of Buddhism adopting some of the existing Shamanistic ideas while spreading through Mongolia in the 13th century, or could be an interpretation of the concept of Nakara (The buddhist version of Purgatory, which I did not know existed until I saw these images and did some research).

December 2018
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