Mongolia Train Trip with Teens

Nov 16th, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #1  
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Mongolia Train Trip with Teens

After two vacations dedicated to marathon college tours, we're thinking of planning an exotic family trip in June with our boys, 17 and 14 (before they don't want to travel with us anymore.) Would love to hear from families who have traveled from Moscow to Beijing through Mongolia by train. Although I'm a compulsive independent traveler, this is one I might trust to a packager or travel agent rather than book myself, so any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Also considering train trips through India or Africa.
crosscheck is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Are you just taking the Moscow-Beijing train through? Or are you stopping in Mongolia for other tours?

For the former, check out seat61.com for information and how to get the tickets.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I think we would stop 2-3 times for tours.
crosscheck is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:17 PM
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Lonely Planet's Thorntree has a "sticky" on the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian trains with lots of useful info. I booked my train tickets and some side trips with Passport Travel in Australia, but was unhappy with their land agent in western Russia. There are several tour companies handling this route - e.g. MIR at the higher end, Russia Experience at the budget. Take a look at the LP and Bryn Tomas guides, and then decide how much help you need.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 08:15 PM
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Be prepared for schedule changes. I had booked the Beijing to Ulaan Baatar train trip but about 2 months before departure, the schedule changed by a whole day making the trip impossible for me.

I used Mongol Global for that Mongolian trip. Also used them a year later for China travel and panda volunteering.

They arranged that train trip for other people I met.

I was glad I used an agent because when the train schedule changed, we were able to work out something else together. I think I ended up getting an activity that actually cost more than the train trip.

I found the flights to be erratic too in Mongolia and change by a day or so. But overall, Mongolia is still well worth it. In fact I'm planning a return to Mongolia in July 2009 with Mongol Global.

www.mongolglobaltours.com

So my suggestion would be to get off the train in Mongolia and spend some time there. I would think boys 14 and 17 would want to expend some energy and not spend their whole time sitting on a train.

For train trips in Africa, the Blue Train in South Africa is supposed to be very nice. If you decide on Africa, those of us that spend time on the Africa board would love to help and send you and your boys where you can see some excellent wildlife too.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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Besides getting off in Mongolia, also consider getting off for Lake Baikal/Irkutsk and Ulan Ude. I also got off in Ekaterinburg, which I found quite interesting, but not so much to do there, plus you have to get back on the train at 4:00 am.

Make sure you visit some of the Golden Ring towns around Moscow - getting out into the countryside is well worth the trip even if you're not into churches. I also spent a night in Novgorod, between St. Petersburg & Moscow, which I highly recommend. The open-air museum, with old wooden buildings, is definitely worth visiting, and the town itself, small and quiet, is such a contrast to the big cities.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 08:50 AM
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Thanks so much, everyone. I am going to hop over to the African board and research the Blue Train, then will come back here with a decision.
crosscheck is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Crosscheck: I just got back from a trip that included the Blue Train and will add that section to my ongoing trip report soon. Please feel free to ask many questions. I adored the train trip!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Here is the link to Ekscrunchy's report containing the Blue Train. There appear to be some delays in that option as well. At least it was not rescheduled for a different day like the Mongolian train.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=35088021
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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Thanks, ek and atravelynn. I have been crazed with work and Thanksgiving, but will spend some time daydreaming about both trips soon.
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