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Pravit

Visiting Russia from Harbin

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Pravit

Hi all,

I'm thinking about going to Harbin this time and possibly throwing in a trip to Russia! However, I haven't found much on the net about getting to Russia from Harbin. My LP guide mentions two border towns, Suifenhe and Heihe, but I have no idea how I would get about getting to any bigger city in Russia assuming I was able to cross the border at these places. I have heard of a direct train from Harbin to Vladivostok that leaves twice weekly, but unfortunately I can't find any more information on time or prices on the net. I've also heard of a new bus route from Harbin to Vladivostok, but there's very little info on it around the net. Have any of you had any experience travelling to Russia from the Northeast?

I'm also wondering about the Russian visa - some friends of mine recommended an online service that charges a hefty $150 for a tourist visa. Perhaps I could get the visa done in Beijing, but from what I've heard you need an invitation letter from a hotel or tourist agency, which I don't know how to get myself. Transit visas seemed promising(and cheaper), but I'm unsure if you're actually allowed to use a transit visa to go from China to Russia back to China(I don't really want to stay in Russia for more than a couple days, so the $$ for a tourist visa seems a bit of a waste). Does anyone know the usual prices for air travel between the two?

Travel to Russia aside, has anyone been to Harbin in the summer? My main reason for choosing Harbin other than proximity to Russia, possible second trip to North Korea :D, and good Mandarin accent was that I figured the weather would be more bearable in the summer. And besides weather, how is it to study and live there? Are there many Russians there?

Thanks!

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atitarev

I read somewhere that you need to get the Russian visa in Beijing, can't do it in Harbin, maybe it's changed now.

Harbin is popular with Russian students and tourists and there is an old Russian community there who fled Communism, their descendant are all mixed. I met some Chinese looking migrants in Australia with perfect Russian.

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kdavid

I have a friend of mine teaching in Novosbirik (sp?) that I was looking into visiting during Spring Festival. This is what I've gathered so far:

1. I was planning on taking the trans-Siberian train. I can get one from Harbin to Nobosbirik with only one stop. Times and such I've yet to look at.

2. Visas must be acquired in Beijing, and are, unfortunatley, expensive.

3. The letter of invitation is easy. Just book a room at some cheap place somewhere in Russia and ask for one. They can send you the proper documentation.

4. How you feel about living here greatly depends on what you're looking for. If you're just here to study and / or teach and not looking for a social life or beautiful scenery, it's great. Thank frickin' Christ I like being a huge nerd. The people are friendly, the food is good and the weather is frickin' cold. (the woman aren't half bad either)

5. There are plenty of Russians here, but you're still likely to go days without seeing another white person. When I go shopping I might see one or two. They also frequent the popular hang outs like Box and Blues, as do other expats.

Hope this helps.

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volga_volga

Hi,

I am Russian member of this forum, unfortunately, have never been to Vladivostok/Novosibirsk (note spelling!) myself but if you come across any Russian language info source I'd gladly help with translation. I have also posted your Q on Harbin-Vladivostok train on a Russian language travel forum, I'll let you know if there are replies.

for Transsiberian, the best source in Eng is here:

http://www.seat61.com/Trans-Siberian.htm#Route%20map

any more help needed, i'm here ; unfortunately I don't know anything abt Russian visas. and I live in Hong Kong.

Olga

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volga_volga

I googled a new bus service Harbin-Vladivostok which started in June 2006

составляет 750 км, стоимость билета в один конец -- 420 юаней (около 50 долл США), время в пути - - 12 часов. Согласно двусторонней договоренности, первоначально между двумя городами будут курсировать 2 пары рейсов, которые отправляются утром. Одна пара проходит через погранпереход Суйфэньхэ, другая -- через переход Дуннин, все въездные формальности для пассажиров двух стран оформляются в стартовом городе. Количество рейсов будет регулироваться с учетом реальных нужд

basically, 750 km, one way ticket is RMB420, travel time - 12 hrs.

initially, two morning buses (one - via Suifenhe and one - via Dunnin). all immigration formalities are completed in the city of depature. the number of buses will be adjusted based on demand.

here in Russian:

http://russian.china.org.cn/china/txt/2006-06/19/content_2244474.htm

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roddy

As a quick note - friends of mine have tried to visit Russia from Harbin by joining a Chinese tour group on a short trip. However, when they got to the border they were refused entry as the group visa was 'only for Chinese' - the tour agency was as surprised as they were and they got their money back, but perhaps something to be aware of.

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xuechengfeng

I'm going to Harbin and Vladivostok in the next couple of weeks. I can let you know how it goes. :)

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Pravit

Thanks for the replies, everyone!

3. The letter of invitation is easy. Just book a room at some cheap place somewhere in Russia and ask for one. They can send you the proper documentation.

Hmm, I have no experience booking hotels in Russia from abroad. How do you usually go about doing this?

4. How you feel about living here greatly depends on what you're looking for. If you're just here to study and / or teach and not looking for a social life or beautiful scenery, it's great. Thank frickin' Christ I like being a huge nerd.

Hey, me too! I don't party at all or hang around with foreigners in general, but I'd like a city that has lots of nice places to eat with varied cuisines(from all over China), with lots of places in the city or nearby to see.

5. There are plenty of Russians here, but you're still likely to go days without seeing another white person. When I go shopping I might see one or two. They also frequent the popular hang outs like Box and Blues, as do other expats.

Haha, hate to be technical, but I'm not white(i'm Chinese-American). I was hoping to meet some Russians to practice my Russian with. А есть ли харбинцы на форуме?

Volga_volga, the bus service sounds promising. I guess I will have to ask around once I get to Harbin; hopefully it would just leave from the long-distance bus station and I could buy tickets there, though.

I think Novosibirsk is a bit too far away from Harbin for me. I'm aiming for a couple-days excursion to Russia here, although it would be awesome to take the Trans-Siberian someday.

xuechengfeng, how are you getting to Vladivostok? I'd really appreciate further details of your trip.

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xuechengfeng

Pravit,

I'm not sure the city-to-city route I'll take, but we are going by train. I'll be in Qingdao and eventually (I don't know if there is a direct route) we'll arrive in Harbin. Then we'll take a train to Vladivostok. Although I'm a little worried because I have to be back in Beijing by a certain date and I want to utilize my time in Vlad, but I'm not sure with what frequency the train goes back, I've heard that it's two times a week. Hopefully the bus runs a little more frequently. I've also heard that the bus is a lot shorter of a trip than train. My Russian friend said a train to Vlad will take around 2 days from Harbin, while I think someone said the bus is 12 hours.

I've heard that air travel is unreliable, expensive, and maybe even a little bit dangerous.

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kdavid

I pretty sure that, when you make the reservation (either by email or phone), you ask for the letter to be snail-mailed to your home address.

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xuechengfeng

volga, could you please tell me if there are specific days or dates the train runs? i have to be back in beijing february 20, so i'm trying to figure out how i'm going to do so. also, can you tell me what times the bus/train leave? thanks!

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atitarev

Hi Pravit,

There is also another person with the same nickname Pravit on Master Russian forums.

Master Russian forums

http://masterrussian.net/mforum/

Sorry for the off-topic but this is an excellent resource for learning Russian.

Another one, very useful.

Word Reference forums (SLavic languages)

http://forum.wordreference.com/forumdisplay.php?f=44

You are welcome to ask me questions about Russian, we might exchange questions - Russian vs Mandarin (see my signature).

--

Welcome, Volga_Volga, I also used to frequent Восточное Полушарие (Eastern Hemisphere) web-site. Добро пожаловать на форум! Как ваш китайский? Давно изучаете?

I can't contribute much to the topic but I am interested in the topic about how travelling is possible between China and Russia (I am in Australia). I can actually offer you to do a search on Russian language web-sites if you're interested about Russians in Harbin or other things.

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volga_volga

2xuechengfeng

bus

Harbin-Vladivostok daily service 6:40 am, RMB 380; tickets are sold by ATP Primorje (Russian company); the office and departure is somewhere behind the exhibition centre (红博, 黄河路, 228 号 - look out for Russian name "Mezhdunarodnyj Vokzal") - difficult to buy tickets

train

there is a carriage Harbin-Vladivostok (no direct train service) goes twice a week, Wed and Sat; RMB450, difficult to buy tickets

if you do chose to go by train, Russians suggest taking an overnight train service Harbin - Suifenhe (K607) to Suifenhe, there in the morning taxi to International Bus Station and take 8:50 am bus to Ussurijsk - it arrives in Vladivostok around 16:00 (RMB 150).

sorry there is a lot of discussions in Russian abt how to get from Harbin to Russia and back but I don't even live in Harbin and I am just translating the gist of it here.

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volga_volga

2atitarev

мой китайский почти на нуле хотя живу в Гонгонге уже полтора года (а может быть, поэтому). пытаюсь изучать путонхуа самостоятельно, поскольку для работы и жизни не требуется, поэтому медленно.

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xuechengfeng

volga, thanks a lot!! could you do 1 more favor and possibly see what the cost is for a plane ticket from vladivostok to beijing, preferabbly around (any time) february 19 or a flight that arrives in beijing before 2 p.m. on february 20?

if u can, thanks!!!!!!! :mrgreen:

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volga_volga

NIET :mrgreen:

eee-hhhh what can I say, you start small but next you'll ask me to buy you a ticket? :mrgreen:

anyways here is what i found: (by the way you do realise Feb 19 falls into CNY??)

the airline's name is Vladivostok Avia (or VladAvia) - all other routes are with stopovers/change of plane (you can check them on www.amadeus.net, Vladivostok airport code is VVO)

http://www.vladivostokavia.ru/en/flightsinfo/flightsschedule/

Flight 769:

Vladivostok – Pekin

Vladivostok

Sat, 02.17.2007 — 08:25 Pekin

Sat, 02.17.2007 — 08:45 Total time in flight:

2 hours 20 minutes

Aircraft: TU-204

Comfort class:

economy, business

Flight 769:

Vladivostok – Pekin

Vladivostok

Wed, 02.21.2007 — 08:25 Pekin

Wed, 02.21.2007 — 08:45 Total time in flight:

2 hours 20 minutes

Aircraft: TU-204

Comfort class:

economy, business

for prices, pls contact their offices outside Russia

http://www.vladivostokavia.ru/en/company/offices/foreign/

or in Russia

http://www.vladivostokavia.ru/en/company/offices/russian/

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