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Old November 9th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #101
Stuu
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Thank you for posting that here, I read the rest of your reports as posted on the railroads forum, fascinating stuff. Seems that you were very lucky indeed to travel the way you did through Russia to North Korea. Would it be possible to catch a train from China? Or do they prefer any tourists to arrive by air?
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Old November 10th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJZG View Post
thank you for sharing us that last part of your trip i was really eager to read it especially cause it was a place we don't see much often... and greetings to SS forum too
i assume you were highly controlled for taking pictures, that's why there aren't any other photos than those already photographed many times before by other tourists...
well, i have few questions more...
how long were you staying in PY?
We totally spent 6 nights in North Korea:
One night on the train from Tumangan to Pyongyang
One night at the Yanggakdo hotel in Pyongang
One night at the Hyangsan hotel
Three nights at the Yanggakdo hotel in Pyongyang

Quote:
did you have any forms of going out to city, maybe some night clubs or restaurants?
Together with the guides we sometimes had dinner at restaurants. However, all that was pre-arranged.

Quote:
i saw a tv in your room... what channels were available there?
BBC World, for example.
But he hadn't much time to watch TV.

Quote:
did you had chance of meeting some residents there and did you had some problems with doing something they didn't want you to do?
Apart from our guides and the hotel staff we had no contact with other people.

Quote:
did you had problems in leaving the country on airport?
We didn't leave by plane, but by train to Beojing via Sinuiju/Dandong. No problems at the border.

Quote:
and last question... when you summarize all travel costs... how much did you spend for tickets from Wien to PyongYang?

Vienna - Moscow:
Ticket: 0 EUR, as I re-sold my ticket to my friend in Moscow (se part 2 of my travelogue) [1]
Sleeper reservation Kosice - Moscow: 28 EUR (1st class, 2nd class would cost 19 EUR)




Moscow - Novosibirsk - Irkutsk:
ticket: 85 EUR (bought in Slovakia) [1]
sleeper reservation Moscow - Novosibirsk: 58 EUR
sleeper reservation Novosibirsk - Irkutsk: 38 EUR






Irkutsk - Pyongyang:
ticket + reservation: 7900 RUB (~225 EUR)
2nd ticket + reservation from Khabarovsk (not really necessary, just to ensure that we had a whole compartment for us): 3700 RUB (~105 EUR)










[1] A Bratislava - Irkutsk ticket would cost 146,4 EUR if bought in Slovakia. Vienna - Bratislava costs 13,2 EUR.


So, under normal conditions my trip would cost 13,2 + 146,4 + 19 + 38 + 58 + 225 = 500 EUR.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #103
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Feel free to post some more informations I´m really impressed by your tour. Will you post some other parts?
Like other experiences from NK? Or your tour to Beijing? Were you travelling by plane from Pyongyang to Beijing?
I travelled by train from Pyongyang to Beijing. This train route (border at Sinuiju/Dandong) is officially allowed for tourists. Also the sleeping cars from Pyongyang to Moscow via China are possible.

I will of course post some other parts of the travelogue (3 more sightseeing days in NK, trip Pyongyang - Beijing).

Quote:
The other two mausoleums you mean Stalin´s and Ataturk´s mausoleum?
Stalin has no mausoleum. I meant Lenin's (Moscow) and Mao's (Beijing) mausoleum.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumsusan_Memorial_Palace doesn't mention Ataturk's mausoleum among the mausoleums of embalmed corpses of state founders. Maybe Ataturk's body is not embalmed as the other four?


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Old November 10th, 2008, 01:52 AM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachalnik View Post
Stalin has no mausoleum. I meant Lenin's (Moscow) and Mao's (Beijing) mausoleum.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumsusan_Memorial_Palace doesn't mention Ataturk's mausoleum among the mausoleums of embalmed corpses of state founders. Maybe Ataturk's body is not embalmed as the other four?
Of course Lenin my mistake. Yeah, and Ataturk isn´t embalmed. I saw, that we made a nice travellers topic in railway section

I noticed, that there are quite big amounts for sleepers cars reservations in Russia...more than the ticket alone. Is it because of these service you wrote down? (like some food inclued) I am quite surprised about the prize of these reservations. This year while we were travelling by train to Turkey, we paid about 12 EUR for sleepcar reservation Beograd-Istanbul.

Last edited by vlker; November 10th, 2008 at 01:58 AM.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #105
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Great report! One of the trains on the stamp is actually Dutch
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Old November 10th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #106
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wow...if i understand clearly...
moscow-irkutsk costs around 100€
and irkutsk-pyongyang around 225€
why is such a difference in prices?


great travelogue... wish i could do it one day too and we are waiting for next chapters
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Old November 10th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vlker View Post
Of course Lenin my mistake. Yeah, and Ataturk isn´t embalmed. I saw, that we made a nice travellers topic in railway section

I noticed, that there are quite big amounts for sleepers cars reservations in Russia...more than the ticket alone.

You have to consider that my ticket Moskva - Irkutsk was 40% discounted.

There is a special dscount agreement between railways in some Eaqstern European countries and the railways of some states of the former USSR.
For the Russian part a discount of 40% applies to full price according to the East-West-Fare agreement if the ticket is bought in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania and some other countries.

That's why I buy tickets to Russia usually in Bratislava, 60 km east of Vienna. There is also another very good deal, the so called Citystar-ticket. It's a flat-fare from any station in Slovakia to any station in Russia and back. It costs 172 EUR (via Ukraine). See also my website http://citystarticket.blogspot.com. However, to use it, sleeper reservations are necessary, and they are relatively expensive. Russian Railways have increased the price several times during the last years; in 2002 a sleeper-reservation (in a 4-bed.compartment) from Moscow to Irkutsk cost 27 EUR, now it's 78 EUR, and I think they will increase it again from december.

However, due to such discounts and special prices as the Citystar-tickets, it is often cheaper to buy tickets for train trips in Russia in Slovakia (international fare with discounts applies) than in Russia (domestic fare applies). For long distances sometimes even the undiscounted international fare is cheaper than domestic fare. A ticket Moscow - Irkutsk in a 4-bed-compartment is often (1) cheaper if you buy it in Austria or Germany than in Russia.

(1) domestic RZD fares vary depending on the type of train (passashirskyi, skoryj, firmennyj) and on the date, international fares are the same for all kind of trains and don't have seasonal changes...


Helmut

Last edited by nachalnik; November 10th, 2008 at 10:21 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJZG View Post
wow...if i understand clearly...
moscow-irkutsk costs around 100€
and irkutsk-pyongyang around 225€
why is such a difference in prices?
You forgot the ticket price Moscow - Irkutsk (85 EUR) and only counted the reservation prices (58 + 38 EUR).

Also the "ticket" from Irkutsk to Pyongyang consists of a ticket and a reservation, as you can see at the photos, but I quoted the total price.


Also, the prices are difficult to compare. There are basically 4 different fare systems in Russia:

- domestic fare: Applies if you buy a ticket for a domestic Russian trip inside Russia

- Mezhgos-fare: Applies if you buy a ticket in another country of the former USSR (for international trips and for domestic trips in another country than that where the ticket is bought)

- MPT-fare: Applies for international trips between some countries of the former USSR (1), China, Mongolia, Vietnam and North Korea

- East-West-Fare: Applies for international trips between some countries of the former USSR (1) and Europe. Also applies if a ticket for a domestic trip insider the countries of the former USSR is bought in Europe.


The level of fares and the way how they are calculated varies depending on where under which fare agreement the ticket (and reservation) is bought.
The prices of my ticket and sleeper reservations from Moscow to Irkutsk are calculated on abse of the East-West-Fare (+ 40% discount due to the special agreement with Slovakian railway) and the priice of the ticket and reservation from Irkutsk to Pyongyang depend on the MPT-agreement.

So, it's quite complicated.


BTW, the MPT-fare was originally the fare-agreement, under which international passenger traffic was organized between all socialist countries. So, in 1985 MPT-fare also applied for a ticket from Budapest to Prague. And it was possible to buy a ticket to Pyongyang also in Berlin (East). The prices where very low, a ticket from Warsaw to Pyongyang cost about 35 EUR in todays currency, a ticket from Warsaw to Vienna cost the same (as the price was calculated according to TCV agreement (TCV is the agreement for international fares within Europe)).
I know Austrians who at that time travelled with the Transsiberan railway to Beijing and bought their tickets at Budapest for nearly no money.
Today this isn't possible, on the one hand MPT-fares are no longer "symbolic"-prices, and on the other hand Hungary's railway is no longer a member of MPT-fare, so there is no legal base for selling through tickets from Hungary to China.

(1) not all countries of the former USSR are have signed the East-West-fare agreement ot the MPT-agreement. Uzbekistan, for example, is no member of the East-West-fare agreement and also no member of the MPT-agreement.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:36 AM   #109
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Quote:
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There is also another very good deal, the so called Citystar-ticket.
Yeah, I know citystar discount confidentally We are travelling with this discount very often and whole Balkan we came through with that ticket. FE from Brno to Hungarian-Romanian border for 20EUR/one way is really cheap.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:54 AM   #110
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i understand now...
so, basically if we plan to travel through russia, most important thing is to investigate variety of options from another countries...
i believe it shouldn't be too hard nowadays considering internet sites are available from anywhere...

regarding your trip... did you make some pyongyang public transport photos... i've read that it is possible to ride PY metro but only for two stops... (i always wondered why only two)

and if you had noticed about the citylife itself... how are the residents of PY? do they look happy? poor? not interested? avoiding you in broad circle? maybe waving at you?

i wish there will come time when we can talk with those people online and ask them anything about their culture... for now, we just have to depend on few tourist trips...
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Old November 12th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #111
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Yes, but it was in the middle of the night and I was sleeping...
Thanks!
But did the train go through Chongjin itself, or it just went through some outlying train station? Also, since you went through the night, did you see towns and villages lit, or it was pitch-dark?
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Old November 18th, 2008, 11:35 AM   #112
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According to the timetable published by RZD (Russian Railways) the train stops at Chongjin station from 23:20 till 23:42.

During the night we saw some houses with light inside (usually in bigger towns) and some without light (usually in small villages). But there were no streetlights and no lights on the platforms at the stations.

---

Photos of public transport in Pyongyang will follow. We only saw the 2 metro-stations usually shown to tourists, but I heard that also trips to other stations can be arranged if requested in advance.

---

Most residents of Pyongyang we saw didn't look particulary unhappy or poor. Usually they didn't care about tourists.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #113
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That's what I read in most NK travel reports. They were probably told not to care
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Old November 19th, 2008, 07:11 AM   #114
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They probably have the same case as Filipinos.

Poor but happy.

but obviously, they're in a worse state.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #115
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dang awesome pics.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 12:13 AM   #116
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Amazing report! I loved the photos and the explanation. Fantastic journey!
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Old December 13th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #117
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travel report continuation?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:40 AM   #118
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i was thinking that few days ago seems like we'll have to wait for some photos of pyongyang transport
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 05:18 PM   #119
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nachalnik, great story!
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Old January 4th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachalnik View Post
Then we drove to a stamps shop. Typicial street in Pyongyang:
Seems that pink buildings in background are recently renovated?
City in your photos doesn't look too bad actually, maybe it's the sunny weather Streets and skies are very clean.

Fantastic trip, I would love to travel like this someday.
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