I’m nearly losing track of days here but we left Mongolia at 9:10pm on Saturday night and arrived at the Mongolian border town at around 5:40am the next day. When we got to the Mongolian border, I decided to send and receive emails and check facebook on my Mongolian SIM card. To my surprise I saw a comment on facebook from a friend of a friend that I met in Cambodia, saying that they were on the Trans Mongolian. When I worked it out, the train that they were on had to be the same train as mine. We only had two carriages on the train so I didnt have far to look. I found them 3 compartments down from me. It all goes to prove that it is a small, small world that we live in!

At around 9am the Mongolian immigrations and customs people came on board our train and formalities began. It was pretty quick and easy for us but the last compartment of our carriage had locals in it and we believe that they were carrying something they shouldnt have been because their bags were dragged off the train. I assume they were later reloaded because I did see the people at the next station and I have no idea what they may have been carrying that caused all the excitement.

From the Mongolian border we jumped back on the train and went for about an hour to the Russian border where we repeated the customs and immigrations check. Again, they didnt take too much notice of us. Once that was done we were free to wander around for 2 and a half hours. I went shopping, bought some food and followed a tour group down for walk along the river.

Before we departed the Russian border I made a friend… one of the Russian train guards spoke fluent english and began to talk to me. More to practise his English than anything else I think.

Back on the train, we headed into Russia towards Irtkusk. About an hour out of Ulan Ude, the conductor came around and gave the Expat family from Hong Kong their tickets. Turns out that they only had tickets to Ulan Ude when they should have had tickets to Irtkusk like the rest of us. There was a ticketing error. Anyway, they spent a very nervous couple of hours trying to sort things out but were eventually allowed to stay on the train.


Whilst this was going on I decided to watch a movie and settled in to watch a film called “The Lady” which I have been wanting to watch for months. The film is the story of Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s life. Excellent film, well worth watching and made me remember my trip through Burma.

So, we finally arrived in Irtkusk at about 8:00am today (Monday). We are about an hour out of town in a place called Listvyanka on Lake Baikail and will be here for 2 days before having a night in Irtkusk and moving on to Ekaterinburg. I dont have internet here and also seem to have lost my phone. I’m not sure where it is. I last saw it when I was packing up on the train so either I left it there or I have it in my luggage somewhere. The good news is that it doesnt have my SIM card in it as that is in my wallet. It still has the Mongolian SIM in it. The bad news is that it was a brand new phone so if I have lost it, it is gone for good. No point in worrying about it though as there is very little I can do and it is insured.

First day at Lake Baikal has been pretty quiet. I had my first shower in 2 days and it was wonderful as there are no showers on the train. Didnt do a lot today. Basically had a shower and fell asleep. I am in a homestay with the Aussie contingent and thankfully have my own room. I’m not much for sharing sleeping quarters and just had two nights of that on the train.

In the afternoon I went for a walk near the lake. It was raining and a little cold (12 degrees) so I was only out for a couple of hours and I didnt take my camera so no photos as yet. I will take the camera out tomorrow.