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The Russia Thread
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edlefou Offline
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Post: #1601
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-14-2019 02:13 PM)TripleG Wrote:  I have this wish that in the near future I will do Trans-Siberian express and hit up 2nd tier (non-WC) cities to really experience the culture and will share my experience on this forum. The veteran Russia travelers here know that true Russia is not Moscow/St. Pete.

Agreed. I'm planning on doing the southwestern area probably including Crimea.

I'd like to do Trans-Siberian again. It's pretty fun, even in the late winter/early spring when I did it, but this time I'd do it in the warmer months.
01-16-2019 01:40 PM
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RE: The Russia Thread
How essential is Russian in the far east? Planning Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok for 2 to 3 weeks during the height of summer with a friend who speaks Russian but is not russian himself. How would the vibe in the cities be in these places? Culture would be the priority, dating second. Some comments on the cost of living will be helpful to adjust the travel time.

As an aside, is the water and air quality in Vladivostok still bad (compared to Western Europe for eg)? I have heard this a few years ago due to the poor sewage system there, not sure if it still exists.
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01-16-2019 02:00 PM
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edlefou Offline
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RE: The Russia Thread
(01-16-2019 02:00 PM)Hazaer Wrote:  How essential is Russian in the far east? Planning Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok for 2 to 3 weeks during the height of summer with a friend who speaks Russian but is not russian himself. How would the vibe in the cities be in these places? Culture would be the priority, dating second. Some comments on the cost of living will be helpful to adjust the travel time.

As an aside, is the water and air quality in Vladivostok still bad (compared to Western Europe for eg)? I have heard this a few years ago due to the poor sewage system there, not sure if it still exists.
Cheers

It's been almost 4 years since I've been to Irkutsk/Baikal and a couple years since Vladivostok.

The vibe is Russian. I don't know how else to describe it. There's not much to do in the cities during the week, but in the summer there will be tons of outdoors stuff you can do. Both places you're going to have lots of outdoor activities, although it will be busy in the summer since there's only a couple months of warm weather in Siberia and everyone wants to take advantage.

I was interacting in non-native Russian, but not many people speak English. You'll be fine for restaurants and stores, especially if your friend is with you. If I asked girls about whether they spoke English they could say "My name is Katya" and that's about it.

I don't remember any water or air problems in Vladivostok. I'm pretty sure I was drinking the tap water since I was living in a highrise in Tigraya and it was uphill so I definitely wasn't carrying water bottles.

Vladivostok accommodations were similar to Moscow prices in September, which was busy season. I didn't expect that and I got stuck because I got a private room in a hostel for a couple days hoping to get a deal on an apartment longer term, but it was very hard to find a good place so it was a hassle and I didn't save any money. Non-living costs are very reasonable, although not as cheap as Ukraine.
01-17-2019 06:09 AM
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Post: #1604
RE: The Russia Thread
I took the Trans-Siberian railway trip, Irkustk is really boring, would not recommend. Lake Baikal is cool, I'd stay like 2 days maximum in Irkutsk. Haven't been to Vladivostok so I cant comment but Tyumen, Novosibirsk are good places to game girls in Siberia. Tyumen is one of the fastest growing cities in Siberia as well. Further east you go, harder it is to establish good connections without at least beginner Russian.

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01-18-2019 10:08 PM
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Endless Escapes Offline
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Post: #1605
RE: The Russia Thread
Russia is not for me mainly for several reasons, e.g. they are unfriendly, the girls are greedy, the visa requirement, the corruption, the aggressive people (e.g. occupying parts of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc)
01-18-2019 10:10 PM
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Brodiaga Online
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Post: #1606
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-18-2019 10:10 PM)Endless Escapes Wrote:  Russia is not for me mainly for several reasons, e.g. they are unfriendly, the girls are greedy, the visa requirement, the corruption, the aggressive people (e.g. occupying parts of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc)

That's awesome, keep it that way. For example, Moscow is cheaper than Bangkok and at the same time nicer, cleaner and safer than most cities in the world. If everybody starts going there, It'll become just another overpriced tourist trap.
01-18-2019 10:20 PM
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Polero Offline
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RE: The Russia Thread
Moscow cheaper than Bangkok? Did I read that right? prices are facts, "nicer" is an opinion. I, for example, don't enjoy -20 celsius.
01-19-2019 04:24 AM
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Brodiaga Online
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Post: #1608
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-19-2019 04:24 AM)Polero Wrote:  Moscow cheaper than Bangkok? Did I read that right? prices are facts, "nicer" is an opinion. I, for example, don't enjoy -20 celsius.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living index is 43 in Moscow and 55 in Bangkok (New York is 100 as a baseline).
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co...rrency=USD

Agreed about the climate. If the weather was nice all year round, I would move to Moscow in a heartbeat and never leave except for traveling.
01-19-2019 09:53 AM
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Gopnik Offline
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Post: #1609
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-18-2019 10:10 PM)Endless Escapes Wrote:  Russia is not for me mainly for several reasons, e.g. they are unfriendly, the girls are greedy, the visa requirement, the corruption, the aggressive people (e.g. occupying parts of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc)

What does this have to do with anything?

The US has a history of occupying and invading dozens of countries and interfering with domestic policies all over the world...and yet I find Americans to be some of the friendliest people I regularly meet.

The same is true for Russians - they are surprisingly outgoing and warm people.

Even those who visit the country without any langauge skills are often surprised by this.

I do agree that living in Russia is not for everyone though.

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01-19-2019 10:53 AM
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Hazaer Offline
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Post: #1610
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-17-2019 06:09 AM)edlefou Wrote:  
(01-16-2019 02:00 PM)Hazaer Wrote:  How essential is Russian in the far east? Planning Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok for 2 to 3 weeks during the height of summer with a friend who speaks Russian but is not russian himself. How would the vibe in the cities be in these places? Culture would be the priority, dating second. Some comments on the cost of living will be helpful to adjust the travel time.

As an aside, is the water and air quality in Vladivostok still bad (compared to Western Europe for eg)? I have heard this a few years ago due to the poor sewage system there, not sure if it still exists.
Cheers

It's been almost 4 years since I've been to Irkutsk/Baikal and a couple years since Vladivostok.

The vibe is Russian. I don't know how else to describe it. There's not much to do in the cities during the week, but in the summer there will be tons of outdoors stuff you can do. Both places you're going to have lots of outdoor activities, although it will be busy in the summer since there's only a couple months of warm weather in Siberia and everyone wants to take advantage.

I was interacting in non-native Russian, but not many people speak English. You'll be fine for restaurants and stores, especially if your friend is with you. If I asked girls about whether they spoke English they could say "My name is Katya" and that's about it.

I don't remember any water or air problems in Vladivostok. I'm pretty sure I was drinking the tap water since I was living in a highrise in Tigraya and it was uphill so I definitely wasn't carrying water bottles.

Vladivostok accommodations were similar to Moscow prices in September, which was busy season. I didn't expect that and I got stuck because I got a private room in a hostel for a couple days hoping to get a deal on an apartment longer term, but it was very hard to find a good place so it was a hassle and I didn't save any money. Non-living costs are very reasonable, although not as cheap as Ukraine.

It now looks like dating the locals are out of the question in the far east without russian. Would there be any cities in the east being an exception?

Since some friends and I are continuing to travel to China from there, the far east was the only option to reduce the distance.

How is the weather during mid june? We are deciding between June and July. Also, how would the touristy vibe be in the hostels, more internationals or would it be more chinese tourists as usual? It seems you pay the same for slightly worse facilities in hostels in russia compared with the UK for eg.
01-19-2019 01:00 PM
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JWLZG Offline
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Post: #1611
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-19-2019 01:00 PM)Hazaer Wrote:  It now looks like dating the locals are out of the question in the far east without russian. Would there be any cities in the east being an exception?

Since some friends and I are continuing to travel to China from there, the far east was the only option to reduce the distance.

How is the weather during mid june? We are deciding between June and July. Also, how would the touristy vibe be in the hostels, more internationals or would it be more chinese tourists as usual? It seems you pay the same for slightly worse facilities in hostels in russia compared with the UK for eg.

Your friends are European, but speak Chinese, is that right? That would matter a fair bit
01-19-2019 01:22 PM
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JimBobsCooters Offline
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RE: The Russia Thread
(01-18-2019 10:10 PM)Endless Escapes Wrote:  Russia is not for me mainly for several reasons, e.g. they are unfriendly, the girls are greedy, the visa requirement, the corruption, the aggressive people (e.g. occupying parts of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc)

This genuinely sounds like someone who has basically watched movies and TV shows and listened to CNN about Russia.

Russians are actually some of the friendliest people I've met, especially if you make any effort to speak their language, but either way they'll go out of their way to help foreigners. They're loud and confronting but genuinely nice.

Sure they have some gold diggers but most of the girls actually just want a happy family and don't even care if they're poor, obviously they'd prefer not to be but I find most Russians are less greedy and materialistic than the average Anglo girl. Especially outside Moscow.

The visa is a pain but if that's going to stop you then maybe travel isn't for you, I can tell you that getting a Russian visa is much, much easier than getting US or Australian visas, among others, are for those who need them on the flipside.


(01-19-2019 01:00 PM)Hazaer Wrote:  
(01-17-2019 06:09 AM)edlefou Wrote:  [quote='Hazaer' pid='1923593' dateline='1547665200']
snip

It now looks like dating the locals are out of the question in the far east without russian. Would there be any cities in the east being an exception?

Since some friends and I are continuing to travel to China from there, the far east was the only option to reduce the distance.

How is the weather during mid june? We are deciding between June and July. Also, how would the touristy vibe be in the hostels, more internationals or would it be more chinese tourists as usual? It seems you pay the same for slightly worse facilities in hostels in russia compared with the UK for eg.

June and July not a huge difference, better in July but still Russia so not good. Depends where you are greatly, Peter in June is still pretty awful weather (the white nights are super cool though) while the more southern cities are genuinely decent weather by then (ones I've been to at least).

June and July would have the most international tourists I'd expect, not sure on the hostels but Chinese aren't really into the hostel scene so would think it would be more of the others filling those.

Dating is never out of the question it's just a hell of a lot more difficult without Russian.
01-19-2019 01:39 PM
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Bikal Offline
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Post: #1613
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-16-2019 02:00 PM)Hazaer Wrote:  How essential is Russian in the far east? Planning Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok for 2 to 3 weeks during the height of summer with a friend who speaks Russian but is not russian himself. How would the vibe in the cities be in these places? Culture would be the priority, dating second. Some comments on the cost of living will be helpful to adjust the travel time.
Irktutsk and Lake Baikal in general requires Russian, you won't get far without it unless you bump into a an overseas educated Russian there when they've returned home (there are a couple, I know one who has just relocated with her husband).

I don't know how to describe the vibe, it's quite hard although in summer it's more relaxed and fun, more of a party atmosphere as right now it's unbearable (relatively speaking). Cost is generally cheap but accommodation is not cheap during Summer, it's not London prices but it's not cheap.

Edit: You'll definitely find more to do outdoors than indoors, there isn't a lot going on unless you're outdoors then nature takes over but there will be a few parties and a generally relaxed vibe until winter comes and crushes everything.
(This post was last modified: 01-19-2019 02:45 PM by Bikal.)
01-19-2019 02:42 PM
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RE: The Russia Thread
(01-18-2019 10:10 PM)Endless Escapes Wrote:  Russia is not for me mainly for several reasons, e.g. they are unfriendly, the girls are greedy, the visa requirement, the corruption, the aggressive people (e.g. occupying parts of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, etc)

We must have different experiences then. Russians are cold upfront initially because smiling and appearing "friendly" to strangers on the street is seen as a sign that you are naive and a sign of idiocy. Once you start talking though and develop a connection through good first impression, they are some of the most friendly people I have met. During my trip, I had been invited for dinner and drinks in every city I met, despite the fact that they probably know I am more well off as an American.

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01-19-2019 04:03 PM
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RE: The Russia Thread
This is a common criticism from people who never lived in EE. The thing is most people don't smile or say ''thank you'' for no reason but that doesn't mean they are not friendly. They don't like to put on a bullshit poker face. In fact, most EE is way friendlier than North America where you don't even know your neighbors. The only country where I've experienced anti-social behavior was the Czech Republic.
01-19-2019 07:35 PM
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AkiKinnunen Offline
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RE: The Russia Thread
(01-18-2019 10:20 PM)Brodiaga Wrote:  If everybody starts going there, It'll become just another overpriced tourist trap.

I agree. When Roosh posted "the easiest bar to get laid" in Helsinki, every thirsty male touri in the country started to go there. And yes, soon it became "the hardest bar to get laid" in Finland. Of course.

So, I would say, it's fucking cold in Russia. And not a cheap country btw. Facts. Angel

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01-20-2019 02:52 PM
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Giacomo Casanova Offline
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RE: The Russia Thread
(01-19-2019 07:35 PM)Pointer Wrote:  In fact, most EE is way friendlier than North America where you don't even know your neighbors.

Not true.
(This post was last modified: 01-20-2019 04:36 PM by Giacomo Casanova.)
01-20-2019 04:36 PM
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Post: #1618
RE: The Russia Thread
(01-20-2019 04:36 PM)Giacomo Casanova Wrote:  
(01-19-2019 07:35 PM)Pointer Wrote:  In fact, most EE is way friendlier than North America where you don't even know your neighbors.

Not true.

I remember the culture shock of when I went to spend time in the midwest after Russia. Nearly every uber driver wanted to have a full conversation. The bus driver said good night to everyone as they exited. I forgot my fare, and he just told me to pay double next time. Waitresses would smile at you and make small talk. Service was actually good. Can't fathom this stuff in Russia.
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