12 Days In Russia – A Detailed Travel Plan For The Average Indian Traveller! By THE3HUNGRYMEN

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For most travelers, the thought of going to Russia itself seems scary but let us tell you that Russia is one of the most exotic and lovely places you will have ever visited. Russia is at once breath taking and baffling. Winston Churchill’s much-quoted line that the world’s largest nation represented “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” is as true today as it was back then.

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Monumental in every respect, it’s a land where burnished imperial splendor coexists with icy Siberian tundra, where timeworn Soviet-era monuments backdrop uber-hip urban cultures and where everything from the ruling party downwards functions in its own, impenetrably Russian, way.

The west of the country draws the most visitor attention, thanks to the presence of two extraordinary cities. St Petersburg and Moscow, they serve up sweeping postcard sights by the dozen. Moscow is the rapidly beating heart of the “New Russia,” where Asia and Europe combine to create a boisterous, enigmatic metropolis on a grand scale. St Petersburg, meanwhile, with its living film-set of palaces, cathedrals, and waterways, is the grandest and most European of Russia’s cities, yet still retains a deeply complex character.

So we decided to take a 12 day tour of Russia

  • 3 days in Moscow
  • 2 Days in Nizhny Novgorod
  • 3 days in Kazan
  • 3 days in St. Petersburg
  • 1 final day in Moscow

If time is a constraint then you should definitely do a 1-week trip split between Moscow and St. Petersburg (Referred to as STP from now on).

We decided to fly by a return air ticket cost us 32,000 INR (Kochi to Moscow via Doha) and Qatar Airways is luxury redefined without a doubt!

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Before you fly, you would need a Russian Visa which is a semi cumbersome process. Everyone who travels to Russia will need a visa (unless you’re Modi )

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Process to Obtain a Russian Tourist Visa:

  • You will first need a Russian Tourist Invite, not to be confused with a visa. This will cost you around 2500-3000 INR. Some 5 star hotels may give it free if you book your entire stay with them. We too can help arrange a tourist invite for you.
  • Tourist visa can be issued for single or double entry to the Russian Federation.
  • Double entry tourist visa is issued to foreign citizens only in cases when according to the supporting  documents, the tourists during their stay in Russia plan to visit neighbouring states (the “near abroad” countries – the CIS and Baltic States), or a state, from which they will return through the Russian territory (for example, China or Mongolia). In such cases all itinerary points should be mentioned in the tourist confirmation issued by the host Russian organization.
  • The maximum length of stay while travelling to Russia on a tourist visa is 30 days.
  • A Visa is issued for the exact duration of your stay mentioned in your hotel reservations as well as flight. So plan accordingly. You do not get extra days for a buffer.
  • Visit http://www.india-ifs.com/main.php?lang=en&id=travel for more details on documents required etc.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Entering Russia:

Now that you have your visa and other reservations, you’re good to go but keep in mind the following:

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  • As soon as you arrive, the immigration will give you a Migration Card. Do not, I repeat DO NOT lose this even by mistake as this is needed at every point in Russia right from when you check in to your hotel to the departure immigration and even random police checks on the road.
  • Keep a passport copy, visa copy and invitation copy in color handy with you and incase any random stranger pretends to be a cop asking for your passport, show him the copy, he will ask for the original, say you will show that to him only inside the nearest police station. If he is an impostor, he will leave.
  • Download the Yandex Taxi app, we used this all over Russia throughout our stay, it works just like the OLA/Uber app. The rates are very cheap and Yandex is the most reliable. A ride from Domodedovo airport to the city will cost you 1000 Rubles.
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  • Just before you exit the airport building. You will find a stall selling MTC sim cards. They are the best in Russia. For 500 RUB you will get 5 GB 4G internet and unlimited calls to mobile in Russia valid for a month. This is the best package for a tourist.
  • People in Major cities like Moscow and STP might seem to be a little cold and rude, do not misjudge them. Russians generally are kind and helpful it’s just that language is the only barrier. Respect them and they will treat you like a king.
  • According to Russian law, your Russian visa must be registered within 7 working days of your arrival (excluding weekends and official holidays).So, if you stay in Russia seven working days or more, then you need to register your visa. This can be done at the nearest post office for 250 RUB. All hotels do it too for a small additional fee.

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Moscow

Our first stop was Moscow for 3 days. Moscow is a lively city, full of things to see and places to visit, from the Kremlin to lots of spots for shopping and sightseeing.

The sprawling city of Moscow is a mixture of historical and contemporary sights. A tourist in Moscow has a lot of choice. From the Red Square and the Kremlin to tours in the outskirts of the city, there is something for everyone. You can shop, engage in cultural activities in the capital of music and theatre, or simply be captivated by the beautiful surroundings of Moscow.

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What to see in Moscow:

  • Red Square: The heart of Moscow and the first destination for most visitors to the city. Surrounded by St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin’s long brick walls.
  • Lenin Mausoleum: in the centre of the Red Square. Walk past the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin.
  • St Basil Cathedral: in the south part of Red Square. Built in 1555-61. Inside is a museum, although it looks best from the outside, but if you have the time, take a peek inside.
  • The Kremlin Museum Complex: Includes the Armoury Collection of royal clothing and chariots, the Diamond Fund, several churches, the Patriarch Palace and the Bell Tower (open only in the summer). Guided tours fill up fast and should be booked early.
  • Tretyakov Gallery: One of the world’s greatest museums, this is probably the one to choose if you only want to visit one museum in Moscow.
  • Novodevichy Convent: Both a convent and a fortress, Novodevichy was built in the early 1500s and has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow.
  • Church of the Ascension: Built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible, Kolomenskoye’s Church of the Ascension upended the Byzantine style with its wooden conical tower, and proved to be a milestone in the history of Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Since 1994, it has enjoyed a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines: Great new space full of old soviet fun! Go hunting, shoot torpedoes, drive cars, check your strength and much more… Price includes 15 15 kopek coins to enjoy the games. It also features a cozy cafe.
  • Christ the Saviour Cathedral: This cathedral, the tallest Orthodox church in the world (the largest being the Temple of St. Sava in Belgrade), was blown up on orders from Stalin in 1931, with the view of building the gargantuan Palace of the Soviets, to be crowned by a 100 m high statue of Lenin.
  • Bunker-42: Decomissioned cold war era soviet underground military nuclear bunker; now a museum. Entrance by guided tour in Russian.
  • Gorkiy Park: The most well known of Moscow’s many parks, Gorky Park is one of the trendiest places in the city due to its cafes, places to stroll, an open-air cinema theatre, free Wi-Fi, and contemporary public art projects.
  • Nikulin Circus: The Nikulin Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard is the oldest and perhaps the most popular circus in Moscow. The nearest train station is Tsvetnoy Bulvar. Showtimes are usually 7pm in the evening, with rest days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are afternoon performances at 2.30pm on Saturdays as well. For the most up-to-date information, check their website for the monthly schedules. Please buy tickets in advance as touts buy all the tickets and sell them for twice the rate.

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Famous Streets

  • Old Arbat Street: Walk down this kitschy street and don’t forget to look at the small by-streets around the Arbat. They allow you to feel the “old Moscow spirit”. Arbat is full of souvenir vendors, tourist cafes, lousy restaurants, artists, etc. The prices of the souvenirs vary from reasonable to ripoff, but vendors are open to negotiation.
  • New Arbat Street: Located near Old Arbat Street, this street offers a contrast from the touristy pedestrian-only thoroughfare. New Arbat is perhaps where Moscow’s rich are the most visible, as some of Moscow’s most expensive restaurants and nightclubs are located here. There are some reasonably priced cafes, however. The street is lavishly lit up at night and is always very lively. Also, check out Dom Knigi (House of Books) on New Arbat. It’s not as impressive as the St. Petersburg store, but probably the best bet for books in Moscow.
  • Tverskaya Street: This street starts from the Kremlin itself and runs northwest in the direction of Tver (hence the name) and Saint Petersburg. For that reason the road was a very important thoroughfare in Tsarist Russia. It is now Moscow’s most fashionable street, with several prestigious boutiques. It is also lined with cafes, restaurants, coffeehouses, a couple of theaters, and several hotels, including two locations of the Marriott. Most of the street’s architecture doesn’t actually have much history to it, though along the way you will find Russia’s first, and the world’s busiest, McDonalds. The statue of Pushkin at Pushkinskaya Square is a very popular meeting point.

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What to Eat in Moscow (and Russia in general):

You can’t afford to be fussy about food in general in entire Russia, Moscow being no exception. Vegetarian food is hard to come by, though not impossible. Indian food? We did try one place and the food was beyond disgusting. But then again, why Indian when you are in Russia? Some of the delicacies we tried and advice you to try are as follows:

To Eat:

  • Borsch: A staple of Russia cuisine, it would be an offense to leave Moscow without trying this soup at least once. This beet and cabbage red soup is a delicious belly warmer on Moscow’s colder days, served with or without meat, potato, herbs (usually dill) and a dollop of smetana, Russian sour cream. Accompanied with a piece of rye bread or garlic bread topped with melted cheese, this dish is hearty enough to serve as a meal, although it is usually eaten as a starter
  • Russian salad: This hardly needs mentioning seeing as ‘Russian salad’ is one such dish that has spread internationally, and chances are you’ve tried a version in your home country. However, the Russian version is fresher and crispier with a light smattering of mayonnaise– quite the opposite to the ratio of the soft-boiled, mayonnaise-heavy international versions.
  • Shashlik: These roasted meats and fish on skewers are hard not to like. As the name suggests, this dish is a form of shish kebab, although the Russian version is served with chunkier portions of lamb, beef, chicken or salmon, and served with a bread.
  • Russian Dumplings: What’s different about Russian dumplings (pelmeni) are the tasty herbs added to the packed meat fillings of lamb, pork or beef and the thinness of the dough. You can also find fish (typically salmon) or creamy mushrooms as common fillers. When ordering them, you’ll be asked if you want to eat them solo (boiled) or served in a broth. We visited Lepim I Varim, they are the No.1 restaurant in Moscow (according to TripAdvisor). A must go place!
  • Mini-pies: Russia’s mini pies (pirozhki) use similar fillings and herbs to dumplings, except they are encased in pastry and either pan-fried or oven-baked. Besides the typical meat or salmon fillings, however, you also get the additional choice of cabbage, potato, egg, cheese and even sweet fillings. Pirozhki make a great appetizer at a restaurant, as well as a quick bite from a street stall or bakery.
  • Stroganoff: Another Russian dish that is served on dinner tables worldwide, eating stroganoff from its Russian source is everything you would expect–tastier, smoother and creamier than you’ve ever had in India. The credit goes in part to Russian sour cream, but Russia is also home to some of the best and widest variation of mushrooms. Coupled with interesting variations of meats, you’ll definitely want to try this dish (again).
  • Mushroom julienne: it’s made with thinly sliced mushrooms, cheese, sour cream and cream and broiled/grilled for a crusty top, served in a dainty metal dish or bread crust. it’s a special dish in Russian cuisine. Indeed, mushrooms in any form are a must-try in Russia, where mushroom hunting could almost be considered a national pastime.
  • Honeycake: The intricate-looking cake medovik involves alternating ultra-thin layers of honey spongecake with sweetened (sour) cream. The thin layers are built-up to form the cake, from anywhere between 5 and 15 layers, topped off with a sprinkling of crushed sponge or nuts and left overnight to soften and absorb the cream. Fluffy and light to eat, but full-on in flavour and sweetness.
  • Russian pancakes: Blini are Russia’s version of the thin French crêpe and a staple on most Moscovian menus, typically made with buckwheat for savoury fillings or white flour for sweet toppings. You’ll see accompaniments of smoked salmon, creamy mushrooms, sour cream, jams and condensed milk– to name a few–but the high-end, revered combination is a spoonful of red salmon or black sturgeon caviar. Another tasty Russian pancake is the cottage cheese version called syrniki, a denser form of ricotta-pancakes, which are eaten for breakfast or dessert. They’re best served with homemade jams made from Russia’s large array of berries, although condensed milk, honey and sour cream are also served as condiments.

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To Drink:

  • For Alcoholics: Vodka: More than 70% of all alcohol consumed in Russia is vodka. According to a legend (Russia sure has a lot of them!), around 1430, a monk named Isidore from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin made the first Russian vodka. Vodka for exclusively produced only in Moscow for a very long time. Nowadays, you can find vodka anywhere. And not just any vodka! There’s horseradish vodka, blueberry vodka, red pepper vodka, honey vodka…the list goes on and the vodka section of a menu often reads like a wine list.
  • For Non – Alcoholics: Tea: Besides sipping vodka from a shot glass, you will also find a range of teas. Tea, surprisingly, is a very popular drink in Russia, drunk traditionally from a samovar, which you might still find in some Russian-speciality restaurants. There are traditional drinks such as sbiten, a spicy hot drink flavoured with wine or honey, or ormors, which is made of berry juice and birch tree juice, but you might not find these readily available on menus. More commonly found are medovukha, a sweet drink made with fermented-honey, and kvass, a drink usually made from black rye or rye bread.

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Where & How to Party in Moscow:

Now partying in Moscow can be a little tough due to the strict face control. I.e, unless you’re Russian, rich and overly well dressed, entry is a distant dream.

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To beat face control, we suggest you enter before 10:00 PM, dress well and stay cool.

Entry is mostly free or minimal (less than 200 RUB) and drinks aren’t expensive when compared to any metro city in India. The sex ratio is almost 1:10 thats right for every guy there are 10 girls! Da Da Ding! Not to mention the party goes on till 6:00 AM!

Don’t even try getting sloshed as the bouncers are very strict and will not hesitate before picking you up and throwing you out, LITERALLY!

Some of the best clubs include: City Space Bar, O2 Lounge, Bar Gipsy, Kot Shredingera, Night Club Icon. Take your pick wisely.

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Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod:

We decided to take an afternoon train to Nizhny as it took us just 4 hours and the trains are spick and span, no to mention on time. For booking a train ticket from the Russian Railways website, you need a foreign credit card, Indian ones don’t work! Instead, we suggest you to use www.TuTu.Travel the booking can be done here for a minimal commission, don’t use any other site.

Nizhny Novgorod

Next up, we took a train to the lovely Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s 5th largest city, A glorious setting is not something most Russian cities can boast, but Nizhny (as it is usually called) is a lucky exception. The mighty clifftop kremlin overlooking the confluence of two wide rivers – the Volga and the Oka

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We stayed on Bolshaya, Porkovskaya, a lovely street that allows no vehicles, so it was pollution and noise free surrounded by a bustling square and lovely little cafes. It was also just a 5 minute walk from the Kremlin.

Places to see in Nizhny:

The Kremlin: is worth a wander around and contains a church, war monument with eternal flame, a reasonable art museum and impressive views along the Volga River.

Note that the walks on the Kremlin’s wall are carried out from 1st May to 1st October.

Yarmarka: Nineteenth century complex abound with exposition, exhibition and conference halls.

Square of Minin and Pozharsky: the main square of Nizhny at the south-east side of the Kremlin

Apart from the above there are lots of lovely churches on the way down from the Kremlin which you must visit.

This was all we chose to see in 1 day.

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 Nizhny To Kazan:

we took an over night train from Nizhny to Kazan. The train journey was very comfortable and the service was beyond amazing. They also have an affordable dining car if you’re hungry.

Kazan

Kazan (meaning a cooking pot in Tatar) is the Istanbul of the Volga, a place where Europe and Asia curiously inspect each other from the tops of church belfries and minarets. Also known as Tatarstan, the cuisine and culture varies here and the people are very friendly.

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We stayed in Kazan for 3 days. It was one of the loveliest from our entire trip and we definitely wanted to stay longer.

We stayed in Bauman Street which is again a street where only walking is allowed and is always bustling with energy.

What to see in Kazan:

Kazan celebrated its 1000-year anniversary in 2005, for which the city got a major facelift. Visitors today will be able to see many of the reconstructed or newly-constructed sites from the anniversary celebration.

  • Kazan Kremlin

Once a Tatar fortress, it was largely destroyed by Ivan the Terrible. During the 16th and 17th Centuries, Russians reconstructed the Kremlin with new fortifications and Russian institutions (such as the Annunciation Cathedral). Many of the features of the Kremlin reflect Russian influence of that era, and the construction of the parapets and watchtowers is particularly reminiscent of other dominant Russian cities of the time, such as Pskov and Novgorod. Entry to the Kremlin is through the white clock tower (the Spasskaya Tower) at the end of Bauman Street. Entry costs 300 Rubles with a guided tour, or 20 Rubles to explore the grounds on one’s own. There are several interesting things to see inside the Kremlin, including:

  • Suyumbike Tower
  • Kul-Sharif Mosque
  • Annunciation Cathedral
  • State Hermitage Museum in Kazan
  • State Museum of the Tatar State and the Republic of Tatarstan
  • Bauman Street

The pedestrian zone that stretches between the Kremlin and Tokai Square and the Hotel Tatarstan. This is Kazan’s Arbat, with boutiques, souvenir shops and kiosks, cafes, bars, and plenty of opportunities for people-watching. The statuary (such as a bronze carriage) is especially interesting.

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Where to eat/party in Kazan:

There are many eateries along Bauman street to cater to all, Keep in mind that they shut down by 11PM. If you want to party head to Coyote Ugly on Bauman street itself, the party lasts till morning, Do keep the face control rules in mind!

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Kazan to St. Petersburg:

The distance between these two cities is vast and will take a minimum 24 hour journey by train. Instead, we took a flight that takes 2.5 hours and keep in mind theres only 1 direct flight at 3:00 AM from Rossiya Airlines / Aeroflot.

 St. Petersburg

Our last but not the least stop. St. Petersurg is beyond words, a perfect amalgamation of Russian culture with European finesse. Nestled around the Baltic Sea and Neva River, this city has something meant for everyone. We took a flight from Kazan to get here(3 hours), keep in mind that there is only 1 direct flight early in the morning.

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We were in St. Petersburg for 3 days and never ran out of things to do or see, the should see attractions are:

  • The Hermitage Museum/The Winter Palace: is Saint Petersburg’s prime attraction, a massive palace-museum showing the highlights of a collection of over 3,000,000 pieces spanning the globe. The Hermitage is truly one of the world’s great museums, with an imposing setting displaying priceless works by Rembrandt, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rubens and more.
  • Russian Museum: an extensive collection of Russian paintings and sculpture. People who are disappointed that the Hermitage is mainly western European art love this museum, since most of the artists are relatively unknown to non-Russians. The main building, the Mikhailovskiy Palace houses the main exhibits, and the Russian Museum also oversees the permanent and temporary exhibits at the Stroganov Palace, Marble Palace and Mikhailovskiy Castle.
  • Peter and Paul Fortress: you can go in for free, but to enter the church and exhibitions you need tickets. You can get a combo ticket for everything, or you can just enter the church. Other than the church, which is where the all of the Romanov Czars of Russia from Peter the Great (bar two or three) are buried, the other things on the island aren’t terribly impressive, so it might be worth it to just see the church. Note that if you buy a combo ticket for everything, you still need to have a ‘special ticket’ for a lot of exhibitions within the fortress!
  • The bridges on the Neva: open 2 times per night to allow boats to pass after midnight, there are 3 bridges that open one after the other, a beautiful sight.
  • Museum of Artillery, Combat Engineers, and Signal Troops: Housed in old Arsenal fortress-like building near the Peter and Paul Fortress and surrounded by moat. HUGE collection of weapons from the beginning of history until the present, including an extensive collection of Soviet weaponry from WW2 and the Cold War. Tanks, ballistic missiles, Katuscha trucks, countless Kalashnikovs.
  • Alexander Nevskiy Monastery: Located at the Eastern end of Nevskiy Prospekt next to the River Neva. The site also has the Tikhvin Cemetery which houses the tombs of some of the world’s most famous composers; Tschaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Borodin, and also the author Fyodor Dostoevsky, along with many other famous Russian figures.
  • Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood: A traditional style Russian church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. The interior is elaborately decorated with over 6000 sqm of mosaics.
  • Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral: Impressive neoclassical exterior, richly decorated interior. Includes the tomb of Gen. Kutuzov, hero of the war of 1812.
  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral: Located near to the Admiralty. It was built in 1818 and is a major attraction in the city. It is the third highest cupola cathedral in the world. There are night time visits, too, and the view from the colonnade (observation deck) is one of the best views of the city, for those who are willing to climb 400 steps.
  • Peter the Great’s Cabin: Peter the Great’s men built the small wooden cabin in a matter of days for him when he planned the city and it has been preserved in a small brick building in the district Petrogradskaya. It is located close to the Cruiser Aurora on Petrovskaya Naberzhnaya.
  • Narva Triumphal Arch: The arch was built to meet and greet Russian soldiers who came home having defeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. I
  • Loft Project ETAGI: Culture centre located in five-storey former bakery building with several exhibition spaces (combined surface around 5000 square metres). Contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, events (flea markets). Parts of Etagi loft are two art galleries, four exhibitions spaces, a cafe (with great interior and outside terrace), a hostel and a bookshop.
  • Kirov’s museum: A good museum is never just a set of items. It speaks to people and answers their questions. This museum will answer these ones: How did Soviet people live in the 1930s? What did their flats look like? What beds did they sleep on? What bathrooms did they go to? Where did they keep their food? What pens did they write with? How did Soviet people regard “luxury”? What sweets did Soviet children want their parents to buy them?
  • Opera and Ballet: No trip to St. Petersburg is complete without seeing an opera or ballet performance. The Mariinsky is perhaps the most well-known institution. It is world-class for both opera and ballet. There are English supertitles for operas sung in Russian; operas in other languages have Russian supertitles. Performances are offered in two halls: the main theater, and the newly-built Mariinsky Concert Hall. Tickets can be purchased on the theater’s website or preferably directly in advance for much cheaper.
  • Canal tours: There are many canal tour operators at the exit of the Hermitage, do not go for the big boats as they charge much more, go for the smaller boats and bargain. A 1.5 hour ride should cost you 300-400 RUB at the most.
  • Half-a-day trip to Vyborg: Launched in September 2015 rapid trains ‘Lastochka’ (‘Swallow’) enabled half-a-day trips from St. Petersburg to Vyborg on weekends. They cover the 130 km distance in only 1h15m.

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Have a look at this plan and apply it to your own schedule and needs:

  • Take the first ‘Sparrow’ which departs St. Petersburg from Finlyandsky railway station. Buy a round-trip ticket because on your way back you can see a 150-people-long queue for tickets to St. Petersburg.
  • You are in Vyborg. Go out of the railway station. Turn right. Go to the gas station ‘Neste Oil’ electronic price board. The bus stop is here. Wait for the bus 1/6. Pay 25 rubles to the driver. Ask the driver to announce the stop ‘Mon Repos’. Get out of the bus. Follow the asphalted road which branches off from the road your bus went and goes to the right. Cross the bridge over the railway. Follow the road until you see the Mon Repos entrance. Pay 100 rubles (September 2015) and come in!
  • The park is for about 3 hours.
  •  Leave the park and go back to the bus stop. Take the same bus 1/6 and leave it when you see Vyborg Castle.
  •  You have 1.5 hours to see the castle (it’s so small!) and all Vyborg sights around it.
  •  You are at the railway station again. Mount the Sparrow.
  •  Your Swallow flies from Vyborg to drop you off in St. Petersburg at 16.30

You have seen Vyborg and saved your evening for St. Petersburg!

Peterhof: The Peterhof Palace is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”. The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can get here by taking a bus from the Baltic bus station and you can come back by the Hovercraft as you will also get a glimpse of Finland from the boat!

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Where to eat in St. Petersburg:

St. Petersburg has varied food options with a heavy Russian and Georgian influence. From monstrous Shawarmas priced at just 150RUB to a gourmet meal at 2000 RUB you will find it all here. Feel free to experiment.

Russian cuisine is famous in the world, and high-quality authentic Russian dishes are available all over Saint Petersburg. But there is other interesting food in the city.

1) Central Asian (Uzbek/Tajik) food. There is huge Uzbek immigrant community and they have unique culinary traditions. Very cheap (250RUB/meal) and very tasty. Most of the places are hole in the wall type and hard to find. There are many places inside Sennoy market. Also foodies can sign up for Uzbek food tour

2) Georgian food. Very unique and tasty cuisine. Georgian restaurants are scattered all over St Petersburg. It’s more expensive (600RUB/meal) than Uzbek. But worth trying.

It’s hard to find Uzbek/Georgian food outside of ex-USSR. Try it here.

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Where to party:

St. Petersburg has umpteen number of places to party but the must visit places are:

  • Underground: An amazing ex USSR bomb shelter
  • Morrison: Open till 6:00 AM, rooftop and cocktails under 100 RUB
  • Chroniki: One of the best in STP

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Last Day in Moscow

Our return flight was from Moscow so we took the Sapsan (bullet train) that covers 850 KM in under 4 hours and the service is world class.

We spent our last day relaxing and of course souvenir shopping, head to Izmailovsky Market for the best Russian souvenirs ranging from dolls, to key chains and even antiques at the best prices. Do not go shopping anywhere else in Russia and this is by far the cheapest place.

What to Get Back Home From Russia ?

Russia has lots of souvenirs for the collector in you. The only place you can buy it for a wholesale and affordable rate is at Izmailovsky market in Moscow. Don’t forget to get the Indian out in you and bargain.

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The must take back home souvenirs are:

  1. Russian Dolls: They are really cute and almost 5-7 pop out of the main doll. It symbolizes a Russian family.
  2. Military memorabilia: You get loads of Military caps, badges, hats etc.
  3. Models: Of the St. Peters Basilica and many more
  4. Vodka: You definitely shouldn’t leave without a bottle of vodka from Russia. Available at any departmental store, the prices range from 300 RUB to 5000 RUB for a 700 ml bottle.

Total Travel Costing:

Now comes the big question, how much did the trip cost?

Well the answer is 80,000 INR only, ALL INCLUSIVE, for 12 days! Here is the breakup:

  • Return air tickets: 32000 INR
  • Visa + Invitation: 7500 INR
  • Hostels: 7000 INR
  • Domestic Trains & Flight: 10,000 INR
  • Sight-Seeing entry: 5500
  • Taxis/metro: 2500 INR
  • Food & Drink: 10,000 INR
  • Personal, souvenirs & Misc: 5000 INR

Conclusion

Is Russia worth a visit?
YES, a 100 times yes, it is entirely worth all the hassle just for the sheer feel of it. Book your tickets today, you definitely won’t regret one bit!

Stay Hungry! Stay Happy!

P.S: for any queries or if you need assistance in bookings, feel free to Contact The3HungryMen on 7760608800, we planned this entire trip ourselves without the use of any travel agents and we will happily help organize yours too!

All Images © 2017 THE3HUNGRYMEN | All Rights Reserved 


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