Trans-Mongolian Adventure

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Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby npodendorf » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:41 pm

Anyone looking into this from St. Petersburg to Beijing through Mongolia? It a new trip, but essentially replaces the Roam St. Petersburg to Biejing trip. Same itinerary.

Thinking I might book in May or September. Any recommendations on which is a better time of year to travel across Eurasia?

Thanks,
Nicole
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby tletter » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:04 pm

npodendorf wrote:Anyone looking into this from St. Petersburg to Beijing through Mongolia? It a new trip, but essentially replaces the Roam St. Petersburg to Biejing trip. Same itinerary.

The problem is that Trans Mongolian Adventure (ARRT) is a YOLO trip while Roam St Petersburg to Beijing (ERRT) was for the rest of humanity. That ERRT is no longer running, follows the YOLO trend of GAP as a company for the 18 to 30-something traveller. Fortunately GAP is not the only travel company in the market.

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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby npodendorf » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:59 pm

Yes, that is a problem and I am concerned about that. Although all my expereinces with GAP have been wonderful, Intrepid has the identical 17 day tour open to all ages (even though I qualify as the upper end of the YOLO range). I might have to consider that.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby jimshu » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:50 pm

Although ARRT is a YOLO trip, you have a choice of the ACTM Trans - Mongolian Express, which is a Classic, open to all , and although costs more, it's 4 days longer, which from my experience, being a fantastic trip is one you don't want to rush through.I'd do the longer trip anyday even at the greater cost.

Gap Adventutres ARRT being a YOLO is much cheaper than Intrepid's similar 18 day trip.

And the Gap ACTM is around the same price as similar Intrepid.

Whatever you decide, you'll have a great time, so for this trip, cost has got to be balanced up with that you're probably only going to do this once, and perhaps the longer trips will be more value in the end analysis.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby tletter » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:06 am

I've traveled with GAP on several trips but it seems that GAP has decided to target the YOLO crowd while offering the over 39 traveler higher cost alternatives.

jimshu wrote:you have a choice of the ACTM Trans - Mongolian Express, which is a Classic, open to all , and although costs more, it's 4 days longer

Now $4279 for Trans Mongolian Express (ACTM) vice $2679 for Trans Mongolian Adventure (ARRT) is a difference of $1600, i.e. ACTM is 60% more expensive than ACTM. Those 4 extra days clock in at $400/day!

Hence given this greatly more expensive cost, recommending ACTM is an alternative to ARRT/ERRT sounds like an up-sell. However, apparently that is where GAP is going - if your over 39 then you are obliged to spend more money for a trip because after all everyone over 39 has money to burn.

jimshu wrote:so for this trip, cost has got to be balanced up with that you're probably only going to do this once

You right on this one, since if one coughs up an additional $1600 pp, there'll only be enough money to do it once.

jimshu wrote:Gap Adventutres ARRT being a YOLO is much cheaper than Intrepid's similar 18 day trip.

Not that I can see. Intrepid's 18 day trip from St Petersburg to Beijing called 'Russia & Beyond (WBRL)' follows essentially the same itinerary as GAP's ARRT/ERRT except that you spend two more days in Mongolia instead of 2 days in Beijing, which is better IMHO. The Intrepid trip costs $2815 (you get one more day compared to GAP) and does not include the YOLO age discrimination. For those over 39 with limited resources, the choice is clear on this one.

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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby jimshu » Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:02 am

Thomas, I don't try and upsell anybody, as I'm just a member here and not a salesman. :)
All I'm suggesting that from my experience , if I was choosing from Gap Adventures tours, I'd choose the longer one as it is probably a once in a lifetime experience.
Sometimes the extra cost is worth it.

BTW, Gap Adventures brochures and new trips and pricing will be out soon. Maybe there'll be other options. Then again, maybe there'll be new prices.

PS. Your price on the WBRL is way out Thomas. $3795 showing. Gap's ARRT is $3519.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby tletter » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:14 am

jimshu wrote:PS. Your price on the WBRL is way out Thomas. $3795 showing. Gap's ARRT is $3519.

No Jim the prices that I used ARE accurate as of 20 November 2010 for trips leaving in July 2011. Again the GAP price is $2679 CAD (pp for 1 Adult) for ARRT while the Intrepid price is $2815 CAD (pp for 1 Adult) for WBRL which are the prices that I used in my previous posting. Perhaps you are working in another currency.

jimshu wrote:BTW, Gap Adventures brochures and new trips and pricing will be out soon. Maybe there'll be other options.

Maybe but I was told back in early September that "Our new brochure is being released near the end of September with all of our new tours and dates. The 2011 dates for the ERRT will be released at that time." When dates for ERRT still had not appeared by 19 November, a follow-up query got the response that "It doesn't look like the ERRT is being offered in 2011 ... suggest taking a look at the 21 day Trans Mongolian Express (ACTM)." Given that ACTM is 60% more expensive than ARRT/ERRT, it is hard to see how ACTM can be considered a comparable alternative.

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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby jimshu » Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:25 pm

Sure Thomas, I am seeing the currency in NZ$ but it's the difference in any currency that is important.

Nicole, best time of year to travel will be to try and coincide your time in Mongolia for around Nadaam Festival time. 11-13 July each year. Departure Fri 1st July looks best for that.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby npodendorf » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:56 pm

Jim - Thanks for the Nadaam Festival trip. Looks like that trip is already guarenteed too, which is a big plus. Have you been to the festival? Is it like a "must see"? I had originally be aiming for May or September, but now am reconsidering, especially as summer is easier to travel with for work.

What is the weather like in Russia/Mongolia is July, does anyone know? IT looks like this is when it's the warmest and most popular time to travel. Lonely Planet also list prime time for mozzies and ticks.

Thanks,
Nicole
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby npodendorf » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:32 pm

Well, I'm booked. I wanted a guaranteed departure and I absolutely wanted to travel in fall when the foliage is turning so I booked Sept 23rd to Oct 9th.

I looked at Intrepid's almost identical trip. About $200 more but right now they are running a 15% discount on the tour so the prices were comparable. However, after seeing that they stay in hostels where there is a definite possibility you are staying with other travelers from other groups in big rooms, I decided against it (more chances of late night partiers waking you up!) I have traveled with GAP and have always been pleased with accomodations. Also, Intrepid said if you have dietary restrictions, there would be some times when you have to fend for yourself food-wise. As a vegetarian, GAP has always been wonderful with me. As for the YOLO thing, well, I am in that age group. I may not be a big nighttime partier, but I am definitely one to indulge in a few beverages so I think I'll be okay. Overall, I decided my expereinces with GAP and the guarenteed departure right when I wanted to go overwhelmed the YOLO fact.

So. It's booked. I'm going. And I couldn't be more excited.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby jimshu » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:20 pm

We were there for Nadaam in July and days were 30 plus but cool at night. Sept it'll be getting cooler so I'd take warm clothes. There are market places at border crossing towns where you can buy clothing if you need extra.
I'm just as excited as it really is great to see others do this trip , although we haven't done the full trans Mongolian, so do please come back on here and help others with all your tips and experiences.
And try the smoked omul, it will be good and a lasting memory. When you get to Lystvyanka if you have time, just wander up the back streets, really interesting dashas for photo ops.
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Re: Trans-Mongolian Adventure

Postby skbenja » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:21 pm

jimshu wrote:Now $4279 for Trans Mongolian Express (ACTM) vice $2679 for Trans Mongolian Adventure (ARRT) is a difference of $1600, i.e. ACTM is 60% more expensive than ACTM. Those 4 extra days clock in at $400/day!


Ok, so I'm looking at ACTM for next year, and the price difference between the two is staggering, considering the 21 day version doesn't seem to add *that* much. Maybe the ACTM is actually in the 2-bed compartments on the train? Or is this trip still booked in scend class?

I could book Beijing to Moscow myself on the transmongolian for 1.000 EUR in 1st class, vs. 750 for 2nd. 4 extra days AND a different class a train could justify the extra $1600, but otherwise that seems like a rip off...
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