Russia
Respublika Buryatiya

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  • Day106

    Crossing the Russian-Mongolian border

    June 24, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    After three weeks in Russia, it's time to move on. We're about to cross the border to Mongolia. Feelings are mixed. Part of us is actually sad to leave Russia already. We just got used to it. We sort of knew our way around. We managed to communicate at least a bit. And now, we start again.
    New customs, new faces, new language. Are we ready? I don't know. My head manages to keep "sain baa no" (hello in Mongolian) but that's about it. Hopefully it'll change over the course of the next weeks.

    Micha and Sonja, two overland travellers from Ulm that we met yesterday, had given us some advice on routes, what to see where and even gave us a map (paper maps are still the best!). And we're also planning to meet a welll-travelled Mongolian guy in Ulan Baatar that Tom has been in touch with, so at least on that front we feel a tiny bit prepared.

    And so we start to drive. When we get to the border at 9:55am, the gate looks shut. There are several trucks and buses with tourists waiting. A few cars are parked not far away. There still is a path all the way to the front, so we take it. And miraculously the gate opens. On the Russian side of the border, we park the car in front of customs control. An officer in a good mood and decent English explains the next steps: first Tom needs to go into the building with the car documents while I wait in the car. The female officer doesn't like the look of our registration much (it's simply a print out without any official stamps or signatures), but Tom's charme and the fact that it IS the official document, get us through. Then the first officer checks the car along with another female one. We open the back and a few drawers, empty the medicine bag (my homoeopathy is a bit laughed about) and all goes well. We pass, get a second stamp on our temporary import document (TID), exchange good-byes in Russian, English and German and head on to the passport control (still on the Russian side). All good here as well and at 10:37am we officially cross the border.

    First act on the Mongolian side is driving the car through a desinfection bath. Right after, an officer gives us entry cards, while another lady wants to have money for the desinfection. It's all a bit confusing. In the end, Tom takes the car documents to the booth at the entry, I pay the lady and we drive further. Next stop customs control. The officer here simply motions. I'm supposed to go and have my passport checked, while Tom shows him the car. Again, everything runs smoothly. Tom even finds our missing camera adaptors in the medicine bag! Thorough checking does have its advantages after all.
    I get my stamp within minutes and the car control is almost done when I exit the building. Tom goes in as well (the hall looks a bit like the ones at airports, there even is a duty free shop) and once through, we're both wondering what's next. Nobody had told us anything and noone is showing interest. So we drive a little further ahead to reassemble everything, but then a woman comes after us and Tom needs to follow with the car documents again. We get a few more stamps and papers and then that's it. Done!
    At 11:37am we're in Mongolia. We buy a third party insurance for about €35 right before we exit the final gate. Outside it's hot. It's a bit weird with empty stalls and a few shady looking shops on either side.
    We don't find a simcard as no one speaks English. I cuddle the street dogs. We're ready to drive on...
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  • Day101

    25h in Ulan-Ude

    June 19, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    City time again. After having spent another night with the wonderful Kudlik family (fellow Overlanders, also on their way back to Europe, but started in Sydney) about 50kms South of Ulan-ude at the Selenga river, we drive into Ulan-ude to get some chores done:
    1. Grocery shopping
    2. Hardware store for an additional water filter solution (the possible pesticides and heavy metals drive us a bit mad)
    3. Car service (that Tom largely did himself)
    4. Car wash (you cannot imagine how many insects there were on our windshield)
    5. Laundry
    6. Water
    7. Café with WiFi for TV series and new music

    It was a bit optimistic to think we'll get all of this done in a few hours... But we're super successful nevertheless. We find a water pump, a bjToyota car dealer to get the spare parts, a supermarket to do the shopping, a garage where Tom can do the service and they only did the oil change, the laundry service to get our clothes clean in the meantime and a car wash station. And after all this it's 6.30pm and I have no motivation whatsoever to keep on driving. Hence we make our way up the hill to the monastery (it has a big carpark) and set up camp there. Once again, we picked a spot popular with young couples making out in their cars (the view must be quite stimulating). Families and tourists come up as well and we end up meeting quite a few curious souls. Maybe we inspire some of them to travel, too? I'd love to think so.
    Full of happiness due to our successful day and lovely conversations, we go to bed, leaving the cafe bit to the next day.
    Great choice as this means we have delicious "syrniki"( baked cottage cheese balls), a croissant, coffee and some fresh grapefruit and rosemary tea for breakfast and even manage to squeeze in some sightseeing including Lenin's head and a dancing fountain paired with classical music.
    Ulan-ude will stay a pleasant memory.
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  • Day103

    Eating in Russia

    June 21, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Russian food positively surprised us. The variety of goods in supermarkets is great, only local fruit seemed to be hard to come by (probably due to the climate). Vegetarian or vegan options in restaurants were space but they existed. And the soups were ALWAYS super tasty. Since we have Hans back, we anyways prepare our meals ourselves most of the time. Here are a few culinary highlights:

    Stolovaya - a canteen serving home cooked meals for a fair (for European standard cheap) price. If we did eat out, this was often our choice of restaurant. There is bread, various salads, at least one soup (often borscht, a beetroot based soup), your choice of carbs (pasta, rice, pilav etc.), Meat dishes, sometimes a vegetarian stew and dessert. Not to forget tea (sometimes even with fresh herbs and berries). Perfect for us as we could simply point to our preferred choice.

    Campfires- having Hans back and camping wild again meant lots of campfires. Tom went back to baking bread, we cooked stews, fried eggs and much much more.

    Dumplings- Russians seem to be quite fond of dumplings. While they're often filled with meat, we found vegetarian ones filled with mashed potatoes. Quite delicious! And available by the kg in the supermarkets' freezer. (We simply boiled them and added a bit of soy sauce for convenience. Saw them being served fried once, surely a better way to enjoy them.)

    Kvass- a traditional fermented drink made from rye bread. It's sold by street vendors everywhere and can be bought by the glass or bottle. We tried it once and it tasted like slightly alfcoholic grape juice (alcohol content is between .5-1%). I think you could get used to it, but it definitely has a strange taste.

    Brotzeit -Tom has been particularly happy about the cheese and salami selection in Russian supermarkets. As the weather was quite hot, we had "Brotzeit" for lunch and/or dinner fairly often. Bread, cheese, salami, pickles and for the vegan option mustard, kren, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and a vegan veggie spread that probably was supposed to be sauce but tasted delicious. Every once in a while we also treated ourselves to a piece of smoked fish. So delicious!
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  • Day71

    The landscape changes

    July 5, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Explanations to follow

  • Day47

    Galère vers Archan

    May 14, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Il suffisait de dire que le stop était facile en Russie pour qu'on galère ensuite. Ce matin on reprend la route direction le petit village d'Archan dans les montagnes à 3h de route d'Irkoutsk. 1er conducteur rapide malgré la neige qui tombe. Mais on reste bloqué plus de 3 heures sur la route pour être enfin sauvés par un russe qui nous fait office de taxi cheap. La galère en vaut quand même la chandelle. On est niché entre les montagnes et on dormira au chaud ce soir.Read more

  • Day11

    Nischniangarsk

    October 28, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ -11 °C

    Damit mir au sicher z schätze wüssed wasmer geschter für Wetterglück gha händ, schneits hütt de ganz Tag.

    Büs fahred abem Mittag keini meh und au mir müend üses Programm chürze will de Fahrer Angscht hätt, dass d Strassen gesperrt werded und mir nüme retour chömed. Passiert halt. Was macht mer denn? Schulterzucken: z Fuess gah.
    Mir "retted" na e gstrandeti jungi Frau wo 12km mit Poschtitäsche heet müesse laufen. Keis Auto nimmt sie mit, au üsen Fahrer wett nöd recht, ich setz mich aber dure... :-)
    Blanks Iis und Schnee drüber uf de Strass, null Sicht uf de See. Also gömmer früener retour und nämed na es iiheimisches Tis-Bier ide warme Bizon Bar.

    Weder de Guide na de Fahrer erinnered sich dasses im Oktober schomal so fesch gschneit hätt 😂😂
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  • Day18

    Auf Wiedersehen Russland

    October 25, 2019 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    Nach 2,5 Wochen verlasse ich nun Russland.
    Von Irkrutsk bis nach Ulaanbaatar sind es diesmal nur 22 Stunden Zugfahrt. Eine richtig entspannte Fahrt in einem fast leeren Zug.

    Nach einem abenteuerlichen Ausreiseprozess an unserem letzten Stopp in Russland, stehen wir nun aus Russland ausgereist, am Bahnhof und warten darauf in die Mongolei einreisen zu können.

    Bye Bye Russia 🇷🇺
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  • Day84

    Ulan-Ude

    August 27, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    It is our last city in Russia and it is not a really nice one. It is very dirty and we found nothing special here. Tomorrow we will visit a temple maybe this is more interesting than the city.

    Die letzte russische Stadt die wir besuchen ist tatsächlich auch die hässlichste. Ulan-Ude (neuer Name Ulan-Öde :D) ist eine sehr schmutzige Stadt und ohne viele Highlights. Dennoch gibt es natürlich ein zwei nette Ecken, aber mehr leider nicht. Morgen gehen wir nochmal zu einem Tempel, mal schauen wie es uns dort gefällt.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Respublika Buryatiya, Buriatia, République de Bouriatie, Бурятия, Burjatien

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