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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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Old 13 Feb 2014
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Hi, planning a trip from Finland to Greece in May -14... actually I´ve never ridden in our eastern neighbour Russia before, think it´s about time to change that now! But because of family constraints, this has to be a very quick trip, and going to Greece is not negotiable, so for this reason, I´m asking from those with more knowledge on Russia:

- Do you think it is feasible to set off from Vaalimaa in Finland early in the morning, and then ride via Vyborg and St.Petersburg, and exit to Estonia and do all this IN JUST 1 DAY? (And I ask this purely from a riding point of view – I understand, that I will miss a whole lot along the way, particularly in St. Petersburg, but unfortunately for this trip, I am in a hurry. It looks to me like it would be about 400kms in Russia, but especially by-passing a very big city like St. Petersburg, and possible delays at the border crossing to Estonia at Narva are things, that I´m thinking about).

- If I were to decide, that I´ll spend at least one night in Russia, then how do you compare the two main road options from St.Petersburg to Estonia (the road M11, that goes to Narva, or road M20, that takes you to Pskov, and then I´d head towards Riga going via southeastern Estonia)? A lot of difference with the amount of traffic, or anything else, that I should think about regarding these two options?

And a few other questions that came to mind:

- Russian visa: I researched this a bit 4 yrs ago, and seemed to me like you cannot really do-it-yourself 100%, so in practice you´d need to contact a travel agency in your home country, and have them arrange it for you. And this way, a single entry visa was in the region of 70 euros p.p. (In fact that is what put me off last time – me and my GF were thinking about this, but we were heading elsewhere, so to spend 140 euros just to enter, and then stay only 1-2 days in Russia, seemed too much... but this time I´m more prepared to just swallow it!) Sorry if this is a dumb question, but if you don´t mind a bit of extra work, can you fully do the visa yourself, or you absolutely need to have an agency involved?

- Motorcycle insurance: Russia is now in the Green Card-zone, so the insurance, that my bike has back home, and for which I will ask them to print the Green Card-paper, should be valid there no problem? (This I will naturally also check with my insurance company, just asking about the basic principle of motor vehicle insurance in Russia).

I´ll be riding a DL650 Suzuki, and most likely my brother is gonna come along on his GSX1250F, we´ll both ride 1-up (..sorry, all “I”s in my post should have been “we”s!). Haven´t decided yet, if we´re gonna take camping gear or not.

For any advice regarding this plan, or westernmost part of Russia between Finland and Estonia in general, I thank you in advance! Pekka
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Old 13 Feb 2014
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The Russia - Estonia border at Ivangorod / Narva is very busy. It's one of those CIS - EU borders which are full of people transporting fuel, cigarettes, food, clothes etc etc. Also, many Estonians have close links with Russia, even Russian passports. All this means it's quite possible to wait several hours to enter Estonia from there. Perhaps you can try to cross further south, but it has to be quite a bit further south as for a long way, the border is a lake.

Going the other way, from Narva to Ivangorod, there is a ticketing system, like waiting in a hospital!

I don't know the route from Vyborg to St Petersburg, but I imagine the traffic could be pretty bad.

I guess what it means is that you can't guarantee to do it in one day... Russia borders are slow!

I travelled with some Finnish friends in Russia, and they managed to get their visa paperwork through some Finland Russia Friendship organisation or something, which was cheaper and quick, as it was all done in Finland. Maybe you could ask around about it.
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Old 13 Feb 2014
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There is the so called Schengen/Russian federation treaty for visa issues. What you need is a Transit visum, they have a fixed price of € 30,=. Just apply for it yourself at Russian embassy, easy. Ask for 2 days, officially it is 1day per 500km of distance but normally 2 days will be no problem. To go around st.P is quick with the new highway as is the new borderceossing at the Russian side. The EU side takes the most time but all together I think yiu will be out and in within 2 hours.



Last edited by Jervig; 13 Feb 2014 at 11:50. Reason: forgot 2 words
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Old 13 Feb 2014
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What comes to VISA you get it in a week from Venäjä Viisumikeskus The price is 84€ for a one time VISA. I used this service and it was no big deal to get it done. If don't live near to Helsinki, you can get all done by mail, but it cost more and take longer

Motorcycle insurance, you contact your insurance company for a green card. The difference is what they cover in case of accident compare to what they cover in European country's

If you have a bike what is not in your name. Then you have to get permission to take the bike abroad from the one registered as owner. In my case it was Santander. They do check this at the border

The road between Vaalimaa - St Petersburg is good. Traffic is like in Russia by default, where 100% of the drivers consider them self as better than average. Pretty soon you adapt to the traffic. Keep in mind to look in the mirrors both side, because you don't know from what side they try to pass you

Good luck. And if you stop at Pizza Italia, update if they have pizza on the list. And if you have time, don't miss Kronstadt

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Old 14 Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by Jervig View Post
What you need is a Transit visum, they have a fixed price of € 30,=. Just apply for it yourself at Russian embassy, easy.
Originally Posted by juuz0 View Post
What comes to VISA you get it in a week from Venäjä Viisumikeskus The price is 84€ for a one time VISA. I used this service and it was no big deal to get it done.
Wow... 30-84 euros – I know which price I would rather pay !!
Up to me now to find out, what I´ll actually have to pay.

Thanks a lot for the replies everybody.
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