Where can I catch a train to Siberia?

It has always been my dream to take the Trans-Siberian railway from London to South-east Asia. However I have never seen this adventure advertised. Which companies organise such trips? How far can the journey take you?

Stephen Maher


The Travel Editor replies: There are companies that will book this trip for you. Regent Holidays (tel: 0117 921 1711), for example, can tailor- make pretty well any combination of stopovers between Moscow and the Far East for you. The most basic package, comprising flights into Moscow and back from Peking, one night's accommodation in Moscow plus the five day train journey between Moscow and Peking (via Mongolia) will cost a bit more than pounds 700.

Bear in mind that you need to plan ahead if you are thinking of doing this trip. If you want to travel over the summer, in particular, you should allow at least six weeks for your Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas to be processed.

Regent Holidays does not actually book train travel from London to Moscow though of course you are free to arrange this yourself if you wish, as an alternative to flying. The journey, via Brussels, takes a couple of days and tickets can be purchased through Rail Europe (Tel: 08705 848848). A single ticket is about pounds 200.

As for train travel beyond Peking, you can book advance tickets to almost any part of China with Regent Holidays. Trains to Hong Kong along the recently inaugurated fast direct line take about 30 hours. The furthest you can possibly get on a direct train from Peking is Hanoi in northern Vietnam; from there you can continue by rail as far as Saigon. Beyond there, to reach Asia's ultimate point - Singapore - you'll have to take to the road.

Sorry, but the North Pole is a no-skiing zone

Can you offer advice for a 50-plus couple who have always wanted to visit the Arctic and get as close to the North Pole as reasonably possible. Other interests would be to experience dog-sleds, snowmobiles and igloos.

Iain A Macdonald


The Travel Editor replies: The Arctic tourist season runs from December to April. Excursions to the North Pole must be taken aboard an ice-breaker, which costs more than pounds 5,000 per person. Once there, outdoor activities like dog-sledding or driving snowmobiles are not possible. The best places for these are Greenland, northern Norway, Baffin Island and Spitsbergen.

Arctic Experience (tel: 01737 218800) has a variety of holidays to the North Pole. Four-day excursions to Lapland in April are from pounds 777 per person, including one-night in a floating hotel near Stockholm, dog-sled mushing lessons, a dog-sled tour from Kiruna to Lapland, a night in the Ice Hotel and snowmobile or cross-country skiing tours. The package includes guides, flights, transport, accommodation and some meals.

Arcturus Expeditions (tel: 01389 830204) have eight-night breaks to northern Norway from pounds 1,390 per person including all travel from the UK, guide, dog-sledding and full-board accommodation.

To stop itching, kill the bugs before they bite

I always react badly to mosquito bites. They develop into large blisters. Last summer, in Corfu, the bites became infected and I needed two antihistamine injections, antibiotics and dressings. Is there a way to avoid repeating this experience when I go to Crete this summer?

Dorothy Bracegirdle

West Yorkshire

Dr Larry Goodyer replies: The best treatment for the condition you describe is usually a steroid cream, which will not take away itching but should help to lessen the severity of the reaction You can purchase the milder ones with hydrocortisone from a pharmacy, but a stronger one may be needed on prescription.

To stop the itching when you go to bed, the sort of antihistamines that can cause drowsiness can be helpful. Applying mosquito repellents, particularly after sundown, is recommended as is covering the arms and legs. Probably the highest level of protection is obtained by treating your clothing with an insecticide in addition to using repellents on the skin. BugProof would be suitable.

Dr Larry Goodyer is a lecturer in clinical pharmacy at King's College, London. Contact the Nomad Travel Health Helpline (tel: 0891 633414; calls cost 50p per minute).


Have you got a question or problem? Whether you want to know the best place to go for a holiday or have a legal or medical concern, our panel of travel experts will be able to help.

Write to: the Travel Editor, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2043. E-mail:

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits