Personal Testimonials from 2011

After another succesful and busy summer season on the trains, we have collated the feedback sent to our friendly Beijing office staff.

 


From: Terrie Queen Autrey
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 11:49 AM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: RE: Teresa Queen Autrey: Trans-Siberian Enquiry

Andy - You are so kind!  Thank you very much!

Just tonight I was animatedly describing our Mongolian experience as the most intriguing of our trip, and your "booklet" as the drollest and most informative piece of travel literature I have ever read.

New Year's light and peace and grace to you.

Terrie

 


From: Helga
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 10:15 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Hi!
Thank you for everything! i had an amazing trip! Your info pack is a really good job too! (one thing to correct, russia doesn't have daylight savings anymore) 
Thanks again!

Helga

 


From: Alejandro Redaelli
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:27 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Thank you very much Andy et al, we certainly had a great time all the way from Moscow to Beijing , and I would like to go back to enjoy those beautifull landscapes and the lovely company of Nadia, Baska, Judy and those who helped us  to had such a wonderfull experience.

Wish all of you a nice Christmas and a great 2012 from Argentina

Alejandro

 


From: Cindy Hyduk
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 10:53 PM
To: Monkeyshrine Beijing
Subject: RE: Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas Andy!
 
I have so many fond memories of my Trans-Siberian Railway trip.  It was a blast.  I'm trying to convince Ron that we need to do the same trip in Winter but he's not responding to those particular emails!  My husband, the one that didn't come on the trip because he doesn't like the heat, won't answer me either! 
 
Cheers,
Cindy

 


From: Ingrid Eklund
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 5:51 PM
To: monkeyshrine Beijing
Subject: RE: Season's Greetings

..everything was well organized and ran like clock work, all our guides were competent, knowledgeable and made our trip so much more interesting

Ingrid and Hakan, October 2011

Hi Matt,
I must apologize for not writing to you before. Thank you so much for organizing our wonderful travel adventure from Beijing through Irkutsk  sept-okt 2011.  We had a fantastic trip and everything was well organized and ran like clock work, all our guides were competent, knowledgeable and made our trip so much more interesting. We will certainly recommend Monkeyshrine to anyone interested in doing the trip.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
Once again - Thanks.

Best Wishes

Ingrid o Håkan Eklund


From: Roberto Victoria
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 11:36 AM
To: Beijing Office Andy
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Hi Andi,

My trip was terrific!!!! Thank you very much. Be assured that I will visit you next time I travel to Beijing.

Roberto

 


From: Don McNab
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:10 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas to you as well and I'm looking forward to another Russian adventure next summer, providing they don't have another revolution!
Happy holidays and Happy New Year 2012!
Don McNab

 


From: Ian Moffat
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:51 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Andy,
Trip went well. Really enjoyed trip. Very cold in Mongolia but mild in Moscow & Tallinn. I crossed to Stockholm by ferry & then took train to Copenhagen. Currently on train to Brussels and will reach London on Monday 14 days after leaving Shanghai. Except for the ferry from Tallinn to Stockholm I travelled by train all the way. I want to do Vladivostok to Moscow next year possibly around spring.
Organization was excellent.
Regards
Ian

 


Jeep tours in Mongolia

Uliz and tour driver relax on the
Mongolia Open Steppe

From: Barbara Birmingham
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2011 4:01 AM
Subject: hello From the Birmingham's in UK

Dear Monkey Shrine

We meant to write before to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip home in the summer. We really loved Mongolia. The guides were very good and helpful everywhere. Our guide in Mongolia, Ulzi (I can't remember how his name is spelt), asked me to send him some photos but I lost his email address. I will attatch them and hope you can forward them to him or the tour company.

Best wishes
Barbara Birmingham


From: bike to School
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 4:07 AM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: SALAUN / STOLL - All Ready

Hi Andy!

..it was a beautiful travel! Siberia was magnificent in autumn, the Baïkal sparkling in the sun.

Anne & Benjamin, October 2011

Nice to hear from you!
Interesting stories, indeed! The train from Russia to Ukraine had some delay... So we were at the Russian Border at 1:30, on October 12th instead of the 11th!! So the Russians wanted to keep us there; "kindly" asking us to get off board, to take another train and get back to Moscow, to discuss this with our embassy. But thanks to long discussions, a picture in Beijing, the explaination of the BiketoSchool Project, a less limited officer and the help and translation of our cabin neighbour, we finaly could go on!!! As we told you, the adventure was not finished! [we always add a couple of days to the Russian visa to allow for delays, but this couple were on a very tight schedule, maximising the most of their visa, to the very last hour (or 1hr over it in this case!). Ed.]

Otherwise, it was a beautiful travel! Siberia was magnificent in autumn, the Baïkal sparkling in the sun... Kiev as welcoming as usual. And friends, families and fans were here when arriving in Paris!

An now comes the after travel: cleaning the flat, opening the boxes, trying to get back the two parts of the bike (one piece was blocked by the french border officers, and now the post ofice sent it at the wrong address!), preparing the conferences and the final movie...

Happy again to have found you in Beijing!

Good luck with the next travels!

Anne & Benjamin

http://www.biketoschool.fr

 


From: James Luckett
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 4:13 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Receipt For Russia Trip

It was all really very good, and the kids had a great time and did well.

Jim Luckett, October 2011

Hi Andy, we had a really good time, everything we did was a new experience.  Our guide in Mongolia was probably the best - she was fantastic.  Our city tours in St. Petersburg and Moscow were very good as well. 

It was all really very good, and the kids had a great time and did well.

Also, I've just started looking at my pics from the trip - been really busy here. I still owe you some, I haven't forgotten.

Thanks,
Jim


From: ii_606412
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 9:04 AM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Re: WISLA trip

Hi Matt

Thanks again for all the Monkey Shrine support for the trip. Everything went smoothly and I had a great time. I still have a copy of the guidebook and I'll try to come by next Sat to drop it off.

Best,

-- Matt Wisla


I will certainly recommend you guys to anyone I know interested in doing the train trip.

Meryl Zimmer, October 2011

From: MERYL
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:34 PM
To: Beijing Office Andy
Subject: Re: ZIMMER / Tours in Beijing

We have really enjoyed the trip and appreciate the way Monkey Shrine has sorted everything for us.  I will certainly recommend you guys to anyone I know interested in doing the train trip.

Once again - Thanks.
Regards
Meryl


From: Jean Farrar
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 1:38 PM
Subject: The worse thing that can happen.......

I cannot say enough good things about Matt, the agency and my wonderful guide in Mongolia.

Jean Farrar, September 2011

Well, after dreaming of taking the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow for over a year, I started off on my adventure on a Tuesday from Beijing Main Train Station.  Three days prior to this, I had stumbled on one of the uneven Beijing sidewalks and had (I thought) twisted my ankle.  After arriving in Mongolia, doing a little sight seeing and then returning to my hotel for the night, I discovered that my foot had swollen to the size of a football and that it was black and blue and somewhat painful.

When my guide arrived the next morning I told her that I needed to see a doctor and went to the SOS International Clinic. I received excellent care there from a Bulgarian doctor who was an orthopedic specialist.  I had a fracture of the ankle.  Soon I was in a foot to knee plaster cast on a pair of crutches.  I will say that my guide Oogie was wonderful, staying with me all the time I was being treated, making sure I had all of my questions answered and then helping me with paperwork and etc.

What to do? I decided to stay at the Ger Camp since it was the perfect place to rest and relax and keep off my foot and yet still have the experience of staying in a ger. My guide stayed with me the entire time and helped me with daily tasks like getting to the shower, the dining room and activities.  She even arranged activities that I could do being driven in a car, instead of walking.  She was incredible and took excellent care of me--just like a loving daughter would.

Matt, my wonderful Monkey Shrine agent in Beijing assured me that he would work with me however he could to try and salvage my trip and I must say, he was wonderful and helped me turn what would have been a small disaster into a pretty nice alternative. I cannot say enough good things about Matt, the agency and my wonderful guide in Mongolia. Working together we all made my dream trip come true - maybe not exactly as I had planned but making the best of a bad situation, we made it a trip I'll remember for a life time.

Jean Farrar



We would like to send our thanks to you and all the people that made the transzip such a joy.

Nick Jones, October 2011

From: Nick Jones
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 2:54 AM
To: monkeyshrine
Subject: Re: JONES / Booking

Hi Matt

Just returned from our trip.
We would like to send our thanks to you and all the people that made the transzip such a joy. All the guides were on time and were brilliant at their jobs which took the stress out of the trip. The accommodation was great, clean and in good locations. One of the highlights of the trip was Listvyanka and the trek and Baikalside BBQ, a special thanks to Sacha for such a super day.

Thanks and cheers
Nick and Nicky



From: Gerard Roche
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:27 PM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Thanks!

Hi Matt,

Just a quick message to let you know I got home safe. It was a great
trip so thanks so all your help.

Kind Regards,

Gerard


From: Beatriz Costa
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:49 AM
To: Monkeyshrine Beijing Office
Subject: Our trans-Siberian trip

Monkey Shrine enabled us to travel independently, but with the advantage of having someone local to help us out, which made our trip more relaxing and enjoyable 

Beatriz Costa, September 2011

Joanna,
Thank you for helping us organize a fantastic trip to Russia and Mongolia. We returned home last Friday and we still can’t get enough of reliving our trip through our photos and memories.
For us, the highlights of the trip as a whole were the unique opportunities we had to interact with local people and understand their culture, food and beliefs. We loved the Buryat and Old Believer's visits in Ulan Ude, where we had phenomenal food and extremely friendly hosts. We also enjoyed the Russian dinner in St Petersburg - Svetlana is adorable! We will never forget our hike along the hilly shore of lake Baikal, with snow falling all around us. We loved visiting a nomadic family in Mongolia, the camel ride, and being immersed in a landscape so untouched by modern civilization.
You've probably heard about the mix-up in St Petersburg (where the local activities and train to Moscow hadn't been organized). This was unfortunate, but in the end everything worked out. We got a free Kremlin tour to compensate for the changes. As a whole, we appreciated that the team did everything possible to work around the issues, and we had a great time in St Petersburg.
Our local guide Nasaa did everything she could to ensure we had a great time in Mongolia.
Overall, we're really impressed with Monkey Shrine's organization and unique concept of travelling. All our guides were competent, knowledgeable and made our trip so much more interesting. In particular, Oleg in Irkutsk was probably the best guide we've ever had, and Sayana (spelling?) in Ulan Ude was also fantastic. The homestays were great - Olga in particular was an incredibly interesting lady and made us feel at home in her very comfortable apartment. The activities along the way were very well planned. The partner travel companies in Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, in particular, were super organized. We loved the fact that the experiences in each day of our trip were so different from the previous day. This kept us always interested and looking forward to the next day.
We much prefer independent travel over group travel. Monkey Shrine enabled us to travel independently, but with the advantage of having someone local to help us out, which made our trip more relaxing and enjoyable. We wish there were other companies offering a similar travel experience in other parts of the world.
Thank you for all your work in the planning of this unforgettable trip!
Bea and Eric



From: Paul Gibson
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:07 PM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Checking in

Hi Matt,

Wanted to let you know that we arrived in Moscow and really enjoyed the train trip.

Irkutsk was great, and your affiliates there were helpful, and we had no problems with the accommodations at Sasha's guest house. 

Thanks,
Paul


From: Nick Butcher
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 7:14 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: Complaint about Shuren in Mongolia

Hi Andy

Claire says you should encourage more people to dive in Lake Baikal. 

Nick Butcher, September 2011



That sounds reasonable.  Thank you for sorting this out so promptly.  I just want to underline that .. all of the other guides and drivers were excellent and I have been very impressed with the service.  I would still recommend Monkey Shrine after this.

Claire says you should encourage more people to dive in Lake Baikal.  She really enjoyed that one!

Thanks again.
Nick


From: Agreste Turismo
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:25 AM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Agreste

Good morning Andy, we are enjoying our last days in China!!!! We must organize other group next year, when I arrive to Argentina I will study your different programs...

Ok, thanks for all, we continue talking by email for our futur travel business.

I leave China very satisfied for your services, congratulations!!!!

Bye bye Maria Luz



From: Peggy

The journey was wonderful, especially today with amazing scenery all the way

Peggy Brenier, September 2011


Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:18 PM
To: 'Andy, Beijing Office'
Subject: RE: BRENIER / Package - Hotel Moscow

Thanks Andy,
The journey was wonderful, especially today with amazing scenery all the way and a marvelous weather in Irkutsk. I’m definitely in love with Siberia now.

The guide on arrival came with me to help me get a SIM card.
Thank you so much.

Peggy



.. our guides were great, our homestay hostesses were fabulous

Dawn and Neal Mccarthy, September 2011

From: dawn
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 1:41 AM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Re: MCCARTHY

Hi Matt,

Thank you for organising a really wonderful trip. Everything ran like clockwork, our guides were great, our homestay hostesses were fabulous and the hotels were good. We have already recommended the trip and will continue to do so.

Thanks again, we had a terrific time.
Kind regards
Dawn & Neal


 

From: Robert Victoria
Date: 3 September 2011 21:41:38 GMT+08:00
To: Kelvin
Subject: Visa? /Robert V.

Everything went very well. Specially my time in Yekaterinburg, the guided tours by Mr Konstantin and my stay with Stefan + wife.

Robert Victoria, August 2011

Hi Kelvin,

I just arrived in Madrid/Spain after one of the most amazing trips of my whole life. Everything went very well. Specially my time in Yekaterinburg, the guided tours by Mr Konstantin and my stay with Stefan + wife. Three great persons.

I had to leave Moscow because my Visa was only valid from 18th August to the 3rd of September. And here is the tragedy: I met my dream woman on the train just before arriving into Moscow the 30th. So now I couldn´t stay a week longer as my Visa cannot be extended and I had to leave Russia. What a pity.

Best regards,

Robert


From: Rebecca Taylor
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 3:49 AM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Re: TAYLOR / Payment

Everything was spot on - it all happened when it was supposed to happen and did what it said it was going to do, so I can't ask for better than that

Rebecca Taylor, August 2011

Hi Matt,

Now we are back I wanted to say what an absolutely brilliant time we had. Everything was spot on - it all happened when it was supposed to happen and did what it said it was going to do, so I can't ask for better than that! It was a really interesting and great trip and has left me wanting to see more of Russia for sure! A winter train ride is needed now!! If I do anything like this again, I will definitely be booking it with you guys - spot on, thank you.

 


From: 'Lisa Michallik'
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 6:10 PM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: Re: SCHNEIDER / MICHALLIK / Payment

The best for us was Mongolia!!! Everything there was awesome, the landscape, the food, the people were so friendly, the weather...

Lisa Michallik, August 2011

Hey...
the trip was awesome. The best for us was Mongolia!!! Everything there was awesome, the landscape, the food, the people were so friendly, the weather... :)
The only thing that happened was: we left the PASSPORTS in the hotel in Irkutsk and took the train to Moscow!!!  We were shocked when we first realized after one day. But in the end they could send it to us via plane and they gave it to us in Moscow (after we spent one morning in the lobby of the hotel cause they could not let us check in without the passports with visa! I know we should have had a copy...) Everything perfect organized, we switched off the brains and enjoyed...

Thanks
Cheeeeers
Lisa



From: Stefan Brun, Switzerland
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 5:44 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: RE: RE: BRUN / ROHRER - Tickets

Hello Andy

Thanks a lot again for your great support! We are going to recommend you/monkeyshrine to all our friends!

Have a nice one...
Sandra & Stefan



From: Don McNab, USA
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2011 9:45 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Russia Trip/Don McNab

Hi Andy and Matt!

The Lake Baikal homestay and Circumbaikal RR were wonderful, as was the guide, Lena

Don McNab, August 2011


I am back from my Russia trip and it all went well. Your arrangements were great! The Lake Baikal homestay and Circumbaikal RR were wonderful, as was the guide, Lena. From VVO to Irkutsk, I got VERY lucky and had the whole 1st class compartment to myself for the 3 nights/3days, a little private room!
The Uzori Hotel in Irkutsk was a little scary at first, but the service was good and it worked out. I used to stay in places like that in Peru, but you might want to warn others so they don't get a shock.
The restaurant car sold practically nothing and at ridiculous prices, so I would advise people to stock up on food before the trip (which I did with food from China, but a French couple were very hungry!). Also, from IRK to EKA and then SP, the babushka's selling food on the tracks were few and far between; there were mostly junk food stands or nothing.
About 80 to 90 % of the people I met spoke no English, even in touristy areas, so the trip was an unexpected, but exciting Russian immersion course as well. I can now ask anything related to trains or buses at a train or bus station, in Russian, as well as buying things, introducing myself, weather, hotel check-in vocab/phrases and asking to store my luggage there etc etc. It was great! I'm ready to study more Russian.
In fact, I had such a good time and met such interesting people that I was thinking of taking the BAM train next year. Do you make reservations for that one as well? And I would like to go to Tomsk and Tobolsk and Suzdal later on.
I didn't meet any rude or gloomy people and everybody I spoke my broken Russian with was very pleasant. Tsarskoe Selo and the Alexander Palace were highlights.
Anyway, thanks again and enjoy the rest of the summer.
Don McNab



From: Sarah Simpson, England
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 1:09 PM
To: Beijing Office Matt
Subject: RE: SIMPSON / Departure

It was all organized so well and the guides were wonderful, especially Naki in Mongolia

Sarah Simpson, August 2011

Hi Matt,

Just got back to Beijing after a truly amazing summer. Wanted to send a little note to thank you so much for organizing such a brilliant trip for me. It was all organized so well and the guides were wonderful, especially Naki in Mongolia. I had such a great adventure, can't believe it's all over and time to go back to school!

Thanks again to all at Monkey Shrine, will make sure everyone knows how great you all are.

Best Wishes,

Sarah



From: Pen Pickersgill, France / Ireland couple
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 2:48 AM
Subject: feedback

Thank you for everything, your customer support was always on the ball, the guide in Ulaan Bataar was very helpful.

Pen Pickersgill, July 2011

Dear monkey shrine
Thank you for everything, your visa service was perfect, your customer support was always on the ball, the guide in Ulaan Bataar was very helpful.

Even when we arrived in Moscow to find out there was a mistake by overestimating the train journey by a day, even then your emergency contact, Olga, really did all she could and saved the day.

Oh, and the guide was really friendly and nice today, Moscow really is an incredible city.

Pen and Julien




From: Sandra Kennedy, Australia Group
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 1:47 PM
To: 'Beijing Office Matt'
Subject: RE: Tibet

Cheers Matt – many thanks for the contact, the Schwarer family has a great time on their trip, so thanks for the great arrangements and smooth tour operation ..

Sandy



From: chrisw hamburg, Germany
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 6:25 AM
Subject: "mongolian men song"

hi monkey shrine team,

im chris, made a trip from moscow to beijing last year with you guys. (awesome trip)

in mongolia the guide during a tour told us a "story".
a part of it:

she asked us if we know what mongolian men say, when they need to pee.
we denied and than she said loud loving "THEY SAY, I GO AND CHECK THE HORSE! HAHAHAHA BECAUSE THE STEP IS SO WIDE!" I told the whole story to some friends and 2 of them made a song about which came in myanmar right away on the top 1 radio hitlist.

now my question: do you know any guys in mongolia radio related to send them this song?

thanks in advance and very best regards,
chris




From: kathrin chen, Germany
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2011 7:21 PM
To: beijing@monkeyshrine.com
Subject: Re: WEBER / Tickets

Mongolia has been amazing, would have been worth to spend there longer than 10 days

Kathrin Weber, July 2011

Hey Matt!
How are you?
Just wanted to let you know that I made it to Latvia already and had a great trip! Mongolia has been amazing, would have been worth to spend there longer than only 10 days. Was fabulous. Journey through Russia was good fun. Enjoyed Rita's banya with a dip in freezing cold lake baical a lot and loved the days spent in Moscow. Russia has been amazing =)

Hope ur fine. All the best!

Kat



From: Andrew Shutsa, Canada
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 7:24 PM
Subject: RE: Andrew Shutsa - Trans Siberian Booking

I am LOVING the trip! So much fun .. it's great!

Andrew Shutsa, June 2011

Hi ANDY!

I am LOVING the trip!

so much fun .. and there has not been any hiccups!

It's great!

I was curious about the t-shirt. It mentioned that we are able to get a complimentary one from monkeybusiness for signing up, though I did not. I wouldn't normally ask for it, but I am starting a new tradition of sewing together old t-shirts into quilts (2 blankets and counting!)

I would LOVE for that shirt to make an appearance on a quilt!

HIGH FIVE



From: Michaela Walsh, England
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 7:02 PM
To: Monkeyshrine Beijing
Subject: RE: WALSH / BAILEY - Vouchers

We have just left the Elstei Ger Lodge and the highlight was staying with the nomadic family .........we had a ball

Michaela Walsh, June 2011

Hey Andy!!!

Well, what can I say........So far it has been amazing!!! No probs with the passports.....The train was fun and we met some great people! Andy (the Canadian guy) is travelling with us which is great. Our guide at the camp is a lovley man, informative, kind, helpful.. We have eaten like kings and queens!! The Gers are amazing to stay in......Next stop Ulannbator (I know that is not how it is spelt!!)

We will keep in touch.

Oh, could we get out Monkey T Shirts mailed to us? Also, would you pass on that Nadine and I are Vegos to the relevant places....Thanks so much! I think a winter trip will be in order after this one!!

Kind regards Michaela and Nadine

p.s Yeah all is great.  Everyone has been fantastic.   We have just left the Elstei Ger Lodge (sheer luxury) I think we have put on 100kgs!!!  Food delicious and the highlight was staying with the nomadic family.........we had a ball!  Just got back to UB, heading  to the cinema and for a mexican tonight then off on the train tomorrow!  I am already planning my next trip :-)
 



From: Stefan Piel, Germany
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 3:38 PM
Subject: Re: PIEL / Train ticket.

The Lystvianka sidetrip was really nice, especially thehostel very friendly. I will like to go there one day again. Lake Baikal is really nice.

Stefan Piel, June 2011

Hi Matt

I am back in Germany, the train trip was fine. Thanks a lot.

The Lystvianka sidetrip was really nice, especially the hostel was very friendly. Also I met a Canadian couple, the Claassens, and spend some time with them. I will like to go there on day again. Lake Baikal is really nice.

At all the costs for accomodation in Russia is much too expensive, but I know about the situation. Not your fault. It is a pitty, that will stop me to have an extended visit to this country.

OK, I enjoyed at all the long trip. Sitting for 8 days in a train was a new experience, and a nice final part of my 8 month holiday. Thanks for all the support with this railways trip.

Cheers, Stefan


From: Pim de Kuijer, Netherlands
Sent: Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 10:15 AM
Subject: RE: DE KUIJER / Visas

hi Matt!

How are things in Beijing? I survived 6 days on a horse in Mongolia and a few actually very nice days and nights on the train so far. Was warmly welcomed by Lena from Aqua Eco in Irkutsk just this morning and now recovering from a fantastic breakfast at Sasha's guesthouse. So far, so good... just a little thing, Lena was not aware of my booking for the diving in Lake Baikal. I showed her the voucher, where my payment for the dive is listed and she promised to try and arrange the dive for tomorrow.

Hope all is well on your side and Andy has finally recovered from his cold. If not, I'll send some vodka, that should do the trick.

Best,

Diving in Lake Baikal

Pim enjoys his dive in Lake Baikal


Pim

-----Original Message-----

From: Pim de Kuijer, Netherlands
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 8:14 PM
Subject: RE: DE KUIJER / trip

it happened! (that's me on the right) Thanks very much and I can recommend both Baikal Lake as a diving destination and Mikhail as dive instructor (Aqua Eco know who he is), it was much tougher than warm water diving, not because of the cold but because of the extra equipment. Saw an underwater fort, cannon and all and enjoyed it immensely.
 
All the best,
Pim



From: Giles Jewitt, England
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 7:36 PM
Cc: Laura Le Roy
Subject: Thanks...

Hi Andy,

Just a quick note to say thanks very much for getting our Trans-Siberian journey sorted. It all went very smoothly and we've had an amazing adventure.

Thanks again and best regards for the future,

Giles and Laura.



From: Sheila Chan, Hong Kong
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: CHAN / trans Siberian trip may 25, 2011

.. train experience is great and got the chance to meet locals which is important for me

Sheila Chan, June 2011

Hi Matt,

On hotel change, it's ok, just happy to sleep on a real bed after days on the road with no shower. And really enjoying buffet breakfast!

But overall, train experience is great and got the chance to meet locals which is important for me to understand their lives. So far, still positively surprise by Russians. I think my friends gave me too much negative impressions. I'm just beginning to understand the Russians and still so much to know about them....and if my crazy mind keep thinking, maybe I'll come here to learn Russian! I would come back to this vast place again someday. I definitely think the Russians are widely misunderstood and thanks to those stupid Hollywood movies always portraying them as bad people!

Anyway, time flies and hope the big city experience will be as positively memorable!

Btw, Marriott asked for my registration and told them about my visa free situation [for Hong Kong passports 14 days visa free travel]. I can understand where not much people know about this and perhaps police too. So hoping I won't get stopped. Anyway, all ok and legal anyway.

Thanks again.

From russia with love....Hehehe, just a joke line from the movie. not a pick up line!

Sheila


[Here is an email from a group of Australian's who have travelled with us in the past with Pam Hudson]

From: Deryl Mason, Australia
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 8:48 AM
To: Monkey Business
Subject: Hudsonx4 Trip

We all particularly liked Ljuba in Kazan, she is an excellent lively interesting guide, she seems to know every inch of  her city.

Deryl Mason, May 2011

Dear Willy,
Thank you for your excellent organisation of our trip. I have and will recommend Monkey to others.

I am writing to thank you for the excellent trip you organised for the Hudsons, Fay Kitto and me. We started in Beijing on April 5th and reached Helsinki on May 2nd.

All the transfers were on time and done with the minimum of fuss. The guides you provided were extremely efficient. Constantine in Ekaterinburg is very knowledgeable and gave us thorough understanding of his city. We all particularly liked Ljuba in Kazan, she is an excellent lively interesting guide, she seems to know every inch of  her city. Ilya in Moscow gave us an excellent tour and was happy to accommodate our particular wishes. Ljuba and Irena in St Petersburg  like the others gave us an excellent introduction to their city. They  were also more than considerate in making sure we had our transfers and were on time for the train. Things were a bit confused around the hotel because road closures, they organised around this very well.

Please pass on my thanks to all these people, I only hope that I have remembered their names correctly.

The hotels you booked us into were very comfortable, particularly The Chekhov in Ekaterinburg.
Regards
Deryl Mason

 


From: Eric Keck, Canada
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2011 7:59 PM
Subject: Helloo Russiaa

Hi Matt,

Just e-mailing to give a little update from my neck of the woods.  Everything went smooth and easy with the consulate in Shenyang and i got my visa on the 27th no problem.  To my knowledge there is a train departing the North station everday from Shenyang at 15:37 (100% sure on Fridays and Saturdays) arriving at Sufienha 09:30.  From the train station it was a short taxi ride (5 yuan) to the international bus station and I got a ticket for Vladiovostok 13:40.  The borders were constantly being dumped with heaps of Russians so i think there are a few buses each day. 

So now i'm in Vladiovostok and enjoying life! Everything's going great and exceeding any expectations of what i thought it was going to be like

Kind regards.

Eric


 

From: Denise, Canada
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 2:00 PM
To: Monkeyshrine Beijing Office
Subject: Re: CHABOT / Payment

 

Train #2, car 6 did have a shower room. Lovely, after all that lying around like a cat!

Denise Chabot, May 2011

I'm really enjoying Russia, especially the 4 nights on the train with a really nice Ukrainian man who spoke very little English to compliment my practically non existent Russian. I do thank the powers that be that it was only ONE non snoring man, although if there had been more men perhaps he wouldn't have been trying to kiss me the whole journey!
By the way, train #2, car 6 did have a shower room. Lovely, after all that lying around like a cat! It was actually very comfortable travel, but had there been four of us in the cabin, I think not as good.
I'll visit you at the office in Beijing if that's okay with you. Maybe take you for a bite or a drink. Do travel agents drink?
I'm off to see the museum at Lake Baikal, and then to try another great place for dinner. All wonderful food so far!
Chat soon!
Denise

-----Original Message-----
From: Denise
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:37 PM
Subject: Re: CHABOT / Office visit

Hi Matt,
Andy and Zhaonan did look after me and I'd appreciate it if you'd  mention to them that I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner at the Middle Eight. Luckily, some hungry Hungarian wine exporters had asked if they could sit at my table rather than wait the required hour. Very entertaining and informative! 
Denise



From: Willy Sier, Netherlands
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:11 AM
Subject: Hey monkeys

Heyyy there!!!

I decided to keep some notes for you. It might be handy for the info pack. And maybe you like to hear from me too. :)

The Moscow subway system was a bit of a shock. I thought we would never work it out but of course we became experts. The atmosphere on Arbat [Moscow downtown] was great! There was so much music, so many people hanging out, really fun. We also went to FAQ bar and had a really good time. I thought Moscow was awesome! Oh, Park Culturi was also very nice. Great directions in infopack. We were there in 30 minutes. Kremlin 350. Park culturi 100. It really pays off if you have a student card, massive discount.

Train 2 [Rossiya from Moscow to Irkutsk and Vladivsostok] is just amazing. Really good train. Nice looking toilet and wash basin. Great restaurant. Good food! Great staff and looks so nice. We had an amazing ride and shared our cabin with an Indonesian guy who was great. The train does get really hot in second class though.

I was in shock with the views from the train, such beauty. I am an official fan. Russia is stunning!

On arrival to Irkutsk we shared a transfer to Lisvtvyanka with another group and stayed in Sasha's guesthouse. Really nice place to stay. Very relaxing, they take great care of us. Nice breakfast. Listvyanka is the quietest place I've ever been. Very little going on here, even in mid-May. So far, only found one restaurant with an English menu and two other tourists. I wonder what Bolshow Goloustnoe can be like.. :)

That's it so far. Am really loving it and fully believe in Monkey. It is a beautiful journey.

Looooooove from siberia!



From: konkowsky
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:23 AM
Subject: Mitch Berman: Trans-Siberian Enquiry

Attn Andre.  Andre, you may or may not remember me and Susanne Lee from our 1993 tour.  We were married in UB courtesy of BB, who arranged everything.  Last we saw him in Washington DC.  Do you have a current email or other contact for him? 

All our best, and thanks again for a memorable trip in '93.  We can't wait until we can take our son for another Trans-Siberian trip via Monkey Business.

Mitch Berman / Susanne Lee



From: Melanie Schneider, Germany
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2011 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: SCHNEIDER / Monkeyshrine Booking Enquiry

Hello, thanks for all the information...very good feeling that we got a personal answer instead of an electronic letter=o)

Ok, me and my friend would like to book this trip, what do we have to do next? What will actually the weather be like? Have a great day and a nice weekend=o)

Melanie (and Lisa)



From: Patrick Schaedlich, Germany
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 1:11 PM
To: 'Andy, Beijing Office'
Subject: AW: SCHAEDLICH / HEINRICH - Train Update

Hello Andy,

In your guidebook you write it is hard to get russian Roubles outside Russia. Actually in Germany it is really easy. The "Sparkasse"  (nationwide available savings bank) can order rouble from our WestLB/BayernLB within 1-2 days.

Rgds,
Patrick


Fun day ice fishing in winter at Yekaterinburg

New experience for a Malaysian


From: Prem Goyal, Malaysia Group
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:12 PM
Subject: Re: GOYAL / Payment

 

Great - I must tell you that Monkeyhrine / your service has been the best I have ever gotten via internet / email.

Overall everybody enjoyed themselves even though it was tiring. The tour operator in Ekanteriburg made bookings with the Chekov hotel to allow us late checkout at 9pm. This was good as other hotels we had to check out at noon and wander around till late in the night before the train departure.

 

Tks
Ming Yang


 

From: HANNAH ROSBOROUGH, England
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:37 AM
To: Beijing Office Willy
Subject: Re: ROSBOROUGH: payment received

Hi Guys

Just a quick email to say a big thanks for all your help in organising our trans siberian trip - we've had a great time and loved our 7 days worth of sitting on a train! 

The guided tour provided in Moscow was first class, our guide was fantastic, superb English, really knowledgable and kept things really interesting

Hannah Rosborough, April 2011

Wanted to send some feedback on a few things that we thought you might want to know - The guided tour provided in Moscow was first class, our guide was fantastic, superb English, really knowledgable and kept things really interesting.  A real treat to have someone to show us around and give us our bearings on our first day - rather than our usual wanderings and getting lost!

In terms of accomodation sadly not such positive feedback to give.  The Irkutkz Hostel, while clean and well appointed was seriously lacking in terms of privacy and security.  The two of us were put into a 4 bed dorm and told it would be just us staying there, so we agreed this would be OK.  However it turned out the room had no key and we were woken in the early morning by a man coming in to get his things which were in the wardrobe of our room for some reason.

The Home from Home Hostel in Moscow sadly didn't live up to its billing either, which sadly seems the case for a lot of places that find themselves with a good write up in Lonely Planet!  I guess they get such a steady flow of people staying as a result that they feel they no longer need to try as hard.

Hope you don't think we're a couple of whingers for bringing these points up, we just figure without regular up to date feedback from travellers it must be hard for you guys to know whats really happening out there.

Thanks again for helping us with our trip - Monkeyshrine will definitely be our recommendation if we know of anyone else considering doing the trans siberian.

best wishes

Hannah and Kevin 

To follow our travel blog go to www.travelpod.com/members/rosboroughs


 

From: Joseph Quin, Canada
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2011 7:43 PM
To: Willy, Beijing Office
Subject: trainnnnsssss

Thanks willy that was awsome. Oour stay in mongolia was epic to say the least and russia in the spring time is pretty cool too!
Joe and Julia



From: Diarmuid Whittle, Ireland
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:42 PM
Subject: Re: WHITTLE / Itinerary

Hi Matt,

Trip is going very well so far. Apart from UB, which isn't exactly one of the nicest cities I've been to, Mongolia has been great. Those gers are damn comfy, and Hustai is really cool. the horse riding was a good laugh. Thanks for the upgrade on the trains. I'm assuming the guides in Russia know what's going on, yeah?

Cheers,
Diarmuid


From: Steve Byrne, England
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 11:39 PM
To: Andy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: BYRNE - Mongolia

Andy,

I especially liked Ekaterinburg. It's a really nice city, with loads to see ..It's been the highlight of my trip so far.

Steve Byrne, April 2011

Just to let you know that I've had a really nice time in Russia and there have been no further hitches. I apologize for my negative comments about Mongolia, but I think my anger may have been partly fuelled by the loss of my camera along with a lack of sleep e.t.c.
I especially liked Ekaterinburg. It's a really nice city, with loads to see. The guide there - Konstantin - was also really cool. I was surprised that nobody else from the initial group that left Beijing opted to stop in Ekaterinburg. It's been the highlight of my trip so far.
I'm in St. Petersburg now - I think I may have reached the 'thousand-yard-stare' point, so a good nights sleep is needed tonight.

Regards,
Steve



From: rockdocs, Australia
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:43 PM
To: Willy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: WU: transfers

Dear Willy,


That is great [all extra transfers requeted are organised]! Takes a worry off our mind as dealing with people here is not that easy unless your Russian is good. We will pay them in cash.

By the way, everything has been really smooth and great for us. The accommodation has been very good, homestay also great.

Trains were also very good - and what can I say about what we saw except for WOW.

Roxanne Wu, March 2011

Tour guides and drivers all very prompt and informative. The Suzdal people were especially good - hotel very comfortable and guide Yelena got us into places which were supposed to be closed. Trains were also very good - and what can I say about what we saw except for WOW.

Only negative thing was that I cheated by the souvenir shop which the guide took us to at Lystvyanka. Curiously, the guide Lena told me a story about how an Australian had bought some jewellery from this shop, but found he had 'lost' a piece when he got home. he wrote to Lena to get another piece for him because he was so sorry for this loss. I bought two pieces of jewellery and found when I got back to my house that one was missing. When I went back to the shop, they said I must have 'lost' it. A case of boomerang Siberian stones? No, I think this is a scam. Quite a cheap error, and so far the only one.

Our guide Odka in UB was superb and actually physically chased a pickpocket who stole Vanessa's wallet (Andre's daughter). She was especially friendly and helpful, as well as being very knowledgeable about everything.

It has been a great trip - thanks for all your help.

Roxanne



From: Alicia Bradley, USA
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 4:12 AM
To: Willy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: DULA: Payment receipt

Hey! We are having an awesome trip and are setting off on our last leg tomorrow (Thursday night). I have one last question for you. We are heading from Moscow to St Petersburg tomorrow. Will we have transport to the train station tomorrow in Moscow? Just checking that before we make other arrangements. Thanks for all of your help!
Alicia



From: Kevin Rice, USA
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:27 PM
To: Willy, Beijing Office
Subject: Re: RICE: voucher

So far everyone has been great!

Augie our Mongolian guide has been amazing.

Kevin Rice, March 2011

Hey Willy,

Just letting you know things are going great! As for the Voucher we found the printed copy with the Canadians so no worry there. So far everyone has been great! Augie our Mongolian guide has been amazing.

Just checking in,
Kevin

 


 

From: Herbie Herbertson, Australia
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 6:26 PM
Subject: RE: HERBERTSON / Payment receipt

Thanks Willy. Yup everything has been great. Especially the guys in Yekaterinburg - they were super helpful and nice. And Moscow too actually! No dramas about the cash [560rubles I need to pay for the ferry customs] just wasnt sure if had paid it already or not.
Cheers

Herbie

 



Fun on camels in the Gobi

Ingrid and Peter in the Gobi !

From: Ingrid & Peter, New Zealand
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:28 PM
Subject: Feedback for transsiberian travel booked through Monkeyshrine

Dear Willy

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier, but it's been a busy time since our return in October.

Thank you so much for organizing our wonderful travel adventure from Beijing through to Moscow! We had a fantastic time on our Transmongolian and Transsiberian adventure. All your advice was extremely useful, and everything was well organized and ran like clock work. We didn't have a single problem the entire three week trip and ticket collections went very smoothly. All three guides were excellent and punctual, very helpful and friendly. Naki, our Gobi guide, introduced us to the amazing Mongolian food & culture. His English was great and he was full of interesting information. Lena in Irkutsk and Leana in Moscow were both excellent city tour guides and provided plenty of background about their beloved cities. We will certainly visit again and get in touch with you for our bookings. We highly recommend Monkeyshrine to anyone for arranging a friendly and hassle-free holiday!

Best Wishes,
Ingrid & Peter

 


From: PERIE Antoine, France
Sent: 08 January 2011 18:52
Subject: PERIE - Report

Dear Joanna,

Needless to say that the trip was simply amazing !
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING….

Antoine Perie, January 2011

Happy New Year !

I must apologize for not writing to you before.
I have just returned from Christmas in Beijing and hope that you had an enjoyable holiday season.

Needless to say that the trip was simply amazing !
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING….
I couldn’t believe that I had a guide just for myself and you were right Mongolia is simply beautiful.

All your recommendations and plans were simple perfect.

I hope that all is good for you and I wish you a happy new year filled with health and many other good thing,

Best ,

AP

 

page last updated: 13th Feberuary 2012.