Russia 2014 

overland russia


  • Days: 10 days
  • Period: August 2014
  • Weather:  We had nice warm summer days (sunny and not too hot), but also days that were cloudy and rainy. In the evenings it was already chilly.


General information:

  • Currency: Roebel

  • Internet: You will be able to find it in enough places like hotels, restaurants and bars

  • ATM's: Visa ATM's widely available

  • Creditcards: Paid with visa in hotels, restaurants, supermarkts and gas stations 

  • Safety: We bushcamped almost every night (except for Barnaul), but as alcoholism is a huge problem in Russia we where very carefully picked our spots. All our bushcamps where in the nature to very close to villages. On most spots we were visable from the road but never had any problem. 


Prices (August 2014)

  • Value Money: €1 = 47 Roebel 

  • Fuel: diesel is 32,5 Roebel (about € 0,69 per liter)

  • Camping: We only bushcamped which was for free

  • Prices: Groceries are a bit cheaper in Russia than in Kazakhstan 


Visa and Registration

  • valid = 30 days from date of entry (single entry)

  • For every Russian visa you need a LOI (letter of invitation). We organised this letter through The price for the LOI depends on the number of entries. We have a single entry and the price for this was $30 per person. Stantours has a great service and they respond to your emails very quickly. After sending them proof of Payment the LOI is issued in just a couple of days.

  • The visa itself was obtained in the Netherlands. Although most agencies confirmed that a Russian visa is not issued earlier than 3 months in advance (this is also stated by the Embassy's website) we were able to apply in March for a visa valid in August. At least in the Netherlands the embassy issues visa earlier but only when you can proof that you leave the Netherlands early and cannot apply on a later moment.  In our case a detailed intinerary of the whole trip between the Netherlands and Mongolia was enough. As we did not wanted to risk a refusal we organised this visa through the visa agency that adviced us about this possibility and had done this before. This agency is:
  • Price for the visa: €65 per person (30 days, single entry). Price for the LOI $30 per person and fee for the visa agency €18 per passport

  • In order to apply for a Russian visa you also need a special "Russia declaration" from your health insurance that states that your insurance is valid in Russia for the requested visa period. 
  • Visa Registration = Officially you have to register your visa when stay in Russia longer than 3 days. Registration can be done by the police but also many hotels can arrange it. We arranged our registration through a hotel in Barnaul where we stayed one night. On the road we met a couple that did not register and had to pay  a $ 60 fine on the border when they left the country. Registration at the OVIR or through a hotel is mostly for free. Some hotels charge an extra 50 Roebel.
  • Altai Registration = In addition to the regular visa registration you also must do an extra registration when travelling through the Altai. This can be done in Gorno Altaysk or Kosh Agach. We arranged it in Gorno Altaysk. In order to get this registration we got help from a local travel agency. At first we tried to do it ourselves but as on our visa LOI some information was not mentioned the police sent us to the agency who arranged it within a few hours (price 500 Roebel per person). If this registration is really needed we do not know. On the border in Tashanta we met quite a few travellers who did not have it and they had not problems. The officials did not ask for it.  


Border crossing

  • Entry:At Rubtsovsk (coming from Kazakhstan). Before leaving Kazakhstan they already sell you a Russian insurance. We bought this, but take note that this is not needed when your Green Card covers Russia. Besides, on entering the Russia we were not asked to show any proof of insurance. As Russia forms a Custom Union with Kazakhstan and Balarus border procedures with these countries are simplyfied. We just got a stamp in our passport and as customs check had already been done when entering Kazakstan we could just drive on with our any more checks. IMPORTANT: The custom declaration you received when entering the Union (in our case on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) is needed when leaving Russia). So do not through this form away.

  • Exit: At Tashanta (going to Mongolia). Note: this border is closed on Sundays and holidays. On other days it is open between 9am and 6pm. Before going to the border you must first go to immigration which is in a small container-like building about 1 km before the gate. Here an official will stamp your immigration form. When it is very crowded at the border make you better queue up here, because as soon as you have the stamp you can continues regardless on which position in the queue your car is. After you had your immigration card stamped go the the small phone box like building next to the gate with you car papers and immigration card. At the gate only a couple of cars at a time are allowed to go into the customs zone. When you are in, park your car and go to customs where you have to hand over your Customs declaration form. Note: if you have entered Russia coming from Belarus or Kazakhstan it is the form you received when you entered one of these countries. We did not knew this and threw it away which caused a lot of trouble. In the end we managed to get out of Russia. After customs is done go to the big building on the other side and have your passport stamped. Then your car will be checked and you are ready to go. If all your paperwork is OK. This border is not so much of hassle. However if not, they can be very difficult here. After leaving the border zone you will have to drive through a deserted piece of land to the official borderline where a last check is done. 



  • All roads we drove were very good tarmac  


Fees for Toll, bridges, tunnels and ferries

  • No fees were paid   


Highlights or not

  • Altai: We really liked the Altai. The scenery is beautiful and most nights we had great bushcamps. The nicest part of the trip was between Gorno Altaysk and Tashanta. 



Grid: Lat/Lon hddd°mm.mmm"

RU-ATM1 - N50°18.732 E87°36.394
ATM for Visa

RU-CAMP01 - N52°24.893 E82°39.433
Bushcamp in a field. Also when raining this place is not muddy. No facilities

RU-CAMP02 - N53°20.859 E83°45.713
Basic but good hotel, when you stay there they do the registration. Price 3000 Roebel per night. Wifi on the room and breakfast included.

RU-CAMP03 - N53°15.181 E84°34.510
Bushcamp in a field 40 Km after Barnaul. No facilities

RU-CAMP04 - N51°58.318 E85°56.590
Bushcamp on a hill, quiet and safe. No facilities

RU-CAMP05 - N50°38.494 E86°20.506
Bushcamp on a private field next to a clear stream. Nobody sent us away. We washed ourselves in the river

RU-CAMP06 - N50°13.946 E87°45.508
Bushcamp on a field nearby a river (not for washing). Old long drop toilet nearby. Nice place, great views, fishing spot, many mosquitos

RU-CAMP07 - N50°02.620 E88°34.668
Bushcamp on a stoney field next to a dry river bed. Quiet, safe, nice views, no facilities. We saw a desertfox here.

RU-CAMP08 - N49°48.755 E88°56.843
Bushcamp in the hills, out of sight. Nice quiet spot. Nice view, no facilities

RU-CHECK - N49°38.604 E89°26.534
Last border check

RU-FUEL1 - N50°18.482 E87°36.516
Fuel, accept Visa card

RU-FUEL2 - N50°00.662 E88°40.089
Fuel, no Visa card

RU-FUEL3 - N49°43.297 E89°11.133
Fuel, near the border

RU-JCT1 - N50°01.577 E88°34.566
Junction to RU-camp07, bushcamp near dry river bed

RU-JCT2 - N49°49.271 E88°57.050
Junction to RU-camp08, bushcamp in the hills

RU-MALL - N51°31.956 E81°12.441
Shopping Mall

RU-MN - N49°42.597 E89°12.120
Border betwee Russia and Mongolia

RU-REGISTR - N51°57.393 E85°56.446
Travel agency that can organise Altai registration. House numer 68, office 232

RU-SMEREN - N51°57.671 E85°57.899
Greasing axels

RU-SUPER - N49°59.786 E88°39.650
Good supermarket, accepts Visa card