Tag Archives: Russia

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Two of the many host cities for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup – Moscow and Yekaterinburg.

Back in 2016 when Michael Chan and I were doing the Trans Siberian Railway adventure, Moscow and Yekaterinburg was one of the many stops that we made.


Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow under refurbishment for the world cup 2018.

The opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia will be played here on June 14, 18:00 and finals on July 15, 18:00

The above picture was taken during our boat cruise on Moscow river.


Luzhniki Stadium after completion.


I took the above picture when we were in Yekaterinburg.

Ekaterinburg’s Tsentralny Stadium, the largest sports facility in the capital of the Urals and home of the local FC Ural, is temporarily getting a new name, Ekaterinburg Arena, for the duration of the 2018 World Cup.

Tsentralny Stadium was built in 1953-1957. Its Soviet neoclassical façade is on the cultural heritage list. The eastern and western entrance gates are porticos with columns, adorned with statues of a milling machine operator, a skier, a marksman, a footballer, a female athlete with a torch, and a steel founder. The ticket office buildings outside the entrances are shaped as pylons. Yekaterinburg Arena is sited in the central Verkh-Isetskiy District, between Ulitsa Repina and Ulitsa Pirogova, across from the 1860 John the Baptist Cathedral on the other side of Ulitsa Repina.  The historical look of the building was preserved intact during the reconstruction. In fact, the architecture of the new parts of the building’s façade is intentionally neutral. They are only a backdrop, underscoring the merit of the historical parts. Following the reconstruction, completed in December 2017, the stadium now has a seating capacity of 35,000. It will be reduced to 23,000 post-World Cup.

Each stadium for the competition has to have a minimum capacity of 35,000, which was becoming an issue for the Ekaterinburg Arena in Yekaterinburg, expanding two of the stands beyond the limits of the stadium.


Among all the venue stadiums in Russia Ekateringburg Arena Stadium is the most unique and famous of all.

The 2018 World Cup venue Ekaterinburg Arena has odd new stands at either end of the pitch. The stands at either end (left and right) have been partially constructed outside of the stadium to hit a 45,000 capacity

Upcoming matches in Ekaturinburg Arena Stadium:

  1. Friday, 15 June 17:00 Egypt – Uruguay
  2. Thursday, 21 June 20:00 France – Peru
  3. Sunday, 24 June 20:00 Japan – Senegal
  4. Wednesday, 27 June 19:00 Mexico – Sweden


Here are some of the many attractions in Yekaterinburg.


Obelisk Europe-Asia Border

I’m standing on the left which is the Europe side and Michael on the right which is the Asia side.


The Church on the Blood

The events, which took place on the night of June, 17 1918, when the Tsar’s family were executed in the house of the military engineer Ipatiev in Yekaterinburg.

However, at the beginning of the 2000th it was decided to build the Church on Blood on the site of the Ipatiev House where the Romanov family were killed.


Ganina Yama Monastery

Ganina Yama Monastery stands on the site where the bodies of the last Russian Tsar and his family were thrown after their execution by the Bolsheviks.


Our young Russian tour guide from the municipal council who speaks fluent English with his old faithful Russian made car Lada which took us around Yekaterinburg.



Uzbek Cuisine – Rubai Restaurant

Kazan – Republic of Tatarstan






Uzbek traditional costume


Rubai Shish Kebab(lamb fillet)


Ferghana Pilaf – Traditional Uzbek lamb Pilaf –  is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. In some cases, the rice may also attain its brown colour by being stirred with pieces of cooked onion, as well as a mix of spices and meat.



Manty(dumplings) with veal and onions served with sour cream and greens

All dishes are prepared according to ancient oriental recipes and the most outstanding dish we had was the Ferghana Pilaf which was totally mesmerizing. Full of flavors.

Rubai Restaurant 

Profsoyuznaya 16,


Republic of Tatarstan


Russian Cuisine – Stolovaya No. 57

Moscow – Russia

When you come to Moscow, you definitely want to try true Russian cuisine. Of course, you can do it in most restaurants, but there’s a more authentic variant. And it’s cheaper, too! Highly recommended by our walking tour guide.

Moscow GUM (Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin; it may literally be translated as “the main universal store”) is situated in the center of the city and it faces the Red Square. In English this huge shopping mall is usually called “State Department Store”.


There are a variety of places where you can have a meal. But the most unusual is Soviet Style Restaurant #57. Actually, it is not a restaurant; it is a so called “stolovaya”.


It is notable for its self-service and traditional Russian food. Most items are charged by the weight. A canteen style restaurant where you start from the beginning and pick the food you want and put them on your tray and move on to the cashier and make your payment.


Moreover, the interior design reflects an atmosphere similar to that in Soviet times. Even tableware and tablecloths are made the Soviet way.


All the dishes are prepared according to the traditions of Russia’s cuisine. There are plenty of different dishes. Some of them are classic (like Russian salad, borsch, pelmeni, stewed fruits), and some of them are less popular. Even so, there is always something new and appetizing.


No doubt, this place attracts tourists, but Russians like to eat here, too. The good thing is not having to wait – everything is ready, you just pick what you like. And the second reason is, of course, tasty food!

Moscow GUM

Red square,



Trans-Siberian Railway Adventures


Mind-Blowing Trip of a Lifetime

My friend Chai Chin has been talking about this adventure 2 years ago and only recently that we decided to make it a reality. We opted for the Trans-Siberian/Trans-Mongolian routes starting from Moscow and ends in Beijing.

Trans Siberian Railway Facts

Trans-Siberian railway or Transsib is the longest railway in the world (about 8000 km) and takes about 6 days to cross from Moscow to Vladivostok. A branch of this railway that goes from Chita to Beijing through Ulan-Bataar (in Mongolia) is called Trans-Mongolian and the other branch that goes around Mongolia straight to China is called Trans Manchurian railway. The whole journey from Moscow to Beijing also takes about 6 days.

The railway line, spanning eight time zones and travelling across two continents continues to beguile as a vital artery linking together the largest nation on earth.
But beyond the classic sites of Lake Baikal, the Kremlin and Vladivostok, there’s a wealth of lesser-known corners and detours on this epic journey.

The best way to travel along Transsib is to take trains between the major cities staying a few days in each, so you don’t have have to spend several days in the same train compartment. The more interesting places to stop along the way are Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk (2 days by train from Moscow – from there you can go to Altay mountains for trekking and rafting), Krasnoyarsk (3 days from Moscow – the climbing mecca and a great city), Irkutsk (4 days from Moscow – Baikal lake), Ulan-Ude (4.5 days – the first “Asian” city in Russia along the way), Vladivostok (6 days). Of course, Ulan-Bataar (5 days from Moscow) in Mongolia and Beijing in China also if you’re traveling in that direction.

The logistics are hard to organise on your own. It takes a lot of planning for this trip as sometimes it’s quite tricky buying the train tickets online but Chai Chin did a good job with it on his own. “Syabas”

In order to get a Russian visa, the first thing we need is an invitation (also known as visa support letter) which can be obtain online with a minimal fee.  Only after getting the invitation we can start applying directly for the Russian visa online and when completed we need to bring all the documents to the Russian Embassy with our passports and also making a payment of RM200.00 via a local bank near the embassy. It takes about 20 days for them to process the visa. And as for the China visa it’s very straight forward. Go directly to their processing centre in KL personally with all relevant documents and it takes 4 days. The cost is RM88.30


Travelling dates:

August 7 to September 5, 2016




Our journey was a combination of Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway routes. The most popular by far.

9 St Basil's Cathedral - the 1st place we visitedOur first destination St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow, Russia onion.JPG

10.JPGTerelj National Park in Mongolia

218.JPGThe Forbidden City in Beijing, China





for the complete journey experiences from day 1 in Moscow till day 30 in Beijing with more pictures and description click on the racket below to explore…