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The easiest way out of Russia is the ‘Dong Chung’ Ferry
which goes twice a week from the Port of Vladivostok and
the Port of Zarubino to Sokcho, South Korea. The Dong
Chung ferry office is located in Vladivostok’s Main Train
Station. Its open from Monday to Friday but book your place
on the vessel at least 4-5 days ahead. We were advised to
sail from Zarubino, somewhat smaller then the port at
Vladivostock, so thought to be a smoother affair. The fee will
obviously depend on the size of the vehicle, but we managed
to get to Korea for less than 1000 dollars (1 camper van and
two people, sleeping on comfy futons on the floor). For the
ones who are travelling with their dogs, it might be
encouraging to hear that on our journey, the captain of the
Dong Chung agreed to take our dog ‘Vaga’. She had to stay
in the vehicle for the 16-hour ride but luckily we were allowed
to go and see her and take her out for little strolls on the car

As for the payment: We ended up paying a few separate
fees. One at the Dong Chung office and a few at the actual
port (for customs clearance and for paperwork translation
service). Some websites suggest that you can pay the ferry
once you arrive in Sokcho, Korea. We took this advice and
found it rather problematic. At the port of Zarubino the
captain was seriously reluctant to accept us on the ship, as
we hadn’t paid yet. He said that he’d had bad experience in
the past, with people refusing to pay for the ferry once in
Korea. After a bit of a ‘hoo haa’ and us promising that we will
pay in Sokcho we finally got on the ship. Once we arrived in
Korea, the payment saga continued and turned into a bit of a
headache as there was no ATM at the port. The shipping
company was paranoid that we will run off without paying so
they called us a taxi that took us down town to draw money
out and then brought us back. Maybe also worth pointing out
that its quite difficult to find ATM’s that accept foreign cards,
it was a whole lot easier to draw money in Russia! Who
would have thought! Another thing, if you decide to pay in
Korea, make sure you have more than 1 card at hand! Daily
limit and all, it took us 3 cards per van to come up with the
amount required. Back at the office we were made to sign a
letter to the president (no kidding!!), promising that we will
take the vehicles out of the country in 3 months. We also had
to purchase the vehicle insurance at this office. Apparently
there is no other option, so make sure you get the insurance
at the port. The price was calculated based on the size of the
engine and the duration of the stay. Generally, the longer the
insurance period, the cheaper it gets.

All in all it was fairly straight forward, with just a few hick ups!
From walking into the office in Vladivostok to arriving in
Sockcho, a total of 5 days.  Also might be worth pointing out
that there’s no issue to have your personal belongings inside
the vehicle.
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