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Tour Map

Tour style – Culture & History

16 days

Epic doesn’t begin to describe this railway journey from Russia to China. Beginning in Moscow, your trip on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway will take you across the steppe to experience secluded Mongolia’s colourful culture. Disembark and spend a night in a ger before continuing on to the palaces of Beijing. An experienced CEO will lead the way and take care of the details so you’re free to enjoy one of the world’s greatest train rides. Whether on board or off, this will be 16 days to remember for the rest of your life.
  • Day 1 Moscow

    Arrive at any time. There are no activities planned today before an evening Welcome Meeting with your group and CEO.

  • Day 2 Moscow

    The great red city of Moscow has seen Russia through some of its most turbulent years. Despite the glamour and show of modern capitalism, exploring Moscow is like taking a step back in time and being lost in history.

    Names of places such as the ‘Kremlin’ and the infamous ‘Red Square’, bring forth unforgettable images of espionage, secrecy and the Cold War era. Explore the streets of this evocative city to truly gain a sense of Muscovite life. Opt to visit the fantastic Kremlin with its Armoury, Red Square and Ivan the Terrible’s extraordinary St Basil’s Cathedral, absolutely not to be missed.

    The train to Irkutsk, Siberia departs just after midnight late on Day 2 (early morning Day 3).

  • Days 3-6 Trans-Siberian Railway/Irkutsk

    Board the train just past midnight on Day 3 and settle in for the journey of a lifetime. The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world’s most famous train line, extending from Moscow across Siberia to the far flung town of Vladivostok. We experience part of this celebrated train odyssey, boarding in the bustling hub of Moscow for the long journey to Irkutsk (approx. 88 hours).

    Travelling through time zones in style, we pass mountain ranges and wind our way through taiga forests, big Russian cities and small Siberian villages.The train is a simple affair, but with enough modern amenities to make it a comfortable journey. The carriage bathrooms are well equipped and have hot water, though if you wish to have a shower you will need to bring your own shower attachments (best to just embrace life riding the railways and skip it altogether!). An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after your needs and each compartment has four convertible beds, with luggage storage space provided.

    The restaurant car tends to have a jovial atmosphere and can offer an interesting insight into local cuisine and culture- it’s also a great place to make friends on this long journey.

    Trains run on Moscow time even though there may be several hours time difference, making for interesting meal times. Station platforms nearly always have an array of food for sale at kiosks. There are lists of stations that the train will stop at and the time they stay there, ranging from two to twenty minutes. Always double check with your CEO before jumping off- it’s a long wait for the next train to come through if you make a mistake! Some of the best experiences on the Trans-Siberian involve the meals you can concoct from food purchased on the platforms or markets before you board. Think ahead to what you’ll have to work with and be creative! You can always fall back on the local favourite, instant mashed potatoes.

    Arrive in the evening of Day 6 and spend one night in the charming Siberian city of irkutsk.

  • Day 7 Listvyanka/Lake Baikal (1D)

    Refreshed after the long journey, hop into a private van for the short trip to Listvyanka (approx. 2 hours), a small and picturesque village on the shores of Lake Baikal. Spend the day exploring the area and an invigorating swim in this Siberian lake is highly recommended. Your accommodation here is in a comfortable homestay full of local character and charm. Savour the fantastic meals prepared by your entertaining host and opt to use the banya (sauna) for a taste of local life (best experienced between sips of vodka, of course).

  • Days 8-9 Irkutsk/Trans-Mongolian Railway (1B)

    Journey back to Irkutsk with time to visit the city before re-boarding the train for a 2-night journey that crosses the Russia/Mongolia border. Travel to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. This train is the most local of all the trains we take on this journey and, as such, the amenities are limited. A restaurant car is normally not provided so we take time to stock up in one of Irkutsk’s markets.

  • Days 10-12 Ulaanbaatar/Ger Camp (2B,1L,1D)

    There is plenty of time to explore the fantastic museums and temples the Mongolian capital has to offer. The sleepy capital is an evolving city, showing many signs of its Soviet past contrasted with an increasing Chinese influence and a re-emergence of traditional Mongolia.

    We also spend overnight (Day 10) in a ger camp enjoying nomadic life in traditional Mongolian accommodation. A ger is a round felt tent used by the nomadic Mongolian people all over the grasslands. They are easily disassembled, carried to a new location and reassembled by the locals. The gers are large rooms with beds surrounding a central stove. They are toasty warm and full of character.

    Back in the city, opt to see a Mongolian cultural show, complete with fascinating throat singing and contortionists. Be sure to sample some beer at the local Chingghis Brewery, taste some authentic Mongolian Barbecue or visit the English Pub with local British-style ale brewed nearby, the end point for the famous Mongol Rally.

  • Days 13 Trans-Mongolian Railway (1B)

    We board our last train on the morning of Day 13 from Ulaanbaatar which brings us into the capital of China in the afternoon the next day, traversing dramatic desert-scapes that give way to the rugged mountainous terrain that is home to China’s ancient defense system, The Great Wall. Keep an eye out for glimpses of it as we get closer to the journey’s end.

    Another quirk of this journey is the changing of the train wheels. The track is a different gage going from Mongolia to China (another old defense mechanism!). When we arrive to the border the train will be disassembled with each carriage being raised on hydraulic lifts one by one. The old wheels are disconnected and rolled away while the new ones are set in place and the carriage is placed back down on top. During this time you can get off the train and wander around the station or opt to stay on and watch the show.

  • Days 14-15 Beijing

    Beijing, China’s capital city, is one of the world’s largest and most fascinating cities. Enjoy an included visit to the Great Wall and walk along the Mutianyu section.

    There is enough time to explore the most famous attractions – legendary Tiananmen Square and enigmatic Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and the Lama Temple Monastery or get lost in Beijing’s hutongs – traditional alleys hiding a labyrinth of courtyard dwellings.

  • Day 16 Beijing

    Our epic journey concludes in Beijing and you may depart at any time. The hotel has luggage storage facilities and taxis to the airport or train station can be arranged.

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