Besides staying in Russia's and China's pulsing capitals, we make trips to the countryside in Siberia and Mongolia. First stop on the train journey is the old caravan city Irkutsk, which has a reputation as Siberia's most beautiful city. We drive to the 600 km long Baikal - the world's deepest lake, housing several animals only found here such as the freshwater seal. We sail out on the lake and visit villages with authentic Russian village life and the unique Siberian nature.
In Mongolia, we get off from the train in the capital, Ulan Bator, and from here we head off to the Mongolian steppes in the National Park Terelj, where the folklore comes into your skin when we feel the true nomadic style staying in the traditional round filt tents. The journey continues to the east towards the Chinese capital Beijing. Just before arriving we see through the window of the train The Great Chinese Wall – one of the new seven world wonders.
We are spending several days in Beijing and see the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and other interesting places. Of course, climbing of the Chinese wall is a must. This 19-day tour gives you plenty of both big city culture and unique nature experiences in landscape of plains and steppes. Unique nature and culture of two continents. City life, rural urbanization and nomadism.
- Group tours Moscow-Beijing: 25 May, 13 July, 17 August, 7 September
- Price: 2215 EUR
- See below the tour itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Moscow. Transportation to the hotel and accommodation. In the evening sightseeing in Moscow's famous subway with beautiful marble columns, crystal chandeliers and ornate ceilings.
Day 2: City tour including the Red Square, Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin, where we see the Armoury with one of the world's largest treasure chambers.
Day 3: Free day. In the evening transportation to Yaroslavskaya train station, where we get on the train and are introduced to our compartments where we stay for the next four days.
Days 4-6: Travel by train. We pass through the Ural Mountains with million cities Perm and Ekaterinburg. Further east we come through the large Siberian cities such as Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. The landscape in this part of the railway switches between coniferous and birch forests and small villages, where development is still far behind the big cities.
Day 7: Arrival in Irkutsk. Pick up at the station followed by city tour which ends at the hotel. On this tour, we include visit to the Decembrists’ Museum.
Day 8: In the morning transport to the village of Listvjanka at Lake Baikal. Here we see the old wooden church and sail north on Lake Baikal to the small village of Bolshie Koty, which is beautifully situated on the lake's western shore. Private accommodation in wooden houses. After dinner evening is on your own disposal. Possibility of genuine Russian Banya (sauna).
Day 9: Departure in the morning by boat back to Listvjanka. Lunch and then transport back to Irkutsk, where we are on the road visiting Taltsi Ethnographic Museum (open-air museum) with the unique architecture. Arrival in Irkutsk in the afternoon, overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Departure by train to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator (approx. 24 hours). We pass through the Buddhist provincial capital of Buryatia Ulan Ude.
Day 11: Arrival in Ulan Bator in the morning. Transportation to the hotel and accommodation. Then city tour with visit to the Museum of Natural History housing the world-famous dinosaur skeletons found in the Gobi desert. In the evening folklore show with Mongolian throat singing and traditional music.
Day 12: After breakfast we drive from Ulan Bator up in Terelj National Park (approx. 75 km). Here we stay in traditional round white felt tent (Yurt). Possibility for hiking and riding (hire of horses on spot) in the stunning mountain and forest areas in the park.
Day 13: Return to Ulan Bator, where we see a factory for producing of felt tents (yurts). Afternoon and evening to your own disposal.
Day 14: In the morning departure by train to China's capital Beijing (approx. 30 hours). In the evening we arrive at the border where train cars must have their wheels replaced because of the different track width in China.
Day 15: Arrival in Beijing in the afternoon. Transportation to the hotel for accommodation. In the evening there is entertainment with world-renowned Chinese acrobatics.
Day 16: Today we make excursions to the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City situated at the end of Tiananmen Square. From here that the Ming and Qing dynasties have ruled. Here we are shown around and see a selection of 800 spectacular buildings, which is said to contain 9,999 rooms. The evening is free.
Day 17: Program in Beijing continues with a trip to the summit of any trip to China: the Great Wall. It is an unforgettable experience to stand on this impressive building, which stretches more than 6000 km across the country. Afterwards we head to one of Beijing's beautiful landmarks: Temple of Heaven. Afternoon and evening at your own disposal in Beijing.
Day 18: All day at leisure.
Day 19: Transportation to the airport according to the return flight.
Life on the Train:
The Trans-Siberian is not a railway especially arranged for tourists; it’s just a means of public transportation. You will spend your days in the train meeting new people, chatting, eating, playing games, reading and enjoying the changing landscape through the window. You will be able to get off and stretch your legs at the train stations, where the train stops for 5-20 minutes. Getting to know the locals is guaranteed. You might find yourself drinking vodka with a Russian soldier, discussing politics with a Chinese academic or sharing a bottle of Russian champagne with a Mongolian businessman.
Types of trains and classes:
You can choose between first (soft) class and second (hard) class.
A first-class compartment is shared by two passengers – there are two lower berths one oposite the other with a table between them. A second-class compartment is shared by four (there's quite plenty of space, comparing to European trains). The beds are two by two one above the other. There is a small table next to the window and enough space for luggage. There are bedcovers and pillows, and at the beginning of the journey, you get bedclothes. Each wagon is being kept in order by two train attendants. They will make sure your journey passes smoothly, exit at every station and remind you to get on the train before it has left, and offer you hot water for coffee or tea.
There is a restaurant on the train where both the staff and the menu change depending on the country the train is crossing, so the quality is difficult to predict. It is a good idea to bring along some supplies, but you will be able to buy very cheap, fresh and tasty food at the stops. You can buy everything: from a bottle of beer or water to home made boiled potatoes, eggs, cakes, chicken breast, vodka, smoked fish and fresh vegetables. The train-attendants also sell some not expensive snacks and drinks, so you won’t get hungry.
Hygiene, toilets and showers:
Each carriage has its own train-attendants who does the daily cleaning. At each end of the carriage there is a toilet with a WC and a small sink. Most of the times the toilets are quite dirty, so you’d better have liquid soap and soft wet pads with you. There are no showers in 2nd class carriages (showers are provided in every compartment only in the 1st class, train #3 and #4, and in a separate carriage in some trains for extra payment - about 30 rubli ($1).
The best time for the journey is from April to October. The winter is bitterly cold but, if you are not afraid of the frost, you’ll experience Siberia covered with snow. Only the locals travel in winter – there are virtually no tourists. And it is quite warm on the train.
Accommodation and food:
3-star hotels (10 nights); felt tents-gers (1 nights); private accommodation (1 night); overnights in the train (6 nights). In private accommodation and in gers up to 4 people sleep together. Breakfast is included at the hotels, lunch and dinner is included on selected days.
You should carry your own luggage. That's why we recommend you to bring racksack with you instead of a suitecase. It is far more comfortabe mainly when climbing up and down the stairs at the train stations.
Price of extra services:
Additional payment for 2-pax compartment (either first class or 2 tickets per person in second class) is 490 EUR per person for Moscow-Irkutsk-Ulan Bator-Beijing; single supplement in hotels (not in gers and private accommoation) is 335 EUR per person. Horse riding in Mongolia is ca. 5 USD per person.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Russia Mongolia China Local Culture Railway Trips Cultural Journey
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