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Naadam Festival Aboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
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Naadam Festival Aboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 13 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 10 people
Destination(s): Russia   Mongolia  
Specialty Categories: Festival Tours   Railway Trips  
Season: July
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 15495 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 29995 US Dollar (USD)

Naadam is the big event in Mongolia — a lively national festival, held every year from July 11-13. Naadam means “three manly games”. Known as the world’s second-oldest Olympics, it celebrates what defined civilization in the steppes eight centuries ago—archery, wrestling and horse-riding. The competitors in the riding events are all children aged between 5 and 12, many of whom have been in the saddle since the age of one. As they race along the plains for 12 miles, thousands of spectators line the remote track to watch up to 650 children sitting confidently astride their small but sturdy Mongolian steeds. It is claimed that such equestrian skills won Genghis Khan an empire that stretched from the Sea of Japan all the way to Europe. Once a religious ceremony, the festival now formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself a free country. Our tour combines the Naadam Festival with an amazing overland journey from Moscow on board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Moscow. Arrive at Moscow airport, where you are met and transferred to the luxurious five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of this vibrant city for a one-night stay. We enjoy a welcome reception dinner at our hotel, while you meet your fellow travelers on this epic 14-day voyage.

Day 2: Moscow. Our morning city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might. Here we see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St. Basil’s Cathedral, with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of the Kremlin and the somber and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. Early afternoon sees us boarding the luxurious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. After settling into your modern, stylish cabins, enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our rail adventure eastwards to Ulaan Baatar begins.

Day 3: Kazan. We arrive at the picturesque and historic city of Kazan by mid-morning. Situated on the River Volga, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel are a stunning mosque and onion-domed cathedral. After a relaxing dinner on the Golden Eagle, you may wish to retire to our welcoming bar car where you can enjoy drinks with new friends while listening to our resident pianist.

Day 4: Yekaterinburg. We cross the Europe/Asia divide before arriving in the historic city of Yekaterinburg. Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, the third largest Russian city is also the capital of the Urals. The cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilizations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape. Our city tour takes us to the poignant site where the Romanov Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was executed with his family and servants by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

Day 5: Novosibirsk. Today we visit Novosibirsk, a modern "Soviet" city rich in culture, whose arts, science and literature predominate. Our city tour takes us to view the exterior of the Opera House, the largest in the world. An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies. In front of the opera house, we visit an imposing statue of Lenin – a marvelous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.

Day 6: On board. A day to unwind and reflect on the many sights and sounds we have experienced on our journey so far. Chat with your fellow passengers, perhaps learn a few words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever-changing landscape outside your window.

Day 7: Irkutsk. We arrive in Irkutsk, the "Paris of Siberia". Our visit today takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including the classic wooden architecture that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance. We also visit the Decembrist House museum, dedicated to the memory of the exiled aristocrats who were forced to flee to this remote outpost after the failed revolution of 1825. Here we enjoy a private concert before returning to our waiting train for dinner.

Day 8: Lake Baikal. Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff-hugging tracks above the lake with a vista of snow-capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s fresh water. Also known as the "Pearl of Siberia", it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over 50 species of fish including omul (which will be served in the dining car for some of our meals). Weather permitting, we stop at one of Baikal’s picturesque and secluded bays to enjoy a delicious BBQ of freshly smoked fish prepared by our own chefs. For the brave-hearted, there is even time for a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters. We will later visit Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills.

Day 9: Ulan Ude. This morning we arrive in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its heritage. As we tour the area, you will notice the different faces and dress styles of these welcoming people. During our exploration of the Old Believers Village, we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as we are treated to a traditional meal and enjoy a concert featuring local dancers and musicians. This evening we spend our final night on board the Golden Eagle.

Day 10: Ulaan Baatar. Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia and our final destination where we spend three nights. Passing the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and infamous Mongol, we visit the National Museum where we explore the country’s intriguing history. Lunch is taken Mongol style, in a traditional Ger (Yurt) restaurant where we experience an authentic meal with excellent local dishes and entertainment—a unique opportunity to encounter this time-honored nomadic way of life. The afternoon is at your leisure, perhaps shopping for traditional Mongolian gifts.

Day 11: Naadam Festival. Today we spend a full day at the Naadam Festival. We get to observe the elaborate opening ceremony, which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse-riders and musicians, before watching the national horse race.

Day 12: Naadam Festival. This is the day for all main competitions. In the morning we’ll attend archery, wrestling and the sheep ankle bone flick competition. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Genghis Khan horse show.

Day 13: Tour ends. Breakfast is served and transfers are provided to the airport for departing flights.

July 1-13 (EB)
July 10-22 (WB)

Airfare is not included in the tour price.


Silver Class
$15,495 p.p. double
$22,595 single
Deposit: $1500

Gold Class
$18,995 p.p. double
$27,995 single
Deposit: $2000

Imperial Suite
$29,995 p.p. double
Single on request
Deposit: $5000

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