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TRANS-SIBERIAN “OFF THE BEATEN TRACK” TOURS

Here we discuss our "Off The Beaten Track" series of rail tours and holidays. The idea behind these special tours is to introduce those looking for a more in-depth and extensive Trans-Siberian experience to some of the less visited but still highly worthwhile destinations to visit along the rail routes.

What are the popular stops and less visited destinations?

When we talk about popular stops we are including Moscow, St Petersburg, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk and Ekaterinburg. These are the highlights and together make for an excellent all round Trans-Siberian holiday. There are, however, many other stops along the rail routes and although the majority are never likely to make it into and itinerary there are several which really add to the overall experience such a tour can offer the intrepid traveller. In this list we include Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan Ude and Sainshand which is a stop in Mongolia near the border with China that allows for some exploring of the East Gobi desert.

What do these off the beaten track destinations offer?

In short they offer a more rounded experience of this epic rail journey and the chance to visit places less geared to tourism which can often produce a fascinating cultural experience and deeper insight into the country. Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan where European Russian culture brushes up and lives in harmony with a more Central Asian Islamic culture. The city is wealthy as the province has many natural resources including oil fields. Kazan’s Kremlin is the only one in Russia that has both an orthodox church and mosque inside its walls making for an interesting contrast in architecture.

Krasnoyarsk is a prosperous city between Ekaterinburg and Irkutsk and is a great way to break up what is otherwise a long train journey. The city itself has much of interest and has a superb location on the mighty Yenisey River which flows to the arctic. Perhaps the chief draws though are outside of the city with the huge dam and the Stolby National park and its superb Siberian scenery offering something unique along the route.
 
Ulan Ude is the capital of Buryatia located between Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar at the junction between the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian rail routes. The city is another superb example of different cultures living together with Russians mixing with The Mongol Buryat peoples making for a real “East meets West” experience. Outside the city are some excellent monasteries amongst the remote scenery of this region.
 
The eastern part of the Gobi Desert is transected by the Trans-Mongolian railway making this area considerably easier and more cost effective to visit than the Central Gobi. The East Gobi doesn’t have the huge dunes of the Central Gobi but the scenery is stark and wild and meeting the few hardly people who live out here breeding camels is a unique experience. This area is also famous for dinosaur fossils which are surprisingly easy to find in some areas.

Where can you see these tours?

The initial run out of these tours can be found under our tours starting in Moscow and St Petersburg - just scroll down to the “Off the Beaten Rail Track” section. Over the coming weeks the tours starting in Beijing and Vladivostok will also be updated and we will continue to add tours including more trips from Moscow that finish in Vladivostok. As ever, if you have any questions at all please just ask us and we very much look forward to hearing from you soon.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE TOURS

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