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TS-B-05 Trans-Mongolian Highlights

BEIJING ● ULAANBAATAR ● IRKUTSK ● MOSCOW

16 nights from UK £ 2,720 per person

*Price based on 2 people travelling in a shared 4 berth second class cabin. Upgrade to your own cabin from UK £ 555 per person. These prices are based on 2020 rates and are here to give guidance. Final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability.
Please note this is a private tour - not a group tour.

A very popular trip with the two most popular stops on the Trans-Mongolian route providing fantastic variety of experience.

Start in BEIJING with an overnight train to ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia’s capital and gateway to the grasslands where you will spend your time. Train on to IRKUTSK with 2 nights spent in a traditional Siberian village on the shores of Lake Baikal before a further 4 nights on the train all the way to MOSCOW.

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Route Map & Destinations Visited

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Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Beijing

Arrival Beijing With Time to Relax at the Hotel

Welcome to Beijing, China’s cultural and political capital and a real highlight with it’s extraordinary blend of ancient and modern sights. Your guide will greet you at the airport with a transfer by private car to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax from the long flight or start to explore the city with the help of your personalised and exclusive Trip Guidebook we send you before the trip. The area around your centrally located hotel is perfect for an introductory walk.

Meals Included: None today.

BEIJING – 北京 – The capital of China is also one of it’s premiere attractions. Beijing has a wealth of historical sites and you will see the best of these during your time here including the Forbidden City and Great Wall. Mixed in amongst this history is a modern and exciting city with some of the best cuisine in China, a vibrant culture with one foot in the past and the other firmly striding into the future. If you are looking to see more of this huge country click here to visit our China tours section.

Day 2 - Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace

Today you will see the main highlights of Beijing starting with the Temple of Heaven, considered by many to be the most beautiful building in China. On to vast Tiananmen Square, home to the Mao Mausoleum (it may be possible to visit if open) and Monument to the People’s Heroes before walking to the huge palace complex of the Forbidden City. We’ll walk up the middle axis from South to North taking in the splendour of the most important central buildings before finishing in a small and ancient garden by the north gate.

The last stop today is at the Summer Palace to the west of Beijing. Dominated by Kunming lake it is as popular an escape from the city for todays Beijingers as it was for the Imperial court over the centuries.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 3 - Beijing

The Great Wall at Stunning Mutianyu & Visit One of Beijing’s Markets

Today we will be showing you one of China’s most famous sights – the Great Wall. We visit the dramatic and less crowded Mutianyu section 70km from Beijing set amongst spectacular mountain scenery. Dating back to the 6th Century and largely rebuilt in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty it is one of the best preserved sections of the wall largely due to the high standard of construction. The tour includes cable car tickets cable up and down the Wall.

Also today, if you wish, we can take you to one of Beijing’s many markets. Favourites are the Silk Market, Pearl Market and Panjiayuan antique market. If souvenir shopping isn’t for you other options are the Hutong street of Nanluoguxiang, the 798 Dashanzhi contemporary art area or a quick look at the impressive 2008 Olympic Stadium. You can discuss which is right for you with us in advance or your guide on the day.

Return to your hotel for a free evening to enjoy Beijing further or ask us about cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 4 - Depart Beijing

Train Journey Up to the China Mongolia Border

Morning transfer to the station to catch your first train in to Mongolia. Pass through Beijing’s suburbs before entering the grasslands of inner Mongolia, an expansive land of villages and farms. Evening arrival at the China-Mongolia border at Erlian. Here the carriages are raised up (with you still in them!) and the new bogies of the Mongolian gauge fitted making for a unique experience. Once completed the train continues across the border to the Mongolian town of Zamyn-Ude for the Mongolian immigration formalities. By this time it is late in the night as you continue your journey under darkness through the Gobi desert.

Meals Included: Breakfast box if requested the day before.

Day 5 - Arrive Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar Arrival & Night at Comfortable Elstei Ger Camp

If you wake up early this morning you will find yourself in the heart of Mongolia’s stoney Gobi desert. Keep your eyes peeled for camels! Gradually the landscape changes from desert to grassland as you approach Ulaanbaatar arriving early afternoon. Outside of the chaotic capital of Ulaanbaatar this is a land of endless grassland, deserts, pristine lakes and nomads whose way of life has changed little over the years offering a truly rewarding travel experiences. Click here to learn more about ger camps in Mongolia.

Transfer to Elstei Ger camp located 55 km outside of the city in the open steppe stopping on the way at the 40 meter high Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue that sees that most famous of Mongols survey the grasslands. Elstei offers comfortable and spacious ger accommodation.

During your time here a range of options are available including visits to local nomads and learning about their way of life and hiking the grasslands. There are also opportunities to for horse riding (payable locally) and, for much of the year, activities such as archery, ger building and even the opportunity to learn how to wrestle Mongolian style! Of course, you can simply relax and take in this extraordinary landscape.

Meals Included: Dinner at the Ger Camp.

ULAANBAATAR – Улаанбаатар – Mongolia’s capital is home to around a third of the entire population. It has gone from being a sedate old Soviet relic to a wild west boomtown of skyscrapers, traffic jams and pollution. For most Trans-Siberian rail travellers the priority will be to get out of the city and into Mongolia’s stunning countryside and huge skies with the chance to meet and learn about the nomadic culture. For more longer Mongolia trips click here to visit our Mongolia tours section.

Day 6 - Elstei Ger Camp

Enjoy the Steppe Further or Relax at the Ger Camp

A full day at Elstei Ger camp to enjoy this unique experience with assistance from your guide when required. Today is a good opportunity to range further into the steppe from the ger camp either by foot or horseback (local hire fees apply) and, if the guide is notified the night before, the kitchens can arrange a packed lunch to take.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the Ger Camp.

Day 7 - Return to Ulaanbaatar

Relaxing at Elstei Before Returning to Ulaanbaatar for a City Tour

A full morning free at Elstei before returning to Ulaanbaatar after lunch. Mongolia’s capital is home to around a third of the entire population and has experienced a major boom in the last 10 years, largely driven mainly by the mining industry. However, there is much of cultural interest here and the city tour includes Gandan Lama Monastery, the impressive Sukhbaatar square and the impressive views and Soviet monuments of Zaisan Hill. Free time for the rest of the day, perhaps to delve into the city’s surprisingly vibrant eating and drinking scene.

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch at the Ger Camp.

Day 8 - Depart Ulaanbaatar

Free Time to Explore the City Before Departure Towards Russia

Free time in Ulaanbaatar to further explore the city, shop for souvenirs, visit some of the museums or catch up on coffee and correspondence! Transfer to the station for your onward train through the grasslands to the Russian border.

Evening arrival at the Mongolia-Russia border at Sukhe-Bator. The stops on each side are long but manageable as Mongolia’s track is the same gauge as Russia so the bogies do not need to be changed.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - Arrive Irkutsk

Pass Ulan Ude & Travel Along the Shores of Lake Baikal & Arrive at Irkutsk

Today is usually the scenic highlight of the entire journey, a day of lake, forest and mountain views. Early in the morning you reach Ulan Ude before joining the main Trans-Siberian line on to Moscow. Later in the day the train rumbles around the Southern shore of stunning Lake Baikal often passing within a matter of meters of the lake and providing endlessly changing vistas.

Afternoon arrival in Irkutsk, regarded as the modern day cultural capital of Siberia, famed for its traditional wooden architecture, complimented by a vibrant cafe and restaurant culture.

Transfer to your hotel and once settled in have a 2 hour walking tour of the city centre including the park and War Memorial, some of the beautiful churches along the Angara river, the main city centre streets and the statue of Alexander III – the Tzar responsible for the Trans-Siberian railway.

Return to your hotel with a free evening.

Meals Included: None today – however the train does have a dining car.

IRKUTSK – Ирку́тсќ – A major stop on the Trans-Siberian, it is a pleasant and prosperous city regarded as the cultural capital of Siberia. The big draw though is the nearby stunning Lake Baikal. It is among the deepest lakes in the world at 1,642 meters and has crystal clear water. The shoreline is dotted with traditional villages offering up a rustic Siberian experience and this is what we focus on during your time here. View more Irkutsk and Lake Baikal options here.

Day 10 - Lake Baikal

Transfer to Bolshoe Goloustnoe on the Shores of Baikal

After breakfast a transfer the 2 hour drive through dense forest to the remote village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe located inside Pribaikalsky National Park. The setting is quintessential Siberia with almost all the village’s houses made of wood running up to the lakeshore of beautiful Baikal, among the deepest in the world at 1,642 meters. Many of the 700 residents have lived their entire lives in the village which dates back to 1673.

Your accommodation here is in a Siberian house in the heart of the village. Once settled in take a walk with your guide through the village including a visit to the church. We walk along the lakeshore and can also climb into the forests and hills for views of Lake Baikal (good shoes or walking boots advisable). Return to the house for a pre-dinner Banya – the traditional Russian Sauna. Your guide will explain the procedure and after a hearty Siberian homestyle meal should set you up for a great nights sleep!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast – Lunch & Dinner at the Guest House.

Day 11 - Depart Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Exploring the Lake Shore Village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe & Surrounds Before Departure

There is no rush to wake this morning. Enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading off for a walk up a nearby mountain ascending 400 meters for panoramic views of Baikal (if this is too strenuous or the weather is bad your guide will make other suggestions). Transfer back to Irkutsk to catch the train on to Moscow.

Meals Included: Breakfast at the Guesthouse.

Day 12 - On the Train

Good Scenery Today Passing Krasnoyarsk & Onto Novosibirsk

Some good scenery today with a landscape consisting of gently rolling hills and dense forests of larch, pine and birch trees. There are many rivers and ponds and if it hasn’t happened before now you will start to comprehend just how vast and quite untouched much of Russia is. Pass attractive and prosperous Krasnoyarsk reaching Siberia’s largest city of Novosibirsk in the evening.

Meals Included: None today – however the train does have a dining car.

LIFE ON BOARD – The public trains along the Trans-Siberian route are safe and comfortable. We book the best train options we can for each sector balancing comfort with ticket reliability. Rolling stock varies but in general will be set up as in the diagram below. Almost every train has a dining car. You can also buy from the kiosks at larger stations and we recommend bringing a few treats on board as well! Payment on the trains by card is an increasingly common option but WiFi and shower carriages are still rare. Click here to learn more about the trains.

train diagram itinerary 2

Day 13 - On the Train

Last Day in Siberia, Ekaterinburg & Cross Euro-Asia Border

The scenery today is flat, often swampy or forested and with few major settlements except for Omsk. Late in the evening you enter the rolling hills of the Ural’s before reaching Ekaterinburg, historic capital of this mineral rich region. Shortly after Ekaterinburg you pass the Europe Asia border and so leave Siberia behind to the East.

Meals Included: None today – however the train does have a dining car.

Day 14 - On the Train

The Land Becomes More Utilized & Populated as Moscow is Approached

Your last day on the train through a relatively highly populated region by Russian standards – a landscape of farms, small towns and villages. There are a few large cities to stop at but by now most people’s minds are focused on the final stop of Moscow reach very early tomorrow morning.

Meals Included: None today – however the train does have a dining car.

Day 15 - Arrive Moscow

Arrival in Moscow & a Walking Tour of the City

A very early morning arrival at Moscow’s large Yaroslavsky station where a driver will be meeting you to transfer you to the hotel. Note that due to parking restrictions and enthusiastic traffic police you will need to check-in yourselves. We have booked early check-in and breakfast for you so you will have the opportunity to freshen up and eat before starting to explore the city.

Later in the morning you will have the perfect introductory walking tour of central Moscow designed to orientate and open up its hidden treasures. Your guide will take you along the main streets and less visited back roads to see the diversity of architectural styles from the austere and restrained Russian style to richly decorated Moscow Baroque, elegant Empire, fascinating Art Nouveau and even Pseudo-Chinese and Moorish. Hear stories and legends not found in the guidebooks as well as passing the most important sites in the city including the Bolshoi Theatre, Tverskaya street, GUM Department store, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

MOSCOW – Москва́ – Capital of Russia and the start of the Trans-Siberian making this vast city of 12 million people a must on any trip. It is the political and economic centre of this vast country and has many of Russia’s most famous sights, not least Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral. With over 800 years of history there is also a wealth of architecture, museums and monuments to a colourful past not to mention its extraordinary metro system. We get you started by including a walking tour but also offer a wide range of tours you and add in – click here to view.

Day 16 - Moscow

Free Day to Explore Russia’s Capital & Its Many World Class Sights

A free day to explore Moscow. The city has much to offer whatever the weather from the famous museums such as Pushkin Fine Arts and Tretyakov Art Gallery to more outdoor areas including the Park of the Fallen Idols and Novodevitchy Convent. Of course, if the weather is not so good Moscow is one of the few cities where a day spent on the metro is a tourist attraction with many beautiful stations to visit and all for the price of a single ticket! For relaxing we recommend the bars, galleries and cafes of the Red October district or the fabulous Gorky Park.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 17 - Depart Moscow

Depart Moscow & Russia After Your Epic Trans-Siberian Adventure

Today is a free until a transfer to your onward travel from Russia. We sincerely hope that you will have enjoyed your epic journey as much as we have many times already and we look forward to welcoming you back on another one of our trips!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

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Hand-picked Accommodation for this Trip

The hotels & accommodation used for this trip are from our hand picked selection and all are excellent for their class. We also offer upgraded hotels in most locations. If you would like to explore additional hotel options please the button below and let us know of any changes you wish to make.

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Trains Used for this Trip

Details of the trains used on this trip are below. All trains are subject to change without notice and are for guidance only. Please download the trip dossier to see the train times.

Inclusions & Exclusions For This Trip

What is included?

Train tickets in second class – ask us about upgrades.

All accommodation as specified above.

All private transfers and any other transportation as described.

All meals as specified in the itinerary.

All tours as specified in the itinerary including relevant entrance fees.

24 hour emergency assistance

Visa Paperwork you need in order to obtain the visas

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

Our exclusive 200+ page trip guidebook, personalised to your trip

 

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend ABTASure (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

Possible Start Dates

The calendars below show the possible start dates for this trip in red for the stopovers described in the itinerary. Other dates may also be possible using different trains or longer or shorter stops. Ask us if you need to tailor this tour.

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