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TS-M-BT-03 Epic Trans-Mongolian

MOSCOW ● KAZAN ● EKATERINBURG ● KRASNOYARSK ● IRKUTSK ● ULAN UDE ● ULAANBAATAR ● BEIJING

23 nights from UK £ 4,640 per person

*Price based on 2 people travelling in a shared 4 berth second class cabin. Upgrade to your own cabin from UK £ 765 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.

This epic journey covers all the major stops along the Trans-Mongolian providing a wonderfully in-depth trip worthy of this route.

As well as the well-known highlights of MOSCOW, EKATERINBURG, IRKUTSK, LAKE BAIKAL, MONGOLIAN & BEIJING this trip also visits more off the beaten track destinations of KAZAN, a fascinating blend of Russia and Central Asia and ULAN UDE where European and Asian cultures mix.

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This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip - an invaluable resource!
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Route Map & Destinations Visited

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Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Moscow

Your Trans-Siberian Adventure Starts in Russia’s Capital of Moscow

Welcome to Moscow, Russia’s capital and its largest city with more than 12 million people. 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. Transfer by private car with an English speaking driver to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start exploring this stunning city.

Meals Included: None today.

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 2 - Moscow

A Fascinating 3 Hour Walking Tour of Central Moscow With a Free Afternoon

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.

The rest of the day is free to further explore Moscow. The exclusive Trip Guidebook we send you before your trip is full of ideas and useful information to ensure you get the most out of your time in this iconic city.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 3 - Depart Moscow

Free Time 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.

Transfer to the station for the overnight train to Kazan. Settle in to your cabin for a good nights sleep on the way to the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 4 - Arrive Kazan

Morning Tour to Sviyazhsk ‘island’ & With a Free Afternoon in the City

Morning arrival in Kazan a wealthy city considered the “Third Capital of Russia” that successfully manages to blend both Islamic and Christian culture – even its Kremlin has both an Orthodox Cathedral and Mosque within its walls. With this blend the city has a colourful past and an optimistic future.

Your guide will meet you at the station and you start your time with a trip to Sviyazhsk ‘Island’ about an hour from the city centre. Located at the strategically important confluence of the Volga and Sviyaga Rivers, Sviyazhsk was founded in 1551 as a fortress. Today a visit here is like stepping back in time to an older, pre-Soviet Russia.

Return to the city early afternoon to check-in to your hotel. Free time for the rest of the day to relax or explore the surrounding area.

Meals Included: None today.

KAZAN – Казан – Kazan is the capital of the exotically named “Republic of Tatarstan” and is a wealthy city that successfully manages to blend both Islamic and Christian culture. In fact even its Kremlin has both Orthodox Cathedrals and a Mosque. The city itself is well developed and attractive and our stopover program will also take you out into the countryside to visit a monastery.

Day 5 - Depart Kazan

Free Morning Before an Afternoon Walking Tour of the City’s Highlights & Evening Departure

Free time this morning before checking out of your hotel. This afternoon you have a 4 hour walking tour of the city focusing on some of the Kremlin and some of the oldest streets including the Bauman, Karl Marx and what is known as the Big Red Street to see the Peter & Paul Cathedral. You will also see Mardzhani Mosque, Sultal-Galeev Square and the Virgin Monastery where the Kazan Virgin icon is housed.

After the tour some free time before an evening transfer for the train on to Ekaterinburg.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 6 - Arrive Ekaterinburg

Visit the Romanovs Secret Grave & Stand Astride the Europe-Asia Border

Awake in the Ural Mountains crossing the Europe-Asia continental border before arriving in Ekaterinburg a short time afterwards around noon. The city is full of history and surrounded by beautiful countryside and traditional villages. Transfer to your hotel.

Drive 15 km north-west to a monastery dedicated to the Romanov’s family located on the spot where the Bolsheviks tried to hide the corpses of the Tsar and his family in a secret grave. Today this is a Russian Orthodox pilgrimage site including a grave and seven wooden churches. Continue on to the continental border of Europe and Asia 20 km west of the city. On the way we make a short stop at the Memorial of Victims of the GULAGs. The Main Obelisk “Between Europe & Asia” allows you to straddle the continental divide and you also get a Certificate with a glass of sparkling wine!

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

EKATERINBURG – Екатеринбу́рѓ – An important and prosperous city located in the rolling Ural mountains that divide the continents of Europe and Asia. Steeped in Russian history from the Romanovs to Yeltsin it is also surrounded by beautiful countryside dotted with traditional villages perfect. Our popular program covers the highlights but you can explore more options by clicking here.

Day 7 - Ekaterinburg

Full Day Countryside & Siberian Village Experience Before an Evening Departure

Today we drive out of the city to one of the photogenic country villages* that are scattered across the rolling scenery of the Ural mountains. Here we see a traditional Siberian “izba” house – a style suited to the often extreme environment – that can be seen right across Siberia. We also visit the local museum to learn about everyday life in this part of Russia and listen to a concert of local folk music. There will be time to explore the village with your guide and you will also enjoy a traditional Siberian homestyle lunch often using locally produced and seasonal ingredients.

Evening transfer to the station for your onward train. From this point on you have entered Siberia!

*Depending on the day of your visit this trip will be to either Koptelovo, Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha or Mironovo village all approximately 150 km from Ekaterinburg.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 8 - On Board the Train

Your First Day in Siberia & the Vastness of Central Russia

The scenery today is flat, often swampy or forested and with few large settlements. The major city is Omsk but there are also a few other large stops. This is a day for relaxing, socializing and getting into a good book!

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 9 - Arrive Krasnoyarsk

Arrival in & City Tour of Krasnoyarsk’s Highlights

Morning arrival in Krasnoyarsk where you will be met at the station to start an half day city tour. This prosperous city located on the Yenisey River is highly regarded for it’s cultural life as well as the beautiful scenery of the Stolby Nature Reserve a short distance from the city.

As a hotel room is unlikely to be ready this early we start with a city tour which begins with the monument to Andrey Dubensky, the founder of the city, which also offers superb views and Karaulnaya Hill where Paraskeva Pjatnitsa Chapel built in 1855 is located. Move on to the Annunciation temple, Intercession Cathedral and Catholic church as well as Mira Avenue, the Drama Theatre, Opera and Ballet House and Yenisey quay.

After the tour continue to your hotel to check-in with free time for the rest of the day.

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

KRASNOYARSK – Красноя́рский́ – Often overlooked on a Trans-Siberian trip, the true Siberian city is well known in Russia both for it’s cultural life as well as the fantastic scenery that you will visit outside of the city in the beautiful Stolby Nature Reserve.

Day 10 - Krasnoyarsk

Day Trip to the Stolby Nature Reserve & Krasnoyarsk Dam

Today we head out of the city firstly visiting the Hydro Power Station and Dam, Russia’s second largest. Here you can see the mighty Yenisey river which, at 4,092 km is the longest in Russia. The dam is an extraordinary feat of engineering as it had to be designed to cope with the intense cold and ice pressure of winter. Enjoy a picnic lunch before visiting the Stolby Nature Reserve and make a short walk of about 2-3 km round trip to the centre of the reserve where there are beautiful views and unusual rock formations. Time to enjoy the scenery and nature before returning to the city and a free evening.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Picnic Lunch.

Day 11 - Depart Krasnoyarsk

Free Morning to Explore the City Before Continuing Your Journey

Free time until a transfer to the station for your onward train. After Krasnoyarsk the scenery is particularly pleasant consisting of gently rolling hills and dense forests of larch, pine and, of course, 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 untouched this part of Russia is as the sun sets on the endless taiga of Siberia.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Arrive Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Arrival in Irkutsk Transferring to Bolshoe Goloustnoe on the Shores of Baikal

Early morning 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 from the station 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: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the Guest House.

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 13 - Lake Baikal

A Day Exploring the Lake Shore Village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe & Surrounds

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). A leisurely return to the house for lunch. Free time in the afternoon to relax back at the house or further explore the village and surrounding forest and hills or enjoy another invigorating Banya.

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

Day 14 - Lake Baikal & Irkutsk

Return to Irkutsk With a City Tour and Free Time to Relax at Your Hotel

After breakfast drive the 2 hours back to Irkutsk arriving late morning at your hotel. Once settled in you will 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 free time for the rest of the day.

Meals Included: Breakfast at the Guesthouse.

Day 15 - Irkutsk to Ulan Ude

Journey Along the Shore Lake Baikal & Buryatia Before Arrival at Ulan Ude

Early morning transfer to the station to catch your onward train to Ulan Ude. Today is usually the scenic highlight of the journey – a day of lake, forest and mountain views. After Irkutsk the train rumbles around the Southern shore of the stunning Lake Baikal often passing within a matter of meters of the lake and providing endlessly changing vistas. You will also notice a change in the people with many more Asian faces as you enter Buryatia which has strong cultural ties to Mongolia. This is a remote and pretty section of the trip with a hint of an old Asian culture ever present.

Mid-afternoon arrival in Ulan Ude where a guide will be waiting for you. Transfer to your accommodation. Ulan-Ude is capital of the republic of Buryatia and due to it’s proximity to Mongolia has a traditional importance as a trading settlement between Russia, Mongolia and China. Famed for having the largest Lenin head in the world the other attractions are found outside of the city.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

ULAN UDE – Ула́н-Удэ́ – Capital of the republic of Buryatia and with a slightly Asian feel to it due to it’s proximity to Mongolia and importance as a trading settlement between Russia, Mongolia and China. Famed for having the largest Lenin head in the world the chief attractions you will visit are found outside of the city including the Ivolginsky Datsan, a beautiful buddhist monastery and the Old Believers village.

Day 16 - Ulan Ude

Visit the Old Believers Village and Stunning Ivolginski Datsan

Today we leave the city to the impressive Ivolginski Datsan which has long been a center of Buddhism in Russia and has a unique Buddhist library. Continue on to the Old Believer village. The people here separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1666 in protest of reforms and so practice a form of the religion that stopped across much of Russia at that time. Visit their church and a small museum before lunch is in a local home and free time before returning to Ulan-Ude.

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch at a Local House.

Day 17 - Depart Ulan Ude

Visit Atsagatski Datsan & Train on to the Remote Russian Mongolian Border

After breakfast drive to Atsagatski Datsan which dates back to 1825. This was a teaching monastery as well as a centre for Tibetan Medicine. Continue on to the nearby village founded in the 19th century and which still keeps the traditions and customs of the Buryats, who make up most of the population, alive. Lunch in a local house before returning to the city to catch the afternoon train on to Ulaanbaatar.

Evening arrival at the Russia-Mongolia border at Naushki passing through the border formalities before continuing into the grasslands of Mongolia during the night.

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch at a Local House.

Day 18 - Arrive Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar City Tour & Comfortable Elstei Ger Camp

Early morning arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia and a truly unique destination that is for many a real highlight of the trip. Before heading out to Elstei ger camp you have breakfast and a chance to shower as well as a city tour. Mongolia’s capital is home to around a third of the entire population and has experienced a major boom in the last 10 years. There is much of cultural interest here and the tour includes Gandan Lama Monastery, impressive Sukhbaatar square and the views and Soviet monuments of Zaisan Hill.

Transfer to Elstei Ger camp located 35 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 with separate toilet, showering and dining facilities. Click here to learn more about ger camps in Mongolia.

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: Hotel Breakfast, Lunch & 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 19 - 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 kitchen can arrange a packed lunch.

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

Day 20 - Depart Ulaanbaatar

Continue by Train Through the Gobi Towards the Chinese Border

Early morning transfer to the station to catch the train on to Beijing. The day is firstly spent in the steppe but that gradually gives way to the stoney Gobi desert – keep an eye out for camels! Evening arrival at the Mongolia-China border at Zamyn-Ude. The Mongolian exit formalities are completed on the train before a much longer stop is on the Chinese side where the train is taken to the sheds where the carriages are raised up (with you still in them!) and the new bogies of the narrower Chinese gauge fitted. A unique experience but do remember that the toilets are locked throughout!

Meals Included: Boxed Breakfast.

Day 21 - Arrive Beijing

Afternoon Arrival Beijing With Free Time to Relax

Wake up in China’s Inner Mongolian grasslands before a series of tunnels and impressive views lead you through the mountains that shield Beijing. Late morning arrival in China’s capital. Beijing has it all – history, imperial majesty, modern masterpieces, delicious cuisine, and a vibrant local culture. Your guide will meet you at the station exit.

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 – however the train does have a dining car.

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 22 - 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 23 - 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 24 - Depart Beijing

Depart China With a Wealth of Memories of Your Trip

Free time for any final sightseeing or last minute shopping for souvenirs if time. Your local guide will have arranged a time to meet you in the hotel lobby for a transfer to the airport in good time for your flight out of China. We sincerely hope that you have had a fantastic Trans-Siberian experience!

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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