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TS-W-B-04 Winter Highlights Westbound

BEIJING ► ULAANBAATAR ► IRKUTSK ► MOSCOW

15 nights from UK £ 2,280 per person

*Price based on 2 people travelling in a shared 4 berth second class cabin. Upgrade to your own cabin from UK £ 440 per person. These prices are based on 2019 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 time efficient winter trip stopping in the highlights of the Trans-Mongolian route.

Start with time spent in BEIJING to see such sights as the Great Wall and Forbidden City before your first train to ULAANBAATAR for a night out on the steppe in a cosy ger.

Continue to IRKUTSK to see the winterscapes at LAKE BAIKAL before finishing in MOSCOW which looks the part in its winter coat.

trip guidebook 2019
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 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.

Day 2 - Beijing

The Great Wall at Stunning Mutianyu & One of Beijing’s Markets or Ice Skating on Ho Hai Lake

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 70 km 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.

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. Alternatively you can see and perhaps participate in the ice skating on Ho Hai Lake. You can discuss which is right for you with us in advance or your guide on the day.

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

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 4 - Depart Beijing

Train Journey Up Into Inner Mongolia Reaching 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: None today – however the train does have a dining car.

Day 5 - Arrive Ulaanbaatar

Through the Gobi Desert & Grasslands to Ulaanbaatar

Gradually the landscape changes from desert to grassland as you approach Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, arriving early afternoon.

Your guide will be meeting you at the station transfer you to Elstei Ger camp located 35 km outside of the city in the open steppe. On the way stop at the 40 meter high Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue that sees that most famous of Mongols survey the grasslands. Elstei offers comfortable, spacious and cosy ger accommodation. Click here to learn more about ger camps in Mongolia.

In the winter months options are limited to taking walks on the frozen steppe. Note that horse riding is not available in the winter months. Of course, you can simply relax in your ger which is kept toasty warm by its own burner.

Meals Included: Dinner at the Ger Camp.

Day 6 - 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 7 - 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. Note that train times in timetables from now are all Moscow time.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 8 - Arrive Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Pass Ulan Ude & Travel Along the Shores of Lake Baikal to Irkutsk With a Transfer to Listvyanka Village

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 from the station the 1 hour drive following the route of the Angara River down to the village of Listvyanka located close to where the river meets beautiful Lake Baikal. The lake is among the deepest in the world at 1,642 meters and has exceptionally clear water – or perhaps ice when you are here!

Settle in to your accommodation with free time for the rest of the day.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - Lake Baikal

Tour of Listvyanka Village

After breakfast your guide will take you on a 4 hour walking tour of the village. You will see the beautiful church and visit the Limnological Museum to learn about the Lake itself and its unique flora and fauna. We will also take chairlift up to a view point for some of the best lake vistas.

The afternoon is free or we can arrange snowmobiling or dogsledding (depending on snow cover) or, if the lake is frozen enough, you may want to venture out onto the surface by foot or by hiring a bike.

The village also has a banya (Russian sauna) you can arrange to visit and which we heartily recommend as the quintessential Siberian experience!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 10 - Depart Lake Baikal & Irkutsk

Free Morning Before Returning to Irkutsk With a City Tour & Free Time Before Departure

A free morning in Listvyanka before an early afternoon transfer back to Irkutsk for 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. Evening transfer to the station for your onward train.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 11 - 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.

Day 12 - 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 13 - 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 14 - Arrive Moscow

Arrival in Moscow & a 3 Hour Tour of the City by Car

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 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.

Day 15 - 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 16 - 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.

Add More to This Trip

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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.

What Our Clients Say

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“You were invaluable for organising our Trans-Siberian Rail trip. We had a group of 6 with a personalised itinerary. Every pick up was easy, always someone waiting for us at our hotel or train station.”

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