WINTER EXPLORER WESTBOUND

BEIJING ● HARBIN ● IRKUTSK & LAKE BAIKAL ● EKATERINBURG ● MOSCOW

TOUR OVERVIEW

DURATION, PRICE, TOUR TYPE & DEPARTURES

16 nights from UK £ 2,955 / US $ 4,195 per person*

*Price based on 2 people travelling in a shared 4 berth second class cabin. Upgrade to your own cabin from UK £ 570 / US$ 800 per person. These prices are based on 2021 rates and are here to give guidance. Final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability.

PRIVATE TOUR - NOT A GROUP TOUR - CAN BE TAILORED 

SEASON - january & february WITH WEEKLY DEPARTURES

TOUR CODE : TS-W-B-03

MAP & DESTINATIONS

THE STOPS VISITED ON THIS TOUR

🇨🇳 BEIJING - 2 nights

China’s Capital is an eclectic mix of Imperial splendour & 21st Century Asia.

🇨🇳 HARBIN - 1 night

Home to the world’s largest snow and ice festival and a staggering sight.

🇷🇺 IRKUTSK & BAIKAL - 2 nights

Forward looking Siberian city and gateway to Lake Baikal.

🇷🇺 EKATERINBURG - 3 nights

Remote capital of Mongolia and the start of a steppe adventure.

🇷🇺 MOSCOW - 2 nights

Russia’s vast and iconic capital and the start of this railway adventure.

ON THE TRAINS - total 6 nights

We use the most comfortable and reliable trains possible for each leg.

TSWB03 map

OUR EXCLUSIVE TRIP GUIDEBOOK

This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip with sections about the trains, destinations, timetables and emergency contacts and allowing you to be fully prepared for your trip of a lifetime - an invaluable resource!

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

DAILY DESCRIPTIONS OF ACTIVITIES, MEALS & OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION

DAY 1 - BEIJING

ARRIVAL BEIJING WITH TIME TO RELAX AT THE HOTEL

Welcome to Beijing, China’s cultural and political capital and a real highlight with its 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: None Today.

OVERNIGHT: Kapok Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★  click to view hotel.

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: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

OVERNIGHT: Kapok Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★  click to view hotel.

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DAY 3 - on the train

TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, TIANANMEN SQUARE, FORBIDDEN CITY & SUMMER PALACE BEFORE DEPARTURE

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.

Transfer to the station for a late evening departure on the overnight train to Harbin.

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

DAY 4 - HARBIN

VISIT BOTH THE SNOW SCULPTURE EXHIBITION & BEAUTIFULLY LIT EVENING ICE FESTIVAL

Morning arrival in Harbin with a transfer to your hotel. Note that check-in time is after 12 noon so there is unlikely to be a room available until then but luggage can be stored and we have booked a breakfast for you.

Wrap up warm to start a full day tour to the Sun Island Snow Sculpture Art Exposition and Ice Festival venues. Here you will see huge sculptures made entirely from snow. Early warming dinner before an evening visit to the spectacularly lit Ice and Snow World, the centre piece of the festival. This time the sculptures are made entirely of ice blocks and are on a vast scale. Return to the hotel to overnight.

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch & Dinner.

OVERNIGHT: Modern Hotel ★ ★ ★ click to view hotel.

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DAY 5 - on the train

FREE TIME TO EXPLORE THE ICE RELATED ACTIVITIES ALONG THE FROZEN RIVERSIDE

A free morning, perhaps to visit the smaller but more intricate ice sculptures in Stalin Park that gives a taste of what the original ice festival was all about. Late morning transfer to the station to join one of Russia’s best trains, the “Vostok”, also known as the Trans-Manchurian, that runs all the way to Moscow.

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

DAY 6 - on the train

CROSS INTO RUSSIA & MUCH WILDER AND REMOTE SCENERY

Reach the border with Russia at Manzhouli. Immigration and customs procedures are quick on the China side but take time on the Russian side of Zabaikalsk as the train’s bogies need to be changed to fit Russia’s wider gauge and you will have to get off the train for some hours. Once underway, the first thing you notice is the lack of people compared to China as the scenery opens up and looks much wilder.

MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

DAY 7 - irkutsk

ULAN UDE, THE SOUTHERN SHORE OF LAKE BAIKAL & IRKUTSK

Today is usually the scenic highlight of the journey, a day of lake, forest and mountain views. Pass Ulan Ude before the train rumbles around the Southern shore of stunning Lake Baikal often passing within a matter of meters of the lake. Irkutsk is reached early evening.

Irkutsk is regarded as the modern day cultural capital of Siberia, famed for its traditional wooden architecture and a vibrant cafe and restaurant culture. Transfer from the station to your hotel to overnight.

MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.

OVERNIGHT: Boutique Marussia Hotel ★ ★ ★ click to view hotel.

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DAY 8 - LAKE BAIKAL

TRANSFER TO LISTVYANKA VILLAGE ON THE SHORES OF BAIKAL

After breakfast 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!

Once settled into your accommodation 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 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: Hotel Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: Usadba Demidova Guesthouse ★ ★  click to view hotel.

DAY 9 - on the train

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: Guesthouse Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

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DAY 10 - 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: None today - however the train does have a dining car.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

DAY 11 - EKATERINBURG

LAST DAY IN SIBERIA BEFORE ARRIVAL IN EKATERINBURG

The scenery today is flat, often swampy or forested and with few major settlements except for Omsk. In the evening you enter the rolling hills of the Ural's before arriving at Ekaterinburg, historic capital of this mineral rich region with a rich and fascinating history and surrounded by beautiful, rolling countryside dotted with traditional Siberian villages. Transfer by private car to your hotel to overnight.

MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.

OVERNIGHT: Chekhov Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★  click to view hotel.

DAY 12 - EKATERINBURG

LEARN TO DRIVE A DOG SLEDGE THROUGH THE WINTER FOREST & RUSSIAN BANYA

After a good breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel by our expert in dog sledging and driven to an area to the west of the city. Here you meet the real Siberian 'Khaski" dogs who will be pulling your traditional sledge for 7 km through the beautiful ice encrusted winter forest. Full instruction will be given and whilst sledging there is a back up vehicle. Picnic lunch in the forest before returning to Ekaterinburg.

The perfect way to relax after the exertion and cold of sledging is with 2 hours in the steam bath known as a “Banya”, one of the great Russian traditions. Your guide will instruct you in the etiquette and method of using the facilities including the tradition of being beaten with birch branches!

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast & Picnic Lunch.

OVERNIGHT: Chekhov Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★  click to view hotel.

itinerary insert ekaterinburg 6itinerary insert ekaterinburg 5

DAY 13 - EKATERINBURG

CITY TOUR, VISIT THE ROMANOVS SECRET GRAVE & STAND ASTRIDE THE EUROPE-ASIA BORDER

This morning your guide will take you on a 3 hour tour by car of the city’s highlights. Stop at the central square and see statues of Ekaterinburg’s founders and leaders and learn local stories, legends (and a few jokes!) related to them. Continue to the 1905 Revolution square before the most compelling story will be told at the beautiful Church of Spilled Blood located at the Romanovs’ Death Site and Chapel of St Elizabeth. We also see views of the city from the Hill of Ascension and visit the powerful Afghanistan memorial at the Square of the Red Army.

After lunch (own arrangement) 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. 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!

Return to the city to overnight.

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: Chekhov Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★  click to view hotel.

DAY 14 - on the train

EARLY MORNING DEPARTURE TOWARDS RUSSIA’S CAPITAL MOSCOW

Morning transfer to the station for your onward train. Shortly after departure you cross the Europe-Asia continental border with the rest of the day on the train passing through a relatively populated region of farms, small towns and villages interspersed with birch forest.

MEALS: Hotel Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: On the train - click to learn more.

DAY 15 - MOSCOW

ARRIVAL IN MOSCOW & A 3 HOUR TOUR BY CAR OF THE CITY

Wake to Moscow’s sprawling suburbs arriving at the city’s handsome Kazanskaya station. The place to meet your transfer driver at this station is by the front of the train. Please note that hotel check-in time is 2pm although if a room is available you can go to it straight away. Guaranteed early check-in is not included. If you would like to add this please ask us.

Later this 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: None Today.

OVERNIGHT: Budapest Hotel ★ ★ ★   click to view hotel.

itinerary insert moscow 4itinerary insert moscow 8

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: Hotel Breakfast.

OVERNIGHT: Budapest Hotel ★ ★ ★   click to view hotel.

DAY 17 - end of tour

DEPART MOSCOW & RUSSIA AFTER YOUR EPIC TRANS-SIBERIAN ADVENTURE

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: Hotel Breakfast.

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INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

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Train tickets in second class – ask us about upgrades.
All accommodation as specified above.
All private transfers and transport as described.
All meals as specified in the itinerary.
All tours as specified including 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.
International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request.
The Russian and Chinese visas – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral.
Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we canadvise on options.
Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides.

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