Guided Group Tours -
Special Departure: Trans Mongolian Summer Journey



These special departures are designed to travel across Mongolia and Russia during the summer months and feature.
* Fully inclusive Beijing programme
* Extended sightseeing outside Ulann Bataar
* Stop at Ekateringburg
* Fully guided sightseeing programme for Moscow and St Petersburg.

Long days are a characteristic of this time of year. Warmer weather is also prevalent with good possibilities of ‘hot’ weather. Later evening strolls are possible and you might even brave the waters of Lake Baikal for a swim!! “Did my morning laps in Lake Baikal” is certainly a good brag point at your work place water cooler!

The locals will be on the river banks swimming and sunbathing, you will see them as you cross the many bridges along the route of the Trans Siberian Railway.

Summer produce will be available at the many short station stops the train makes. We hope you like, tomatoes, cucumbers and water melon, ubiquitous across this whole region.

Hear what past clients have said about our journeys. Client Comments

Itinerary East to West - Beijing to St Petersburg Starts Beijing 14 & 28 July plus 11 August 2017

Day 1

Arrive Beijing. You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Beijing.

Day 2

Beijing. Full day city sightseeing to soak up the atmosphere of Beijing. We begin at the Temple of Heaven, an architectural masterpiece, then moving on to Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square covering 100 acres. Walk through the square to the Forbidden City, an imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, constructed over 14 years from 1407. We finish the day's sightseeing with a visit to the few remaining hutong neighbourhoods. Hutongs are small laneways surrounding the Forbidden City in the old section of Beijing that are hundreds of years old. They provide a fascinating insight into life in ancient Beijing and a glimpse of modern Beijing’s traditional life. Overnight Beijing. B

Day 3

Beijing. Today we drive out to the Mutianyu, one of the best preserved sections of the Great Wall. You can either walk up, or take the funicular. There will be plenty of time for walking along the wall to enjoy the Ming Dynasty guard towers and the breathtaking scenery! Overnight Beijing. B
Day 4
Today your great journey begins as you are transferred from your accommodation to the railway station thus beginning one of the greatest rail journeys available today. As you settle in to your allotted cabin you can view the great variety of people moving through one of the busiest railway stations. Your overnight journey takes you out of China and on to the Mongolian plains. The border crossing involves the visual, and auditory, experience of having the wheels changed to a different gauge. Note you can add one of our Beijing extension programmes before this tour. Info about the Train. B
Day 5
Arrive Ulaan Baatar where you are met and transferred to the Hotel (1 night/breakfast).  Afternoon city tour with your private guide includes the Sukhbaatar Square, Zaisan Hill War Memorial and the Bogd Khaan Palace Museum. Evening folk show and dinner.  Overnight Ulaan Baatar. B D
Day 6
Today you leave the capital and drive north with your guide to the Amarbaysgalant Monastery, located 350km from Ulaan Baatar. One of the most beautiful monasteries in Mongolia, built 1727 – 1736. B D
Day 7
Drive to Uran Togoo Crater via Erdenet and Bulgan.  Spend two days exploring the area, including visits to local nomad families. Overnight in ger camp (all meals included). B L D
Day 8
Return to Bulgan for overnight in the ger camp (all meals included). B L D
Day 9
Return to Ulaan Baatar and your hotel for overnight. B
Day 10
Morning visit with your guide to the Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia, followed by the eccentric Winter Palace!  Rest of day at leisure.   Evening transfer to the station for  your train to Irkutsk (sole use of a 4 berth sleeper) - approx 2110pm. B
Day 11

On train

Day 12

Arrive Irkutsk at about 0828 and transfer directly to the lake side village of Listvyanka (70km from Irkutsk) at Lake Baikal for two nights. Lake Baikal is frozen over from late January to early May. The thickness of ice near Listvyanka can be 70-80 cm. An area of the lake near the source of the Angara River is the only fresh water area in Siberia, which never freezes over. The highway from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal goes through ‘taiga-forested’ rolling hills. About an hour later you reach the viewpoint for the ‘Shaman Rock’, near the source of the Angara River. B

Day 13

Free day. The small village of Listvyanka is located on the shore of Lake Baikal - 70 km from Irkutsk. This old-style Siberian village is famous for its trade history. From the 18th century a ferry took merchants across the lake for further travel to Mongolia, China and the Far East. In the village there is a variety of hot and cold smoked/salted fish called ‘omul’. Several private cafes, and restaurants, offer traditional Siberian or European meals for you. You can taste pelmeny (stuffed dumplings), pirozhki (with cabbage, or meat, or berries) and sandwiches of caviar to feel the spirit of Siberia! Add a shot, or two of the local vodka, (is this the real spirit of Siberia?) some time in a ‘banya’ (sauna), and you will soon hear balalaika music in the background!. B

Day 14

Transfer back to Irkutsk. Departing Listvyankayour first stop is to visit the Taltsy open-air ethnographic museum which houses more than 40 examples of traditional East Siberian wooden architecture. Continue to Irkutsk for half day city tour including the Volkonsky House Museum, Znamensky Russian Orthodox Church, and Karl Marx Street.

Irkutsk, founded in 1661 when the Russian Cossack troops established a fortress on the right bank of Angara River. From the late 17th century, it was a political, economical and cultural centre for Siberia. The city's classical architecture dates from the period of the 1880s when the city boomed after gold was discovered in the area. Most of the brick mansions and grand public buildings, varying in architectural styles, were constructed in the late 19th  to early 20th century. The Russian Orthodox churches and a Polish Cathedral (the only Siberian Gothic-style building) are located in the city centre. You will see many small, one and two-storied wooden houses, or cabins that are decorated with "wooden lattice work" (handmade carving), as well as modern buildings from the 20th century. Our trips visit either the Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies, or the Decembrists' House.  The tour of central Irkutsk is a walking tour. Sights and museums visited could vary due to a variation in local conditions. Overnight Irkutsk. More information on Irkutsk including temperature guide. B

Day 15

Irkutsk. Early morning transfer to the station for your train to Ekaterinburg

Day 16

On board the famous Trans Siberian Express! Remember to get off at the short stops and wander around the station. All manner of local vendors will try to extract some Rubles for their goods.

Day 17

Arrive Ekaterinburg.  You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel for early check in.  Afternoon orientation tour of the city.

Day 18
Full day city tour with your private guide including a visit to the monastery that marks the site of the Romanov family’s execution in 1918 and Ganina Yama - a beautiful monastic complex built on the site where their bodies were discarded and later found. The tour also takes you to the Europe/Asia border where you can stand with a foot in each continent!  Overnight Ekaterinburg. B
Day 19
Transfer to the station for your Train to Moscow. B
Day 20
Arrive Moscow.  You are met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel.  Afternoon city orientation tour.
Day 21
Moscow.  Full day sightseeing including Red Square with such famous sights as Lenin’s Mausoleum and St Basils Cathedral.  You will be taken to the GUM department store (don't miss the possibility to have a coffee here enjoying the wonderful Kremlin view), then to the Alexander Gardens.  Lunch in a local restaurant.  Afternoon visit to Christ the Saviour Cathedral and Bridge.  Dinner at the hotel plus traditional Russian show.  Optional City by Night Tour. B D
Day 22

Full day sightseeing including the Moscow Metro where stops will be made at the stunning underground stations. Many of these are decorated with marble, sculptures and paintings.  Then to Manezh Square, followed by lunch.  Afternoon visit to the Kremlin.  Your visit will include the Tsar Cannon and Bell, as well as the unique cathedrals within the precinct.  Continue on to the Eliseev Food Hall.  Dinner at the hotel. B D

Day 23
Full day sightseeing outside of Moscow to Sergiev Posad.  The town was founded in the 14th century by St Sergey Radonezhsky who was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. It is now a centre of pilgrimage.  Here you will visit what used to be the central monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church: Trinity-Serviev Lavra. Marvel at its unique blend of architectural styles from several epochs and its remarkable frescoes by Andrey Rublev, Russia's most famous icon master.  Lunch in a local restaurant.  Afternoon visit to the Sergiev Posad Flea Market.  Return to Moscow and the hotel for dinner and overnight.  Optional visit to the Moscow Circus. B D
Day 24

Transfer to railway station for your fast train to St Petersburg.  Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.  Afternoon sightseeing including city orientation and St Isaacs Cathedral. Climb the colonnade stairway to the roof for a magnificent view over the city! Dinner at the hotel. B D

Day 25
Full day sightseeing commencing with the Catherine Palace at Pushkin.  See the ornately gilded, mirrored Grand Hall, and the famous Amber Room.  Lunch in a local restaurant.  Afternoon visit to the Peter & Paul Fortress.  Dinner at the hotel.  Optional St Petersburg By Night Tour. B D
Day 26
Half day sightseeing including the Hermitage Palace & Gallery, followed by St Andrews Church.  Lunch in a local restaurant.  Dinner at the hotel.  Optional Cruise by Canals Tour. B D
Day 27
Breakfast at hotel. Optional tour to Peterhof, Peter the 1st’s Great palace and gardens.  170 fountains (including trick ones), and the Grand Cascade, one of the largest in the world, running down to the Gulf of Finland.  Tour ends.  Transfer to the airport/station for onward travel, or continue with extension nights in St Petersburg. B

 

Price

Per person Twin Share Single Supplement 2 berth train cabin included.
Aus$6323 Aus$1690 Aus$1390
  Note: There are no single cabins on the trains. This cost is for stopover accommodation. Note: On sector Ulan Bataar to Irkutsk where there is no physical 2 berth the vacant 2 berths have been also purcahsed thus ensuring you 2 berth occupancy.

Prices were correct at the time of publishing, but can change. We will then adjust this web site. If you have booked and deposited your trip there will be no surcharge. Upgrade train cabin means changing from a share 4 berth cabin to a share 2 berth cabin.
There are no single cabins. There are no 2 berth cabins on the rail section between Ulaan Bataar and Irkutsk (both directions). The surcharge includes the cost of the vacant berths to ensure only two occupy the cabin. Train departure days were correct at time of publishing the above itinerary. Naturally these can change and therefore we have to adjust the overall programme.

Other Options: Weekly Independent
  Set date fully escorted


Accommodation:

As detailed in itinerary. Beijing 4 star. Ulan Bataar 3 star. Mongolian tourist ger camp. Lake Baikal village - Homestay chalet. Irkutsk 3 star hotel. Ekaterinburg 3 star hotel. Moscow and St Petersburg 4 star hotel.

Meals: B = Breakfast: L = Lunch: D = Dinner:

We purposely do not include all meals. This gives you choice of time, place, and style in which you wish to dine. Where all meals are included means the local choice is limited and/or the included meals are good value.

For meals on the train you can eat in the same restaurant or another good idea is to stock up on some snacks before you board the train, and from vendors along the route (who set up on stations where the trains stops for short times). – lots of cheese, smoked fish, bread local fruits (when in season) and vodka!

Group Numbers:

This can vary. The maximum size per group is 16 persons.

Guides:

Our guides are local people fluent in the languages required. All are well educated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Our guides meet you at the railway station when your train arrives, often within a metre of the exit door when you arrive. They then return you to the train and ensure you are boarded correctly. They do not accompany you on the train, as this is not really required and would add much expense to the tour price. At each point you have a local guide, with LOCAL KNOWLEDGE. A Russian, from Vladivostok is not going to have the same intimate knowledge of Moscow that a Muscovite will. Another reason for using locals is that this places more revenue into local pockets.

The train has been operating with local and foreign visitors for many years, even before the change from the Soviet Union to modern Russia, and so the journey runs efficiently. Remember the Trans Siberian railway celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2004! The staff on board are well used to foreigners and whilst many may not speak English they can understand problems, after all they have experienced most, or seek one of their colleagues who may be able to assist in the language required.

Sightseeing:

Sightseeing is detailed in the itinerary. There is time for more, but this can vary according to personal preference. During the ‘spare time’ slots additional sightseeing can be organised either using a walking guide or car. It is best to pre-order these, as you will then have consistency with your guide.

Theatre/Shows/Ballet/Circus

Without doubt Russia excels in these areas and many visitors wish to sample such an event. You can either ‘see what is on first before buying a ticket’, or pre-order your seats. This saves you a large amount of time and ensures you get into your chosen event when you want.

We can offer the following services;
* Establishing what is on during your stay, that relates to your interest.
* Arrange for tickets to be purchased and given to you when you arrive.
* There is a booking fee for this service.

Visa invitation documents and local registration:

The required paperwork to obtain a visa is given to you when full payment for the rail tour has been received. In addition, the ‘visa registration’ procedure is done for you upon arrival in Russia. .

Additional Programmes

You may want to add some touring in China, or Beijing prior to your train departure. the following links will show you how.

Classics of China

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