Guided Group Tours -
Special Departure: Trans Siberian Summer Journeys



This special departure are designed to travel across Mongolia and Russia during the summer months.

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 05 July 2015

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

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.
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
Day 5
Arrive Ulaan Baatar at approx 1310 where you are met and transferred to your accommodation. Afternoon city tour includes the Sukhbaatar Square, Zaisan Hill War Memorial and the Bogd Khaan Palace Museum. Evening folk show and dinner. Overnight Ulaan Baatar. Massive ‘Soviet Inspired’ architecture is very evident, but this can contrast with a cow wandering the street.
Day 6
Ulaan Baatar. Drive north to the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, located 350km from the capital. One of the most beautiful monasteries in Mongolia, built 1727 – 1736. Spend two days exploring the area, including visits to local nomad families. Two nights in ger camp.
Day 7
Continued exploration of this remarkable area.
Day 8
Amarbayasgalant. Drive to Ulaan Bataar and hotel for overnight
Day 9
Ulaan Baatar. Morning visit 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 train to Irkutsk. On train until 12 June
Day 10
Day on the train – time to start that large novel, or get out the chess set.
Day 11

Arrive Irkutsk at about 0828 and transfer directly to in Listvyanka at Lake Baikal for two nights. En route you will be given a guided tour of the Baikal Ecology Museum. The Museum of Lake Baikal (Limnological Museum) provides information about the origin, and wild life, of the lake. A video film gives you the opportunity to see the deepest point of the lake (1.637 m) taken from a submarine. 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..

Day 12

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!.

Day 13

Transfer back to Irkutsk where you will be taken on a three hour guided tour of the main city attractions.
Listvyanka. Morning visit to 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.

Day 14
Irkutsk. Day at leisure. Late afternoon transfer to station for train to Ekaterinburg.
Day 15
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 16
Arrive Ekaterinburg. Transfer to hotel for overnight.
Day 17
Ekaterinburg. Full day city tour 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.
Day 18
Ekaterinburg. Transfer to station for train to Vladimir.
Day 19
Arrive Vladimir. Drive to Suzdal and hotel. Half day sightseeing including the Kremlin, Monastery of St Euthymius, and Torgovaya Plashchad. Overnight Suzdal.
Day 20
Depart Suzdal to Moscow KATERINA PARK hotel or similar . Balance of day free to relax and wander around your local environs.
Day 21
Breakfast at hotel. 10.00am meet with your English speaking guide in the hotel lobby and take a metro to the city centre to start your walking sightseeing tour. Time for a lunch break and then proceed to the famous trendy street, Stary Arbat street - walking tour. 17.00 return to your hotel by metro. Optional activity at night - Moscow by night guided tour.
Day 22
Breakfast at hotel. 10.00am meet with your English speaking guide in the hotel lobby and take a metro to the city centre to start your tour of the internal grounds of the Kremlin. Your visit will include the Tsar Cannon and Bell, as well as the unique cathedrals within the precinct.

The tour will be continued to Red Square (right next door) with such famous sights as Lenins Mausoleum and St Basils Church. 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 Manezh square and the Alexander Gardens. 15.00pm On the return journey to the hotel more stops will be made at the stunning Moscow underground/metro stations. Many of these are decorated with marble, sculptures and paintings.
Day 23
Breakfast at hotel. At 11.00am you will be transferred from the hotel to the railway station for the new high speed SAPSAN train to St. Petersburg. Departing 13.30pm (economy class tickets included). 17.15pm sees you arriving at St. Petersburg - the so called "Northern Venice". You are met and transferred to your hotel PARK INN PULKOVSKAYA by RADISSON 4* (or similar). Check in and overnight.
Day 24

Breakfast at hotel. 10.00am Meet with your English speaking guide in the hotel lobby and transfer to the city centre for your city sightseeing tour, including an excursion to Hermitage Palace and gallery. Afternoon tour to the Peter and Paul fortress 17.00pm Transfer back to your hotel.

Day 25
Breakfast at hotel. This day is free for optional activities.
Day 26
Breakfast at hotel. 10.00am Today your private guide and driver will take you outside St Petersburg on a full day tour to Pushkin – Ekaterina Palace (Catherines Palace). This tour include the Amber room and parks. 15.00pm Transfer back to your hotel.
Day 27
Breakfast at hotel. The tour ends today and you will be transferred to either the airport or railway station. You can extend your stay.

 

Price

Per person Twin Share Single Surcharge Upgrade Train Cabin from 4 berth to 2 berth
AU$5332 Au$938 AU$1140
  Note: There are no single cabins on the trains.
This cost is for stopover accommodation.
 

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: Set Date Independent Weekly Independent


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. Suzdal 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 the included meals are good value. Part of the travel experience is to explore local cuisines, and by including set meals, at set times, within hotels can negate this opportunity. If you wish to ‘dine in’ then the choice is yours. We can provide some dining suggestions for you and your fellow travelling companions.

Meals on the train: On the section Irkutsk to Ekateringburg and then on to Vladimir one meal a day is included in the dining car. This is now a compulsory situation with Russian Rail.. For other meals 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, salamis and vodka!

Group Numbers:

This can vary. The maximum size per group is 12 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.

Museums and Galleries: Establishments such as the ‘Hermitage’ in St Petersburg are immense in size and content. Everyone has their own ‘time limit’ and absorption rate for such places. Often couples have different tolerance rates.

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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