On arrival in Beijing you make your own way to the hotel – any taxi driver will quickly find the address. The convenient location of the hotel positions you to get the most of this legendary Imperial city, where the rich traditions of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism meet with the opulence of the Chinese Emperors and the vibrant realism of contemporary China. Chinese hotels cope badly with the idea of foreigners who haven’t yet arrived so we’ll have your onward rail tickets delivered once you have checked in, with user hint and, directions to the station. The hotel is in the heart of the golden area of the capital, surrounded by major business centres, tourist attractions and only minutes away from the Wangfujing Street, Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City.
Day 2 - Depart Beijing
Make your own way to the station giving yourself at least one hour on arrival to complete security (metal-detectors are now in force and there can be queues to use them) and find your train and platform. And then you’re heading off, along the most famous railway in the world!
Day 3 - Arrive Ulaanbaatar
Afternoon arrival in Ulaanbaatar. Our driver will meet you at the end of the platform and will be holding a meeting- board with your name on. Transfer from the station, to a hotel with a chance to freshen up and have light snack, before departing for your city tour. Then transfer to Elstei Ger Lodge (70km). With a scheduled stop at the enormous monument to Genghis Khan along the way. It may not be quite traditional in style (since it's made of stainless steel) but it's an astounding edifice and a testament to Genghis's place in Mongolian culture (astonishingly the Communists tried to write him out of official history text-books). Taking the elevator to top of this 10 metre high monument you visit the exhibition hall from where you will have an excellent panoramic view over the complex area and the scenery beyond. A relaxed evening in the bar after supper there are occasional impromptu performances of live Mongolian music, where you might hear the Morin Khuur (horse-head lyre), the cimbalom, or native Mongolian throat-singing. On arrival to Elstei Ger Lodge you will allocated a four person share Ger. (2-person upgrade available.)
Light snack, supper.
Day 4 - Elstei Ger Lodge
With no specific activities planned you can choose to chill out, read, go walking, or (for a small payment made directly to them locally) you can go horse riding with local nomad horsemen.
Breakfast, lunch, supper.
Day 5 - Return to Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast make the return trip to Ulaanbaatar. Check into the Bayangol 4H
hotel. This is a great centrally located property and facilities include 5 restaurants, fitness centre, sauna and a supermarket. The balance of today is free to explore more of the city. You can choose to visit the heady atmosphere surrounding the Gandan Monastery or visit the Choijin Monastery Museum, or the Bazaar… log on and pick up your email in one of the numerous internet cafes on Peace Avenue, have a latte and French pastries in the new generation of new-age coffee stores, go souvenir shopping in the peculiar grandeur of the Central Department Store, or pick up some snack food for the train in the Store’s food department… in the evening a wide range of traditional and new style Mongolian eateries are vying with European style places, Irish pubs and German beer halls to enjoy, usually with live music later on.
Day 6 - Depart Mongolia
If you are interested in Mongolian Buddhism you may be interested in making a return visit to the Gandan Monastery this morning, to see the morning prayer-ceremonies in progress. We also suggest you take an opportunity today to purchase picnic provisions for the next leg of your journey, as often this train as no dining car. This evening we will transfer you to the station where you will board the Irkutsk bound train.
Day 7 - On board the Trans-Mongolian Express
On board The Trans-Sib… heading towards Russia. When you make the border crossing there will be the usual halt for formalities.
Day 8 - Arrive Irkutsk
Early morning arrival in Irkutsk. Our driver will meet you at the end of the platform, holding a meeting-board marked with your name. Transfer to “U Ozera Hotel” (the name translates as “At the Lake Hotel”, although it is not directly at the lake shore) situated in Listvyanka Village (70km) travelling by road through the forest. The facilities available at this hotel include; cafe-bar, Russian “banya” (sauna), safe at the reception. The nearest ATM-machine in the Baikal Hotel (Listvyanka remains a village, and doesn't have the range of banking services you could expect in a city). The official check-in time is 12 noon, the hotel reception will advise you they will need your passport for visa registration formalities. However if your room is available this will - of course - be allocated to you on arrival. (If your room is not available you will be able to leave your luggage with the hotel reception). You will have a chance to have breakfast before setting off on your walking tour around Listvyanka Village. This will include a visit to the Limnological Museum (this is an exhibition about the Lake, its formation, wildlife etc - it includes multimedia presentations, information about the creatures which live in the darkest depths, and also an aquarium with living aquatic species, including the unique freshwater Baikal seals) and also a small wooden village Russian Orthodox Church dating back to the C18th. You return to your hotel at the end of the walk, with time to relax and enjoy your lakeside surroundings, maybe
experience real Siberian "banya" (sauna -small payment locally at the hotel).
Day 9 - Baikal Free Choice Programme
Choose one activity from the list, it’s all included in the trip price! You’ll need to inform us of your choice before commencing your journey, so that we can have the right staff on hand for when you arrive (please note the Siberian weather puts seasonal limits on some activities – details below). Want to extend your life? Local legend claims that you can get anything from five extra years of life (paddling up to your knees) up to twenty years if you manage to go swimming!
A. SIBERIAN TREK through the Taiga Forest with a local guide who will explain the
wildlife, eco- system and lore of the Taiga (May-Oct).
B. CIRCUM BAIKAL PICNIC Take the Ferry from Listvyanka to Port Baikal which takes around 15 minutes. Walk around Port Baikal, where you will see the train station of the old Circumbaikal rail line. Then you will walk along the rail line to the nearest tunnel (2-3 km). Stopping for a picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Baikal. Return to Port Baikal, ferry back to Listvyanka. (Jun-Sep)
C. SNOW MOBILE TRIP with a local guide through the forest, or even out over the
deep frozen lake! Two hours (Dec–Apr).
D. DOG SLEDDING trip for a distance of 10 km. 1 dog sled for each client (Dec–Mar).
E. TALTSY WOODEN MUSEUM A three hour trip which includes a driver, and English speaking guide to the Taltsy open air wooden museum on the shore of Lake Baikal. This picturesque area shows how life was and has been sympathetically restored as a tourist attraction where you can ride Troikas and also buy authentic souvenirs. There is a tea house here also to refresh you after a busy morning sightseeing. (Year round)
F. DO YOUR OWN THING maybe take off on a cliff side walk, or mosey around the
village, or take a dip in Lake Baikal! (Weather permitting!)
Balance of day free time to explore the village at your own pace. Maybe try a local bar?
Day 10 - Back on board the Trans-Siberian Express
After breakfast transfer back to Irkutsk city. You will be given a map and some
recommendations of interesting places to visit by our local staff. Afternoon transfer to the station where you will board the Moscow bound train.
Day 11 - En route through to Ekaterinburg
On board…The Trans-Sib travelling towards Moscow. The dining car is the heart of social life on the train. It functions as bar, lounge, and take-out snack store, as well as a café serving reasonably priced meals. It is a great place to meet fellow travellers and locals alike, sharing your experiences of your journey so far with a few drinks, which no doubt will include some Vodka – and maybe smoked salmon and caviar too!
Day 12 - Arrive Ekaterinburg
Late evening arrive in Ekaterinburg where our driver will meet you at the end of the platform and will be holding a meeting-board with your name on. Transfer to the Hotel Chekhov, which is centrally located. No Meals.
Day 13 - Ekaterinburg
After breakfast there’s a walking tour around the well known and less obvious attractions of Ekaterinburg, with a local expert guide. You’ll visit the historical centre of the city, including the scene of the assassination of the Romanov Royal Family, on which a Cathedral now stands to mark the event. You’ll also see something of Ekaterinburg’s involvement in Russia’s military history. The last half-hour will be spent at The Museum of Gems. The tour ends in the downtown area (we make sure you know the way back!), where you are poised for multiple lunch choices and a free afternoon to explore independently. Breakfast
Day 14 - Ekaterinburg Free Choice Programme
(Geographical note: Ekaterinburg has borders on both the Western and Eastern sides of town… to the West is the official border between Europe & Asia, and to the East of
Ekaterinburg is where Siberia officially begins.) The Siberian border was more than symbolic in the C19th – it delineated an area where a more rough and ready system of justice operated, where escaped serfs who had run away from their masters could legally claim sanctuary. For oppressed religious minorities, escaped serfs and others, the one way trip to Siberia was, ironically, the “highway of hope”.
Please make a choice of one of the day trip options. They’re included in the trip price! ( please note the Siberian weather puts seasonal limits on some activities – details below).
A. ROMANOV GRAVES (Europe/Asia Border Monument en-route). Car excursion to site where the Romanov bodies were hidden. Duration; 5–6 hours. No physical exertion involved. Light lunch provided. Year round.
B. SIBERIAN COUNTRYSIDE & HISTORIC VILLAGE Visit to an old village (145 km each way) now under a Preservation Order. Includes home-cooked lunch, exhibitions of local craft, horse cart riding. Duration; 8–9 hours. No physical exertion involved. Year round.
C. HIKING TRIP IN THE URALS Outdoor adventure in an area which is a designated nature park. Car transfer, then 18km walk where you will see a variety of flora and fauna and learn about the indigenous species of wildlife. No special equipment needed. Duration; 8 hours. Lunch provided. 15 June–15 September. Weather permitting.
D. SIBERIAN WILDERNESS ADVENTURE Combined soft raft (6km) and Forest Hike (12km) – optional cave visit. Good fitness required. Duration; 9-10 hours. Lunch provided. 15 June–15 September. Weather permitting.
E. SKIING At Ezhovaya Slopes Ski Resort. Skis/Poles/Lift-Pass package purchasable locally approx £35 payable in roubles. No instruction is included – this program is for those who can already ski. Duration; 6 –7 hours. Lunch provided. 01 December– 28 February. Weather permitting.
F. ICE-FISHING Yes, you saw the cartoons, now you can try it yourself. Tackle, angler’s hints & fur coat provided. We don’t guarantee you’ll catch anything! Duration; 8 hours. Lunch provided. 15 November– 15 December. 01 February–15 March. Weather permitting.
G. SIBERIAN HUSKY DOG SLEDDING Exactly what it says! 3–4 hours sledding
following a made track through the forest. No special fitness required, but be ready to fall-off in the soft snow a few times, they’re pretty fast! At the end of your trip
you will visit the famous Europe-Asia border. Duration; 7–8 hours. Lunch provided. 15 November–28 December. 16 January–28 February. Weather permitting.
Day 15 - Depart Ekaterinburg
Early morning transfer to the station where
you will board the Moscow bound train. Breakfast.
Day 16 - Arrive Moscow
“S Priezdom! Welcome to Moscow!” early morning arrival. Our driver will be there to
meet you at the end of the platform, and will be hold a meeting-board with your name on. You’ll then be transferred to the Panorama 3* Hotel. The facilities available at this hotel include a Restaurant, Lobby Bar, Lobby Wi-Fi access, Luggage Room, Safety deposit boxes and an ATM machine. At check-in, (after 2pm) the hotel reception will advise you they will need your passport for visa registration. This process takes 1–2 hours. One of our local expert staff will meet you at the hotel to take you on a
three hour walking tour round the highlights – you’ll use public transport around the centre to avoid the traffic jams and get the hang of the system for when you come to use it independently. Our staffers are full of ideas for this walk but are flexible about other ideas if you have your own. Your walk ends in the city centre around lunchtime Your complimentary InfoPack is full of ideas for getting the most out of your free time.
Day 17 - Around Moscow
If you haven’t prebooked any of our range of city excursions the rest of the day is your own to explore further. Some of our top suggestions (please check opening times/days before setting off) would include visiting the Moscow Kremlin, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, or a boat trip along the Mosvka
River… perhaps locate some tickets for ballet, opera, circus or a concert this evening? As well as famous classical music traditions Moscow features on the touring schedules of world names in jazz, rock, pop and world music.
Day 18 - Depart Moscow
You’ll need to check out of your room by 12 noon today. For services we offer in
St. Petersburg please refer to our "St. Petersburg Add On" Breakfast.
Included in the trip:
TRAIN: 2-Class 4-berth rail for complete journey. MOSCOW: Car transfer arrival/departure. Two nights 3* Hotel with breakfast, 3 hour personalised walking tour with local expert. EKATERINBURG: Car transfer arrival/ departure. Two nights 2* Hotel with breakfast, 3 hour walking tour, free choice excursion. LAKE BAIKAL: All transfers, two nights 3* Hotel with breakfast, walking tour and free choice excursion. ULAANBAATAR: All transfers, two nts Mongolian Ger Camp accommodation- full board. 1 night 3* hotel Ulaanbaatar, breakfast. Walking tour of Ulaanbaatar.
No frills trip:
TRAIN: 2-Class 4-berth rail for complete journey. MOSCOW: Transfer arrival. Two nights 1* Hotel. Breakfast included. EKATERINBURG: Transfer arrival/departure. Two nights 1* Hotel room-only (shared bathroom). IRKUTSK: Transfer arrival/departure. Family stay accommodation, Irkutsk City. Breakfast. ULAANBAATAR: Arrival/departure transfers. Three nights 1* hotel, Ulaanbaatar. Breakfast.
Trip Price guide (per person):
Spicing it up
Full on extra night Moscow
Full on extra night Beijing
No frills extra night Moscow
No frills extra night Beijing
Upgrade to 2 berth
Due to the nature of these destinations all prices are subject to change. Contact us to confirm exact price.
these are the dates when this itinerary works:
2012- 18 days
December 07, 14, 21, 28
2013 – 18 Days
January 04, 11, 18, 25 February 01, 08, 15, 22 March 01, 08, 15, 22, 29 April 05, 12, 19, 26 May 03, 10 June 03, 10, 17, 24 July 01, 08, 15, 22, 29 August 05, 12, 19, 26 September 02, 09, 16, 23, 30 October 07, 14, 21, 28 November 04, 11, 18, 25 December 02, 09, 16, 23, 30
We have a range of airline tickets which fit in well with our trips. Run your flight requirements past us before confirming your flight arrangements.