Classic Outer & Inner Mongolia - Moscow to Beijing
The descendants of Genghis Khan who, on horseback eight centuries ago, swept across much of Asia, creating one of the world’s greatest empires. Outer Mongolia is now an independent country – and one of the world’s least visited – while Inner Mongolia remains a part of China but was once the richest corner of the vast Mongol reach. This is a trip is for the inquisitive and adventurous.
Itinerary Hide all details
“S Priezdom! Welcome to Moscow!” Our driver will be there to meet you from whichever flight, train or boat you arrive. You’ll then be transferred to the Panorama 3* Hotel. (We can obtain rates for superior hotels ask a member of the reservations team for details.) 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. Your complimentary InfoPack is full of ideas for getting the most out of your free time. (Please note your Trans-Siberian train tickets will be delivered to the hotel during your two night stay.)
After breakfast 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. 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.
Your morning is free until 11:30am when a driver is scheduled to take you to the station. Although there’s a restaurant car service on board your train you may want to supplement this with some snacks, treats, and fresh fruit that you could buy today.Your transfer from the hotel to Yaroslavsky station is scheduled for 11:30am, so please be at the hotel reception where your driver will meet you and will assist your boarding of the Irkutsk bound train.
On board The Trans-Sib… travelling towards Irkutsk. The dining car is the heart of social life of 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! Along the way you’ll see stonishing Siberian scenery as the deciduous forests of the Ural Mountains slowly give way to Siberian pine forests. The major landmarks are the great rivers you cross, including the River Ob at Novosibirsk (one of the most famous bridges on the route), and the gigantic Enisei River (at Krasnoyarsk).
Mid morning arrival in Irkutsk. Our driver will meet you at the end of the platform, holding a meeting-board displaying “Russia Experience”. Transfer to U Ozera 3* Hotel situated in Listvyanka Village (70km) travelling by road through the forest. The Hotel is set just 50 metres from the shores of Lake Baikal. Hotel facilities include; sun terrace, sauna (local charge) Laundry and Ironing service, restaurant and bar. All rooms have private bathrooms, tea and coffee facilities and a minibar. Wi-Fi is free of charge in public areas. The nearest ATMmachine in the Baikal Hotel (Listvyanka remains a village, and doesn't have the range of banking services you could expect in a city). At check-in, the hotel reception will advise you they will need your passport for visa registration formalities. This afternoon set 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 – local charge).
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).
A. SIBERIAN TREK through the Taiga Forest with a local guide who will explain the wildlife, with a local guide who will explian the eco system and lore of the Taiga. The trek is 4-5 hours long, includes a picnic style lunch and a good level of fitness is required. (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. The excursion is around 5 hours duration. (Jun-Sep)
C.TALTSY WOODEN MUSEUM A two hour trip which includes a return transfer by car, and entrance fees to the Taltsy open air wooden museum which is situated on the shore of the Angara river. On arrival you are free to explore independently and there is a tea house here where afterwards you can have a cup of tea and traditional Russian snack (pancakes, pirodzki, etc) This picturesque area shows how life was and has been sympathetically restored as a tourist attraction where you can buy authentic souvenirs. (Year round)
D. PORT BAIKAL A day trip to Port Baikal with a local guide taking a ferry from Listvyanka. On arrival visit the Circumbaikal Railway Museum located at the train station then an uphill hike to the White stone viewpoint and to see the old lighthouse. Followed by a visit to a Russian Orthodox Church, lunch and free time walking back to the village. Return by ferry. Duration 5 hours. (May–August)
After breakfast transfer back to Irkutsk city. Check-into The Angara 3* Hotel. The hotel is located on the Kirov Square, in the heart of Irkutsk city. Some of our top suggestions Decembrist Museum, Volkonsky House and The Epiphany Cathedral.
Early morning transfer to Irkutsk station where you will board the Ulaanbaatar bound train. At midnight you will make the border crossing into Mongolia with the usual halt for formalities.
Our driver and guide 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 Zaya Hostel with a chance to freshen up and have breakfast, before departing to the enormous monument to Genghis Khan (aka Chinghiiskhan.) 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. Then set off for Khustai National Park. (Around 155km West of Genghis Khan Statue) . This is the perfect location to see the and also feel the beauty of Mongolia with its unique landscape of mountains , steppe, sand dunes and river wetlands. The national park is home to the “Takhis” the famous wild horse and 46 other species of mammals including deer, wild boar, whitetailed gazelle, grey wolf, Eurasian lynx to name but a few. Also if you are an ornithologist there are over 161 species of birds including Eagles and Cranes. Supper and overnight at the tourist Camp.
Travel from Khustai National Park to Ugii Lake directly on back country roads. Enjoy lunch at the ger camp before exploring the fabulous Lake environs at your leisure. Overnight at a tourist Ger camp.
Breakfast, Lunch. Supper
Head for Tsenkher Hot Springs. If you are feeling a little bruised or achy from your travels, bouncing over Mongolian roads, then an hour or two in the springs is just the ticket for you. Time to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Breakfast, Lunch. Supper
This morning an early start and drive to the lost capital of Genghis Khan at Karakorum (approximately 2 hours) and visit the magnificent Erdene Zuu Monastery, where you will see a distinct mixing of the styles of Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhism. Karakorum was once the heart of the Mongol Empire and today, you’ll still see remnants of the long standing walls that encircle the city. Also in the afternoon, visit the newly established Karakorum Museum. Overnight in Hotel.Karakorum Museum. Overnight in Hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Supper
After breakfast head for Elsen Tasarkhai (which will include a break in your journey at the picturesque “Khugnu Khan Mountain” also known as Bayan Gobi) Camel riding is on offer here, Elsen Tasarhai literally means “an isolated torn-off piece of sand” and it is a small sequence of real desert in the midst of green steppes.
Breakfast, Lunch, Supper
Around 2pm you make the return trip to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival to Ulaanbaatar your city tour will include; Sukhbaatar Square and the National History Museum. Check into Hotel Nine 3* Hotel. This evening why not visit Peace Avenue or pick-up some snack food for the train in one of the many supermarkets? There is a wide range of traditional and new style Mongolian eateries as well as European restaurants . Or maybe go to see a Folklore concert this evening?
You’ll need to check out of your room by 12 noon today but the hotel offers a Left Luggage service for a small fee. Your day is free and it will be easy to keep yourself amused as there is so much still to see and do. We recommend you take this opportunity to purchase provisions for the next leg of your journey, as often this service has no dining car. Be back at the hotel at 8pm where your driver will meet you at reception. You will then be transferred the short distance to Ulaanbaatar station where we will assist your boarding of the Huhehot bound train.
Spectacular scenery that’s worth waking early for this morning as you trundle through the Southern Gobi. There’s a layover at the border while they change the train bogeys to Chinese gauge – they don’t rush themselves for this job, so it’s worth getting out to wander around, even if the surroundings are not especially interesting. Another layover once you reach the Chinese side, for passport control (you are usually not allowed out of the station, as you have not yet cleared Chinese passport control). (It is worth preplanning your use of the bathroom today, as it will be locked during these stops!) Late evening arrival in Huhehot, the capital of Inner Mongolia. Our driver will meet you at the end of the platform where he will be holding a meeting-board with your name on. Transfer to the Chunxue Siji hotel, which is located in the city’s shopping and business district.
After breakfast your guide will meet you at reception, where you will depart for a full day city of Huhehot, which will include; Zhaojun Tomb, Dazhao Temple and The Five Pagoda Temple. Expect to return to the hotel late afternoon. Our recommendation for this evening; treat yourself to a slap up Chinese meal – Huhehot has a super selection featuring both local Mongolian (you can even eat in a Mongolian cart-drawn war-ger) and traditional Beijing-style cuisine.
You’ll need to check out of your room by 12 noon today but the hotel offers a Left Luggage service for a small fee. Your day is free to participate in a little extra shopping or sightseeing. Own transfer to the station for the Beijing bound train.
Early morning arrival at Beijing West Station.
- 4-berth rail for complete journey (pre-assigned berths)
- with option to upgrade to 2-berth
- transfer on arrival to your hotel
- 2 nights 3* hotel, breakfast
- 3 hour personalised walking tour with local expert
- transfer to the station on departure
- All transportation
- 2 nights 3* hotel, Listvyanka Village, breakfast
- 1 night 3* hotel, Irkutsk City, breakfast
- Excursion option
Ulaanbaatar & Inner/Outer Mongolia
- all transportation (4WD), driver, English speaking guide
- Entrance fees Erdene Zuu Monastery, Kharkhorum Museum
- Khustai National Park entrance fees
- 3 nights tourist ger camp (Ugii Lake, all meals, Khustai, all meals Tsenkher Hot Springs, all meals)
- 1 night Hotel (Kharkhorum, all meals)
- 1 night in Nomadic Family’s guest ger (Elsen Tasarkhai) all meals
- 1 night 3* hotel, (Ulaanbaatar) breakfast
- City tour of Ulaanbaatar
- transfer on arrival
- 2 nights 3* hotel, breakfast included
|Extra night from Moscow midweek||$83||$55||$55|
|Extra night from Moscow weekend||$63||$49||$49|
|2-berth upgrades Moscow-Beijing||$800||$800||$800
The journey you have chosen has some “extras” that are necessary and then “extras” that will enhance your trip. We cannot re-iterate too much that we pride ourselves on making the trip you have chosen the best it can be – so if we don’t mention something you want, ask us and we’ll try our best to make it happen! In return, we try to inform you about any great “extras” along the way, so that you have the chance to try them if you want! Visas are a necessary extra and needed for all the countries you travel through and the current costs and what is needed can be found under Visas.
Upgrading to 2- berth compartment
Upgrading to 2- berth compartment on the train is also an option, you will see under Prices. This service is becoming more popular every year and not helped by the train operators only confirming this request 30 days or less prior to your departure. We have however devised a workaround for this that’s proving very reliable. We request a 2-berth at the time of booking but if this comes back not possible we block out a 4-berth compartment for 2 person occupancy. The standard of these cabins remains the same, and you get the extra space and privacy one way or the other.
|Price package||Price per person|
3+ people (full on)
Price per person
2 people (full on)
Price per person
1 person (full on)
Price per person
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Russian visa support (Russian visa invitation letter) is included.
Sights included in program
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