Best of Trans-Mongolian: Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Irkutsk - Baikal - Mongolia - Beijing
You will visit the three countries of Russia, Mongolia and China, observing the differences in culture and landscape between each. Our experienced English-speaking guides will look after you at each destination. This journey of a lifetime is a wonderful chance to experience for yourself the real connection between the continents and the great cultures of the world.
Itinerary Hide all details
Arrival Transfer to the Hotel
Airport arrival at Moscow where our driver will be waiting with a sign and transfer to the hotel.
Exploring Moscow. Red Square, St. Basil’s, Lenin Mausoleum
Today we will visit Lubyanka Square – the world-famous KGB centre of the Soviet epoch, and Teatralnaya Square, home to the famous Bolshoi Theatre. Then we will continue our walk through Moscow's backstreets and lanes where every building has its own unique and interesting tale to tell. We will also visit Tverskaya Street – the busiest street in Moscow – with myriad shops, restaurants and a unique combination of old, Stalin and modern architecture. We will then take a stroll along the pedestrian zone near the Red Square, where you'll be able to admire the colourful domes of St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's mausoleum and GUM department store.
Kremlin & Armoury. Departure to Yekaterinburg
Once the residence of the Tsars and now the base for the Russian president, the Kremlin is a fascinating place to explore. You can almost feel the ghosts of Tsarist Russia in Cathedral Square. Inside the Armoury Museum, marvel at such treasures as Faberge's fabulously decorated eggs, the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy and weaponry dating back centuries. Later, take a tour of the Moscow Underground, a work of art in itself with its stations adorned with mosaics, marble, bronze sculptures and stained glass. At the end of the day, our driver will transfer you from the hotel lobby to the train station for your fast overnight train to Yekaterinburg. Choose from first or second class and enjoy a comfortable ride and a meal in the onboard dining car.
Transfer to the Hotel
After your late evening arrival in Yekaterinburg, our driver will meet you at the train with a sign bearing your names and transfer you to the hotel.
Ganina Yama & Cathedral on the Blood. Europe-Asia Border. Departure to Siberia
Our guided sightseeing programme in Yekaterinburg includes a moving visit to the Memorial Cathedral on the Blood in the name of all Saints, which was built on the site of the execution of the last Russian Tsar Nikolay II and his family. From there, we'll take you to Ganina Pit, an orthodox monastery where the imperial remains were initially interred and to seven wooden churches in the heart of a centuries-old pine forest. Finally we make an excursion to an obelisk marking the boundary between Europe and Asia where traditionally tourists drink champagne. En route, we pause at the memorial honouring the victims of Stalin’s repressions of the 1930s to 1950s. Our driver will meet you at the hotel lobby to take you to the station for your late evening train. Three days later we will arrive at Irkutsk, the jumping off point for Lake Baikal.
Following our early morning arrival in Irkutsk our guide will meet you at the train for your transfer to Listvyanka village on the shores of Lake Baikal (appr. 70 km). There you will have free time, during which you can visit the Baikal Lake Museum, see the St Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church, visit the market or take a boat trip on the lake itself.
Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. Exploring Irkutsk
Our guide will meet you at your accommodation for your transfer to Irkutsk. On the way, we make a stop at Taltsy to see the open air Wooden Architecture Museum located in the heart of the forest on the banks of the Angara River. There you'll learn about village life, see the interiors of a Russian fort, a Shaman yurt and a 15th century watchtower, as well as glimpse at the lifestyle of the Buryat and Evenk people. Back in Irkutsk, known as the Paris of Siberia, we enjoy a guided city tour which will reveal the rustic but beautiful timber cottages with their wooden fretwork.
Departure to Mongolia
Transferring to the railway station, we leave the warm hospitality of the Siberian Russians and start our trip to Mongolia by comfortable train.
Arrival in Mongolia. Enjoy Terelj National Park
Our guide will meet you at the railway station for your transfer to Terelj National Park. Soon after leaving the Mongolian capital we find ourselves at the gleaming 40 metre tall statue of Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) on horseback, currently the largest equestrian statue in the world. Visitors climbing to the horse's head are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Upon reaching Terelj National Park, famous for its granite rock formations and pristine alpine scenery, we will visit the famous Turtle Rock and also hike to Aryabal Monastery. We will have an opportunity to visit a nomad family and explore their traditional way of life by learning how to milk a cow and prepare dairy products. In summer we stay overnight in a traditional Mongolian ger - a traditional sturdy wood and felt type tent. In winter we stay in a wooden lodge.
Ulan Bator City Tour. National History Museum
Our driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Ulan Bator where you'll enjoy a city tour. We will visit Gandan Hiid Monastery, the country’s largest remaining monastery, Sukhebaatar Square and the Museum of Natural History, where you will see dinosaur remains as well as other archaeological finds from the Mesozoic Era excavated from the Gobi desert. We will also pay a visit to the National History Museum where your guide will teach you about Mongolia's rich cultural heritage.
Departure to China
Our driver will meet you with a sign board at the lobby of the hotel to transfer you to the railway station for your overnight train to Beijing. By opting to travel on a Thursday, you'll be able to catch Train 24, a service popular with foreign visitors with accommodation in first class (two berth compartment, semi-private shower facilities) and second class (four berth compartment, shared toilet and washbasin facilities). Hot boiled water is available in each carriage and train attendants provide thermos kettles. The train has a dining car and a bar with reasonable prices.
Arrival in China. Exploring Old Beijing (Hutong Area)
On arrival in Beijing, our driver will be waiting for you with a sign board at the station to transfer you to the hotel. Beijing is a modern city, but we will begin by visiting one of its oldest neighbourhoods, a hutong by Shichahai Lake. Hutong, a description dating back to the 13th century Yuan dynasty, means a city area with narrow streets or alleys. Few of these fascinating areas remain, a casualty of China's rapid economic development. Leaving the hutong, we will continue by rickshaw to Shichahai Lake and the Drum Tower in the heart of old Beijing. Enjoy fantastic views of the lake, and the former princes' houses and well preserved courtyards which surround it. You can also take an optional boat trip on the lake. Your evening is free to continue to explore China's vibrant capital city at your own pace.
Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City & Summer Palace
Located in the centre of Beijing, at 440 000 square metres, Tiananmen is the largest city square in the world. It is culturally significant and also the site of several key events in Chinese history, most recently in 1989 when government troops stopped pro-democracy protesters there. To the north of the square lies the Forbidden City, the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties, which we shall explore on a guided tour. Later we will make our way to the magnificent Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Badaling Great Wall. Visit to the Olympic Green
Today we make our way 44 miles north of Beijing to Badaling, the most accessible stretch of the Great Wall of China and also the best preserved, where we take a guided tour. Following our visit, we will see the Olympic Green, site of some of the best known venues built for the 2008 Games: the Beijing National Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Green Hockey Field and many more.
Departure for the Airport
All good things must come to an end. Our driver will meet you with a sign board at the hotel lobby and deliver you to the airport for your flight home.
- Breakfasts in the hotels
- Full-board in Mongolia & China
- Train travel (overnight)
- Guided tours & entrance fees
- Visas: consular & processing fees
- Airport & railway transfers
- Personal travel insurance
- Optional excursions and services
- Meals on the train
- Optional excursions
- 1st class train upgrade
- Theatre and circus tickets
Single supplement - $245
Solo supplement - $695
Train upgrade - $645
- Price “Excluding flight” does not cover airfare, you are free to book your own flights. Alternatively we can quote an airfare for you. We advise not to delay with booking your tour as airfares may go up.
- Single supplement goes towards single room (cabin for cruises) accommodation.
- Solo supplement is payable in the unlikely event when you are the only person on the tour. It will be refunded if other people join the same tour.
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Russian visa support (Russian visa invitation letter) is included.
Sights included in program
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Our flexible payment options allow you to pay 20% of a deposit first and the remaining 80% in 14 days prior to your tour date - payment can be done both online or over the phone. This gives you the peace of mind knowing your spaces are booked on the tours and that you do not miss out on making the most of your time in Russia.
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