Naadam Trans-Mongolian East-West: Beijing - Ulaanbaatar - Baikal - Yekaterinburg - Moscow
This Mongolian spectacular dates back centuries. Originally a test of a nomad’s aptitude, each July these games are held requiring strength, stamina, accurate marksmanship and of course, skillful horsemanship - given the equine nature of nomadic life, much importance is placed on the horse races. Watching the games will definitely lead to a better understanding of the history, uniqueness and peculiarities of this country. Beginning in Beijing and ending in Moscow, this tour also takes in some of the unmissable highlights of Mongolia's neighbors, Russia and China.
Itinerary Hide all details
Arrival in China. Exploring Old Beijing (Hutong Area)
After you arrive in Beijing, look for our driver who will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel. Once refreshed, we'll visit one of the city's ancient hutongs by rickshaw. These 13th Century districts are a maze of narrow alleyways and those that remain are now preserved. We'll move on by rickshaw to Shichahai Lake. You'll find former princes' houses in the area around this lake as well as the famous Drum Tower.
Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City & Summer Palace
Notorious after events in 1989 when government troops stopped pro-democracy protesters, Tiananmen Square is our first stop today. It's the largest city square in the world but you'll have to stand in it to appreciate it. At the far end, the Forbidden City's, ringed by a most, is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Once home to 24 of China's emperors, it now houses the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures anywhere on the planet. Lastly today we'll leave the city centre and head to the outskirts to admire the beautiful Summer Palace in its tranquil lakeshore setting.
Badaling Great Wall. Visit to the Olympic Green
China's most famous monument, the Great Wall stretches for thousands of miles. We'll visit the most easily accessible section of the wall from Beijing which is also the best preserved, at Badaling. Afterwards, it's off to the Olympic Green to see for ourselves the iconic Bird's Nest stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games as well as some of the other venues in the park.
Departure to Mongolia
Our driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer you to the railway station for your trip to Mongolia. We'll use the fast train K3, popular with foreign visitors. Choose from 1st class (2 berth compartment) and 2nd class (4 berth compartment with two lower and two upper berths) on this train. Hot boiled water is available in all compartments via your train attendant. The train has a dining car and a bar with reasonable prices.
Arrival in Mongolia. Enjoy Terelj National Park
Reaching Mongolia this morning, our guide will meet you at the railway station. Transfer to Terelj National Park. En route, stop at the imposing Chinggis Khaan monument. Constructed in 2008 from gleaming metal, it's the largest equestrian statue in the world. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace, with 36 columns representing the 36 khans from Genghis to Ligdan Khan. You can walk to the head of the horse where you can have a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. We move on to explore the Terelj National Park, famous for its unique granite rock formations, pristine alpine scenery and diverse flora and fauna. Tonight you'll sleep in a ger or a cosy wooden lodge.
Naadam Festival Opening Ceremony
Transfer to Ulan Bator in the morning. Today, you'll attend the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival. At the Central Stadium for Sports and Cultural Performances, we will have a unique chance to witness wrestling and archery contests. Watch the Naadam performances in the evening and you'll see why this is the highlight of the Mongolian calendar and then enjoy a sumptuous Gala dinner.
Naadam Festival. Enjoy Horse Racing. Ulan Bator City Tour. National History Museum
Our guide will meet you at the accommodation to transfer you to Hui Doloon Hudag. There, we'll watch the horse racing, an atmospheric and memorable occasion. We'll then return to Ulan Bator. There, you'll take a city tour of the Mongolian capital, visiting Gandan Hiid Monastery, the country’s largest remaining monastery. UB has some interesting museums also, especially the Museum of Natural History in which you'll find dinosaur bones dug up from the Gobi Desert and the National Museum of Mongolian History which specialises in the country's cultural heritage.
Transfer to the Railway Station. Departure to Russia
On-board the Train to Russia
Our guide will meet you with a sign board upon your arrival in Irkutsk ready for your transfer to Listvyanka village. You will have the chance to enjoy this charming village which occupies a prime lakeside setting. Perhaps you'll decide to visit the St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church or the Baikal Lake Museum where you will learn Siberian traditions, history, flora and fauna of the deepest freshwater lake in the world?
At Leisure at Baikal
One day isn't sufficient at Listvyanka so we shall have more free time here today. There's lots to do, including the chance to take a boat trip out on Lake Baikal, browse in the village market and take in a seal show at the Nerpinarium.
Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. Exploring Irkutsk. Departure to Yekaterinburg
Our guide will meet you at your accommodation to drive you to the open-air Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. It's located in a beautiful forest setting on the bank of the Angara River and comprises an impressive collection of traditional wooden houses and tents. You'll be able to explore all aspects of old village life in this region and better understand the lifestyles of the local Buryat and Evenk people. In addition, step inside a shaman's yurt or a Russian fort and watchtower. Later we reach Irkutsk, nicknamed the Paris of Siberia as it shares those wide boulevards. It also has a clutch of wooden cottages featuring the fretwork designs common to this area. After we've finished our sightseeing programme in Irkutsk, it'll be time once more to head for the railway station. This time, our train will be taking us to Yekaterinburg on a journey that will last two days.
On-board the Train across Siberia
Transfer to the Hotel
Our driver will meet you at the carriage with a sign board and you'll transfer to the hotel.
Ganina Yama & Cathedral on the Blood. Europe-Asia Border
Our sightseeing begins in earnest today with a visit to the majestic Memorial Cathedral on the Blood in the name of all Saints, built on the site of the execution of the last Russian tsar Nikolay II and his family. Next, we'll pay our respects at Ganina Pit, an orthodox monastery built where the Imperial remains were initially buried. We visit seven wooden churches in the heart of a centuries-old pine forest. Given Yekaterinburg's proximity, we can't miss the opportunity to see the obelisk marking the border between Europe and Asia.
Departure to Moscow
It's time to board our train for Moscow, so we'll arrange for our driver to deliver you to the train station in good time to catch the overnight fast train.
Exploring Moscow. Red Square, St. Basil’s, Lenin Mausoleum
On arrival in Moscow, our driver will meet you with a sign board at the platform. Once we've dropped our bags into the hotel, it's time to stretch our legs on a walking tour of central Moscow. We shall stroll at a leisurely pace, taking in sights such as Lubyanka Square, the world-famous KGB centre of the Soviet epoch, Teatralnaya Square next to Bolshoi Theatre and Tverskaya Street, the main drag, busiest street in Moscow. Last, saving the best of course, it's Red Square. Each building here is a legend: you will see brightly-domed St. Basil's cathedral, the world-renowned Lenin Mausoleum, the expansive facade of the GUM department store, Kazan Cathedral and the Kremlin towers.
Kremlin & Armoury
On this, our last day, we will concentrate on the splendours hidden inside the Kremlin. Now the residence of the Russian president, it was once the home of the Tsars. Its Armoury Museum functioned as a storehouse for weaponry before being transformed into the museum you see today. A plethora of exhibits includes such exhibits as the armour of Boris Godunov, the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy, Faberge eggs and other works made of precious metals and stones. Modern day treasures are on display in the very fabric of the Moscow Underground. We'll explore this working transit system with its many decorative mosaics, stained glass panels and bronze sculptures which some say give it the appearance of an art museum.
Departure for the Airport
Transfer to the airport. Our driver will meet you with a board at the hotel lobby.
- Breakfasts in the hotels
- Full-board in Mongolia & China
- Train travel (overnight)
- Guided tours & entrance 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 - $395
Solo supplement - $1095
First Class train upgrade - $645
- 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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