Naadam Trans-Mongolian: Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Irkutsk - Baikal - Mongolia Naadam - Beijing
It dates back several centuries and showcases national sporting obsessions such as archery, wrestling and horse riding as well as featuring a ceremony packed with dancers and musicians. This is a great opportunity to combine our regular Trans-Mongolian tour with the Naadam Festival.
Itinerary Hide all details
Arrival Transfer to the Hotel
Arrival in Moscow where our driver will be there to meet you in arrivals with a sign board. Transfer to the hotel.
Exploring Moscow. Red Square, St. Basil’s, Lenin Mausoleum
It's time to explore Moscow on foot with this comprehensive yet unhurried walking tour. Taking in sights such as Lubyanka Square, once the site of the Soviet-era KGB HQ, Teatralnaya Square where you'll find Bolshoi Theatre and Tverskaya Street, the best shopping street in the capital, you'll get a good overview of the centre city's sights. Our walk will end in Red Square. St Basil's Cathedral, dating from the 16th Century, dominates the square with its brightly coloured domes. GUM department store, Kazan Cathedral and, of course, the Kremlin's imposing walls give St Basil's a run for its money. We'll see Lenin's embalmed body in his Mausoleum before returning to the hotel.
Kremlin & Armoury. Departure to Yekaterinburg
Today it's time to delve into the Kremlin's long and interesting past. Once the Tsar's residence and now the office of the Russian president, you'll start in Cathedral Square where you can almost feel the spirits of the historic figures who once stepped on those same paths. The Armoury Museum, first a storehouse and then a museum, houses an eclectic collection of treasures including the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy, the helm and armour of Boris Godunov, a collection of over fifty Faberge eggs, golden and silver works of applied art by Russian, European and Oriental masters and priceless weaponry. Lastly, we'll head underground to take a ride on Moscow's elaborate underground transit system. Tonight we'll transfer to the railway station to board our fast comfortable train to Yekaterinburg which has a choice of first and second class accommodation as well as a dining car.
Transfer to the Hotel
This evening, our driver will meet you at the carriage with a sign board with your names for your transfer to the hotel.
Ganina Yama & Cathedral on the Blood. Europe-Asia Border. Departure to Siberia
Yekaterinburg is infamous as the site of the execution of the last Tsar, Nikolay II and his family. A memorial cathedral has been erected on the very spot and we will visit to pay our respects. Later we'll continue to Ganina Pit, a unique orthodox monastery built on the precise location of the initial burial place of imperial remains. We visit seven wooden churches in the heart of a centuries-old pine forest and travel to the Europe-Asia border. We also stop for a visit to the Memorial honouring the victims of the Stalin’s repressions of the 1930s to 1950s. It's then back to the train station. We have a train to catch, this time to Irkutsk.
Three days later, we'll pull into Irkutsk station where our guide will meet you with a sign board upon your arrival in Irkutsk. Transfer to Listvyanka village (appr. 70 km). The rest of the day is free to explore this pretty little lakeside village. Perhaps visit the St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church and the Baikal Lake Museum where you will learn Siberian traditions, history, flora and fauna of the deepest freshwater lake in the world.
Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. Exploring Irkutsk
Our guide will meet you at your accommodation. First we will make a stop at the open-air Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. Occupying a picturesque location right on the Angara River's banks, it houses a fascinating collection of exhibits relating to local history and culture. See wooden houses, step inside a Russian fort, look at a 15th Century watchtower and learn more about the lifestyles of the Evenk and Buryat people who live in this region. Back in the city, we take a tour to admire the varied architecture.
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. Visit to Chinggis Khaan Monument. Terelj National Park
Our guide will meet you at the railway station. Stopping off at the Chinggis Khaan monument, the largest equestrian statue in the world, we then drive to Terelj National Park. Its most famous rock formation, Turtle Rock, is a highlight of today's itinerary but we're sure you'll be delighted with the pristine alpine scenery and diverse flora and fauna of this pretty region. Later we will try our hand at milking a cow, ably assisted by the local nomads for whom this is part of their daily routine. Overnight tonight will be in a traditional felt tent known as a ger or if it's too cold, a cosy wooden lodge.
Ulan Bator City Tour. National History Museum
We return to Ulan Bator. There, we'll take a city tour. Mongolia's capital is situated on the bank of the river Tuur, surrounded by four mountains that local people believe to be sacred. We will visit Gandan Hiid Monastery, the country’s largest monastery, as well as Sukhebaatar square. An unmissable museum completes our itinerary: the Museum of National History, where you will learn about the past of the Mongolian empire, ancient states period (Hunnu, Turkish and Uighur), the Mongolian Empire of 13th-14th centuries, the Mongolian's traditional lifestyle, clothing and jewellery, as well as current politics.
Naadam Festival Opening Ceremony
Today we'll attend the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival. A colourful ceremony, it's an important fixture on the Mongolian sporting calendar and well attended by locals and foreign tourists alike. We'll tour the Central Stadium for Sports and Cultural Performances, where we will have a unique chance to witness wrestling and an archery contest. We'll round off the evening with a celebratory Gala dinner.
Naadam Festival – Enjoy Horse Racing
Our driver will meet you at your accommodation and drive you to Hui Doloon Hudag to watch some horse racing and to soak up the local atmosphere. Return to Ulan Bator in the evening.
Departure to China
This morning, we transfer to the railway station. Our driver will meet you with a sign board at the lobby of the hotel. Crossing the border into China we shall take a comfortable train. With a choice of first and second class accommodation as well as a decent dining car and bar, this is a popular way to journey between these two Asian capitals.
Arrival in China. Exploring Old Beijing (Hutong Area)
On arrival in Beijing, our driver will meet you with a sign board at the station. Transfer to the hotel. Leaving our bags, we'll swap the car for a rickshaw to dive into one of Beijing's last surviving hutongs, 13th Century districts characterised by narrow alleyways. Next, the rickshaw will take us to Shichahai Lake where you can see the famous Drum Tower and opt to take a boat out on the lake.
Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City & Summer Palace
Located in the centre of Beijing, Tiananmen Square is our first stop today. Infamous since 1989 when government tanks crushed a pro-democracy demonstration, it's a different place today. Families congregate in this, the world's largest city square. At the edge of the square you'll find the Forbidden City. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the Imperial Palace and many important ancient wooden structures. In the afternoon, we visit the Summer Palace on a guided tour.
Badaling Great Wall. Visit to the Olympic Green
Our last day in China is spent at another UNESCO site, this time the Great Wall at Badaling. It's relatively close to the capital, less than fifty miles away, and is the best preserved section of the wall. Returning to the city, we make what's now become an essential stop at Olympic Green to see the famous venues of the 2008 Summer Games up close: the Beijing National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest, the Aquatics Centre, the Green Hockey Field and many others.
Departure for the Airport
Our driver will meet you with a sign board at the hotel lobby and deliver you to the airport in good time for your flight home.
- 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 trai
- Optional excursions
- 1st class train upgrade
- Theatre and circus tickets
Single supplement - $345
Solo supplement - $1175
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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