Classic Big Trans-Siberian

Rail
Duration (in days): 18

From: St. Petersburg

To: Beijing

From

£2,455

Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

This Classic Big Trans-Siberian rail journey takes you on an 18-day odyssey from St. Petersburg, across Siberia, Mongolia, the Gobi Desert and on to Beijing.

Beginning in St  Petersburg, you'll visit the capital cities of Moscow and Ulaanbaatar, with stops at Lake Baikal for some seasonally dependent activities. These include dog-sledding, snow-mobiling, trekking  or a lakeside picnic - before heading off for a traditional sauna and a stay in a traditional Mongolian 'ger' (yurt) in an authentic Siberian village. You'll spend half of the nights onboard the train in a sleeper cabin, and the other half in local accommodation (all accommodation and transfers included).

As the train is a form of local transport (rather than operating a tourist service), you'll have an authentic, first-hand experience of each country, with plenty of opportunity to mix with the locals. Learn some history and meet the locals whilst you gaze out over ever-changing scenery with a vodka in the dining car!

The Trans-Siberian - one of the world's iconic rail journeys

 

  • Explore St Petersburg & Moscow with a private walking tour
  • Visit St Isaacs Catherdal
  • Visit the Lenin Mausoleum & the Kremlin
  • Make friends in the dining car of the train over a vodka!
  • In Irkutusk, learn about Russia's enormous Lake Baikal
  • Experience a Siberian ‘banya’ (sauna)
  • Season-dependent trek, picnic, museum, snow mobile trip or dog sledding
  • Guided city tour of Ulanbataar
  • Visit the monument to Genghis Khan
  • Stay in a traditional Mongolian 'ger' (yurt)
  • Travel through the Gobi Desert

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive St. Petersburg

You will be greeted on arrival into St. Petersburg and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay. After check in the rest of the day is free to explore this fascinating city.


Day 2: St. Petersburg

After breakfast you will met at the hotel and taken on a three hour walking tour around the highlights of the city, your experienced local guide can show you the local sights or if there is something in particular you are interested in they will they will take you wherever you wish to go. You will even get the chance to travel on local transport to get a taste of the real Russia. After the three hours your guide will leave you and the rest of the day is yours to explore.


Day 3: St. Petersburg to Moscow

After check-out the day is free until the evening departure to Moscow.

Why not go and explore St. Isaacs Cathedral? Dominating the St. Petersburg skyline, this cathedral is open as a museum and its obscenely lavish interior truly has to be seen to be believed! There are still services held here on major religious holidays. Most people bypass the museum and climb the 262 steps up to the kolonnada around the drum of the dome where the views across the city truly are superb.

Tonight you will take the train overnight to Moscow.


Day 4: Arrive Moscow

You will arrive early into Moscow and be met at the station before being transferred to your hotel. You will be met at the hotel by a local guide who will take you on a walking tour of the city, after visiting some of the highlights of Moscow you will be left in town to continue your sight-seeing.

Why not head over to Izmaylovsky Market to check out local art, handmade crafts, antiques and much more! You’ll find many of Moscow’s traditional woodworking crafts as well as rugs, pottery, fur hats, chess sets and plenty of other souvenirs to take home. The market is open every day but weekends are the best times to see the best selection of vendors.


Day 5: Moscow

This morning why not visit the Lenin Mausoleum early and miss the crowds. This tomb located in Red Square serves as the current resting place of Vladmir Lenin and is only open in the mornings.

This afternoon check out the Moscow Kremlin, this fortified complex in the heart of Moscow includes five palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall. The Kremlin is the official residence of the president and is the heart of political power, not only of Moscow but the whole of Russia. It’s from here that Tsars, communist dictators and modern day presidents have controlled the best, and worst of times for Russia.

Try these evening to get tickets to the opera or ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre, a truly magical evening!


Day 6: Moscow to Irkutsk

You have a free morning until 11:30am when you will board your train to Irkutsk. There is a restaurant car on board however you may wish to stock up on snacks and fresh fruit for your journey.


Day 7-9: On Board

The next two days will be spent on the train travelling to Irkutsk. Sit back, relax in your cabin and take in the astonishing Siberian scenery you will pass along the way including crossing the great rivers; River Ob at Novosibirsk and the gigantic Enisei River.

Spend some time in the dining car, the social hub of the train this is where people gather to share stories and get to know their fellow passengers. Get to know other travellers as well as the locals and bond over some Russian vodka and smoked salmon!


Day 10: Arrive Irkutsk

You will arrive early this morning into Irkutsk and be met on the platform by a driver who will then escort you to your hotel located in Listvyanka Village, 70km away travelling by road through the forest.

Once you have arrived at the hotel you can store your luggage, and have breakfast before heading out on a walking tour of the village. You will visit the Limnological Museum where you will learn about Baikal Lake, which holds 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water; it is thought to be the world’s oldest lake at 25 million years old! After visiting the village’s Russian Orthodox Church dating back to the 18th Century.

This afternoon you have time to relax and enjoy the lakeside surroundings, why not try the real Siberian ‘banya’ (sauna), this is available for a small fee at the hotel.


Day 11: Listvyanka Village

Today you will get given a choice of activity – included in the cost.

Activities include:

  • Siberian Trek  (May-Oct)
  • Baikal Picnic (Jun-Sep)
  • Taltsy Wooden Museum
  • Snow Mobile Trip (Dec-Apr)
  • Dog Sledding (Dec-Mar)

After you have finished the rest of the day is yours, why not check out some of the bars and meet some of the locals.


Day 12: Irkutsk

After breakfast you will be taken back to Irkutsk where you will check into your hotel on Kirov Square for one night. This hotel is a great base for your time in Irkutsk, you will be given a map and some recommendations on places to visit while you are here. Top suggestions include Decembrist Museum, Volkonsky House and The Epiphany Cathedral.


Day 13: Depart Irkutsk

An early start today, you will be collected from the hotel and taken to train station to board the train for your onward journey to Ulaanbaatar.

At midnight tonight you will cross the border into Mongolia.


Day 14: Arrive Ulaanbaatar

Welcome to Mongolia! You will arrive into Ulaanbaatar early in the morning and be greeted at the station before being transferred to your hotel. After freshening up you will depart on your city tour. This will include visits to the Gandan Buddhist Lamasery and several other temples located there.

This afternoon you will transferred to Elstei Ger Lodge approximately 70km away. On the way you will stop at the enormous monument to Genghis Khan, an important part of Mongolian history this stainless steel statue is quite a sight, a must-see for those visiting the region! You can ride up to the top of the ten metre high monument for panoramic views across the surrounding scenery.


Day 15: Elstei Ger Lodge

Today is a free day to relax and enjoy your surroundings. There is an option to go horse-riding with local nomad horseman for a small payment made locally. Alternatively you can chill out, read or go walking.

This evening there will be a relaxed night in the bar, after supper you will enjoy live Mongolian music performances throughout the evening.


Day 16: Ulaanbaatar

At around 10am you will make your way back to Ulaanbaatar and check into your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city.

Visit the Choijin Monastery Museum, go souvenir shopping in the Central Department Store and in the evening why not try out one of the many eateries serving both traditional and modern style Mongolian cuisine or there is a selection of European style places, Irish pubs and German beer halls to explore!


Day 17: Depart Ulaanbaatar

You will be transferred to the station this morning for your departure train to Beijing. Today’s train journey meanders through the amazing scenery of the Southern Gobi Desert. After passing through Chinese visa formalities you can catch up on some well-deserved sleep!


Day 18: Arrive Beijing

Make sure you don’t oversleep this morning as you are going to experience some of the most spectacular scenery of the whole trip! You will leave the desert behind and pass mountains and paddy fields before arriving into Beijing Station this afternoon.

If you wish to travel further in China take a look at some of our tailor-made China itineraries or speak to your consultant for further ideas.


 

Info

Most visitors to China, Russia & Mongolia require visas which must be obtained prior to travel. Please check your nationalities visa requirements in plenty of time. Casual clothing is normally worn on the train including at mealtimes, sturdy shoes are recommended for the excursions. May and September can be quite chilly and warm clothes are recommended alongside your summer wear. Be advised to also carry something to cover your head during visits to Orthodox churches.

 

Seasonal Supplement - May - Sept  +£60

What's included: 

  • 9 nights accommodation in 3* standard hotel
  • 8 nights on board the train in a standard shared cabin
  • Arrival transfer in St. Petersburg
  • Walking tours in St, Petersburg & Moscow
  • Return transfers in Moscow
  • All transportation in Irkutsk & Ulaanbaatar
  • Excursion option in Irkutsk
  • City tour in Ulaanbaatar
  • 8 breakfasts
  • All meals at Elstei Ger Lodge

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Any meals other than those mentioned
  • Any excursions other than those mentioned
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips & Gratuities
Accommodation

9 nights accommodation in 3* standard hotels

  • 2 nights St. Petersburg

  • 2 nights Moscow

  • 2 nights Irkutsk

  • 2 nights Elstei Ger Lodge

  • 1 night Ulaanbaatar

  • 8 nights on board the train in a Standard Category Cabin.

Standard Category Cabins have four berths per cabin. 2 upper, 2 lower arranged in bunk bed format.

These cabins include:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Table under the window
  • Luggage storage
  • Unisex toilet facilities at the end of each car
  • A shower compartment in every 2nd to 3rd car
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