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Individual tour Moscow – Beijing on the Trans-Siberian railroad

Duration: 18 days / 17 nights

Itinerary: MoscowYekaterinburgNovosibirskIrkutskListvyanka and Lake BaikalUlaanbaatarBeijing.

Dates:
All year round, best time from May until October. Starting dates in Moscow on Thursdays or Sundays to follow this itinerary.

Highlights:
Private english-speaking tour guide in each city, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber in Moscow – the tragedy of the last Tsar in Yekaterinburg – academical city Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk – Siberian culture in Irkutsk – Lake Baikal in Listvyanka – Terelj National Park in Ulaanbaatar – Great Wall in Beijing.

This itinerary is flexible and can be adapted to your needs. Please let us know if you need an individualized quote.

Program Prices & Services Booking & Enquiry

Your journey

In May 1891, the construction of the World’s longest and most difficult to build railway was started after years of controversy amongst the Czars: the Trans-Siberian railroad. The link between Moscow and Vladivostok, some 6.000 miles apart, was completed 14 years later employing a labour force of over 90.000. Ever since the rail service linking Europe with the Far East was established at the turn of last century, foreign travellers and adventurers have been fascinated by this great journey and crossed Siberia to reach the Pacific or China. Across the Ural mountains to Siberia, through towns that were built along the rails into the Mongolian steps and Gobi desert, the Trans-Siberian journey offers a great opportunity to experience an unforgettable journey. You will meet local people and learn about their culture and way of life and be part of it. You may find yourself draining a bottle of vodka with a Russian soldier in exchange to a piece of chocolate, or discussing business and politics with Mongolian traders on the train. Meeting point on the train is the dining car where borscht and fish with lots of potatoes and cabbage is served.

Starting point is Moscow, where you’ll enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling city before boarding the Trans-Siberian train and passing by the Ural. Your journey will bring you then to Yekaterinburg, where the last Tsar died, to Novosibirsk, the largest city of Siberia, to Irkutsk, the “Paris” of Siberia, where you will spend a few days at the world’s largest and cleanest lake, namely Lake Baikal. Then you will continue to Ulaanbaatar, where you will experience the Nomadic life of the Mongolian people and sleep in gers, and finally, the train will take you to Beijing, the capital of the Chinese empire, where your journey ends.

Travel program day by day

Day 1
Arrival in Moscow and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal to get your first taste of the Russian capital. Optional in the evening: visit of a ballet, concert, opera or the famous Moscow Circus. Tickets on request (not included). Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 2
City tour of Moscow’s famous sights including the Red Square, Basilius cathedral, GUM, Novodevichy Convent, the ancient KGB buildings, the Lenin state library and the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU). Visit the Kremlin – a symbol of power and might of the vast Russian lands – with it’s impressive churches and the Armoury Chamber on the Kremlin grounds which contains a unique collection of Royal Russian and international jewellery including thrones, crowns, carriages, costumes, gold and silverware, all lavishly studded with precious stones.

On a sunny day, river-cruise on the Moskva with beautiful sights of the city. Accommodation at the hotel.

Optional in the evening: visit of a ballet, concert, opera or the famous Moscow Circus. Tickets on request (not included).

Day 3
Visit the famous Arbat street, Moscow’s lively pedestrian area to do some shopping, discover the Moscow metro, famous for its palatial marble stations with mosaics, chandeliers and precious materials and marvel at the great collection of Russian fine art at Tretyakov-Gallery. In the afternoon, transfer and departure with the Trans-Siberian train from Moscow Yaroslavsky station to Yekaterinburg. Overnight on the train.

Day 4
On the Trans-Siberian train passing various villages alongside countless birch- and broadleaf forests. Enough time to enjoy a cup of hot tea from the samovar, to read, talk and relax. Evening arrival in Yekaterinburg and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 5
Today, you will discover Yekaterinburg, the third largest city of Russia. You’ll be taken to the City Pond, Prospect Lenina, the Hill of Ascension and its ancient church founded in 1792, the Historic Square, the Dam, monument of founders of the city – Tatischev and Gennin, Peter’s Court, the Chapel of St. Elizabeth, the Square of the Soviet Army, the Square of the 1905 Revolution and other historical buildings. Learn about the tragic death of the last Russian tsar Nickolay II and his family at the Church of Blood at the Romanov Death Site (Ganina Yama). Dine in a traditional Russian restaurant and taste delicious Russian food. In the evening, departure and overnight on the train.

Day 6
On board of the Trans-Siberian railway train. Evening arrival in Novosibirsk and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7
Welcome in Siberia! Novosibirsk is Russia’s third-largest city after Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia.

First thing in the morning (after breakfast of course), you will drive to the scientific city of Akademgorodok. Akademgorodok is the only scientific city in the world, where all the branches of sciences are presented. Visit of the famous Geology Museum at Geology Research Institute and the Open-Air Train Museum (a collection of the old Trans-Siberian trains) as well as the Ob reservoir – an artificial sea.

In the afternoon, you will walk around the city of Novosibirsk, visiting all the main attractions of the city such as: Novosibirsk Railway Station (the biggest station of the Trans-Siberian Railroad), Ascension cathedral, Krasny Prospect street, Lenin Square (city center with the biggest world’s Opera House), old wooden houses on Gorkogo Str. (the oldest part of the city), St. Nicolas Chapel (the geographic center of Russia) and the river Ob’ embankment. Visit of the Local Lore (History Museum), featuring the fascinating and mystical history of Siberia. Our local guides love the city and will make you discover the culture and atmosphere of this fascinating Siberian town!

Evening at your leisure. Optional: visit of a ballet performance or opera. Tickets on request (not included). Departure before midnight and overnight on the train.

Day 8
On board of the Trans-Siberian railway train.

Day 9
Having crossed the Ural Mountains through forests, beside lakes and rushing rivers, swamps and remote villages of painted wooden houses, you will arrive in Irkutsk early in the morning and transfer directly to Listvyanka, a small village on the shore of Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal is a unique biosphere, the World’s deepest, largest (in terms of volume) and presumably oldest (25 million years) lake containing more than 20% of all running fresh-water on this earth. The threat of pollution by unregulated economic exploitation has led to the creation of the largest protected area to keep the cleanliness of its water and uniqueness of its inhabitation for future generations. The lake is 400 miles long, 40 miles wide and about 1 mile deep. Unlike other deep lakes whose bottom waters are poisoned by hydrogen sulphide and other gases, Lake Baikal’s water is saturated with oxygen from its surface to the deepest point and therefore, living organisms can be found at all levels.

You will enjoy a bath in the ‘Old Man’, as local people call the lake. Its water is amazingly transparent: Stones and fish can be seen to a depth of about 50 m and they seem so close that a first-time visitor may be tempted to reach out and pick one up. One of the secrets is that there are millions of microorganisms living in the lake whose main purpose is to clean the water of all pollutants.

On a stroll around the village you will visit the church of St. Nicolas, visit a traditional fisher-market and walk to Cherchky viewing point where you can enjoy a fabulous view of the lake and the Angara-River (if the weather is clear). You will also visit the local Limnological Institute (a water watch institute) near Listvyanka.

Your home is a typical Siberian wooden chalet near the lake where local food will be prepared by your host. A Russian steam bath right on the shore of the lake invites to experience a typical Russian sauna (optional, not included).

Day 10
The morning is at your leisure. A boat trip on the lake can be booked optionally (not included), unless you’re a group of 4 or more, then the boat trip is included in the price. You will leave Listvyanka around midday and visit the Wooden Architecture Museum of Tsaltsy on the way back to Irkutsk, where typically old churches, shaman houses and a fortress have been rebuilt in original style. Irkutsk is also called ‘Paris’ of Siberia for its pulsing street life and people’s elegant clothes. Still a major trade center for furs, Irkutsk enjoys today a certain economic wealth. Short but hot summers and very cold winters, however, make life here a real challenge. During a walking tour of Irkutsk, your guide will tell you about the development of the Siberian city evolution and shows the most interesting sights and peculiar features of one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. You will see beautiful Russian Orthodox churches, a Polish Cathedral (the only Siberian Gothic-style building), many wooden houses or cabins that are decorated with “wooden laces” (hand-made carvings) as well as modern constructions of the 20th century and visit the Decembrist House, a fascinating museum displaying the life of the Trubetskoy and Volkonsky family and a must-see in Irkutsk. Depending on the date, departure to Ulaanbaatar tonight or early the next morning.

Day 11
On board of the Trans-Mongolian train to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The landscape gradually changes from wide forests and rivers to a uniform steppe, where the great Khans have been riding their horses. Overnight on the train.

Day 12
After arrival in Ulaanbaatar, direct transfer to Terelj National Park. Your local guide will introduce you to the Nomadic way of life of still many Mongolians today. On a jeep, you will travel to a Mountain Camp in a remote area at Terelj National Park, one of the most beautiful landscapes of the world, where you will sleep in gers (traditional Mongolian yurt) and enjoy a hike in the hills. Visit of Turtle rock and Buddhist Hanging Temple.

Day 13
In the morning, you can explore the surroundings on a ride through the grasslands. You will also visit a Mongolian family living in gers at their Summer place, where you can taste local meals. In the afternoon, transfer to the hotel in the city centre. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the various attractions of the city. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 14
You will explore the historic city with your guide from Ulaanbaatar. You will visit the palace of Bogdo Khan, the Gandan abbey, and the natural history museum with the remains of the biggest dinosaurs ever found on earth in the Mongolian desert. Enjoy a stunning Mongolian cultural performance including the famous throat-singing in the evening. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 15
Your train leaves again early in the morning towards the Chinese border through the Gobi Desert. Jawe-dropping landscapes will keep your eyes glued to the window. Erlyan, the border town, is nothing more than a military post. Since the Chinese railway operates on Standard Gauge and Russia/Mongolia on a narrower Five Foot Gauge, the boogies of all wagons are changed while hydraulic lifts raise the carriages. Before you reach Beijing you’ll see rice paddies and the Great Wall of China. Overnight on the train.

Day 16
Arrival in Beijing around midday. Beijing is the final destination of your railway journey that has led you across two continents. It is home to millions of small shops and street traders, the place to shop for souvenirs and bargains, and the last opportunity to taste the delicious Chinese food in all its variations. With your local guide, you will visit the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Square and the Hutongs. The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911. This “city within a city” is a World Heritage Site. The largest and best preserved ancient imperial architectural complex in the world, featuring the great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters. The exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, are all important treasures of ancient China. Tian’anmen Square is the largest city square in the centre of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world’s largest city square and enduring symbol of China’s national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. A Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. You can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards. For those interested in the old-style culture, opera, theatre or comedy tickets are available from your local guide (ticket price not included). We can recommend the Kung Fu Show at the Red Theatre. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 17
After breakfast, your guide will take you to one of the most powerful symbols of ancient Chinese civilization – the Great Wall of China, stretching 6,350 km. It took more than one million people and ten years to build the Great Wall of China, designed as a defensive structure. In 1987 it was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. You will visit the less crowded Mutianyu section. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather. The second part of the trip will take you to the Temple of Heaven. Built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties visited for annual ceremonies of pray for good harvests. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 18
Individual transfer and return flights back home or to wherever your journey takes you…

Tour option White Nights in St. Petersburg:
The White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg is an annual international arts festival during the season of the midnight sun, from end of May until Mid-July. It consists of a series of classical ballet, opera and music events and includes performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors, as well as famous international guest stars. The Scarlet Sails celebration is the culmination of the White Nights season, the largest public event anywhere in Russia with the annual estimated attendance about one million people. Book a few days St. Petersburg before starting your Trans-Siberian trip in Moscow.

Naadam-Festival:
The Naadam Festival runs each year from July 11th to 13th and is a major Mongolian holiday which celebrates the independence of the country. It is a wonderful time to experience the culture and people of this amazing land. The opening ceremony features marches and music from soldiers, monks and athletes before the real fun begins. Watch the competitions in the three traditional Mongolian sports of wrestling, horse racing and archery. There’s also plenty to see and to do outside: Food, music, crafts and real party atmosphere.

 

Prices per person (may vary depending on the season)

Group size 1 traveler 2-3 travelers 4-5 travelers 6-9 travelers 10 travelers
2nd class (4-berth-Sleeper) 5350€ 3450€ 3220€ 2790€ 2640€

Supplementary costs (optional):

Hotel Single sup. : 350€
Train 1cl. (2 berth bed cabin): 500€
Supp. for trip in July with Naadam-Festival: 200€ per person
Boat trip in Listvyanka if group is smaller than 4 pax: 50€
Kung Fu Show (theatre) in Beijing (including transfers): 45€
Beijing Duck Dinner in Beijing: 50€

Included:

  • Train tickets (1st or 2nd class)
  • All transfers
  • 7 overnights on board of the train
  • 8 overnights in 3-4-star hotels, double room with shower/bath, incl. breakfast
  • 1 night in a traditional Siberian wooden chalet, double room with shower, incl. full board
  • 1 night in a traditional Mongolian yurt, double room, private (if available) or shared bathroom, incl. full board
  • Guided visits to sights and landmarks mentioned in the program with a local english-speaking guide including all entries and fees in each city
  • Included meals: Breakfast in all hotels, lunch in Yekaterinburg, full board in Listvyanka and Terelj National Park, all lunches in Beijing
  • Visa invitations and documentation to get the visa for Russia, Mongolia and China
  • Travel documentation
  • Assistance of our partners in case of emergency in each city

Not included:

  • International flights: Depending on your itinerary and departure city, we will be happy to assist you to find the best flight tickets to reach your destination and return
  • Visa consular fee: visit the website of your local consulate for details
  • Meals unless mentioned
  • Tips and personal expenses

Contact for reservation

Contact us for any questions concerning this itinerary by using our enquiry form.

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Preparation for your Trans-Siberian railway trip

To prepare your Trans-Siberian journey we are going to send you more details about all details latest 1 month prior to departure. We recommend taking a backpack or trolley bag with you as it is more comfortable than a suitcase and fits better into the storage space in the train. However, you will never need to walk longer than a few minutes with your luggage. Please check our list of what to take on your Trans-Siberian journey. No specific physical health and fitness is required, the most important part is to be prepared mentally and culturally for the many different people and cultures you are going to meet. For that reason, we suggest reading about Russia, Mongolia or China in advance. We have a collection of titles in our online bookstore that we can highly recommend. A must for all Trans-Siberian travellers is the Trans-Siberian Handbook by Bryn Thomas, Athol Yates and Tatyana Pozar-Burgar.

General information

Traveling in Russia, Mongolia and China requires patience and a sense for adventure. It is, however, safe to travel. We have encountered many anecdotal issues during the journeys in the past 20 years we have been organizing guided tours in Russia. Even though the situations were bizarre sometimes, these experiences have made our trips truly unforgettable and have given us a true approach to all those different ways of thinking. We have sent over 150 people on our tours each year so far, from 17 years old students to senior managing directors and even a retired 80 year-old lady made it safely. So, why don’t you join us for this life-enhancing experience?

About the trains

We book original authentic Trans-Siberian Railway trains (local Russian, Mongolian or Chinese trains). All trains are different depending on the route, which means comfort in 1st and 2nd class, cleanliness and friendliness of the train staff vary from train to train. We can’t be held responsible for any inconvenience on the train as we don’t have any influence on trains and employees of the Trans-Siberian Railway company.

For our travel program, we choose the trains with the best suitable arrival and departure time in each city. If you would like to book 1st class, please note the following:

1st class compartments are not always available, especially in high season, due to limited number of 1st class cabins and a high volume of travellers. Also, not all segments provide trains with 1st class wagons. We will do our best do secure a 1st class cabin for you. However, if there are not enough 1st class tickets available or a train doesn’t have 1st class, we will book an entire 2nd class cabin for you to ensure your privacy. Space and comfort of the cabins as well as comfort of bathrooms in 1st and 2nd class are basically the same.

A train ride with the Trans-Siberian is something special and mythical for the flexible and adventurous traveller who likes to enjoy the original and authentic Trans Siberian train ride. In the age of modernisation and high-speed trains, this authentic experience might not be available anymore in 10 years.

Information about your guide

You will be guided around by local guides in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk / Lake Baikal, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing (natives from the respective cities), they will explain all details about culture, history, and the daily life of “their” cities. This is a unique opportunity to get to know Russia, Mongolia and China while traveling the Trans-Siberian railway.