Transsiberian Railway - Group Departures
Group tour including the must see stops along the Trans-Siberian Railway - Moscow, Irkutsk & Baikal, Ulan Bator and Beijing. Travel 8000 km with the leisurely pace of the railway that was a revolution for the inaccessible Siberia.
Experience the feeling of eternity and glory while passing through the endless birch forests and vast steppes at all times of the year. Travelling by train gives you the opportunity to feel the atmosphere of the places you are passing by. This is the classic route from Moscow through the boundless Siberia and the wild Mongolia to the exiting and densely populated megalopolis of Beijing. Besides staying in Russia's and China's pulsing capitals, we make trips to the countryside in Siberia and Mongolia. We stay at wooden houses on the shore of Baikal - the world's deepest lake, housing several animals only found here such as the freshwater seal. In Mongolia, we admire the endless Mongolian steppes, where we feel the true nomadic style staying in the traditional round felt tents. The journey continues to the east towards the Chinese capital Beijing. Just before arriving we see through the window of the train The Great Chinese Wall – one of the new seven world wonders. We spend several days in Beijing and see the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs and other interesting places. Of course, climbing of the Chinese wall is a must.
This 20-day tour gives you plenty of both big city culture and unique nature experiences in landscape of plains and steppes. Unique nature and culture of two continents. City life, rural urbanization and nomadism.
Day 1. Moscow
Arrival to Moscow. Meeting at the airport and group transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Dinner and overnight.
Optional: Russian folklore show Kostroma in the evening.
Day 2. Moscow
After breakfast city tour in Moscow. We see the Red Square with Vasiliy's Cathedral and the most famous buildings and streets in Moscow. After lunch, which you pay on your own, the excursion continues to the Kremlin, where we see the many cathedrals and the impressive Armoury - one of the richest treasuries in the world. In the afternoon back to the hotel.
Optional: Bolshoy Theatre performance.
Day 3. Moscow
Free day to explore Moscow. Optional tours in Moscow are available upon request. In the evening transportation to Yaroslavskaya train station, where we get on the train and are introduced to our compartments where we stay for the next four days.
Day 4. Travel by train
We pass through the Ural Mountains with million cities Perm and Ekaterinburg. Further east we come through the large Siberian cities such as Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. The landscape in this part of the railway switches between coniferous and birch forests and small villages, where development is still far behind the big cities.
Day 5. On the train.
Day 6. On the train.
Day 7. Irkutsk
Arrival in Irkutsk in the evening. Pick up at the train station and transfer to the hotel.
Day 8. Irkutsk - Lake Baikal
In the morning city tour with visit to the Decembrists’ Museum. Transport to the village of Listvyanka on the shore of Baikal. After lunch at a local restaurant we visit the wooden church, the market and Baikal museum. In the late afternoon, we sail north on Lake Baikal to the small village of Bolshie Koty which is beautifully situated on the lake's western shore. Accommodation in wooden house. Possibility of genuine Russian Banya (sauna).
Day 9. Lake Baikal
Whole day to admire the splendid nature on the shores of Baikal – possibility for hiking along the shores, sun-bathing, swimming, Russian banya, etc.
Day 10. Lake Baikal - Irkutsk
Departure in the morning by boat back to Listvjanka and from there drive back to Irkutsk. On the way we visit Taltsi Ethnographic Museum (open-air museum) with unique Russian wooden architecture. Arrival in Irkutsk, free time in the afternoon.
Day 11. Irkutsk - Ulan Bator
Early in the morning, departure by train to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator (approx. 25 hours). We pass through the Buddhist provincial capital of Buryatia Ulan Ude. The train winds its way along the shores of Baikal giving oportunities for awesome photographs.
Day 12. Ulan Bator
Arrival in Ulan Bator in the morning. Pick-up at the train station and drive to local restaurant for breakfast. Then city tour with visit to Gandan Khiid Buddhist Monastery and the Museum of National History telling about the glorious time of Chenghiz Khan and the Mongolian empire. After lunch, time is at your own disposal.
Day 13. Ulan Bator - Terelj Park
After breakfast we drive from Ulan Bator up to Terelj National park (approx. 75 km) occupying wide territory amidst the vast Mongolian steppes. Here we visit the imposing Turtle Rock and the spiritual centre Aryabal. We will be guests in nomad family and have the oportunity to taste local food and drinks. Stay overnight in gers - traditional round white felt tents.
Day 14. Terelj Park - Ulan Bator
Free time in Terelj. Possibility for hiking and horse-riding in the beautiful countriside. At noon, drive back to Ulan Bator with visit on the way of Chenghiz Khan Memorial Complex with a 40-meter high monument of Chenghiz Khan on a horse. Lunch in the restaurant and proceed back to Ulan Bator. Evening folklore show with Mongolian throat singing and traditional music. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 15. Ulan Bator - Beijing
In the morning morning departure by train to China's capital Beijing (approx. 30 hours). In the evening we arrive at the border where train cars must have their wheels replaced because of the different track width in China. (breakfast)
Day 16. Beijing
Arrival in Beijing before noon. Transportation to the hotel for accommodation. Transportation to the hotel and accommodation. Dinner and then transport to the theater, where we see the world-famous Chinese acrobatics.
Day 17. Beijing
After breakfast city tour in Beijing. We begin with the Forbidden City (to the Tiananmen Square), where Ming and Qing Dynasties have ruled. Here we see a selection of 800 impressive buildings which are said to contain 9,999 rooms. After lunch (not included) we continue to Summer Palace.
Day 18. Beijing
After breakfast at the hotel, we continue the program to the culmination of the trip in China: the Great Wall. It is an unforgettable experience to stand at this impressive structure, stretching over 6,000 km across the country. After lunch (which you pay for) back to Beijing where we visit one of the 13 Ming Tombs. The rest of the day is free.
Day 19. Beijing
Free day in Beijing to explore this enormous megalopolis at your own pace.
Day 20. Beijing - departure
Group transfer to the airport for departure.
Included in the price: ►accommodation and meals as described ►train tickets Moscow-Irkutsk-Ulan Bator-Beijing at second class (4 persons in compartment) ►all excursions including transport according to the program abovee►entrance fees ►English-speaking tour-leader from Penguin Travel ►local English-speaking guides on all trips.
Not included: ►Flight tickets ►Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas ►insurance.
Other expenses: Single room supplement: 420 euro; supplement for first-class compartment Moscow - Irkutsk - Ulan Bator - Beijing (or whole compartment at second class): 490 euro
Visas: Most nationals need visas for the three countries. Check with the embassies in your country about the requirements.
Life on the Train
The Trans-Siberian is not a railway especially arranged for tourists; it’s just a means of public transportation. You will spend your days in the train meeting new people, chatting, eating, playing games, reading and enjoying the changing landscape through the window. You will be able to get off and stretch your legs at the train stations, where the train stops for 5-20 minutes. Getting to know the locals is guaranteed. You might find yourself drinking vodka with a Russian soldier, discussing politics with a Chinese academic or sharing a bottle of Russian champagne with a Mongolian businessman.
Types of trains and classes
You can choose between first class and second class.
A first-class compartment is shared by two passengers – there are two lower berths one oposite the other with a table between them. A second-class compartment is shared by four (there's quite plenty of space, comparing to European trains). The beds are two by two one above the other. There is a small table next to the window and enough space for luggage. There are bedcovers and pillows, and at the beginning of the journey, you get bedclothes. Each wagon is being kept in order by two train attendants. They will make sure your journey passes smoothly, exit at every station and remind you to get on the train before it has left, and offer you hot water for coffee or tea.
There is a restaurant on the trains where both the staff and the menu change depending on the country the train is crossing, so the quality is difficult to predict. It is a good idea to bring along some supplies, but you will be able to buy very cheap, fresh and tasty food at the stations. You can buy everything: from a bottle of beer or water to home made boiled potatoes, eggs, cakes, chicken breast, vodka, smoked fish and fresh vegetables. The train-attendants also sell some not expensive snacks and drinks, so you won’t get hungry.
Hygiene, toilets and showers
Each carriage has its own train-attendants who does the daily cleaning. At each end of the carriage there is a toilet with a WC and a small sink. It is advisable to bring liquid soap and soft wet pads with you.
The best time for the journey is from April to October. The winter is bitterly cold but, if you are not afraid of the frost, you’ll experience Siberia covered with snow. Only the locals travel in winter – there are virtually no tourists. And it is quite warm on the train.
You should carry your own luggage. That's why we recommend you to bring racksack with you instead of a suitcase. It is far more comfortabe mainly when climbing up and down the stairs at the train stations.
FAQ and useful answers about the train journey you can find HERE.