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. Optional you can 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 18-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.
Dates and tours in 2018:
* 26 July - 12 August, route Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Irkutsk - Ulan Bator - Beijing: 18 days / 17 nights
* 10 August - 29 August, route Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Irkutsk - Ulan Ude - Vladivostok: 20 days / 19 nights
* 6 September - 23 September, route Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Irkutsk - Ulan Bator - Beijing: 18 days / 17 nights
Day 1 (Thursday). Moscow
Arrival to Moscow. Meeting at the airport and group transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Overnight.
Day 2 (Friday). Moscow
Free time in the morning. Transfer to the train station at noon and departure to Yekaterinburg.
Day 3 (Saturday). Yekaterinburg
Arrival to Yekaterinburg in the afternoon. Walk to the hotel (about 3 min). Overnight.
Day 4 (Sunday). Yekaterinburg
Tour to Romanov Monastery and Eurasia Obelisk, that marks the border between Europe and Asia. Lunch. Back to Yekaterinburg for a city tour. Overnight
Day 5 (Monday). Travel by train
In the late morning we go to the train station and borad the train to Irkutsk.
Day 6 (Tuesday). On the train
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 7 (Wednesday). Irkutsk
Arrival in Irkutsk in the evening. Pick up at the train station and transfer to the hotel.
Day 8 (Thursday). Irkutsk - Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal
In the morning transfer to the largest island in Baikal Lake - Olkhon by bus and ferry. Accommodation at private homes. Possibility of genuine Russian Banya (sauna).
Day 9 (Friday). Olkhon
Excursion to Khoboy cape - the most northern point of Olkhon, considered to be a sacred place. Picnic lunch. Overnight on Olkhon
Day 10 (Saturday). Olkhon
Whole day to admire the splendid nature on the shores of Baikal and Olkhon island – possibility for hiking along the shores, sun-bathing, swimming, Russian banya, etc.
Day 11 (Sunday). Olkhon - Irkutsk
Departure in the morning back to Irkutsk. Overnight in Irkutsk
Day 12 (Monday). 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 13 (Tuesday). 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. Evening folklore show with Mongolian throat singing and traditional music.
Day 14 (Wednesday). 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. Stay overnight in gers - traditional round white felt tents.
Day 15 (Thursday). Terelj Park - Ulan Bator
Free time in Terelj. Possibility for hiking and horse-riding in the beautiful countryside. 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. Free time in the Mongolian capital.
Day 16 (Friday). 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.
Day 17 (Saturday). Beijing
Arrival in Beijing before noon. Transportation to the hotel for accommodation. Overnight in Beijing.
Day 18 (Sunday). Beijing - departure
Group transfer to the airport for departure.
Included in the price: ►accommodation and meals as described (see the detailed itinerary) ►train tickets Moscow-Yekaterinburg-Irkutsk-Ulan Bator-Beijing at 2nd class (4 persons in compartment) ►all excursions including transport according to the program above ►entrance fees ►English-speaking tour-leader from Penguin Travel (at min. 8 persons) ►local English-speaking guides
NB! Both programs can be arranged at 5-7 persons without a Penguin Tour leader and at the same price.
Not included: ►Flight tickets ►Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas ►insurance ►drinks and meals not mentioned ►extra nights in Moscow and Beijing before/after the tour ►excursions in Moscow and Beijing
Other expenses: ►Single room supplement: 310 EUR (only at the hotels) ►extra nights in Moscow (People Hotel): 52 EUR per person/per night in a double room, 94 EUR for a single room/per night (no breakfast at this hotel) ►additional transfer Moscow airport - hotel when arriving earlier than the group: 60 EUR (1-3 persons) ►city tour in Moscow by car (about 3 hours): 95 EUR per person (min. 2 persons) ►extra nights in Beijing (Beijing Jiangxi Grand Hotel): 48 Eur per person/night at a d ouble room with breakfast, 96 EUR for a single room/night ► welcome pakcage in Beijing - 2 days of sightseeing (day 1: Tiannamen square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace; day 2: The Great Wall and Ming Tombs - only 1 of the tombs is visited): 240 EUR per person (min. 2 persons) ►additional transfer Beijing hotel - Beijing airport if departing later: 50 EUR per person/min. 2 persons ►the trains used in this program do not have 1st class compartments, only the train from Ulan Bator to Beijing. For those who would like to get a compartment on their own, we can book 4 seats at 2nd class for 2 people. Supplement for a whole 2nd class compartment (Moscow-Yekaterinburg-Irkutsk-Ulan Bator, subject to availability): 685 EUR; Supplement for 1st class compartment Ulan Bator-Beijing: 90 EUR per person
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.