Trans Siberian Adventure Naadam Festival

Trans Siberian Adventure Naadam Festival information and booking

from
$6290
  • Duration
    23 days
    Days
  • Group size
    8-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 23 day trip
  • 12 nights hotel
  • 4 nights ger camp
  • 6 nights train
Equipment Required
Whilst there is no specific equipment for this journey a good pair of walking shoes is essential along with a day pack to carry your water bottle, camera and other personal items when sightseeing.

Highlights

  • An epic train journey, traversing China, Mongolia & Russia
  • Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace visits in Beijing
  • Day trip on The Great Wall
  • Naadam Festival in Mongolia
  • Overnight with local nomadic family in Ger camps in Mongolia
  • National Park visits in Mongolia
  • Lake Baikal in Siberia
  • Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral & Kremlin visits in Moscow
  • Visit The Hermitage & Nevsky Prospect

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The Trans Siberian train journey has captured the imagination of travellers for many decades. This superb itinerary combines the classic train route with stopovers at many of the unique and exciting destinations en-route. Beginning in the Chinese capital Beijing there is ample time to witness the iconic attractions of this great city. Continuing to Ulaanbaatar, we experience the colourful Naadam Festival before heading to the Mongolian Steppe for a taste of nomadic life, staying in comfortable ger camps and experiencing the vast grasslands and the warm hospitality of the people with some 'Airag', the fermented mares milk which is a favourite of the Mongolians. The next stage of our train journey takes us to Irkutsk in the heart of Siberia. Lake Baikal is a highlight of this region, and we take time to explore the natural beauty of the surrounds. The final stage of our journey takes us to the cities of Moscow and St Petersburg where we soak up the immense history through visits to Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, as well as a multitude of lesser known sites which our Russian hosts will uncover.

What's included

  • 16 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Twin share 3 star hotel in beijing, ulaanbaatar, listvyanka, moscow & st petersburg
  • Ger accommodation on a multi-share basis in mongolia
  • 2nd class sleeper train travel in 4 berth cabin
  • Fully escorted from beijing to st petersburg and local guides in each region.
  • Private transport and tours in beijing, mongolia, siberia, moscow & st petersburg
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites as detailed

Itinerary

Day 1 4 Jul: Join Beijing
On arrival in Beijing you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. A group briefing will be held in the hotel at approximately 6.30pm. Following our briefing we head to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner and our first chance to sample some of the local cuisine and get to know the other members of the group.
Day 2 5 Jul: Forbidden City and Summer Palace
This morning we visit the beautiful Forbidden City, which is a masterpiece of 5000 years of Chinese civilisation and still vividly displays the power and prestige of the former dynasties. Sprawling over acres, the City is a magnificent group of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and deep terracotta walls. Ornately furnished palace rooms, priceless artworks and treasures are all now open to the public after 500 years of seclusion. In the afternoon we will also visit the Summer Palace and in the evening there is an option to see an acrobatic show. For dinner there will be a chance to sample the delicious Beijing dumplings and other local specialties.
Day 3 6 Jul: The Great Wall
We will make an early morning start today to explore the Great Wall at the Mutianyu section. This is approximately a 1.5 hour drive outside of Beijing, slightly further than the popular and very busy Badaling Gate section. On arrival we will have the option to complete a 2 -3 hour walk along this beautiful section of the wall. Mutianyu is renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers and superb views. The scene here is as one would expect of one of the world’s great man made wonders, with huge steep ramparts criss crossing this mountainous area. Those deciding not to undertake the walk will be able to enjoy this section of the wall by cable car. The Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is one of the world’s most unusual and awesome sites. Commenced 2000 years ago, it was built as a defence line to keep out invaders, along the course of several thousand kilometres. The Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the various northern walls into the Great Wall we see today. We return to Beijing in the evening for a traditional Peking Duck dinner.
Day 4 7 Jul: Train to Ulaanbaatar
This morning we transfer to the train station for our overnight journey to Ulaanbaatar. The train journey takes around 30 hours - two days and one night. This is an ideal way to see a changing countryside from the frenetic pace of Beijing through the great expanse of the Gobi Desert and into downtown Ulaanbaatar. The border crossing from China to Mongolia takes place late evening and takes around 4 hours, due to the changing of the train's bogies and the border formalities. Chinese and Mongolian border officials will board the train so expect a couple of interruptions to your night's sleep! This is all part of the adventure. For purchases made on both the train and platforms in China, you should keep some Yuan with you. There is no need to obtain Mongolian Togrog prior to arrival in Mongolia as purchases made on the Mongolian train can only be paid in USD.
Day 5 8 Jul: Arrive Ulaanbaatar
The train is expected into Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar by mid afternoon. On arrival we are met by our Mongolian guide, who will be with us for the next 7 days. After freshening up at the group hotel we will have a tour of the city. Our first stop is Sukhbaatar square, the central square named after the revolutionary hero of 1921 Damdiny Sukhbaatar who declared independence from China. We then visit the National History Museum before heading out for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6 9 Jul: Horse racing, archery
After breakfast we head out of Ulaanbaatar to witness horse racing. On returning to the city we visit the stadium and see archery.
Day 7 10 Jul: Naadam Festival and Terelj National Park
Naadam Festival opening ceremony and wrestling in the central stadium. Late afternoon drive to Terelj National Park. Overnight: Ger camp.
Day 8 11 Jul: Terelj National Park
Full day at the Terelj National Park. There are opportunities for hiking in surrounding mountains. There is a Buddhist Meditation Centre nestled in hills that you can visit. Overnight: Ger camp.
Day 9 12 Jul: Nomadic family
After breakfast at the ger camp we start our journey, we will drive to visit a local Nomadic Family. We'll be staying with our host family, which will allow you to experience the daily life of nomadic people. During the day we can horse ride or hike in the surrounding mountains and meadows. There will be ample opportunity to taste 'Airag', the fermented mares milk, which is a favorite drink of Mongolians - and an acquired taste! Picnic meals. Overnight will be in the Ger, which will be set up for you next to our host family.
Day 10 13 Jul: Ulaanbaatar
Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. In the afternoon we will have time for shopping at cashmere factory shop and department store. Our evening program is concert featuring Mongolian music and dancing followed by dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11 14 Jul: Train to Irkutsk
This morning we will have some time to check email, go to the post office and make some last minute purchases before lunch. We then transfer to the train station where we farewell our Mongolian friends and board the train for the 24 hour journey to Irkutsk.
Day 12 15 Jul; Arrive Irkutsk, Lake Baikal
We arrive into Irkutsk at around 3pm where we will be met by our Russian guide for the next few days. We will change some money in Irkutsk and have a short city tour before driving an hour to the small town of Listvyanka located 60 km’s south-east of Irkutsk. Listvyanka sits right at the edge of Lake Baikal, where the Angara River reaches the shores of the Lake at Port Baikal. We will check in to our hotel where we will base ourselves for the next two nights.
Day 13 16 Jul: In Listyvanka
We commence our sightseeing by foot this morning with a visit to the colorful fish bazaar where you can try local specialties including fish (salted, baked or smoked). From here we have a short walk to visit the old wooden St. Nikolai Church. We continue on to the Limnological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which has an interesting Limnology Museum, where there is a good exhibition on the flora and flora of the lake, including an aquarium.
Day 14 17 Jul: In Irkutsk, board train to Moscow
We leave the shores of Baikal (at 09:00) and return to Irkutsk, visiting the museum of wood carving in Taltsy village en-route. Irkutsk is located on the banks of the Angara River, which has its source 80 km upstream at Lake Baikal. Irkutsk is easily one of the most attractive cities in Siberia. Irkutsk was founded in 1651 as a Cossack garrison to keep the local Buryat’s in line. The Cossacks were a rough lot sent as official representatives of the Tsar’s to establish remote outposts and they included trappers, traders, criminals and vagabonds. Later, in the 19th century, Irkutsk was used as an exile post and received some illustrious aristocratic exiles, giving the city a rich cultural heritage. The city’s location, near Mongolia and China means that strong Asiatic influences abound. The architecture of Irkutsk includes some of the classic wooden Siberian cottages with beautifully painted and carved shutters. Other features are the onion-domed shaped churches. During the Soviet-era planning Irkutsk suffered the same fate as many other Siberian cities with the building of rows upon rows of ugly white, apartment blocks - still prevalent in the city today. This afternoon we will undertake at sightseeing tour in the city known as the ‘Paris of Siberia’. visiting the main sites of interest include the Decembrist Houses and the historic churches and buildings. We will also have time to go shopping for the supplies we will need on the train. We expect to board the train around 4pm and begin our journey to Moscow.
Day 15 to 16 18-19Jul: On Train
During these few days spent on one of the greatest train journeys in the world, you will watch the changing landscapes. Your travelling companions could be foreign tourists or locals alike and you should make the most of your journey by absorbing the scenery, or relaxing and talking to your fellow travellers. This section of the trip is all about the journey with the anticipation of our approach to Moscow growing by the day. During these days we will have many stops, some from a short 5 minutes others up to 30 minutes where we will have the opportunity to stretch our legs and replenish supplies with purchases made on the platforms.
Day 17 20 Jul: Arrive Moscow
Today we arrive into Moscow (13:58pm). We are met at the railway station and taken to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 18 21 Jul: In Moscow
This morning we begin our sightseeing taking in many of the sights of Moscow including a visit to Sparrow Hills were we can get a panoramic view of the city. We will leave the bus and visit the Assumption Cathedral, near the Kremlin, before walking to Old Arabat where we can have lunch and free time to stroll through the market stalls which line the pedestrian street. A visit to Moscow would not be complete without going underground to the elaborate Metro with its walls adorned with imagery depicting Russia’s historic and political rhetoric, of which we’ll select 3 or 4 of the most interesting stations en-route to our hotel. Following the Metro ride, the rest of the day is free to enjoy Moscow before returning to our hotel.
Day 19 22 Jul: In Moscow, train to St Petersburg
Today has been set aside for a visit to Red Square and the Kremlin and its cathedrals. We start with a walk through Red Square where we will be overwhelmed by the view of St. Basil’s Cathedral. For those wishing to visit the Mausoleum of Lenin at the foot of the Kremlin wall, expect approximately a two hour queue. Those wanting to go inside St Basil’s will also have the opportunity (a small fee is applicable). During our sightseeing of the Kremlin, we’ll also view the Armoury, where there is an opulent collection of state treasures. Return to the hotel to freshen up before transferring to the station for the train journey to St Petersburg just before midnight.
Day 20 23 Jul: Arrive St Petersburg, commence sightseeing
On arrival in St Petersburg (at 08:00) we will be met by our guide who will take us for breakfast before we commence an orientation tour. We will include a visit to Peter & Paul Fortress, which is the oldest building in the city and was built in 1703 to protect the city against the invading Swedes. It is however most famous for being a political prison until 1917 and inmates such as Gorky and Trotsky spent time here. We then head to our hotel for check in around midday. We will have this afternoon at leisure to relax and get acquainted with this beautiful city. This city was founded by Peter the Great as a gateway to Europe, and you will immediately feel that you have arrived in Europe with well planned avenues and elegant buildings lining the Neva River and nearby canals. Late this afternoon we take a walk along Nevsky Prospect, Russia’s most famous street, before returning to the hotel.
Day 21 24 Jul: In St Petersburg
We commence our sightseeing by foot this morning with a visit to The Hermitage one of the world’s greatest museums. During our tour of the winter palace and the Hermitage buildings we will be absorbed by the rich art work on display including porcelain and tapestry, the amazing Peacock Clock and a collection of paintings from throughout Europe.
Day 22 25 Jul: In St Petersburg
After breakfast we visit what is perhaps St Petersburg’s most famous and spectacular attraction - Peterhof Palace. Founded by Peter I in the early XVIII century as a summer residence of the royal family, and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof is a series of palaces and gardens filled with fountains, statues and pavilions. We return to St Petersburg by “Meteor”(boat) and walk back to the hotel or do any own sightseeing.
Day 23 26 Jul: Trip concludes
The trip concludes at the hotel after breakfast.