Trans-Mongolian Express

Rail, Beijing to Saint-Petersburg

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

From bustling Beijing to the Hermitage in St Petersburg, travel halfway around the world in three incredible weeks. Board one of the world’s great trains and ride the rails on this once-in-a-lifetime trip across the grassy steppes of Mongolia and through the taiga forests of Siberia. Share train carriages with locals and spend nights in a Mongolian ger and a cozy Russian guesthouse. Not only does this trip provide the perfect blend of comfortable accommodations and plenty of activities, but also free time to explore this fascinating region at your own pace.

What’s included

  • Your Local Living Moment: Traditional Ger Stay, Gorkhi Terelj National Park
  • Beijing city tour
  • China-Mongolia Railway
  • Ulaanbaatar guided city tour including Gandan Monastery and Bogd Khan Palace
  • Trans-Mongolian Railway
  • Irkutsk city tour
  • Lake Baikal stay (Listvyanka)
  • Trans-Siberian Railway
  • Yekaterinburg walking tour
  • Trans-Ural Railway
  • Red Square visit and Moscow metro orientation tour
  • Kremlin and Armoury guided tour
  • St Petersburg walking tour
  • Hermitage Museum entrance
  • Local meal suggestions and language and border-crossing support throughout
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Ride the rails through mongolia's grassy steppe and siberia's taiga forests
  • Stay in a local village on lake baikal
  • Admire the grand structure of moscow's kremlin and red square
  • Marvel at the rich art collection in the hermitage

Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing There are no planned activities until the group meeting in the evening. Additional Notes: Want to explore more of Beijing? Add the “Beijing Express” to your adventure and spend three days getting to know the city with the expertise of a local guide. This package includes two nights accommodation in Beijing, a hike along the Great Wall and a tour of the Forbidden City. With time to indulge in local cuisine and explore the ancient laneways of central Beijing, this three day express is the perfect way to kickstart any trip. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Beijing Built to appease to the heavens, bring prosperity to the empire, and ensure good crops for the coming year, the Temple of Heaven is surrounded by a lush green park. While here, take time to sit and observe the local community as they gather to play Mahjong, practice Tai Chi, or play with their grandkids. Wander the narrow alleyways of the Beijing hutongs and witness the old contrast the new. These ancient structures date back 800 years but are slowly giving way to modern development. Included Activities: Beijing City Tour
Day 3 Beijing/Ulaanbaatar While on board, settle in and enjoy impressive views of the Great Wall as the train tackles the mountains before descending to the arid lands of Inner Mongolia and continuing into the heart of rural Asia. In the evening, reach the border post of Erlian. Here, the train's wheels will be changed to accommodate a different gauge rail. Opt to stay on board and watch it happen. Included Activities: Border Crossing (China - Mongolia) Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (30.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Ulaanbaatar Awake to the stunning landscapes of the south Gobi. The classic image of Mongolian horses and gers (yurts) dot the scenery from horizon to horizon. The occasional nomad encampment appears mirage-like through the carriage window.
Day 5 Ulaanbaatar/Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1D) Discover one of the most important Mongolian temple complexes, the Gandan Monastery. Learn about the history of Buddhism in Mongolia and hope for the chance to see chanting monks. If lucky, a local fortune teller may be around to share some wisdom. After the Monastery, the tour will continue in the Winter Palace of the last Mongolian King (the only King's palace that survived the revolution). At the end of the tour, visit Zaisan Hill, a great viewpoint with a monument dedicated to Soviet soldiers. Included Activities: Gandan Monastery Guided Tour Bogd Khan Palace Guided Tour Zaisan Hill Visit Traditional Ger Stay Transport: Private Vehicle (40km)
Day 6 Gorkhi Terelj National Park/Irkutsk (1B) Return back to Ulaanbaatar before boarding the next train. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Mongolia - Russia) Transport: Private Vehicle (40km) Overnight train (beds) (24.00-24.00 hours)
Day 7 Irkutsk/Listvyanka (1D) Travel to Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal. Opt to visit Baikal Limnological Museum, enjoy a 'banya' (Russian sauna) or take a boat ride on the lake. Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Listvyanka A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. With free time, catch a glimpse into why this is the "Galapagos of Russia". Opt to go for a boat ride or take a short hike.
Day 9 Listvyanka/Irkutsk (1B) Head back to Irkutsk for an included city tour of one of the most beautiful cities in Siberia. Take some time to shop like the locals at the Central Market to stay well-fed on the voyage. Included Activities: Irkutsk Guided City Tour Transport: Basic overnight train (beds)
Day 10 Irkutsk/Yekaterinburg Continue on from Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg. Drink with locals in the dining car, buy homemade food on the platform from "babushkas" (Russian grandmothers), read, relax, play cards, meet your fellow passengers, watch the taiga forests go by — this is what the experience is all about! Transport: Basic overnight train (beds)
Day 11 Irkutsk/Yekaterinburg Continue on and arrive to the soviet-style city in the Ural Mountain region. Transport: Train
Day 12 Yekaterinburg (1B) With free time, opt to see a performance at the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre, visit the fine art gallery or spend some time at the military museum. Included Activities: Yekaterinburg City Tour
Day 13 Yekaterinburg/Moscow (1B) In the morning, board the Trans-Ural Railway. Say farewell to Asia while crossing the Urals into Europe. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (24.00 hour(s))
Day 14 Yekaterinburg/Moscow Arrive to Moscow and start exploring. Take an orientation walk of the metro then opt for a Moskva River boat trip or a visit to Lenin's Mausoleum, the Tretiakov Gallery or St Basil's Cathedral. Included Activities: Orientation Walk
Day 15 Moscow The area around the Red Square is perfect for sightseeing and people watching. Visit one of the many shops, wander the Alexandr Gardens or visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Head down into the metro to explore the beautiful stations or visit another part of the city. Included Activities: Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour
Day 16 Moscow Enjoy one last day with free time to explore the many museums, art galleries, or theatres that Moscow has to offer.
Day 17 Moscow/Saint-Petersburg St Petersburg, one of Europe's finest cities, is home to baroque European architecture combined with the opulent palaces of Russian royalty. Its tree-lined streets and cosmopolitan atmosphere make it a favourite destination for travellers from around the globe. Upon arrival to St Petersburg take a walking tour of the city. Learn the sordid history of the city from the Peter the Great to Dostoevsky to the Seige of Leningrad. Included Activities: Saint Petersburg Walking Tour Transport: Hop on the high speed train and head to St. Petersburg. Train (3.50-4.00 hours)
Day 18 Saint-Petersburg (1B) Visit the Hermitage Museum with free time to continue exploring the "Venice of Russia." Included Activities: Hermitage Museum Visit
Day 19 Saint-Petersburg (1B) We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.
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