Tour description provided by G Adventures

From the Great Wall of China 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, overnight in a Mongolian ger and in a cozy Russian homestay. 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.

Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing

There are no planned activities until the group meeting in the evening. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2 Beijing

Enjoy a guided tour of the Great Wall (Mutianyu section). The Wall, an incredible piece of engineering, stretches 6,000km (3,728 mi) westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north. Included Activities: Great Wall Mutianyu Visit

Day 3 Beijing

Enjoy a guided tour of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Opt to see an acrobatics or kung fu show, visit the Temple of Heaven or Lama Temple, or enjoy a bicycle tour around the city. Included Activities: Tiananmen Square Forbidden City Tour

Day 4 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 5 Beijing/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. Transport: Train

Day 6 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 7 Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Walk through the valleys, visit nomadic families, and live simply while overnight in a traditional ger camp. Included Activities: Traditional Ger Stay

Day 8 Gorkhi Terelj National Park/Irkutsk (1B)

Return back to Ulaanbaatar with enough time to buy some souvenirs and snacks for the ride before boarding the next train. This leg is 2 nights on board, crossing into Siberia and continuing on to Irkutsk. Transport: Private Vehicle (40km) Basic overnight train (beds) (40.00 hour(s))

Day 9 Ulaanbaatar/Irkutsk

Spend a full day on the train heading deeper into Russia and watching the landscape change. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Mongolia - Russia) Transport: Basic overnight train (beds)

Day 10 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. Learn more about local life with a homestay. Included Activities: Listvyanka Homestay Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))

Day 11 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) (40.00 hour(s))

Day 12 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 13 Irkutsk/Yekaterinburg

Continue on and arrive to the soviet-style city in the Ural Mountain region. Transport: Train

Day 14 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 Moscow/Saint Petersburg

Continue your exploration of the Russian capital before catching the last train of the journey to St Petersburg in the late evening. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (8.00 hour(s))

Day 19 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

Day 20 Saint Petersburg (1B)

Visit the Hermitage Museum with free time to continue exploring the "Venice of Russia." Included Activities: Hermitage Museum Visit

Day 21 Saint Petersburg (1B)

We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.