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Classic Trans Mongolian

Departing: St Petersburg, Russia - 16 days
Countries visited: Russia, Mongolia & China

This brief journey captures the highlights perfectly. You'll visit a collection of the world's most fascinating cities: St. Petersburg, Moscow,Kazan, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing - each as diverse as they are iconic. And you'll experience two of the world's most famous railways before walking along the Great Wall of China. Put it all together and it's an amazing experience.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-2. St. Petersburg
The former capital of Imperial Russia, St. Petersburg is a luxurious city with richly filled palaces and museums, wide boulevards and canals. With a long list of magical attractions, the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the gilded halls of the prestigious Hermitage Museum that house dazzling treasures once owned by the Romanov family along with works of the great masters to the stunning gardens of Peter the Great's first Summer Palace, you will fall in love with the 'Venice of the North".

Days 3-4. Moscow
Moscow will amaze you, its palaces and public buildings restored to their former glory. Beneath the city lies the palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas- reliefs while the vast Cathedral of Christ the Saviour again dominates Moscow's skyline. The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid twirled cupolas of St.Basil's. The Kremlin itself - the fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we marvel at the exquisite collection of royal treasures in the stunning Armoury Chamber; the Cathedral of the Assumption where Tsars were crowned, the Bell Tower and the Faberge jewels and icons.

Days 5. Kazan
Welcome to Kazan! The capital of the Tatarstan Republic and the Muslim capital of Russia. After enduring a tumultuous history Kazan has risen to become one of Russia's most progressive cities.

Days 6-9. Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway via Yekaterinburg
We settle into life on board, enjoying the company of our fellow passengers and the stunning scenery that we will enjoy for the next four nights.  First travelling along the Trans Siberian Railway over the steel bridges spanning Siberia's nerve system of 5,000 rivers. We pass over the Ural mountains which divide Europe and Asia, and we cross the Irtysh and Ob rivers stopping for a night in Yekaterinburg, infamous for its bloody history.  We continue through Irkutsk, the Paris of Siberia and catch a glimpse of stunning Lake Baikal from the train window.

Day 10. Hello Mongolia!
At daybreak, classic scenes of traditional nomadic life greet us as the train winds impressively across the Mongolian Steppe and into the capital. We travel out across the grasslands to Terelj National Park where we spend two nights in a traditional Mongolian nomad's ger, set amongst spectacular rock formations and wild rolling hills. En Route we will take some time to take in panoramic views of the city from Zaisan Memorial and mingle with Buddhist monks at Gandan Khiid Monastery - the country's largest remaining monastery. 

Day 11-12. The Mongolian Steppe & Ulaanbaatar
Among nomadic families and their grazing livestock we can explore the nearby valleys or just relax and enjoy the area before we leave our ger camp and make our way back for our final night in the quirky capital of Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar, is a contradiction - a metropolis amid endless grass steppes, with donkeys and motorbikes, concrete apartment blocks and traditional gers. Here we will gain an insight into Mongolia's past while visiting the National History Museum.

Day 13. Trans Mongolian Railway
A morning departure aboard the Beijing Express. We travel over the steppe-lands of northern Mongolia and to the south, the Gobi desert which until the middle of this century was the rough track across this desolate country. This afternoon we arrive at the Mongolian border town of Dzamyn Ude. After formalities are completed we continue on to the Chinese border town of Erlian for immigration and customs formalities.  Here the train's bogies are changed from a wider gauge used by Russia and Mongolia to a narrow Chinese gauge.

Days 14-15.  Arrive Beijing
Beijing will prove unforgettable, all senses assailed - colour and sound, smell and taste - leaving indelible memories of continual contrast, history and tradition alongside 21st century technology. Our sightseeing continues with an excursion to the Great Wall. Built to defend the civilised world from the fierce and capable Mongol horsemen, the Wall stretches 10,000 Li across China's mountainous northern frontier.  Also visit Tiananmen Square, and perhaps Mao's Mausoleum, and the serene Temple of Heaven set in beautiful parklands. During our ‘City Exploring’ you may also find time to visit the spectacular Summer Palace and enjoy the history and significance of the astonishing Forbidden City with its moated complex of superb awe-inspiring Halls, Palaces and Gates.

Day 16. Depart Beijing
The last day has arrived too soon. The adventure is complete, the legendary rail journey that started many days ago has taken you across Asia, through lands and cultures literally worlds apart.




 

Essentials

Group Size
15 maximum, plus Tour Leader.

Accommodation
Hotels - 7 nights (twin share).
Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared).
Trains - 6 nights (4 berth).

Meals 
12 in total. Breakfast (9) & Dinner (3).

Travel by
Train: Comfortable 4 berth sleepers.
There are 5 rail sectors on this journey;
- St. Petersburg to Moscow (1 nights)
- Moscow to Kazan (1 night) 
- Kazan to Yekaterinburg (Day train)
- Yekaterinburg to Ulaanbaatar (3 nights)
- Ulaanbaatar to Beijing (1 night).
Other: For 'Scheduled Sightseeing' we generally use a small minibus, and for 'City Exploring' we use local taxis, public transport, underground metro and go on foot.

2 Berth Rail (Optional)
Available for a supplementary price only when two people book and travel together. Available on all rail sectors.

Sightseeing
Scheduled Sightseeing is part of the itinerary and includes all transport, entrance fees and English speaking local guide. 
St. Petersburg: City tour including Hermitage Museum and Palace Square.
Moscow: City tour, St.Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury. 
Kazan: Half Day City Tour including Kremlin. 
Ulaanbaatar: Zaisan Memorial, National History Museum, Gandan Khiid Monastery, Terelj National Park.
Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall. City Exploring is further sightseeing outside the itinerary guideline with the Tour Leader.

Visas
Required for China, Mongolia & Russia. Sundowners Overland will provide all required invitation letters and full visa support including detailed visa guidelines.