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Grand Trans Siberian Railway

Departing: Vladivostok, Russia - 24 days
Countries visited: Russia & Mongolia

The original and classic Great Rail Journey. From the Pacific Coast to the nation’s capital you cross the world's biggest country and largest landmass aboard the world's longest railway, spanning 7 time zones & almost 10,000 kilometres, from the Far East to Europe. From the once top-secret port of Vladivostok, through the spectacular scenery of eastern Siberia, to magnificent Lake Baikal and the historic Siberian town of Irkutsk. Crossing massive bridges over huge rivers, through forests and across plains, aboard the train you experience Russia as few travellers ever can.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-2: Arrive Vladivostok
Once a top-secret naval base of the Soviet Union, Vladivostok was sealed off from the outside world. Now its doors are open for business and the city is booming as Russia's gateway to the Far East. For 100 years this has been the legendary eastern terminus of the Trans Siberian Railway, its historic railway station recently restored to its former grandeur.

Day 3: Vladivostok and depart to Ulan Ude
Discover the city and port before climbing aboard the Trans Siberian Railway ready for an incredible journey.

Days 4-5: Trans Siberian Railway 
We settle into life on board, getting to know our travelling companions. Relax in the comfortable four-berth compartment that is home for the three days and nights it takes to cross eastern Siberia to the Buryat city of Ulan Ude.

Day 6: Arrive Ulan Ude
Welcome to Buryatiya, centre of Russia’s Buddhist community. Reminiscent of old Siberia, Ulan Ude is located in the middle of the vast Siberian steppes, on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is a very unusual and charming city. The local open air ethnographic museum tells an interesting story about the life and traditions of the native Siberians (Buryat and Evenks) as well as the colonisers (Cossacks and Old-believers).

Day 7: On board the Trans Mongolian Railway 
Onwards we travel, enjoying the company of our fellow passengers and a picnic in our cabin. The train arrives at Naushki, the Russian border town where formalities are completed, and then continue across no-man's land to Sukhbaatar where Mongolian officials board the train before we journey on to Ulaanbaatar.

Days 8-11: Ulaanbaatar and Mongolian Steppe 
After breakfast we visit the Zaisan Memorial from which the entire city is visible. Also to the country’s largest remaining monastery, Gandan Hiid where you can mingle with Buddhist monks. In the afternoon we travel out across the grasslands through the countryside where we spend 2 nights in a traditional Mongolian nomad tent or ger set amongst spectacular rock formations and wild rolling hills in the breathtaking Terelj National Park. Among nomadic families and their grazing livestock we can explore nearby valleys or just relax and enjoy the area. We return to Ulaanbaatar and visit the National Museum before joining the train north to Siberia.

Day 12: Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway 
Continuing towards Russia, leaving Mongolia at Sukhe Bator and travelling beyond the Russian border town and then west along the southern shore of the world's deepest freshwater lake — Baikal.

Days 13-15: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal (Siberia) 
Almost in the centre of Asia, Irkutsk — 18th century churches, bright painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lacework. Modern administrative blocks and soaring bridges reach out across the Angara River in this beautiful town known as the "Paris of Siberia". On our walking tour you will discover the city’s wonderful historic sights. We also enjoy two nights at Lake Baikal and stay in the village of Listvyanka with its traditional houses and beautiful wooden church and nearby Limnological Museum. To gain an insight into the traditional lives of Siberian people we also visit the Museum of Wooden Architecture. We return to Irkutsk and board the train for an evening departure to Kazan.

Days 16-17: Aboard the Trans Siberian Railway 
We join the Trans Siberian Railway and travel via Novosibirsk, Omsk and Ekaterinburg booming over the steel bridges spanning Siberia's nerve system of 5,000 rivers. Through the Ural Mountains and onto Kazan.

Day 18: Afternoon arrival into Kazan
Welcome to Kazan! The Capital of the Tatarstan Republic and the Muslim capital of Russia.

Day 19: Kazan
Spend the day exploring the fascinating city of Kazan and its UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kremlin, before we hop back on the train bound for Moscow.

Days 20-21: Moscow
We arrive into the capital at daybreak. Moscow will amaze you, its palaces and public buildings restored to their former glory. The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid twirled cupolas of St. Basil's across the cobblestones, and the Kremlin itself — that fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we marvel at the exquisite collection of royal treasures in the stunning Armoury Chamber. We ride the palatial underground rail system, adorned with chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-relief and perhaps a river cruise or a magical evening at one of Moscow's great theatres or State Circus.

Day 22: Moscow to St. Petersburg 
Today we farewell Moscow and travel to the former capital of Imperial Russia. Home of the Tsars and one of the most beautiful cities in the world — St. Petersburg.

Day 23: St. Petersburg 
It is the city on the water, the "Venice of the North", standing resplendent on the delta of the Neva River. St Isaac's Cathedral, richly filled palaces and museums, wide boulevards and canals. The gilded halls of the Hermitage Museum hung with the works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt and many other great masters, and beyond the city lie the incomparable summer palaces of the tsars at Petrodvorets. Yet for all this, St. Petersburg remains one of Europe's best kept secrets.

Day 24: Depart St. Petersburg 
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 - 9 nights (twin share)
Mongolian Ger - 2 night (shared)
Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share)
Trains - 10 nights (4 berth) 

Meals
17 in total. Breakfast (12), lunch (2), dinner (5)

Travel by
Train: Comfortable 4 berth sleepers
There are 6 rail sectors on this journey
- Vladivostok to Ulan Ude (3 nights)
- Ulan Ude to Ulaanbaatar (1 night)
- Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk (2 nights)
- Irkutsk to Kazan (3 nights)
- Kazan to Moscow (1 nights)
- Moscow to St. Petersburg (day train)
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 between Vladivostok and Moscow.

Sightseeing
Scheduled Sightseeing is part of the itinerary and includes all transport, entrance fees and English speaking local guide. This journey enjoys a greater number of included sights than others.

Vladivostok: City tour and museums

Ulan Ude: City Tour, Ivolginsk Datsun

Ulaanbaatar: Zaisan Memorial, National History Museum, Gaandan Khiid Monastery, Terelj National Park

Irkutsk (Siberia): Walking tour of city, Museum of Wooden Architecture, Limnological Museum, Lake Baikal

Kazan: City Tour & Kazan Kremlin

Moscow: City Tour, St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, The Kremlin & Armoury Chamber

St.Petersburg: City tour, Palace Square, Hermitage Museum

City Exploring is further sightseeing outside the itinerary guideline but with the Group Leader

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