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Trans Mongolian Explorer

Departing: Beijing, China - 26 days
Countries visited: China, Mongolia & Russia

Enjoy fascinating interludes in Mongolia, Siberia, and the Golden Ring on this exciting overland journey using iconic rail services between Beijing, Moscow and St. Petersburg.




Days 1-3 Beijing
Our journey begins in the ever-changing metropolis of Beijing. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the ancient laneways of the Hutongs or sample a rare delicacy at Donghuamen Night Market. The old meets the new in the fashionable shopping district of Wangfujing or you may decide to take in a performance at one of the many Chinese Opera houses. The Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and Mao’s Mausoleum all provide a fascinating insight into China’s history whilst a day trip to walk on the Great Wall at Muytianu will be an unforgettable highlight.

Days 4-5. To Mongolia and its Capital 
From Beijing’s central station we board the Ulaanbaatar Express for the overnight journey to the Mongolian capital. A night in Ulaanbaatar will allow you to sample some of the country’s most intriguing cuisine and perhaps take in a performance showcasing the traditional Horse Hair Fiddle.

Days 6 -8. Across the Mongolian Steppe
The Mongolia of Genghis Khan lies beyond the city limits. We venture out into the countryside where we will spend two nights in a ger camp (the traditional home of the Mongolian nomads) and visit Khustai National Park, home to the last remaining breed of wild horse, as well as the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, Kharhorin. Returning to Ulaanbaatar there is time to visit the National History Museum before our evening departure aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway.

Days 9-13 Buryatiya and Lake Baikal
Reminiscent of old Siberia, Ulan Ude is a melting pot of Buddhist, native Siberian and European culture, located in the middle of the vast Siberian steppe. The local open air ethnographic museum tells an interesting story about the life and traditions of native Siberians and the Ivolginsky Datsan is a centre of Buddhism in Russia. Continuing then on to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, you will marvel at the vastness of this inland ‘sea’, over 600 kilometres long and up to 80 kilometres wide. We will enjoy two nights in the lakeside village of Listvyanka and have the chance to walk along the lake shore and port. Finally we bid farewell to Siberia as we board the Trans Siberian Railway for Yekaterinburg.

Days 15-17. The Trans Siberian Railway and Yekaterinburg
Life on board is a great social occasion for our Russian hosts and we have the opportunity to share our experiences with them on our way to Yekaterinburg, a city founded by Peter the Great in 1723 is situated just 40 kilometres inside Asia.The main attractions of this city are associated with significant historical events and on our city tour we will take in the history and intrigue surrounding the brutal murder of the Romanov family, an event which ushered in the Communist era in 1918.

Days 18-25. The Golden Ring, Moscow and St. Petersburg
Beyond the Ural Mountains we make our way by train to the Volga-side city of Nizhny Novgorod. Sitting at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers, the affectionately labelled “Nizhny” is a picturesque former trading post with an impressive cliff-top Kremlin. From here we take a train to the Golden Ring cities of Vladimir and Suzdal. Two of the oldest settlements in Russia, expect to be overawed by the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius, Suzdal’s Kremlin and the Archbishop’s Chambers. Our penultimate stop is Moscow; visiting its many great sights, Red Square, St. Basil’s and of course the Kremlin. Finally we then board our final overnight train to St. Petersburg, a luxurious city of opulent palaces, museums and gardens - a fitting end to this great overland journey.

Day 26. Depart St. Petersburg - Journey Concludes



Group Size
15 maximum, plus Tour Leader.

Hotels - 14 nights (twin share)
Mongolian Ger - 2 night (shared)
Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) 
Trains - 7 nights (4 berth)

19 in total. Breakfast (18) & Lunch (1)

Travel by
Train: Comfortable 4 berth sleepers. There are 7 rail sectors on this journey
- Beijing to Ulaanbaatar (1 night)
- Ulaanbaatar to Ulan Ude (1 night)
- Ulan Ude to Irkutsk (1 night)
- Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg (2 nights)
- Yekaterinburg to Nizhny Novogorod (1 night)
-  Nizhny Novgorod to Vladimir (Day Train)
- Vladimir to Moscow (Day train)
- Moscow to St. Petersburg (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.

Scheduled Sightseeing is part of the itinerary and includes all transport, entrance fees and English speaking local guide.

Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall.

Ulaanbaatar: Zaisan Memorial, National History Museum, Gandan Hiid Monastery, Khustai National Park, Kharkhorin and Erdene Zuu.

Ulan Ude: City excursion to Ivolginsk Monastery and Ethnographic Museum.

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

Yekaterinburg: City Tour including Romanov Church and Memorial, Mineralogical Museum & Europe/Asia Obelisk.

Moscow: City tour, St.Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber.

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

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