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Trans Mongolian with Naadam

Departing: Beijing, China - 24 days
Countries visited: China, Mongolia & Russia

Walk along the Great Wall, celebrate Mongolia's greatest and most colourful festival, traverse the mighty Siberian landscape, and explore Russia's most exciting cities on this grand adventure.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-4. Beijing
The Chinese capital is a great place to start our journey with visits to Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and in the countryside a nearby walk to the Muytianu section of the Great Wall of China.This bustling city has much more to offer than just its Imperial history. In your free time you can indulge in China's modern art scene, observe everyday life lived out in the many parks or, sample Beijing's famous imperial cuisine such as Peking duck. 

After all of this the Trans Mongolian Railway is waiting to take us across northern China and the Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital.  


Days 5-9. Ulaanbaatar & Wild Mongolia
After travelling over the vast Mongolian steppe we arrive in Ulaanbaatar. For our first real taste of this remote nation we journey to Kharkhorin; the ancient capital of Genghis Khan's empire. While there we will visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual home of Mongolian Buddhism. From here we will travel to the isolated haven of the Bayangobi where we will see Przewalski horses, desert sand dunes and petrified forests. 

Days 10-12. Ulaanbaatar – Naadam Festival
We make our way with the crowds to the Naadam stadium for the spectacular event and demonstrations of the 'three manly sports' - wrestling, archery and horseracing. Taking our place in the stadium, we see not only the athletes, but monks, officials and local celebrities. The first rounds of wrestling and archery begin shortly afterwards, with horseracing the focus on the second day. These races are the domain of younger children, who compete for the title ' tumnii ekh' ('Leader of Ten Thousand'). Traditions abound, and we join the crowds in cheering the winners, and serenading the losers in song. We mingle with the locals - often taking as much pleasure from watching the audience as observing the competitors!

At the conclusion, we board an evening train north to Siberia. 


Day 13. Trans Mongolian Railway
Continuing towards Russia we leave Mongolia at Sukhbaatar and travel beyond the Russian border town to Ulan Ude, then west along the southern shore of the world's deepest freshwater lake, Baikal.


Days 14-16. Irkutsk and Lake Baikal (Siberia)
Upon arrival into Irkutsk we transfer to Lake Baikal visiting the Museum of Wooden Architecture en route, where we have the opportunity to gain an insight into the traditional lives of the Siberian people. We will spend two nights on the shores of the lake and have ample time to visit the village of Listvyanka with its traditional houses and beautiful wooden church and nearby Limnological Museum.

We return to Irkutsk with its 18th century churches, bright painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lacework. Modern administrative blocks and soaring bridges that reach out across the Angara River. Also known as the 'Paris of Siberia', on our walking tour you will discover the city’s wonderful historic sights before we board our evening train to Moscow.


Days 17-19. Aboard the Trans Siberian Railway
We join the Trans SiberianRailway and travel via Novosibirsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg booming over the steel bridges spanning Siberia's nerve system of 5,000 rivers. Through the Ural Mountains and on the far side of the Volga the flickering silvers and greens of birch forests speed past en route to Moscow. 

Days 20-21. Moscow
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-reliefs before boarding our last overnight express train to St. Petersburg.


Days 22-24. St. Petersburg - Journey Concludes
This classic city is not to be missed with grand 18th century buildings, even grander palaces, and the greatest art collection of all, at the Hermitage Museum. 

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 
24 maximum, plus Tour Leader.

Accommodation
Hotels - 10 nights (twin share)
Mongolian Ger - 3 nights (shared)
Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share)
Trains - 8 nights (4 berth)

Meals 
Breakfasts x16, Lunched x 4, Dinners x 4.

Travel by
Train: Comfortable 4 berth sleepers.
There are 4 rail sectors on this journey
- Beijing to Ulaanbaatar (1 night)
- Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk (2 nights)
- Irkutsk to Moscow (4 nights)
- Moscow to St.Petersburg (1 night).

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.

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

Ulaanbaatar: Kharkhorin, Erdene Zuu, Khustai National Park, Terelj National Park, Zaisan Memorial, National History Museum, Gandaan Khiid Monastery.

Naadam Festival: Additional sightseeing for this journey will be the spectacular Naadam Festival.

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

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

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

City Exploring is further sightseeing outside the itinerary guideline with the Tour Leader.

Visas
Required for China, Mongolia & Russia. Sundowners Overland will provide a full visa support system including visa guidelines.