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Trans Siberian Express - 15 Days

Departing: Vladivostok, Russia - 15 days
Countries visited: Russia & Mongolia

Undoubtedly the world's greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon connecting west and east from Vladivostok through Siberia, across the magnificent Russian steppes, alongside the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake, over the Urals and finally rolling into the historic city of Moscow. By the time, your journey ends it will have passed through eight time zones, and travelled over 6,000 miles - one-third of the way around the world. This is truly one of the greatest journeys in the world. For information regarding the various classes of travel please contact Sundowners Overland via the website, Live Chat or calling Sundowners Overland. The relevant phone numbers are listed in the 'Contact Us' tab at the bottom of this page.

  

 

Itinerary

Day 1. Vladivostok

Arrive at Vladivostok airport, where you will be met and transferred to the centrally located four-star Hotel Hyundai.  We will enjoy a welcome reception dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers and anticipate the epic 15 day voyage that lies ahead.


Day 2. Vladivostok 
Vladivostok is a military port, located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan and is home to the Russian Navy' Pacific Fleet. Due to its military importance, the city was closed to foreigners between 1930 and 1992. Vladivostok (literally translated to 'Ruler of the East') offers visitors an interesting opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a visit to a preserved WWII submarine. Our city tour will also take us to the iconic suspension bridge over Golden Horn Bay, one of the largest of its kind wold wide, which opened in 2012 for the APEC Conference.

Following a champagne reception at Vladivostok Railway Station, and with a military band playing on the platform, we will board the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express. After settling into our modern, stylish cabins we enjoy dinner in the restaurant car as our rail adventure westwards begins.

Day 3. Khabarovsk
Located 25 kilometres from the border with China, Khabarovsk stretches along the banks of the Amur River. Khabarovsk was founded as a military post in 1858, but the region has been populated by several indigenous peoples of the Far East for many centuries. It is now a busy city with tree-lined streets.

We'll visit the memorial to Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov, the Far East explorer the city is named after, and the impressive WWII memorial to the fallen soldiers. We will also have time at the Regional Museum where the local history has been well-preserved with a rich collection of artefacts describing the cultural and natural history of the region. 

Day 4. Onboard Train
Our journey today follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border.  Enjoy Russia at its most beautiful and remote, as the landscape unfolds outside your window. Or you may like to attend one of the absorbing lectures or Russian language lessons.

Day 5. Onboard Train
Today offers you the perfect opportunity to practice your improving Russian or watch a DVD as you watch the world go by.  For those who like to socialise the Bar Car is the perfect place to enjoy a chat with your fellow passengers as you listen to our resident musician.


Day 6. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us into Mongolia, home of Genghis Khan, a visit to its capital, Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia, once the very centre of an enormous empire led by Genghis Khan, is a country of beautiful landscapes, nomadic people and rich in culture and history. A land famous for its endless green Steppes, grazing livestock and white, nomadic gers (yurts) dotted across the countryside.

We start the tour at Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia's most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. At Sukhbaatar Squarre we can see the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol. We then drive out of the city to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery of wild Mongolia, having the opportunity to visit a traditional Ger and meet a nomadic family or try our hand at horse riding, an intrinsic part of Mongolian life.

Alternatively there is an option to stay in the city as a part of our Freedom of Choice touring. After Gandan Monastery and Sukhbaatar Square we visit the National Museum where we learn about the country's intriguing history. We'll also see Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, the winter residences of Bodg Khan, the last Mongolian emperor, built between 1893 and 1903. We can also explore the city and have some free time for shopping for Mongolian souvenirs and their speciality cashmere.

We will also enjoy a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists, a sight to behold! 

Day 7. Ulan Ude
The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its Mongol heritage.  As we tour the area you will notice the different faces and dress styles of these welcoming people.  During our exploration of the Old Believers Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these communities as we are treated to a traditional meal and enjoy a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.

Day 8. Lake Baikal
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal and is a major highlight on our Trans Siberian journey. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff hugging tracks above the lake with a vista of snow capped peaks along the far shore.  Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s freshwater.  Also known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia' it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over fifty species of fish including omul.

To add to the grandeur of the day our Golden Eagle train will be hauled by a Soviet era Steam locomotive on this beautiful section of the line. There will be plenty of opportunities for photographs as the train winds its way along the lake. This will be an unforgettable part of our journey.

Weather permitting, we stop in an extremely picturesque location by the lake for photo opportunities and for the brave hearted there is time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear and ice-cold waters of Baikal. Travelling onwards to the end of the Baikal branch line we leave the trim and travel by boat to Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestled at the base of the surrounding hills. While here we visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium where you can gain an insight into the flora and fauna of the lake.

We will enjoy a delicious barbecue, including freshly smoked omul fish, prepared by our own chefs on the shore of Lake Baikal to complete a memorable day. As part of our Freedom of Choice excursion programme you can choose a hiking opportunity that offers some spectacular and panoramic hillside views of the lake below. 

Day 9. Irkutsk
We arrive in Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, and our visit today takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture with its intricately carved lace-like decorations that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance.

Next, we visit the Decembrist House museum which is dedicated to the memory of the exiled aristocrats who were forced to flee to this remote outpost after the failed revolution of 1825. We recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.

You could learn to cook some traditional Russian dishes with a local chef and prepare your own lunch with our Freedom of Choice option. Or you might also wish to visit a traditional Russian Dacha (summer house) or an urban apartment to get an insight into the everyday life of an average Russian family.

Day 10. Onboard Train
A day to unwind and reflect on the many sights and sounds we have experienced on our journey so far.  Chat to your fellow passengers, perhaps learn a few more words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever changing landscape outside your window.

Day 11. Novosibirsk
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich culture where the arts, science and literature predominate. The city is located in the heart of Russia and is situated on both banks of the River Ob. Our city tour takes us to the Opera House.  An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is the largest opera house in the world.  In front of the Opera House, we visit an imposing statue of Lenin – a marvellous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.

Alternatively, south of the city you could visit Novosibirsk's excellent Railway Museum on our Freedom of Choice tour. The museum displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800's, including carriages of the Tsar's, through the Soviet era. Or choose to go to the Mineralogical Centre with its fine display of Siberian Minerals.

For those interested in art there is also a Freedom of Choice option to visit the State Art Museum with an extensive collection including icons, Siberian art and numerous distinctive mountainscapes by celebrated spiritual Russian painter Nicholas Roerich. It also displays temporary art and photography exhibitions by local and international artists. 

Day 12. Yekaterinburg
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city and the capital of the Urals. Known as the Great Divide, the Ural Mountains create the natural border between Europe and Asia. Here cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilisations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape.  Our city tour takes us to the poignant site where the Romanov, Nicholas II of Russia was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

Our Freedom of Choice programme features a visit to the recently opened Museum of Military Machinery. The Museum houses an amazing collection of different types of military hardware including tanks, aircraft, boats and even armoured trains. The museum is a real treat for anyone with an interest in the Soviet past.

Day 13. Kazan
Situated on the River Volga, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan.  Here we have the opportunity to see for ourselves its rich tapestry of history and culture.  One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel we will explore its stunning mosque and magnificent onion-domed cathedral.

As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia's most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), we honour his memory with a private concert of his music. You will also have time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.    

Day 14. Moscow
After travelling over an amazing 6,600 miles (10,600km) along this epic route to the end of the Trans-Siberian line, we arrive in Moscow.  Our city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might.  Here we see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St. Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and its treasures in the Armoury Chamber, the beautiful facade of the world famous GUM Department store as well as the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.

If you have been to Moscow before we offer Freedom of Choice touring where we show you other sights of Moscow such as the famous Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art) or the Space Museum (subject to train schedule).

Included in our time spent in Moscow is one night at the five-star Ritz Carlton Hotel (or similar). Located in the heart of this vibrant city, and within walking distance of Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre, guests will discover a classic and sophisticated ambience within this luxury hotel.  

Our final evening is spent saying our goodbyes to our fellow travelling companions and friends at the Farewell Dinner.

Day 15. Moscow
Following breakfast, any free time can be spent exploring this rapidly evolving city. It is possible that we will visit the Kremlin this morning. At the conclusion of your time here, you will be transferred to Moscow Airport to begin your journey home.

Why not extend your stay in Moscow with additional nights to explore more of the city at your leisure or have time to take in a performance at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre? Tickets need to be pre booked and are subject to schedule and availability. 

 

Essentials

  • 1 night in Vladivostok
  • 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle
  • 1 night in Moscow
  • Freedom of Choice Touring Options
  • See below for a full list of inclusions

    WHAT'S INCLUDED IN OUR TOURS
    As far as possible our tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you may need to budget for include personal expenses such as visa costs, insurance, drinks from the bar car, laundry, spa treatments, hairdressing and occasional optional off-train excursions.
     
    FREEDOM OF CHOICE TOURING
    Customise your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. In short, it means that your holiday is just that, your very own, and it’s all included in the tour price, with no more for you to pay. It is the ultimate in flexibility. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring. Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day’s tour.
     
    EXPERIENCED TOUR MANAGERS
    Our experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and organisational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your voyage of a lifetime. We receive many exceptional passenger comments about our Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.
     
    ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
    Arrival and departure transfers are included.
     
    HOTEL AND ONBOARD ACCOMMODATION
    Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find you hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. Hotel and onboard accommodation as described in your individual tour itinerary are included in the tour price. All hotels are of 5 star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.
     
    WELCOME AND FAREWELL DINNERS
    Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers; for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip; and introduce you to the GW Travel team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.
     
    ROUTE GUIDE, ITINERARY AND INFORMATION PACK
    When you board the train there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Our Tour Manager will organise a programme of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a programme for the next day’s touring schedule.
     
    BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY
    All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour we will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.
     
    DRINKS WITH MEALS
    A generous drinks allowance is included with lunch and dinner. For passengers travelling in Gold Class onboard the Golden Eagle, drinks from the Standard Drinks List in the Bar Car are also included. For Imperial Suite guests, drinks from both the Standard and Premium Bar Lists in the Bar Lounge Car are included.
     
    ON BOARD SERVICE
    Throughout your tour you can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unintrusive. Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turndown service, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and ensure you are comfortable. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottle drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.
     
    GUIDED OFF-TRAIN EXCURSIONS
    All our tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. We believe it is the special little touches that help create magical memories – whether it is attending a private concert in the middle of Siberia, or meeting a nomadic family amongst the rolling Mongolian Steppe.

    Imperial Suite guests will benefit from the option of a private car and guide in the majority of places we visit along this route.

     
    PERSONAL HEADSETS
    On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.
     
    ON BOARD DOCTOR AND MEDICAL FACILITIES
    To give you peace of mind our tours are accompanied by a doctor who travels with us for the entire journey; so you can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.

     
    PORTERAGE
    As you only have to unpack once, your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout your journey but, wherever necessary, porterage is included between the hotel and stations.
     
    ALL GRATUITIES
    You will not have to worry about tipping on and off the train on your rail journey, with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains as all gratuities are included in the tour price.