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Trans Siberian Railway with Mongolia and China

Departing: St Petersburg, Russia - 29 days
Countries visited: Russia, Mongolia & China

Join us on Sundowners Overland's original and most comprehensive tour. Ride the rails of the Trans Mongolian railway from St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, to Hong Kong on the South China Sea. On the way visit grand imperial cities that shaped history as well as vast expanses of nature that have remained untouched by modernity. This journey is of a more inclusive nature than other Trans Mongolian journeys, (excluding Luxury Train Journeys) devoting more time to each city’s sights, history & culture. It includes a higher standard of hotel accommodation in many cities & offers a more comprehensive sightseeing program as well as more meals throughout.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-4. St. Petersburg
Begin your epic journey in St. Petersburg with its reminders of the halcyon days of the tsars. Visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace of the Petrodvorets, Palace Square and the unequalled collections of the Hermitage. Beyond the city, marvel at the summer palaces of the tsars at Catherine Palace and Petrodvorets (Peterhof). 

Our final morning in St. Petersburg is spent exploring at your leisure before climbing aboard our first train bound for Moscow!


Days 5-6. Moscow
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 swirled cupolas of St. Basil's.  The Kremlin itself - the fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we go beyond the red brick walls of the Kremlin to inspect the Armoury Chamber and see its treasures including over fifty Faberge eggs. 

We will also travel beyond the heart of the city to visit one of the holiest places in Russia, Sergiev Posad, which has been a place of pilgrimage for Russian Orthodox believers for centuries. 


Day 7. Moscow and across the Urals Mountains for Yekaterinburg
This morning is for further exploration of this beautiful city. A morning Metro Tour and time to explore the exciting streets of Tverskaya ulitsa (street) or Arbat Street, famous for cafes and souvenirs.  

This afternoon we board our overnight train that will carry us along the Trans Siberian Railway to Yekaterinburg. Sharing the journey with Russian travellers is half the fun! You'll appreciate this remarkable century-old feat of engineering as the train clatters over countless steel bridges straddling vast rivers, and crosses the Ural Mountains dividing Europe and Asia. 


Days 8-10. Yekaterinburg - Welcome to Asia! 
Yekaterinburg, a city founded by Peter the Great in 1723 is situated just 40 kilometres inside Asia. Infamous as the site of the brutal murders of the Romanov's, today there is a brighter side with fine monuments, museums and theatres. 

On our final day you are free to explore all that is on offer before we board our train that will carry us into Siberia. 


Day 11. Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway
Gaze at the endless silvers and greens of Siberia's Taiga forests as the train rolls across the Great Eurasian Plateau, and crosses the mighty Ob River at Novosibirsk en route for Irkutsk in the heart of Siberia. 


Day 12-13. Irkutsk and to Lake Baikal
Irkutsk is interesting with its roots in the ancient tea trade, and its timeworn wooden mansions once the homes of the Decembrists - revolutionists exiled for trying to overthrow Tsar Nicholas I. Nearby, we find Lake Baikal the world's largest freshwater lake where we relax in the lakeshore holiday village of Listvyanka. 


Day 14. Return to Irkutsk and aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway
Returning from the lake we transfer back to Irkutsk along the way at stopping at the Museum of Wooden Architecture to gain an insight into the traditional lives of Siberian people.  We embark on our walking tour of Irkutsk and visit the central market, cathedrals and many of the old buildings with pretty wooden lacework, and, with our local guide we learn the history of the Decembrists and their exile to Irkutsk in the 1860's. This evening we depart aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway.


Day 15. On board the Trans Mongolian
We settle into life on board, enjoying the company of our fellow passengers and a perhaps picnic in our cabin. The train arrives at Naushki, the Russian border town where formalities are completed, and then continues across no-man's land to Sukhbaatar where Mongolian officials board the train before we journey on to Ulaanbaatar.


Day 16. Arrive Ulaanbaatar
Imagine waking to the stunning visual of the south Gobi, where horses and gers mark the camps of nomadic herdsmen, on the steppe which seems to stretch forever. Shortly after dawn, we arrive in the world's most remote capital - Ulaanbaatar.  This morning we take in the sites of the city including the National History Museum which reveals the remarkable and unique history of Mongolia. An evening cultural performance brings the day to a close.


Day 17-18. To Terelj National Park
The Mongolia of Genghis Khan lies beyond the city, in the land of the nomad and we travel out to the countryside retreat of Terelj National Park for a two night stay in a ger - the traditional home of the Mongolian people. Our ger camp is set amid stunning alpine scenery where we experience the true nomadic lifestyle. Wake to a morning on the Mongolian steppe, among nomadic families and their grazing livestock where daily life of has changed little in 500 years. We can explore nearby valleys taking in a local monastery and Turtle Rock, ride a horse through the rolling hills or just relax and enjoy the area. 


Day 19. Ulaanbaatar
This morning we return to the world's most remote capital - Ulaanbaatar where we will enjoy our final day in Mongolia soaking up this fascinating culture and dynamic city.  


Days 20-21. Trans Mongolian Railway to Beijing
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 only rough track across this desolate country.  As we approach the outskirts of Beijing the train slows as it meanders through the surrounding mountains.  Mid afternoon the following day we arrive into China's capital, a thriving city which is the country's political, economic and culture centre.


Days 22-24. Beijing
Our days here are spent visiting Beijing's many wonderful sights - the magnificent Lama Temple, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Mao's Mausoleum. Set in beautiful parklands we discover the fascinating history and significance of the serene Temple of Heaven and explore one of Beijing's traditional Hutong neighbourhoods. 

Outside the city we visit the Ming Tombs and walk the ancient steps of the spectacular Great Wall of China. 

In the evening of Day 24 we return to the railway station to begin our journey to Xian. 


Days 25-26. Xian
Xian, old Chang'an – the great capital of ancient Cathay.The city still captures the romance of its rich imperial past and the glories of the Silk Road. Beyond the city a highlight of our stay is the entombed Terracotta Warriors - over 6,000 life-sized figures. Spend a day exploring  the old city walls, the Bell and Drum towers, Little Goose Pagoda and the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.


Day 27. On Board Train
This morning we board the train to Guangzhou, travelling south through the ever-changing landscape of southern China, towards the gateway to the great South China Sea.


Day 28. Guangzhou
Founded in 214BC China's third largest city boasts a long, colourful history spanning legends and Silk Road trade. Guangzhou is now renowned as one of China's top food destinations and today we will gain an insight into daily local life as we wander through the unique Qing Ping Market.  


Day 29. Journey Finishes in Hong Kong
This morning we board our final train to Hong Kong. With nearly 12,000 kilometres behind us, and the memories of the world's greatest rail journey fresh in our minds, this destination marks the end of our Trans Mongolian Journey, and we say our farewells in this former British colony.

 

Essentials

Group Size 
24 maximum, plus Tour Leader. 

Accommodation 
Hotels - 16 nights (twin share) for this tour we will be using 3-4 star hotels.
Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared). Siberian Guesthouse - 2 night (twin share).
Trains - 8 nights (4 berth from Hong Kong to Beijing and 2 berth from Beijing to Moscow). 

Meals 
Breakfasts (21), lunches (10), dinners (11). 

Travel by Train:
Comfortable 4 berth sleepers in China and 2 berth sleepers from Moscow to Beijing. 
There are 7 rail sectors on this journey 

- St. Petersburg to Moscow (day train)
- Moscow to Yekaterinburg (1 night) 
- Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk (2 nights)
- Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar (2 nights) 
- Ulaanbaatar to Beijing (1 night)
- Beijing to Xian (1 night) 
- Xian to Hong Kong (1 night) 

2 Berth Rail (Included) 
Provided on all rail sectors between Beijing and Moscow. Single travellers will be sharing with other single travellers or the Tour Leader. 

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 within this brochure. 

St. Petersburg: City tour, St.Isaacs Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress, Palace Square, Hermitage Museum, Summer Palace (Petrodvorets), cultural performance. 

Moscow: City tour, St.Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Kremlin, Armoury Chamber, Sergiev Posad, Novodevichy Convent, Metro tour, cultural performance. 

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

Irkutsk (Siberia): City tour including Local History Museum, Museum of Wooden Architecture, Limnological Museum and Lake Baikal.

Ulaanbaatar: Sukhbaatar Square, Zaisan Memorial, National History Museum, Gandan Khiid Monastery, Terelj National Park including a visit to a nomad family, cultural performance. 

Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple, Forbidden City, Hutongs tour, Ming Tombs, The Great Wall at Badaling, cultural performance. 

Xian: Terracotta Warriors, Silk Factory, cultural performance. 

Guangzhou: Chen’s Temple, Qing Ping Market. 

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