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Trans Siberian Express - Twin Gold Class-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 east and west from Moscow over the Urals, across the magnificent Russian steppes and alongside the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake. 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 truely one of the greatest journeys in the world.

  

 

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 
Today we spend the morning in Vladivostok.  This once ‘closed’ Russian port now offers visitors an exciting opportunity to unravel its mysteries as we explore its principal military attractions including a tour of a restored submarine before boarding the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express during the afternoon.  After settling into our modern, stylish cabins, we enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our rail adventure westwards to Moscow begins.

Day 3. Onboard Train - Khabarovsk
Passing directly north of Osaka, Darwin and Seoul we spend our first full day on board the Golden Eagle today. This is the most easterly point of our mammoth journey passing through Khabarovsk, where we stop for a short city tour.  We then rejoin the train and cross the River Amur, as we make our way west. 

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 wile away a few hours.  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, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol and we visit the capital city of Ulaan Baatar. Lunch is taken Mongol style in a traditional Ger (Yurt) where we experience an authentic meal, enjoying excellent local dishes and entertainment providing a unique opportunity to encounter this time-honoured nomadic way of life. We board the train in time for dinner as we head back into Russia.

Day 7. Ulan Ude
This afternoon we arrive in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic.  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 dancers and musicians.

Day 8. Lake Baikal
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal.  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 which we will be serving in the dining car for some of our meals. Weather permitting, we stop at one of Baikal’s picturesque and secluded bays to enjoy a delicious BBQ including freshly smoked fish prepared by our own chefs.  For the brave hearted, there is even time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters before we visit Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills.

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 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.  Here we enjoy a private concert before returning to our waiting train for dinner.

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.  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. 

Day 12. Ekaterinburg
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city and the capital of the Urals.  The 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.   Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. We cross the Europe/Asia divide after we leave Yekaterinburg.

Day 13. Kazan
We spend our last full day on board the Golden Eagle today.  We arrive at the picturesque and historic city of Kazan by mid-morning.  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.  

Day 14. Moscow - Freedom of Choice Touring
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 the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. With our Freedom of Choice touring options you may instead wish to visit, for example, the Tretyakov Gallery or the Museum of the KGB. At the conclusion of our city tour, we transfer to the luxurious five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of this vibrant city.  Our final evening is spent saying our goodbyes to our fellow travelling companions and friends at the Farewell Dinner.

Day 15. Moscow
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Moscow airport to begin your journey home.

 

Essentials

  • 1 night in Vladivostok
  • 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle
  • 1 night in Moscow
  • Freedom of Choice Touring Options
  • Tour available with German Interpreter Services (May 20 & September 6 departures). Subject to minimum numbers.
  • See below for 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.
     
    NEW FOR 2011: 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 Moscow for example, you could choose to spend time in the Tretyakov Picture Gallery or visit the Museum of the KGB, which are not part of the standard touring programme; or you might choose to go shopping in the local markets and bazaars; or spend a day relaxing in a local spa (*treatments extra). 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.
     
    ON BOARD SERVICE
    Throughout your tour you can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unintrusive. The high ratio of staff to passengers means there is always someone available should you need assistance.
     
    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 drinking tea picked from the very plantations where you are sitting, nestled in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.
     
    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.
     
    24 HOUR SERVICE ATTENDANT
    Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turndown services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.
     
    PORTERAGE
    Porterage is included between the hotels and stations.
     
    ALL GRATUITIES
    All gratuities are included in the tour price.