Trans-Siberian Tour – The Epic Adventure

Polny BM8 (UUIKEK)

23 days / 6 stops – from €4,430 (per person, twin share)

23 day itinerary with tours in Mongolia, Ulan-Ude, Irkutsk / Lake Baikal, Krasnoyarsk, Ekaterinburg, Kazan and Moscow

Tour Introduction
The epic adventure, 23 days (or 22 days with Tuesday Beijing departure) traversing Mongolia and Russia. 

Beijing — Ulaanbaatar and Mongolian open steppe — Ulan-Ude — Irkutsk / Lake Baikal — Krasnoyarsk Ekaterinburg — Kazan — Moscow  

Departure dates
Several departures each week. Take a look at the Trains and Schedules page for the specific details regarding Beijing departures and onward travel.

Tour includes
√  Monkey info pack, local support, visa invitation documents
√  Train tickets in standard second class (4-berth) cabins
√  Beijing: 1 night 3* hotel; departure transfer: hotel to train station
√  Mongolia: station transfers; 1 night centrally located 3* hotel
√  4 nights Central Mongolia guided tour program
* 3 nights with Saturday Beijing departure (dropping Tsetserleg hot springs)
√  Ulan-Ude: station transfers; 2 nights 3* hotel
√  Guided excursions to Ivolginsky Datsun and ‘Old Believers village’, and Atsagatski Datsun and Buryat village (incl. local lunches)

√  Lake Baikal: all transfers; 2 nights Bolshoe Goloustnoe tour program; 2 nights guesthouse with full board
√  Irkutsk: 1 night 3* Marussia hotel, guided city tour
√  Krasnoyarsk: station transfer; 2 nights 3* boutique hotel
√  Krasnoyarsk guided city tour and full day hiking excursion in Stolby Nature Reserve
√  Ekaterinburg: station transfers; 2 nights 3* hotel
√  Ekaterinburg guided city walking tour; guided excursion in Ural Countryside
√  Kazan Tartarstan: 1 night 3* hotel, return station transfers, full day guided city walking tour
√  Moscow: arrival transfer; 1 night centrally located 3* hotel, guided city walking tour

Prices (per person for 23 days)
€6,590  – based on solo travel
€4,430  – based on two people travelling together
€3,800  – based on three people travelling together
€3,575  – based on four people travelling together

»  Mongolia: 4 night Central Mongolia tour program
»  Guided excursions outside Ulan-Ude to Ivolginsky and Atsagatski Datsuns, plus ‘Old Believers’ village and Buryat village
»  Days by Lake Baikal at the village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe
»  Krasnoyarsk: Hiking among the unique rock formations in Stolby Nature Reserve
»  Ekaterinburg: excursion to traditional village in Ural Countryside
»  Guided city tour of Kazan

Flexibility and further considerations
Upgrade to first-class or private second-class cabin
Add extra nights in Beijing and a guided city tour or excursion to the Great Wall
Expand on the tour in Central Mongolia to include highlights in the Gobi
Consider a 3-night tour program on magical Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal
Consider alternative tour programs and excursions in Krasnoyarsk or Ekaterinburg, adding or subtracting days to coordinate with your interests, time frame and budget
Add an extension from Moscow to Saint Petersburg with extra nights accommodation in Moscowovernight or express day train and accommodation in Saint-Petersburg, along with a number of additional Moscow tours and Saint-Petersburg

Compare to: Polny BM6 (UIKE); Polny MB8 (KEKIUU)

Day 1 
Arrival to Beijing
Staying one night at a centrally located 4* hotel.
We can book additional accommodation and tours in Beijing, as well as domestic train tickets around China in advance of your Trans-Mongolian train journey.

Day 2
Beijing | Train
Morning transfer to Beijing Main Railway Station for the start of your Trans-Mongolian adventure. Depart around 7:30am. The train meanders through the Yanshan mountains north of Beijing and past the Great Wall, before arriving at the Chinese border town of Erlian. (B)
The Chinese – Mongolian border crossing takes around five hours for immigration and customs procedures and for changing the bogies to accommodate the different gauge railway lines between China and the rest of the Trans-Mongolian / Siberian network.

Day 3
Train to Ulaanbaatar
Wake up to the sunrise of the Gobi and across the central Mongolian steppe.  Visit the Mongolian dining car for a hearty breakfast.
Arrive to Ulaanbaatar (locally called UB) around 14:30. Meet your driver on the station platform for the transfer to your centrally located 3* Hotel Nine. Free time to explore Ulaanbaatar.

Day 4
Central Mongolia tour – Elsen Tasarkhai dunes and Karakorum
Meet your guide at hotel after breakfast (suggested start time: 8am). Travel west of UB (approx. 260km) to Elsen Tasarkhai, known as the ‘mini-Gobi’ sand dunes. Enjoy a picnic lunch or at a local ger camp. Opportunity to ride a camel or horse.
Travel on to Karakorum (85km). Staying overnight at local hotel, guesthouse, or tourist ger camp. (B|L|D)

Day 5
Tssetserleg hot springs (this night is dropped with a Tuesday Beijing departure)
Visit Erdene Zuu monastery, and the Karakorum history museum. Travel (130km) to the beautiful valley of the Tsetserleg hot springs. Hike or horse ride with your guide or at your leisure, and when the day is done, relax in the soothing hot springs.
Staying overnight at tourist ger camp. (B|L|D)

Day 6
Ugii Lake
Travel to Ugii Lake, either directly (120km) on back-country roads, or (190km) via Karakorum.
Enjoy lunch at ger camp before exploring the fabulous lake environs at your leisure (boating on the lake can be arranged). Staying overnight at tourist ger camp. (B|L|D)

Day 7
Hustai National Park
Travel (250km) to Hustai National Park. Introduction to the national park’s work in re-introducing the wild Takhi horses, a subspecies of the Przewalski. Lunch in the park. Spend the afternoon searching for the horse within the national park.
Travel from the park (70km) to spend the evening and overnight at a local nomadic family ger. (B|L|D)

Day 8
Ulaanbaatar / Train to Irkutsk
Spend the early morning with the local family, learning about nomadic life. Finish the tour with your return to Ulaanbaatar (55km).
Afternoon transfer to train station. Depart on train #305 mid-afternoon. (B)

Day 9
Train | Arrive Ulan-Ude | Excursion – Ivolginski Datsan
Cross the Mongolian – Russian border in the middle of night, stopping in Sukhebaatar (Mongolia) and Naushki (Russia) for immigration and customs formalities. The night is spent on the train as it meanders through the southern plains of Siberia, following the Selenge river to Ulan-Ude. 
Arrive Ulan-Ude early morning around 07:30. Meet guide on platform and transfer to 3* Hotel, where you will stay two nights, including early check-in.
As the capital of Russia’s Buryatia republic, Ulan-Ude has a unique mix of the Buryat and Russian people and their culture of Orthodox and Buddhist religions and Soviet industrial planning.
The highlight of a stopover in Ulan-Ude is the Ivolginsk Datsan monastery, situated 35km outside of Ulan-Ude. This is the centre of Buddhism in Russia and an important pilgrimage site. View the teaching areas where students study Philosophy, Tantrism, or Buddhist art and Tibetan language, monks’ living quarters, and various temples and the impressive Itygel Khambin Datsan.
Continue on to a traditional ‘Old Believers’ village. The ‘Old Believers’ separated from the Russian Orthodox Church as a Protestant religion and were exiled to Siberia in the 18th century. You will visit their church and a small museum, enjoying a traditional lunch in the home of a local family. Return to Ulan-Ude in the evening. (B|L)

Day 10
Ulan-Ude | Atsagatski Datsan
You will visit the photogenic Atsagatski Datsan (approx. one hour from Ulan Ude) to learn more about the important role Buddhism plays in the life of the local Buryat people.
The monastery was completely destroyed in the 1930’s and rebuilt during the rebirth of Buddhism in the area. It is a center for Tibetan Medicine.
The local village was founded in the 19th century and keeps the traditions and customs of the Buryat people. You will have lunch with a local family in traditional dress before returning to Ulan-Ude. (B|L)

Day 11
Train to Irkutsk | Irkutsk arrival
Morning transfer and departure on train #69 a little after 7am. Enjoy the view as you travel via the southern shore of Lake Baikal.
Arrive into Irkutsk around 3:30pm. Meet guide and driver on platform and transfer to 3* hotel in Irkutsk. You will stay for one night in a lovely boutique hotel in a fashionable district of the city, showcasing the cities wonderful traditional wooden architecture, and with lots of shops, restaurants and evening entertainment options to explore.

Irkutsk is an important staging post on the Trans-Siberian Railway and during the walking tour you will see how the railway influenced and developed this city. Irkutsk has an old center very easy to navigate on foot with lovely Siberian wooden architecture and an amazing history of fires and rebuilding. (B)

Day 12
Bolshoe Goloustnoe, Lake Baikal
Meet your guide at the hotel after breakfast. Enjoy a guided tour of the main sites in the city center, including: Karl Marx Street, the Church of the Transfiguration, the Epiphany Cathedral and the former Polish Cathedral.
Transfer (110km) to the small traditional village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe on the shore of Lake Baikal. Staying two nights in a comfortable guesthouse. All meals are provided by the guesthouse hosts. Your guide will stay in Bolshoe Goloustnoe for your two day visit, and be on hand to show you around the village and offer suggestions for your time in the area. (B|L|D)

Day 13
Bolshoe Golustnoe, Lake Baikal
Your guide will provide recommendations on how you might spend your day exploring the area and relaxing by the lake shore. (B|L|D)

Day 14
Irkutsk | Train to Krasnoyarsk
Return to Irkutsk. Enjoy a guided city walking tour (2 hrs), including Karl Marx Street, the Church of the Transfiguration, the Epiphany Cathedral and the former Polish Cathedral.
Late afternoon transfer to station. Depart Irkutsk a little after 4pm. (B)

Day 15
Krasnoyarsk arrival and city tour
Morning arrival into Kranoyarsk around 9:30am. Meet guide on platform and transfer to a centrally located boutique 3* hotel, staying two nights. Enjoy an afternoon guided city tour by car (3 hrs), including: downtown Mira Prospekt, the Chapel of Saint Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, Communal Bridge, Victory Memorial, and the local Ethnographic Museum, learning some fascinating stories along the way.

Day 16
Krasnoyarsk | Excursion – Stolby Nature Reserve
This is a full day excursion to the beautiful countryside of Siberia, and a strenuous but exhilarating day. [there are alternative options if you prefer a more relaxed tour]. Crossing the Yenisei River you head out to Stolby Nature reserve and hike 4km to the first outcrop of Stolby rocks. Here you can gain access to a number of unique rock formations, including: ‘Little Elephant’, ‘Grandfather’, ‘Feathers’ and ‘Lion’s gate’. There are a number of peaks offering views throughout the reserve and how many you visit will depend on your level of fitness, time and the weather conditions. Enjoy a picnic lunch during the outing. Return to city late afternoon. (B|L)
For alternative excursions, check out the Krasnoyarsk tour programs.

Day 17
Krasnoyarsk | Train to Ekaterinburg
Breakfast and morning transfer to the train station for departure on train #69 a little before 10:30am. (B)

Day 18
Train | Ekaterinburg arrival
Spend the morning relaxing in your comfortable cabin, enjoying the view of the Siberian taiga forest. You will pass cities such as Novosibirsk and Omsk on the ‘mid Siberian railway’, which was built between 1893 and 1898.
Arrive in Ekaterinburg a little before 11pm. Meet guide on platform and transfer to the 3* Chekhov Hotel, staying two nights.

Day 19
Ekaterinburg | Nevyansk
Full-day excursion to the city of Nevyansk (80km from Ekaterinburg). Nevyansk is the one time capital of the Demidov dynasty, a very successful family of factory owners. The trip includes a visit to the famous and recently restored Nevyansk “leaning tower”, and the Transfiguration Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, plus the traditional craft center and famous Nevyansk icons. 
On the return trip, you will stop at Byngi Village for lunch. (B|L)
Note: for alternative excursions, check out the Ekaterinburg tour programs.

Day 20
Train to Kazan
Transfer to railway station after breakfast. Depart a little after 10am.
Evening arrival in Kazan around 21:30. Meet driver and transfer to a comfortable 3* hotel in the city center, staying one night. (B)

Day 21
Kazan | Train to Moscow
Full day guided city tour, visiting: the Kremlin, Vozdvizhenskaya Church, Peter and Pavel Church, Kremlyevskaya and Bauman streets and Anniversary Park. Evening transfer to station and board a local train #15/59 departing at 22:05 for the overnight journey to Moscow. (B)

Day 22
Moscow arrival
Arrive Moscow (Kazanskaya station) at 09:30am. Meet driver on station platform. Transfer to centrally located 3* hotel, staying one night. Freshen up before afternoon guided city tour. 
Enjoy a great informative three-hour guided orientation tour of Moscow.
All our guides have their own personal itineraries and will visit many of the main sites, including: Tverskaya street and it’s important buildings, Manezhnaya square, Marshal Zhukov monument, Lubyanka (former KGB building), Aleksandrovsky Gardens and of course the Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
You have a free afternoon to continue your exploration of this exciting and vibrant city and delve into the long and turbulent history of Russia.

Day 23
Moscow | Saint Petersburg extension
Moscow is world class in terms of attractions and we recommend to spend at least 3 days in Moscow, adding on any number of guided tours, before moving on to Saint Petersburg or travel onward into Europe. (B)