The Epic Trans-Mongolian Adventure

 

Polny MB8 (KEKIUU)

 

26 days / 6 stops – €4,330 (per person, twin share)

 

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

 

Tour Introduction
The epic Trans-Siberian / Mongolian adventure; 2 continents, 8 cities, 26 days, traversing Russia and Mongolia to China. 

Route
Moscow — Kazan — Ekaterinburg — Krasnoyarsk — Irkutsk / Lake Baikal — Ulan-Ude — Ulaanbaatar — Beijing

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

Tour includes
√  Monkey info pack, local support, visa invitation documents
√  Train tickets in standard second class (4-berth) cabins
√  Moscow: 1 night centrally located 3* hotel; guided city walking tour; departure transfer
√  Kazan Tartarstan: station transfers; 1 night 3* hotel
√  Kazan guided city walking tour; Raif Monastery guided tour
√  Ekaterinburg: station transfers; 2 nights central 3* hotel
√  Ekaterinburg: guided city walking tour; guided excursion in Ural Countryside
√  Krasnoyarsk: station transfers; 2 nights 3* boutique hotel
√  Krasnoyarsk guided city tour and full day hiking excursion in Stolby Nature Reserve

√  Lake Baikal: all transfers; two-night Bolshoe Goloustnoe tour program; 2 nights guesthouse with full board
√  Irkutsk: 1 night 3* Marussia hotel, guided city tour
√  Ulan-Ude: station transfers; 3 nights 3* hotel
√  
Ulan-Ude: Guided excursions to Ivolginsky Datsan and ‘Old Believers village’, and Atsagatski Datsan and Buryat village (incl. local lunches)
√  Mongolia: 4 nights Central Mongolia guided tour program
√  Mongolia: station transfers; 1 night centrally located 3* hotel
√  Beijing: arrival transfer; 2 nights 3* hotel; guided city tour
√  Guided city walking tour, including: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Houhai Hutong rickshaw; English speaking guide, entrance fees, lunch (public transport or taxi at guests’ expense)
√  Meals as listed in the itinerary (B – breakfast | L – lunch | D – dinner)

Prices (per person)
€6,545  – based on solo travel
€4,330  – based on two people travelling together
€3,650  – based on three people travelling together
€3,525  – based on four people travelling together

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

Flexibility and further considerations
Upgrade to first-class or private second-class cabin
Add an extension from Saint-Petersburg to Moscow with accommodation in Saint-Petersburgovernight or express day train and extra nights accommodation in Moscow, along with a number of additional tours in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow.
Consider alternative tour programs and excursions in Krasnoyarsk or Ekaterinburg, adding or subtracting days to coordinate with your interests, time frame and budget
Substitute tour programs at Lake Baikal, or 
on the Mongolian Open Steppeadding or subtracting days to coordinate with your interests, time frame and budget

Consider a 3-night tour program on magical Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal
Substitute the open steppe tour in Mongolia for a more adventurous tour in central Mongolia
Add extra nights in Beijing and additional tour excursion, such as: The Great Wall, The Summer Palace or to the Olympic of the 798 Art Districts

Day 1
Moscow arrival
Arrive Moscow___ (optional arrival transfer can be added). Staying at a centrally located 3* hotel, 1 night.
We can book extra accommodation and tours in Moscow, along with an extension from Saint Petersburg.

Day 2
Moscow city tour and departure
Enjoy a guided orientation tour of Moscow (usually at 10am – 3 hrs).
The Moscow guides have their own personal touch, while of course visiting the main sites and introducing you to the diversity of Moscow’s architectural styles from Russian-Moscow Baroque and Art Nouveau to the Pseudo-Chinese and Moorish influences. The three-hour walking tour generally includes: 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.
Free afternoon in Moscow before evening transfer to station. Depart Moscow a little before 9pm. (B)

Day 3
Kazan
Arrive Kazan in the early morning around 8am. Meet driver on station platform and transfer to a central 3* hotel, staying one night. Freshen up at hotel before meeting your guide for a 6-8 hour guided city tour, visiting: The Kremlin, Vozdvizhenskaya Church, Peter and Pavel Church, Kremlyevskaya and Bauman streets and Anniversary Park.

Day 4
Kazan | Train to Ekaterinburg
Visit to Raif Monastery by car (25km) and with guide, 4 hours. Raifskii Bogorodizkii monastery, territory and cathedrals is a charming & remarkable place – a designated National Park where you clearly see the spirituality and mystery of Orthodox belief. (B)
Evening transfer to station and board a local train for the overnight journey to Ekaterinburg. Departure is either on train #378 at 8:08pm, or on even days on train #140 at 3:55pm arr 7:59am.

Day 5
Ekaterinburg arrival
Arrive to Ekaterinburg around 12:22pm (on train #140 arrival is at 7:59am) and transfer to a centrally located Chekhov Hotel, where you will stay for one night.
In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of the historical centre with a local guide. Visit 1905 Revolution Square, Church of Spilled and the Chapel of St. Elizabeth, the Hill of Ascension, the Ural Museum of Minerals, statues of Ekaterinburg founders and communist leaders.

Day 6
Ekaterinburg  | Ural Mountains
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.
Note: for alternative excursions, check out the Ekaterinburg tour programs.
Return to Ekaterinburg and transfer to station. Depart on evening train around 7pm. (B|L)

Day 7
On train
The train stops around ten times per day, at cities such as Omsk and Novosibirsk  This is the ‘mid Siberian railway’, built between 1893 and 1898; crossing the great rivers Ob and Yenisei.

Day 8
Krasnoyarsk arrival
Early morning arrival around 6:40am. Meet guide on platform and transfer to the Metelitsa Hotel for early check-in. You will stay here for two nights. Rest up before enjoying a guided city tour (3 hrs by car); including: downtown Mira Prospekt, the Chapel of Saint Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, Communal Bridge, Victory Memorial, and the local Ethnographic Museum (entrance not included). (B)

Day 9
Krasnoyarsk | 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 10
Krasnoyarsk | Train
Free morning in Krasnoyarsk before transfer to train station. Departure on train #008 at 1:30pm. Spend the afternoon and overnight relaxing in your comfortable cabin and enjoying the endless views of Siberian taiga forest, as the train passes north of the Sayan Mountains. (B)

Day 11
Irkutsk | Lake Baikal – Listvyanka
Arrival into Irkutsk around 9am and meet your guide on the station platform. Transfer to Listvyanka on Lake Baikal (70km). Staying 2 nights at UD Guesthouse. Enjoy a tour of Listvyanka village and the Lake Baikal Museum.

Day 12
Lake Baikal – Listvyanka
Hiking excursion in Baikal National Park with picnic lunch (alternative activity by request). (B|L)

Day 13
Irkutsk
Free morning before car transfer to Irkutsk. Guide city walking tour (2 hrs). Staying overnight in a boutique hotel in the interesting District 130, an restaurant and shopping area refurbished to showcase the unique wooden architecture of the city. Enjoy a 2-hour guided city walking tour of the main sites in the city centre, including: Karl Marx Street, the Church of the Transfiguration, the Epiphany Cathedral and the former Polish Cathedral.
Explore further on your own. The main part of Irkutsk is easy to navigate by foot. (B)
Hint: The Decemberists homes are definitely worth visiting, so remember to ask your guide for directions.

Day 14
Train to Ulan-Ude
Breakfast and transfer to the train station for departure on train #70 at 6:57am. Travel along the southern shore of Lake Baikal, with some fantastic views. Pull into Ulan-Ude at 4:12pm. Meet your guide on the platform and transfer to a 3* hotel, staying three nights. (B)

Day 15
Ulan-Ude – Atsagatski Datsan
As the capital of Russia’s Buryatia republic, Ulan-Ude has a unique mix of the Buryat and Russian people and their cultures of Buddhist and Orthodox religions and Soviet industrial planning.
You will visit the picturesque Atsagatski Datsan, located in the countryside outside of Ulan-Ude. Here you will learn about the role Buddhism plays in the life of the local people. The monastery was completely destroyed in the 1930’s and rebuilt as Buddhism underwent a rebirth. It is now 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, and enjoy the opportunity to learn about their traditional customs and dress. (B|L)

Day 16
Ulan-Ude – Ivolginsk Datsan
Another highlight of a stopover in Ulan-Ude is the Ivolginsk Datsan monastery, situated 35km outside of Ulan-Ude, with the surrounding mountains making a wonderful backdrop. This is the centre of Buddhism in Russia and an important pilgrimage site. Guest are able to wander past 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 the tour to an ‘Old-Believers’ village to meet a local family and enjoy a home-cooked lunch. The ‘Old-Believers’ separated from the Russian Orthodox Church as a Protestant religion and were subsequently exiled to Siberia in the 18th century. Visit the church and a small museum. (B|L)

Day 17
Train to Ulaanbaatar | Russian – Mongolian border
Free morning in Ulan-Ude before afternoon transfer to station. Depart a little before 4pm. The train meanders along the Selenge River to the Russian border. (B)
Cross the Russian – Mongolia
n border in the evening, spending time in Naushki (Russia) and Sukhebaatar (Mongolia) for immigration and customs formalities. Custom and immigration procedures are carried out on board the train before continuing on and travelling alongside the Orkhon River and the open plans of Northern Mongolia.

Day 18
Ulaanbaatar | Central Mongolia – Elsen Tasarkhai and Karakorum
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar early morning around 7am. Meet your guide on the station platform. Transfer to Zaya’s Guesthouse. Chance for breakfast and to freshen up before beginning tour. 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 or guesthouse. (B|L|D)

Day 19
Tsetserleg hot springs
Visit Erdene Zuu monastery, and the Karakorum history museum. Travel (130km) to the beautiful area 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 20
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 21
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 on from the park (70km) to spend the evening and overnight at a local nomadic family ger. (B|L|D)

Day 22
Ulaanbaatar
Spend the early morning with the local family, learning after nomadic life. Finish the tour with your return to Ulaanbaatar (55km). Staying at Hotel Nine, 1 night. (B)

Day 23
Train to Beijing
Early transfer to station for departure on train #24 to Beijing around 07:30. (B)
The southern plains of Mongolia are very flat and the green grasslands slowly give way to the barren open landscape of the Gobi desert.
The Mongolian – Chinese 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.
Following the formalities, the train continues its journey through the mountains north of Beijing.

Day 24
Beijing arrival
Passing the Yanshan mountains and sections of the Great Wall, arriving in Beijing Main Railway Station around 14:35. Meet your driver at the exit of the station and transfer to the central 3* Pentahotel, staying 2 nights.

Day 25
Beijing city tour
Guided city sightseeing tour, including: The Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Houhai Hutongs (incl. lunch). (B|L)

Day 26
Beijing
Continue to explore Beijing on your own, or add on additional nights in Beijing and guided tours, such as: The Great Wall, The Summer Palace, 2008 Olympic district, 798 Art District or elsewhere (B)