The Epic Trans-Siberian / Mongolian Adventure

 

Polny MB8 (KEKIUU)

26 days / 6 stops – €4,290 (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, Mongolia and China. 

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

Departure dates
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
√  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 Datsun and ‘Old Believers village’, and Atsagatski Datsun and Buryat village (incl. local lunches)
√  Mongolia: 4 night 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)
€6,335  – based on solo travel
€4,290  – based on two people travelling together
€3,750  – based on three people travelling together
€3,620  – 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 the 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
Enjoy a guided tour of the Raif Monastery. The Raifskii Bogorodizkii monastery and grounds is a charming and remarkable site, where guests will experience a sense of the spirituality and mystery of the Orthodox belief.
Evening transfer to station for departure around 8pm (B)

Day 5
Ekaterinburg arrival
Arrive Ekaterinburg a little after noon. Meet the guide on the platform and transfer to a centrally located 3* hotel, staying one night.
Enjoy a 3-4 hour guided walking tour (or by car in winter) of the historical center, visiting: the 1905 Revolution Square, Church of Spilled and the Chapel of St. Elizabeth, the Hill of Ascension, the Ural Museum of Minerals, along with 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 6:30am. Meet guide on platform and transfer to the Metelitsa Hotel, where you stay for two nights (including early check-in). Rest up before enjoying a guided city tour (3-4 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. Depart 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. 

Day 11
Irkutsk | Lake Baikal – Bolshoe Goloustnoe
Arrival into Irkutsk around 8:30am and meet your guide on the station platform. Travel with your guide to the small village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe (110km from Irkutsk). You will stay here for two nights in the comfortable wooden guesthouse. Your host will provide hearty home-cooked meals in the main building.
The residents of the village are a mix of Buryat and Russian. Surrounded by hills, and with a river nearby flowing into Lake Baikal, the village contains a small Russian Orthodox church and chapel and a few interesting and sacred sites. The guide will conduct a brief introductory tour before or after lunch and provide suggestions for you to explore further on your own.
Enjoy a home-cooked dinner; remember to ask your guide if there is a chance to use one of the local banyas (sauna) (L|D)

Day 12
Lake Baikal – Bolshoe Goloustnoe
Guide will be on hand to provide suggestions for your day by the shore of Lake Baikal.
You can walk along the shores of Lake Baikal to the wooded area by the Goloustnoe River, or in the opposite direction along open park land by the pebble beach. You can see fisherman’s homes, or speak with your guide to perhaps arrange a picnic on the shore of the lake. For the truly brave souls, take a dip in the cool refreshing waters, and add a few years to your life.
Enjoy dinner at the guesthouse (B|L|D)

Day 13
Irkutsk
Return to Irkutsk, 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 center, 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
Free morning after breakfast before transfer to the train station for departure a little after 11am. Travel along the southern shore of Lake Baikal, allowing for some fantastic views. Arrive in Ulan-Ude a little before 8pm. Meet your guide on the platform and transfer to a 3* hotel, staying three nights (B)

Day 15
Ulan-Ude – Atsagatski Datsun
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 Datsun, 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 Datsun
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 Datsun.
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. Elsen Tasarkhai and Karakorum: 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 ride. 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. Depart Ulaanbaatar on train #24 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 a central 3* hotel, 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)