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Trans-Mongolian Express

From the Great Wall of China to the Hermitage in St Petersburg, travel halfway around the world in three incredible weeks. Board one of the worlds great trains and ride the rails on this once-in-a-lifetime trip across the grassy steppes of Mongolia and through the taiga forests of Siberia. Share train carriages with locals, overnight in a Mongolian ger and in a cozy Russian homestay. Not only does this trip provide the perfect blend of comfortable accommodations and plenty of activities, but also free time to explore this fascinating region at your own pace.


Duration: 21 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Parks & Nature Reserves, Local Culture & Cuisine, History, Wildlife Physical rating: Light
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 126815
Starts: Beijing, China Finishes: Saint Petersburg, Russia
You will visit
  • Beijing
  • Saint Petersburg

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Beijing

There are no planned activities until the group meeting in the evening.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

02

Day 2: Beijing

Enjoy a guided tour of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Opt to see an acrobatics or kung fu show, visit the Temple of Heaven or Lama Temple, or enjoy a bicycle tour around the city.

Included Activities:
Tiananmen Square Guided Tour
Forbidden City

03

Day 3: Beijing

Enjoy a guided tour of the Great Wall (Mutianyu section). The Wall, an incredible piece of engineering, stretches 6,000km (3,728 mi) westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north.

Included Activities:
Great Wall Mutianyu visit

04

Day 4: Beijing/Ulaanbaatar

While on board, settle in and enjoy impressive views of the Great Wall as the train tackles the mountains before descending to the arid lands of Inner Mongolia and continuing into the heart of rural Asia.

In the evening, reach the border post of Erlian. Here, the train's wheels will be changed to accommodate a different gauge rail. Opt to stay on board and watch it happen.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (China - Mongolia)

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (30.00 hour(s))

05

Day 5: Beijing/Ulaanbaatar

Awake to the stunning landscapes of the south Gobi. The classic image of Mongolian horses and gers (yurts) dot the scenery from horizon to horizon. The occasional nomad encampment appears mirage-like through the carriage window.

Transport:
Train

06

Day 6: Ulaanbaatar/Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1D)

Discover one of the most important Mongolian temple complexes, the Gandan Monastery. Learn about the history of Buddhism in Mongolia and hope for the chance to see chanting monks. If lucky, a local fortune teller may be around to share some wisdom. After the Monastery, the tour will continue in the Winter Palace of the last Mongolian King (the only King's palace that survived the revolution). At the end of the tour, visit Zaisan Hill, a great viewpoint with a monument dedicated to Soviet soldiers.

Included Activities:
Gandan Monastery Guided Tour
Bogd Khan Palace Guided Tour
Zaisan Hill Visit
Traditional Ger Stay

Transport:
Private Vehicle (40km)

07

Day 7: Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Walk through the valleys, visit nomadic families, and live simply while overnight in a traditional ger camp.


Included Activities:
Traditional Ger Stay

08

Day 8: Gorkhi Terelj National Park/Irkutsk (1B)

Return back to Ulaanbaatar with enough time to buy some souvenirs and snacks for the ride before boarding the next train.

This leg is 2 nights on board, crossing into Siberia and continuing on to Irkutsk.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (40km)
Overnight train (beds) (40.00 hour(s))

09

Day 9: Ulaanbaatar/Irkutsk

Spend a full day on the train heading deeper into Russia and watching the landscape change.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Mongolia - Russia)

Transport:
Overnight train (beds)

10

Day 10: Irkutsk/Listvyanka (1D)

Travel to Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal. Opt to visit Baikal Limnological Museum, enjoy a 'banya' (Russian sauna) or take a boat ride on the lake. Learn more about local life with a homestay.

Included Activities:
Listvyanka Homestay

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))

11

Day 11: Listvyanka/Irkutsk (1B)

Head back to Irkutsk for an included city tour of one of the most beautiful cities in Siberia. Take some time to shop like the locals at the Central Market to stay well-fed on the voyage.

Included Activities:
Irkutsk Guided City Tour

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (40.00 hour(s))

12

Day 12: Irkutsk/Yekaterinburg

Continue on from Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg. Drink with locals in the dining car, buy homemade food on the platform from "babushkas" (Russian grandmothers), read, relax, play cards, meet your fellow passengers, watch the taiga forests go by — this is what the experience is all about!

Transport:
Overnight train (beds)

13

Day 13: Irkutsk/Yekaterinburg

Continue on and arrive to the soviet-style city in the Ural Mountain region.

Transport:
Train

14

Day 14: Yekaterinburg (1B)

With free time, opt to see a performance at the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre, visit the fine art gallery or spend some time at the military museum.

Included Activities:
Yekaterinburg City Tour

15

Day 15: Yekaterinburg/Moscow (1B)

In the morning, board the Trans-Ural Railway. Say farewell to Asia while crossing the Urals into Europe.

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (24.00 hour(s))

16

Day 16: Yekaterinburg/Moscow

Arrive to Moscow and start exploring. Take an orientation walk of the metro then opt for a Moskva River boat trip or a visit to Lenin's Mausoleum, the Tretiakov Gallery or St Basil's Cathedral.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

17

Day 17: Moscow

The area around the Red Square is perfect for sightseeing and people watching. Visit one of the many shops, wander the Alexandr Gardens or visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Head down into the metro to explore the beautiful stations or visit another part of the city.

Included Activities:
Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour

18

Day 18: Moscow/Saint Petersburg

Continue your exploration of the Russian capital before catching the last train of the journey to St Petersburg in the late evening.

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (8.00 hour(s))

19

Day 19: Saint Petersburg

St Petersburg, one of Europe's finest cities, is home to baroque European architecture combined with the opulent palaces of Russian royalty. Its tree-lined streets and cosmopolitan atmosphere make it a favourite destination for travellers from around the globe.

Upon arrival to St Petersburg take a walking tour of the city. Learn the sordid history of the city from the Peter the Great to Dostoevsky to the Seige of Leningrad.

Included Activities:
Saint Petersburg Walking Tour

20

Day 20: Saint Petersburg (1B)

Visit the Hermitage Museum with free time to continue exploring the "Venice of Russia."

Included Activities:
Hermitage Museum Visit

21

Day 21: Saint Petersburg (1B)

We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Great Wall entrance (Beijing)
    • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City guided tour
    • China-Mongolia Railway
    • Ulaanbaatar guided city tour including Gandan Monastery and Bogd Khan Palace
    • Overnight in Mongolian ger camp
    • Trans-Mongolian Railway
    • Irkutsk city tour
    • Lake Baikal stay (Listvyanka)
    • Trans-Siberian Railway
    • Yekaterinburg walking tour
    • Trans-Ural Railway
    • Red Square visit and Moscow metro orientation tour
    • Kremlin and Armoury guided tour
    • St Petersburg walking tour
    • Hermitage Museum entrance
    • Local meal suggestions and language and border-crossing support throughout
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels/guesthouses (10 nts), homestay (1 nt), sleeper trains (7 nts), Mongolian ger (2 nts)
    Transport
    • Train, private bus, metro, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Explore the courtyards of the Forbidden City and walk along the Great Wall of China
  • Ride the rails through Mongolia's grassy steppe and Siberia's taiga forests
  • Stay in a local village on Lake Baikal
  • Admire the grand structure of Moscow's Kremlin and Red Square
  • Marvel at the rich art collection in the Hermitage.


Reviews (18)
Suzanne B. Posted on: 

Absolutely amazing. I loved every minute. I was expecting it to be great but it exceeded all my expectations.

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Emily H. Posted on: 

I've never taken a tour before and was hesitant about doing so. After such an awesome experience I plan to do this again (and hopefully soon). I enjoyed the accommodations. The transportation was good and I appreciate that after a long train ride we were able to get a minibus to take us to our hotel. We ran into the Intrepid group and they had to take a metro to their hotel, that sucks for them. Also the itinerary was good.

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April C. Posted on: 

Groud was amazing. Very knowledgeable and patient. She was concerned for our well being at all times and was willing to connect with everyone in the group. The company was very good in making alternative arrangements for me when I was quarantined in China. The entire trip went smoothly. I would highly recommend this tour to others.

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Kimberly L. Posted on: 

This was a long trip that never got boring or tedious because of the great organization and leadership from Groud. She was an exceptional guide that kept us informed and gave us great advice on things to do for each place we were in.

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Kathleen K. Posted on: 

I am very glad that I made this trip. It was well planned and the tour guides were excellent.

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Wray M. Posted on: 

My impression was/is that the tour was very carefully put together with excellent results. It seemed that everything was considered in advance, so surprises were rare. Time and again I was very pleasantly surprised at the results of this careful overall planning.

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Keri-Jane A. Posted on: 

A comprehensive 21 day trip that covers the best of Beijing, Mongolia, Siberia and Russia. Made very special by such excellent and smooth organization.

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Virginia W. Posted on: 

Very good overall experience. We covered an amazing amount of territory and cultures on this single tour.

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Christopher H. Posted on: 

Overall it was a good tour and I would recommend it to friends and colleagues. I certainly feel it was good value for money and at high level is very well organized.

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Jacqueline H. Posted on: 

We thought the tour was terrifically interesting and good value for money.

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Francis S. Posted on: 

A great experience. Most of all it was worry free.

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Stephanie L. Posted on: 

Everything ran very smoothly. The tour itself was a great mix between free time to explore and provided activities. There was a great balance between different cities and the time spent in them. Having an amazing leader and a really reliable group also helped!

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Jennifer R. Posted on: 

A great tour on a fantastic route. We had just the right amount of guidance when we needed it and plenty of necessary free time.

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Gareth B. Posted on: 

The tour was very well organised. We all agreed that an extra camp night would've been better than Ulanbatar for the night. THE MOST PROFESSIONAL COMPANY I'VE EVER USED!

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Alexander K. Posted on: 

I thought that the tour was a great experience and took in some really interesting places.

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Sylvia W. Posted on: 

The trip through China, Mongolia and Russia was great. They did an excellent job of getting to see as many sights as possible. The train ride was an experience in itself. It was a great trip.

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Mark Adam S Posted on: 

Overall the trip was excellent with good guidance and easy booking.

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Emily . Posted on: 

've never taken a tour before and was hesitant about doing so. After such an awesome experience I plan to do this again (and hopefully soon). I enjoyed the accommodations. The transportation was good and I appreciate that after a long train ride we were able to get a minibus to take us to our hotel. We ran into the Intrepid group and they had to take a metro to their hotel, that sucks for them. Also the itinerary was good.

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