Trans-Sib through Russia – Mongolia – China
Duration: 16 days/15 nights
Destination : Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Novosibirsk - Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar - Beijing
Destination : Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Novosibirsk - Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar - Beijing
Day 1 Moscow (Sat)Moscow, the capital of Russian Federation, is the starting point of your great Trans Siberian journey. On arrival in Moscow you will be met by our friendly representative who will escort you by car or mini bus to your hotel. On the way to the hotel, you will have the opportunity to get your first glimpse of this truly unique city.
Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. This amazing city has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Moscow has had a tumultuous history dating back to medieval times when it was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki (Yuri of the Long Arms, known for the length of his arms!) in the early 12th century. It has seen numerous invasions and sieges from the Mongols to the Poles and Lithuanians to the Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and finally the Nazi’s but it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city is filled with unique architecture from the Kremlin and Red Square to giant Stalin skyscrapers to new office blocks built during the economic boom of recent years and it contains a strikingly beautiful metro system. The city is the center of political as well as economic power in Russia and visitors can feel the energy in the streets. There is always something going on in Moscow and there is so much to see.
Day 2 (Sun)After breakfast at the hotel you will have some free time to become oriented. In the afternoon, you will check out of the hotel and meet with your guide. Your excursion program starts with a city tour by car or minibus.
Panoramic City Tour. This tour is a great start to your trip and the best way to get acquainted with many of the city´s major highlights. Our professional guide will escort you on a route that includes Vorobyevi Hills where you will get an incredible view of the city from an observation point, you will proceed to Moscow State University which is an example of architecture from the time of Stalin and one of Russia’s leading schools of higher education, then on to Novodevichiy Convent, the Diplomatic Village, Victory Park, the Triumphal Arch, Kutuzovsky Prospect and much more.
Departure to Yekaterinburg after midday.
Day 3 Yekaterinburg (Mon)It takes 26 hours to get to the city of Yekaterinburg in the heart of the Ural Mountains and the beginning of Siberia, about 1600 km from Moscow. Almost all the cities along the way date back to 11-13th centuries. The first city where the train will stop is Vladimir, one of the cities comprising the Golden Ring, famous for its history and beautiful gold-domed churches. The next city is Nizhny Novgorod with its stunning Kremlin settled on the bank of the majestic Volga river.
During the night you will cross the Vyatka River, the town Kotelnich, Vyatka (made immortal by the famous Vyatka washing machine!!!), Balyezino and arrive at the foot of the Ural Mountains. In the morning, the train will stop in the city of Perm, an old Russian city known as a city of ballet and literature. After another 6 hours you will arrive in Yekaterinburg. On arrival in the night in Yekaterinburg our representatives will meet you at the train station and bring you by car or mini bus to your hotel.
Yekaterinburg was founded in 1723 and named after Saint Catherine, the namesake of Tsar Peter the Great’s wife Empress Catherine I (Yekaterina). Soon after the Russian Revolution, on 17 July, 1918, Tsar Nicolas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their children Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Tsarevich Alexei were executed by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House where they were being held prisoner. Yekaterinburg is also famous for being located directly on the border between the Europe and Asia. It is also the city of Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin.
Day 4 (Tue)After a good breakfast, you will start your first excursion which explores the Last days of the Romanovs and is combined with a city tour. The excursion will acquaint you with the history of the Romanov family in Yekaterinburg and detail their tragic death. You will visit the Monastery dedicated to the family of the last Tsar. The Monastery is located on the spot where the Bolsheviks tried to hide the Romanov’s corpses in a secret grave. Today, this area is a well-known Russian Orthodox pilgrimage site.
After viewing the Monastery and the neighboring wooden churches, you will go on to see the main historical sites of Yekaterinburg: The Historical skver (park), the wooden dam of the city’s first plant, the old city embankment and a monument of Lenin, leader of Soviet Russia. The tour will also take you to places connected to the first President of Russia – Boris Yeltsin who originates from Yekaterinburg. After the excursion, you will be taken back to the hotel and have free time to walk around the city.
In the noon you will be taken to the railway station to continue your journey through Russia. Departure to Novosibirsk at night.
Day 5 Novosibirsk (Wed)Your train arrives at the largest train station along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, our representative will meet you with a car or minibus and help you check in at your hotel. On the way to the hotel, you will have an opportunity to get your first look at this mighty Russian city.
Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersbirg and the largest Siberian city. The city was founded in 1893 at the future site of a Trans-Siberian Railway bridge crossing the great Ob river. The city was first named Novonikolayevsk in honor of both Saint Nicholas and Tsar Nicholas II. During Stalin’s industrialization of Russia, the city experienced rapid growth and became one of the major seats of industry in the Soviet Union. In the 1950s, the scientific research complex of Akademgorodok was constructed about 30 km south of the city center. The Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences is headquartered in Akademgorodok and the town hosts a total of fourteen research institutions and universities making it one of the most important centers for science research in the world. In 1962, Novosibirsk reached a population of one million. At that time, it was the youngest city in the world with over a million people. Novosibirsk took fewer than seventy years to achieve this milestone.
Day 6 (Thu)Be ready for an exciting tour to the scientific town of Akademgorodok and to other areas of interest in and around Novosibirsk. After breakfast, you will leave for your tour. Akademgorodok is a city built entirely for scientists and their families and is well known throughout the International scientific community. The tour will take you to the Geology Museum at the Geology Research Institute, the Open-Air Train Museum exhibiting a collection of old Trans-Siberian trains. (30km outside of Novosibirsk). You will then continue into Novosibirsk again and be taken on a panoramic city tour. Our guide will show you Krasny Prospect, Alexander Cathedral and Lenin Square which features the vast Opera House. You will also visit the oldest part of the city, Gorkogo Street with its old wooden houses, the tiny St. Nicolas Chapel marking the very center of Russia and the Ob river embankment. After your excursion, you will have free time before going to the station. Our representatives can help you find a good local restaurant (optional) where you can sample genuine Siberian cuisine. Then, on to the train station to continue your journey to Irkutsk.
Day 7 (Fri)This part of Transsiberian route is considered to be the most beautiful. The trip will take you almost the whole day. The train will cross over many rivers including the Kam, Chuna, Lya, Oka, Yenisey and Angara. The most important being the Yenisey, with the city of Krasnoyarsk spread along its picturesque bank.
Day 8 Irkutsk (Sat)Your train arrives in Irkutsk where our representatives will meet and take you to Lake Baikal, the largest body of fresh water in the world. On the way from Irkutsk, we will make a stop at the Ethnographical museum “Taltsy” consisting of examples of Siberian wooden houses from the past centuries.
We will also make a stop to see the lake from the “Cherskiy Peak” observation point. On arrival to a hotel we will have lunch (optional). This is not the end of the day; we will also visit the Limnological museum, where exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake are displayed. There is also an aquarium where you can see different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa – the earth’s only fresh water seal. And we will visit the functioning St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker Orthodox Church.
Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world with an average depth of 744.4 m (2,442 ft) and contains roughly 20 percent of the world´s surface fresh water. The body of water is also known as the “Baikal Sea” and the "Pearl of Siberia". At 1,642 meters (5,390 ft) Lake Baikal is the deepest, and among the clearest lakes in the world. At more than 25 million years old, Baikal is also the world´s oldest lake. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to the Buryat people who follow the Tibetan Buddhist religion and reside on the eastern side of the lake rearing goat, camel, cattle and sheep.
Day 9 (Sun)After breakfast you will travel by comfortable car or mini bus to Irkutsk where you will drop off your luggage in the luggage room of a hotel and continue on with your tour.
After this you will be taken on a city tour. The tour includes a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign (Znamensky Cathedral). Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard where you will see the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov. We will then proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists. The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist Revolt. The Decembrists were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum evokes the period of 18th century Russia.
Before being taken to the train station to continue your journey you will visit the hotel to pick up your luggage. Your train leaves in the evening.
Irkutsk began as a small settlement in the mid 17th century for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. The settlement officially became a town in 1686 and the first road between Moscow and the new city was built in 1760. With the road construction, many new products, often imported from China, were widely available in Irkutsk for the first time including gold, diamonds, furs, wood, silk and tea. In 1821, Irkutsk became the seat of the Governor-General of East Siberia. In the early 19th century, many Russian officers and nobles were sent into exile in Irkutsk for their part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I. Due to this influx of individuals from St. Petersburg, Irkutsk became the Siberian center of intellectual and cultural life. By 1900, the city had earned the nickname “The Paris of Siberia.” Today Irkutsk has become a college town with many young people studying at the university and other institutes of higher education in the city.
In the evening you will be taken to the railway station to continue your journey. Train to Ulaanbaatar leaves at night.
Day 10 (Mon)This day you will stay in the train which runs along the lake’s shore. The views of the lake and the surrounding nature are breathtaking. Later in the day you will cross the Russian-Mongolian border.
Day 11 Ulaanbaatar (Tue)Morning arrival in Ulaanbaatar, you will be greeted by our representatives and the Mongolian part of your journey will begin. After breakfast at the hotel, you will transfer to the National Park "Terelj" (110km) which is situated in a picturesque mountain valley. We will stop at Ovoo, a pile of stones built as a landmark for worship near the mountain pass.
On arrival, you will have lunch. The resort offers a wide range of optional activities (paid separately on the spot) including; archery, horse cart riding and trekking. Dinner will be served in a ger-café and you will spend the night in a ger (the traditional Mongolian nomadic house) in the middle of the endless step.
Day 12 (Wed)After breakfast, we will head back towards Ulaanbaatar, stopping to visit a nomadic family along the way.
Once back in the capital, you will start off on a city tour. We will visit the heart of Ulaanbaatar - Sukhbaatar square with its statue of Sukhbaatar, the national hero in the center. We will then leave the square and drive to Gandan Monastery, which was destroyed during Stalin’s rule, but has since been rebuilt. We will have lunch and then continue the tour program to the National History Museum, the oldest public museum in Mongolia. The museum includes geological, geographical, biographical, pale ontological and anthropological sections. The most impressive exhibits are the huge skeletons of two dinosaurs found in the Gobi desert and also the nests of dinosaurs’ eggs. The museum also includes examples of the snow leopard, Gobi bear, red wolf and others species of Mongolia.
After the museum, you will have some free time to shop in a real, Mongolian Department store. Dinner is at a local restaurant. You will spend this night in your hotel.
Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital and largest city with a population of over 1 million. The city was founded in 1639 as an initially nomadic Buddhist monastic center. In 1778, it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that it had changed location 28 times, with each location being chosen ceremonially. By the early 20th century the city had a population of 25,000, of whom some 10,000 were Buddhist monks or monastery workers. Today, Ulaabaatar is the economic and cultural center of the country. The city has a number of noteworthy historical monuments.
Day 13 (Thu)After an early breakfast, you will transfer to the railway station to take train to Beijing at 08.10. The entire day will be spent on the train, admiring the scenery of valleys and mountains.
Day 14 Beijing (Fri)On arrival to Beijing you will be met at the railway station by our Chinese representatives and transfer to your hotel by car or minibus. At the hotel you will have a good lunch and after some rest you will begin your sightseeing city tour. This tour is the best way to see the main highlights of Beijing which include the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City lies in the very heart of Beijing. Built between 1406 and 1420, this palace served as the home of China´s emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for five centuries - from 1406 until 1908. The palace consists of 9000 halls and rooms, containing many precious relics. The palace is considered to be the largest palace in the world and one of mankind’s major cultural heritage sites. After your tour, you will have dinner at a local restaurant.
In the evening you will have free time for walking along the city streets and admiring the surroundings. If you would like recommendations on good places to eat or other activities, don’t hesitate to ask your guide.
Beijing is the capital of China and China’s second largest city after Shanghai with more than 17 million people in the greater Beijing area. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational and cultural center of China while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields. Beijing is one of the world’s greatest cities and has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries - there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that doesn´t have at least some historical significance. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city a center of culture and art in China. We are sure that you will enjoy your time here and find the city fascinating.
Day 15 (Sat)After breakfast at the hotel, we will head off to one of the most powerful symbols of ancient Chinese civilization – the Great Wall, stretching 6,350 km. The Great Wall was built as a defensive structure. Construction began during a very unstable time of Chinese history, the warring period of 476 - 221 B.C. In the beginning, walls were built at strategic points by different kingdoms to protect their own territories. After the first Emperor Qin Shihuang of the Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 B.C., he decided to have the individual walls joined together in order to create one Great Wall. It took more than 1 million people and more than 10 years to finish the work. In 1987, the Great Wall was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. After time at the wall, we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
The second part of the excursion will take you to the Ming Tombs. The Ming Tombs are a group of mausoleums built for 13 Ming emperors, their empresses and their concubines. The tombs are located about 31 miles north of Beijing over an area of 25 square miles. Two of the tombs, Changling and the most famous, Dingling, an underground palace, are open to the public. In the evening you will have a good Chinese dinner.
Day 16 (Sun)After breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport. This ends your Trans-Siberian journey. We hope that you had a wonderful time and we look forward to welcoming you back to this region of the world sometime in the future!
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