Upon arrival in Moscow you are met and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Your day will start with a Moscow city tour and include a visit to the Kremlin (residence of Tsars and Patriarchs), Armory Museum (collection of gold, silver and jewelry), the Diamond Fund, Red Square and Alexandrovsky Garden.
You begin the day by visiting the Kolomenskoye Estate (summer residence of Tsars since the time of Ivan the Terrible) and its church, built in 1530, once called the 8th wonder of the world. In the afternoon transfer to the railway station to board the Trans-Siberian train for Irkutsk. Settle into a comfortable two-berth compartment on the train and spend the rest of the evening enjoying beautiful scenery from your window.
The time passes quickly as you settle into life on board the train, reading, relaxing, and playing cards or simply taking in the scenery as you travel east through Siberia. Enjoy the diverse nature of the region by passing through several zones (taiga forests, boundless steppes and tundra).
Today as you travel east, the train will arrive in Ekaterinburg where you make a short stop at the railway station. This city is rich with historic events: founded in the 17th century, the city was transformed to serve as exile for many prisoners, amongst them the last Czar and his family. Ekaterinburg is also the hometown of Boris Yeltsin, who served as mayor of the city. You continue your train journey towards Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia and will cross the Irtysh River and pass over the Ural Mountains, the official boundary between Europe and Asia.
You’ll travel through major industrial Siberian cities, including Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk. As the train makes several stops at the railway stations, you will have a chance to walk along the platform and possibly sample some of the tasty snacks being sold by local babushkas.
You approach the center of this vast country and prepare for a morning arrival in Irkutsk. You’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel. Explore the city of Irkutsk by taking a city tour that includes visits to the major sites. Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, will intrigue you with its history and rich architectural style, a mixture of neoclassicism with ancient wooden houses typical of old Siberia. Visit to the Decembrists Museum will give you an opportunity to better understand the Decembrists’ history (members of secret revolutionary societies whose activities led to the uprising of December 1825, against Czar Nicholas I).
This morning depart for a full day trip to Lake Baikal (largest fresh water lake of Eurasia and world’s deepest - 5,714 ft.), with an excursion to the Museum of Wooden Architecture, where you learn about the life of local Siberians. An afternoon boat ride on the lake will be followed by a visit to the one-of-a-kind museum of Lake Baikal and a dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the lake.
The entire day is free to spend as you please in Irkutsk or you can join optional excursions. You continue your journey in the evening as you’re transferred to the railway station for a train to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. As you settle into your private compartment for the night, enjoy a quiet evening on the train.
Today you continue your train journey towards Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy the landscape outside your window as it gradually changes from wide forests and rivers to a uniform steppe, where the great Khans rode their horses. You arrive at the Russian-Mongolian border where the train will make a stop for a few hours. From here, time and other conditions permitting, you may take a short trip to the ancient town of Kyakhta (Republic of Buryatia, Russia), one of the major points on the famous Tea Route. Return to the railway station to board the train for an overnight ride to Ulaanbaatar.
You arrive early in the morning in Ulaanbaatar. Meet and greet at the railway station and private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel. The first part of the day is at leisure to rest up for the adventures ahead. Your afternoon sightseeing includes the former Winter Palace of Mongolian rulers and the Museum of Bogd Khaan. An extremely rewarding visit will also be made to the Museum of Religion, a former Buddhist Monastery built in the Chinese-Tibetan style. A tour will be completed by a drive through the modern part of the city via the Boulevard of Peace.
The day is free for you to explore Ulaanbaatar on your own; there are also a number of optional excursions available. Tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Mongolia.
This morning continue your railway journey by boarding the train to Beijing. Enjoy breathtaking scenery as the train makes its way through the open plains of south Mongolia to the Chinese border. You’ll have a chance to stretch your legs as the bogies are changed and a Chinese dining car replaces the Mongolian one.
You arrive in Beijing in the afternoon, the end of your train journey. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. The afternoon is free - a perfect opportunity to relax after the train ride or to begin to explore the city on your own.
Start this morning with a tour of the ancient city of Beijing. Stroll through the high-walled “Forbidden City” where, in earlier times, only members of the emperor’s family were permitted. Visit the famous Tian’anmen Square, where Mao Zedong raised the flag of the People’s Republic. You will visit the National Museum that tells about the Chinese ancient and modern history. Spend time leisurely wander ing through the grounds of the Summer Palace, residence of the last empress, where she built an imposing Marble Barge with money earmarked for the Navy. Tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of China.
Today you take a trip to the extraordinary 4000-mile-long Great Wall of China. Your walk along the top of the wall is sure to be a highlight of your Beijing stay. A short drive away is a statue-lined road leading to the thirteen Ming Tombs. You will visit one of these impressive burial places, actually huge underground palaces, with numerous halls built to contain the emperors’ lavish treasures. Your journey is completed by a farewell dinner remembering the wonderful adventures of the tour.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Trans-Mongolian Railway Journey: Moscow, Irkutsk, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing