Tour itinerary can be seen below.
Your transfer will pick you up from the airport or your hotel in Beijing and take you to Beijing Central Station ready to begin your journey at around 11:00. The train will travel through incredible Chinese countryside, crossing the Great Wall of China.
Arrive into Ulan Bator in the morning where your driver will meet you and transfer you to your 4 star hotel accommodation to drop off your luggage, before taking a full day tour of the capital. In the morning you’ll visit Gandan Monastery with its huge golden Buddha. Afterwards we stop for lunch before continuing to visit the War Memorial at Zaisan, the Bogd Khaan Winter Palace and Sukhbaatar Square with its large bronze statues of Chinggis Khaan. Afterwards you'll attend a folklore performance. The evening is spent at your own leisure. We recommend you try a traditional Mongolian barbecue. You could also visit the Tumen Ekh Ensemble Palace to view contortionists, dancers, opera singers and the bizarre Mongolian throat singers.
Your driver picks you up in the morning and drives you to Terelj National Park, 50 miles northeast of Ulan Bator. Enter the park and immediately feel the cool alpine air and view the magnificent mountain scenery. You will be taken to see and possibly buy goods from local artists, view hawks and eagles and even camels. You then transfer from the minibus onto horseback* and journey into the valleys, past streams and through winding mountain paths. The horses are then tied up as you begin a mountain hike up to Ariyapala Temple, crossing a rope bridge along the way. After ascending the steps to the temple you will have the chance to meditate or simply sit back and admire the amazing views. You then return to your horses and head back to Turtle Rock and the Ger Camp where you will spend the night. The camp is set in the spectacular Gorkhi River valley. Settle down in your Ger then meet the farmer and his family who own the camp. Spend the rest of the afternoon taking leisurely strolls on green meadows carpeted with edelweiss and a variety of other wildflowers. View incredible rock formations against a backdrop of pine-covered mountains and stroll along the banks of a mountain stream. Return to your camp and relax for the evening. Your dinner is cooked on a stove inside your Ger and you can eat it outside under a huge starlit sky. When the temperature drops head inside the Ger and light up your stove to keep you warm during the night.
After breakfast you will head to the Chinggis Khan complex outside Ulan Bator to view the huge statue, before returning to your hotel in Ulan Bator with the afternoon spent at leisure. Maybe visit the National Modern Art Gallery, the Museum of National History and the Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan. Return to the capital and have time for some shopping, before transferring to the station for your evening departure to Irkutsk.
Cross the border into Russia and witness a rapid scenery change with the green pastures of the Selenge River basin making way for pine and birch forests. Pass through the semi autonomous region of Buryatia and the shores of Goose Lake.
Morning arrival into Irkutsk and your driver will meet you at the station and transfer you to your central 4 star hotel accommodation, before you take a half day tour of Irkutsk. We will stroll around the city and take in the beautiful wooden buildings, before visiting the Church of the Saviour, the Znamensky Monastery and Irkutsk Museum. The rest of the day is free at your own leisure. Take the chance to head to the market to pick up some supplies then head out for a traditional Siberian meal at one of the city's many restaurants.
Your driver will pick you up at 09:00 and begin the journey to Olkhon. Head north 250km along the Primorsky Mountains on Baikal's western shore towards Lake Baikal; the deepest lake in the world at 1673m. There will be time for a coffee stop en route before arriving at the Olkhon Island ferry around lunch time. After a short stroll around the ferry stop you will make the crossing to Olkhon Island, 71km long and 14.5km wide; making it the largest lake island in the world. Olkhon is populated primarily by the Buryati people who are of Mongolian descent and whose Buddhist practices coexist with their shamanism. Upon arrival you are transferred to your accommodation at a fisherman’s family guesthouse, made up of wooden chalets. After lunch you can explore the village and visit the museum of Local Lore. A walking excursion can be done through the village to the Cape of Burkhan to see the famous Crag of Shaman (Rock Temple) which was generally regarded as one of the 9 sanctuaries of Asia. Return to dine on home-cooked grayling, a local Baikal speciality, before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
In the morning depart to explore Olkhon Island and classic Lake Baikal vistas. Head north and make your first stop at Sagaan-Khushun Cape, a beautiful cliff covered in red lichen. Then head forward to the coastal sand dunes and stretches of beach along the way, including the 200m high cliffs of Khoboy Cape at the northern tip of the island. After a picnic lunch (Baikal omul fish-soup), cooked on an open fire in Uzuri bay you will return to Khuzir village. Experience a traditional Russian banya (sauna) before being served a traditional Olkhon dinner. Again spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
After a farewell breakfast in the guesthouse, you will be driven to the ferry-station for your journey back to Irkutsk. Cross the strait to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk. There is an en route stop for lunch in the Buryat village of Bayandai. Arrive in Irkutsk around 16:00. A few hours rest at your hotel prior to transferring to your hotel after midnight for your departure to Moscow.
Today you travel onward to Krasnoyarsk as you pass through the busiest section of railway in the world. You will see the freight trains, mainly full of coal heading towards the Ural smelting works from the Kubas Basin. Further along you will cross one of the world's longest rivers on the 870m long Ob River Bridge. Give your legs a stretch at each stop and buy food from the many sellers on the platforms.
Relax onboard the train and make the most of the restaurant car as you head towards Omsk and pass the 2102km point which officially marks the border of Siberia.
Relax onboard the train as you travel further westwards from Yekaterinburg through the verdant rolling foothill landscapes of the Ural Mountains.
Arrive into Moscow, where you will be picked up by your driver and taken to your hotel.
Check out at the hotel is 12:00 and here the tour ends.
* for anyone not keen on horse riding we can offer the alternative option of hiking or simply relaxing at the Ger camp.
During a period of 3-5 days in April, the Lake Baikal becomes too dangerous to cross due to melting ice. The dates depend on the weather conditions. Therefore for April trips we cannot guarantee the tour. In this case we will replace the Olkhon tour with a visit to Listvnyanka or the Circumbaikal railway.
We can add Beijing accommodation on request and/or additional nights in Moscow.
Please note that for any bookings made less than 8 weeks prior to departure we cannot guarantee availability of train tickets. Also for any bookings less than 6 weeks prior to departure, there is a £85 surcharge to cover the higher ticket prices that are charged for late bookings.