Tour itinerary can be seen below.
Arrive at Beijing Central Station for the 11:22 train and travel through incredible Chinese countryside, crossing the Great Wall of China. Have dinner in the extravagant Chinese restaurant carriage before heading to your sleeper cabin.
Relax onboard the train as you travel north through hundreds of miles of the Gobi Desert, as far as your eyes can see. Arrive into Ulan Bator at 15:20. Transfer to your accommodation and the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure around the capital. You could visit Sukhbaatar Square, Nairamdal Park, the Gandantegchinlen Khiid Temple and National Museum of Mongolian History before heading for dinner at any one of a wide range of restaurants. We recommend you try a traditional Mongolian barbecue. In the evening you could 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 local artists and to 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. Dinner will be 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 we head to visit the Chinggis Khan complex outside Ulan Bator. Go up inside the huge statue before returning to your accommodation 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. You could also visit the huge State Department Store before eating dinner at one of the city's many restaurants and maybe spend the evening watching the ballet at the State Opera & Ballet Theatre or a live rock or jazz band at River Sounds.
Day at leisure before heading to the train station for the 20:45 train to Irkutsk.
Arrive at the Mongolian border town ready for the crossing in to Russia. After passports are checked you enter Russia and witness a rapid change of scenery with the beautiful green pastures of the Selenge River Basin making way for the pine and birch forests. You will spend the day onboard the train, passing through the semi autonomous region of Buryatia and the shores of Goose Lake.
Arrive into Irkutsk at 07:30. Transfer to your hostel and spend the day at leisure around Irkutsk. Maybe go for a leisurely stroll and take in the beautiful wooden buildings before visiting the Church of the Saviour, the Znamensky Monastery and Irkutsk Museum. Later you could 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, before continuing onto a bar or club later.
Your driver will pick you up at 9:00 and drive you to Irkutsk Station where you will transfer onto a bus and head north 250 km along the Primorsky Mountains on Baikal's western shore towards Lake Baikal; the deepest lake in the world at 1673m. We have a coffee stop en route before arriving at the Olkhon Island ferry around 14:00. After a short stroll around the ferry stop we 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 group members 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 1 of the 9 sanctuaries of Asia. Return to dine on a local Baikal speciality of home-cooked grayling (when available), before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
In the morning depart by jeep or minibus 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 picked up in a minibus and driven onwards to the ferry station. Cross the strait to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk. There is an en route coffee stop soon after the ferry crossing. You will arrive into Irkutsk around 16:00. You will have a few hours rest at your accommodation before heading to the train station for the 03:37 train to Moscow.
Today you carry onward towards Krasnoyarsk as you pass through the busiest section of railway in the world. You will see freight trains, mainly full of coal heading toward 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.
Relax onboard the train and make the most of the restaurant car as you head from Omsk and pass the 2102km point which officially marks the border of Siberia. Give your legs a stretch at each stop and buy food from the many sellers on the platforms.
Relax onboard the train as you travel further westwards from Yekaterinburg, through the verdant rolling foothill landscapes of the Ural Mountains.
Today you head through Moscow's suburbs to finally arrive into Moscow Yaroslavsky Station at 11:13 and head to your accommodation.
Today is a free day. Why not take a 1 hour city bus tour, which will take you on a circular route of many of Moscow's main sites. The English speaking guide will give you a running commentary along the way.
You will head to Moscow Yaroslav Station in the late evening for your 23:30 overnight train to St. Petersburg.
Arrive into St. Petersburg at 08:30 and head to your accommodation. You will have a free day in St Petersburg. We recommend visiting the Hermitage, home to the largest art collection in the world. Inside are art pieces from the 13th to 20th centuries, including works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Renoir, Raphael, Picasso and many more.
Go for a stroll along Nevsky Prospekt and visit the Church of the Saviour on Blood, St Isaacs Cathedral and Dostoevsky's apartment.
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 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 tour with a visit to Listvnyanka or the Circumbaikal railway.
Please note that for any bookings coming 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.