Tour itinerary can be seen below.
Arrive at Moscow Yaroslav station and leave aboard the 13:50 train. Head out of Moscow's suburbs and begin your journey east towards Siberia.
Relax on board the train as you travel further eastwards towards Yekaterinburg through the verdant rolling foothill landscapes of the Ural Mountains.
Today you head towards 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.
Today you head onward to Krasnoyarsk as you pass through the busiest section of railway in the world. You will see 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.
Arrive in Irkutsk at 08:28. 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 can 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.
Our driver will pick you up at 09:00 and drive you to Irkutsk station where you will transfer onto a bus and head north 250km 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 one 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. Arrival in Irkutsk around 16:00. A few hours at your leisure before heading to the train station for the 22:15 train to Ulan Bator, travelling around part of the lower edge of Lake Baikal.
Today you will pass through the semi autonomous region of Buryatia and the shores of Goose Lake. Arrive at the Russian border town of Naushki ready for your crossing into Mongolia. After passports are checked you enter Mongolia and witness a rapid change of scenery with the pine and birch forests making way for the beautiful green pastures of the Selenge River basin.
Arrive in Ulan Bator at 05:50. Transfer to your accommodation and the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure around the capital. Maybe 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.
Our driver will pick you up in the morning and drive 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 a 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 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. 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.
Arise early for your transfer to the station where you can order breakfast before the0 7:15 train to Beijing arrives. Head south through hundreds of miles of the Gobi desert, as far as your eyes can see. Have dinner in the extravagant Chinese restaurant carriage before arriving at the border around 21:00.
Travel through incredible Chinese countryside, crossing the Great Wall of China and finally arriving in Beijing at 11:20 and head to your hotel. Evening at leisure.
Full free day in Beijing. Tours can be arranged on request to Tiananmen Square, Chairman Mao's mausoleum and the Forbidden City.
Morning free around Beijing before departing at 17:30 for the overnight train to Dandong.
Arrive in Dandong at 07:17. You will have a couple of hours free to pick up some breakfast before returning to the station to board the train into North Korea. We cross the Yalu River on the Sino-Korea Friendship Bridge over to Sinuiju. Undergo customs checks before travelling onward to Pyongyang. View the Korean countryside and workers in the fields through the train windows throughout your journey to the capital. It is a great chance to mix with locals on the train and also stand on the platforms while the train stops at towns and villages along the way. We reach Pyongyang in time for dinner before later heading to the Yanggakdo hotel. Evening spent at leisure around the hotel grounds.
After breakfast we visit Mansudae Monument before heading to Panmunjom in Kaesong the 'truce village' that straddles the North/South Korean border and visit the Armistice Hall, where the truce was signed at the end of the Korean War. We are given talks by North Korean military personnel explaining the history of the site before heading over to visit the DMZ or Military Demarcation line; an area that Bill Clinton described as 'one of the most dangerous places in the world'. Also visit the Koryo History Museum. Afterwards we will go for lunch before returning to Pyongyang in the afternoon to view the Tower of Juche Idea and go for a trip on the Metro. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel where you will have the chance to shop at the export store. Option of visiting the new Rungna People's Pleasure Ground (theme park) in the evening (additional 25 Euros) or returning to the hotel where you can go bowling, go swimming, play pool or relax in the bar.
After breakfast we are driven to Mount Myohang to explore one of the most beautiful areas in the Korean peninsula. On arrival we visit the International Friendship Exhibition Hall, a huge complex consisting of over 100,000 gifts given by various world leaders and figures to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Including the extravagant sight of two trains given to Kim Il Sung by Chairman Mao and Joseph Stalin. After visiting the exhibit highlights we are taken onto the balcony of the exhibition hall to view the breathtaking scenery of the area. We leave the exhibition hall and drive to nearby Pohyon Temple. The temple dates from the 11th Century and the founding of the Koryo Dynasty. It is one of the few remaining Buddhist temples in North Korea. The local guide will give you a tour of the site and introduce you the temple's monks. After lunch in Myohang-ch'on we return to Pyongyang and visit the Arch of Triumph and Mangyongdae Native House. Afterwards we will visit the Youth palace to watch a special performance by local children. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel.
After breakfast we take a full day tour of Pyongyang. We begin at the Kumsunsan Memorial Palace, also known as 'Palace of the Sun'. This is one of the most revered sites in North Korea, being the resting place of the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. See many of the personal belongings and items of both former leaders; everything from Kim Jong Il's Mac to his yacht. Finally we get to see both leaders lying in state in their glass coffins. We then head for lunch by Kim Il Sung square before visiting the Grand People's Study House. In here we can stand in on English lessons, visit 'the great philosopher' who answers questions on any subject, and visit the library, computer and music rooms. We later move on to the Korean War museum where as well as shot down US planes and captured weapons we can also climb aboard the USS Pueblo - the only US navy ship in captivity anywhere in the world. Afterwards we will have a farewell dinner in a Pyongyang restaurant before returning to the hotel.
After breakfast we will return to the train station for our journey back to Sinuiju and out of North Korea. Lunch is provided on the train. Arrive back in Dandong at 16:30 and transfer onto the train to Beijing.