Enquire About This Tour Code TBM Trans Mongolian Railway
Duration: 21 Days Route: Beijing to St Petersburg Style: Adventure Tours Price: US$3,719.00
The Trans Mongolian Railway is one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. Interact with the locals, learn some handy phrases, play copious amounts of card games and sample some Russian vodka or Chinese rice wine as you travel between St Petersburg and Beijing via lively cities and isolated rural communities. Highlights include optional horse riding in Mongolia, the Kremlin and Hermitage Museum and the Great Wall of China.
The tour that we operate in the reverse direction is Trans Mongolian Railway (TMB).
Tour Dossier Introduction
- Dossier Last Updated: 12-09-2011
- Tour Code: TBM
- Duration: 20 nights / 21 days
- Joining City: Beijing
- Departure City: St Petersburg
- Nearest Joining International Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
- Nearest Departing International Airport: Pulkovo Intl Airport St Petersburg (LED)
This dossier is designed for this particular tour and should be read in conjunction with the country dossier(s), regional pre-departure booklet and optional excursions guides relevant to your itinerary. You will also receive a joining letter in advance of your journey with further information, while last minute updates may be posted in the Latest News section of our website.
- Accommodation: 11 night(s) in hotel(s), hostel(s) & guesthouse(s), 7 night(s) on overnight train(s), 2 night(s) in Mongolian gers / tents
- Meals: 10 breakfast(s), 2 lunch(es), 2 dinner(s)
- Excursions: Great Wall of China, Ulaanbaatar City Tour, Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb, Hermitage Museum
- Transport: Local public bus, train, taxi, on foot
- Age: 18-60, max. 70 (recommended)
- Group: Average 8-12
- Staff: Tucan Travel tour leader, local guides
International flights and departure taxes
Domestic flight taxes if applicable
Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
Optional excursions - Please see our optional excursions guide on the dossier page for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
Day 1 to 2 - Arrive Beijing
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
Beijing is an ever changing city and a looking glass between old and new, with an abundance of activities to enjoy. Some of Beijing's other attractions are the infamous Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. Or you could simply explore the silk market for bargains or try booking at ticket to see a famous acrobatic show. You may also enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace where royalty came to escape the heat of the summer. This area consists of Kunming Lake, beautiful temples, gardens and pavilions all painstakingly decorated using traditional motifs. Known as Gu Gong in Chinese, the famous Forbidden City is located in the very centre of Beijing. It is the world's largest palace complex and its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters. Originally the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the city houses many rare and precious treasures which attract visitors from all over the world.
For our included excursion we head out early to the Great Wall, one of China's most loved monuments which was listed as a World Heritage site in 1987. This immense structure dates back over 2000 years and has to be seen to be believed. It stretches over 6500 kilometres (4163 miles) across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, from east to west. It is a true testament to the power and influence of the Chinese Dynasties throughout history. Here we offer an optional 3-5 hour hike on one of the less visited sections beginning in Jinshanling. This area has around 23 watchtowers and is much less developed than the more touristy areas. Watch your step, as in places the trail is quite steep and stony; you will then arrive back into Beijing late in the afternoon.
Day 3 to 3 - Beijing – Ulaanbaatar
We begin our epic train journey today as we board the overnight sleeper train to Ulaan Baatar. Be sure to stock up on some snacks before leaving. Once on board there will be time to relax and mix with the locals and try to learn some local language.
We arrive in the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baatar and spend one night in this city which is the gateway between old and new Mongolia. This city has various monuments to explore along with an interesting 'black market" to wander around and possibly join in the haggling. Despite being the national capital and largest city, Ulaan Baatar retains a relaxed, small-town atmosphere, even with its large soviet style tower blocks it is a very pleasant place to visit with interesting monasteries and museums. Or you could catch a performance of traditional Mongolian dance and throat singing.
Day 4 to 6 - Ulaanbaatar – Ger Camp
We briefly visit a nomadic Mongolian family before heading out to our tourist ger camp. Gers are the traditional homes of the Mongolian people and will be our home for the next two nights. This traditional round shaped dwelling has been used since the Mongols started nomadic life and is still favoured as they are able to pack up and relocate to a different or preferred area.
The ger consists of felt covers, wooden columns, thin wooden poles and floor, a wall (a wooden lattice attached together with animal hide) and ropes. Most ger materials are made from animal products such as felt from sheep wool, ropes from camel or sheep wool, or horse or yak's tail, and of course wood.
We return back into Ulaan Baatar where you have the last chance to buy your last minute souvenirs, train snacks or see the last attractions of Mongolia before boarding the train to Irkutsk in Russia.
Day 7 to 9 - Ulaanbaatar – Irkutsk
We arrive in Irkutsk and transfer to Listvyanka, a small traditional Siberian Village on the edge of Lake Baikal. On the road to Listvyanka there's Shaman-rock, sneaking out of Angara river, it is considered to be a sacred stone.
We transfer back to Irkutsk to board the evening train to continue our trip through Russia. We will stay on the train for four days where we will have the opportunity to mix with the locals, try the local vodka or learn a bit of Russian. You will also be able to relax and get to know your fellow travellers whilst you marvel at the vast countryside. The carriages sleep four with hot water facilities and western toilets.
Day 10 to 11 - Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake and is the second most voluminous lake, after the Caspian Sea. As the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, with an average depth of 744.4 metres Lake Baikal contains roughly 20% of the world's surface fresh water.
We will enjoy some free time to explore the surrounding area of Lake Baikal, or take a boat trip out on the lake, visit the markets or museums. Please note if visiting during winter or early in the season it is likely the lake will be frozen and you can watch the locals ride bikes and snow mobiles across it. The ice usually melts around early June.
Day 12 to 14 - Irkutsk – Moscow
We again board the train and make our way through the heart of Siberia to Moscow. We will stay on the train for four days and you'll have the opportunity to mix with the locals, try the local vodka or learn a bit of Russian. You will also be able to relax and get to know your fellow travellers whilst you marvel at the vast countryside. The compartments sleep four and the carriages have hot water facilities and western-style toilets.
Day 15 to 16 - Moscow
Golden onion domes and towering skyscrapers, cosy cafés and hushed churches, Russia’s capital city is beautiful, atmospheric and overflowing with history. There is plenty to see and do here, including numerous cathedrals, museums, art galleries, palaces, towers and monuments. Moscow’s Red Square (Krasnaja Ploshad) is the main centre of Moscow and was a market place during the fifteenth century. The square acquired its present name in the seventeenth century. The red part of its name does not refer to Communism or to the colour of the stone (which is actually grey) but derives from the old Russian word 'krasniy' meaning beautiful. During the Soviet regime the square was known for its May Day parades and is the site of Lenin's Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral.
Just a few minutes’ walk away from Izmailovsky Park Metro, the lively and bustling Izmailovsky Souvenir Market is an absolute must-see. The entire market is surrounded by a mock wooden fortress which is prettily decorated with statues of figures from Russian legends. Browse around the seemingly endless stands, shopping for wooden matryoshky dolls, chess sets, amber jewellery and Soviet memorabilia such as authentic army belts and gas masks, or if you're looking for less kitsch and more art, you could aim for the traditional Russian handicrafts and original paintings. Don't forget to haggle! A useful word to know is ‘skolka' or ‘how much?' When you get tired, stop for a freshly barbequed Georgian shashliki (kebab) or relax with a glass of Russian cognac.
More than a people-moving system, Moscow's metro system is a network of beautifully and artistically decorated stations. Why not take a self-guided tour of the system and discover Moscow's original underground art scene. (Please note you will need to pay for your own metro tickets).
Day 17 to 18 - Moscow – St Petersburg
We will spend our last days in Moscow visiting some of the great historical sites of the city. The Kremlin is UNESCO World Heritage listed as a main focus of Russia's political and historical heritage since the 13th century, housing both royalty and religious figures. The Kremlin wall contains a mass grave of Bolsheviks who perished during the battle for Moscow in 1917, together with the ashes of a number of well-known Russians, including writer Maxim Gorky and Yuriy Gagarin, the first Russian man to visit space.
It is said that soon after January 21, 1924, the day that Vladimir Lenin died, the Soviet government received more than 10,000 telegrams from all over Russia, which asked the government to preserve his body somehow for future generations. Lenin’s tomb, and final resting place, was then promptly set about being designed and a wooden tomb was constructed within 6 days of his death. A larger mausoleum was constructed later that year and stands today in the centre of the city in the prominent Red Square.
We next head to St Petersburg by overnight train - it's a good idea to buy some snacks before we board!
Day 19 to 20 - St Petersburg
The cosmopolitan city of St Petersburg is known as the ‘Venice of the north' because of its rivers and canals which are fascinating and easy to explore by boat. There are many sights to see in this former capital including the Winter Palace, the famous Church of the Spilt Blood and the Hermitage museums.
We will take an orientation walk around the key sights of the city, include a visit to the Hermitage Museum (with a local guide) to explore the extensive art collection there, and then you will be free to explore this great city at your leisure.
Day 21 to 21 - Depart St Petersburg
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today, please confirm with the reception the check out time. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
The itinerary listed above is to be used as a guide only. Occasionally we may need to update this document and it may be different to the information printed in our current brochure. Tour leaders may need to make adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances during the tour. It is very important that you visit our website and review a copy of this dossier as close as possible to your departure date in case of changes that may affect your plans. Any last minute changes may also be posted in the latest news section of our website.
Other Services – pre & post tour accommodation and airport transfers
Very little time is spent in each of the starting and finishing cities and you will need to allow a few days at the beginning or end of your tour if you want to explore them further. Airport transfers in joining and departing cities are not included in the tour price but can be booked through Tucan Travel at an additional cost. For details about how to book pre & post accommodation please refer to the Extra Services information page in our website. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour. If you would prefer to make your own way to and from your hotel, you can find further details on the joining letter for this tour.
This package may offer single supplements that enable clients to stay in a single room. This single supplement must be paid prior to departure and applies to the whole tour for nights where single rooms can be made available. If there is no offer for a single room this is usually because you will be on an overnight train or bus, or camping.
In the day-by-day grid below a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available to those who have purchased a single supplement.
Day by Day Itinerary
|Day 3||Overnight train to Ulaanbaatar||✓|
|Day 5||Ger Camp||LD||✓|
|Day 6||Ger camp||BLD|
|Day 9||Overnight train to Lake Baikal||Russia|
|Day 10||Lake Baikal|
|Day 11||Lake Baikal||B|
|Day 18||Overnight train to St Petersburg||B|
|Day 19||St Petersburg||✓|
|Day 20||St Petersburg||B||✓|
|Day 21||St Petersburg||B|
(B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner included)
Please note the day to day itinerary above is given as a GUIDELINE ONLY.