Enquire About This Tour Code TBM Trans Mongolian Railway
Duration: 21 Days Route: Beijing to St Petersburg Style: Adventure Tours Price: US$4,829.00
During this world-renowned rail journey between Beijing and St Petersburg you’ll have the chance to see the Great Wall of China, visit temples and markets of Ulaan Bataar, take a boat trip on Lake Baikal, experience local hospitality in a traditional Mongolian ger, perhaps buy a communist-era relic at Moscow's Izmaylovo Market and explore the red bricked Kremlin, lose yourself in the canals of opulent St Petersburg and visit the fabulous Hermitage Museum.
The tour that we operate in the reverse direction is Trans Mongolian Railway (TMB).
Tour Dossier Introduction
- Dossier Last Updated: 05-02-2014
- 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: St Petersburg Pulkovo Intl Airport (LED)
Please check this document just before departing in case of last minute changes to your tour.
Great Wall of China
Ulaanbaatar City Tour
10 nights in hotels, hostels & guesthouses, 8 nights on overnight trains, 2 nights in Mongolian gers / tents
10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Travel by local public bus, train, taxi, on foot
Tucan Travel Tour Leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on excursions
What's not Included
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 - Overnight Train to Ulaanbataar
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.
Day 4 to 4 - Ulaanbaatar
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 5 to 6 - 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 be packed up and relocated easily.
A traditional Ger is made out of wood, felt, horse tail, a fabric cover and leather straps. The walls, roof, window, door and floor are made from wood. The horse tail is to used connect the walls to the roof and to support the walls, while the leather straps are used to connect the walls to each other. Finally, felt is used to cover the entire structure allowing an even temperature to be maintained inside with the fabric cover used for decorative purposes only.
Day 7 to 7 - Ulaanbaatar
We return to Ulaan Baatar for the night where you can pick up some last minute souvenirs.
Day 8 to 9 - On board the train
Remember to pick up some snacks before you board. 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 carriages sleep four. To find out more on what to expect, please read the dossier.
Day 10 to 11 - Lake Baikal
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.
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 - On board the train
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.
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, the State History Museum and the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral., 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
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).
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.
Included Excursions: The Kremlin • Lenin's Tomb
Day 17 to 17 - Overnight train to St Petersburg
We have the whole day to spend in Moscow enjoying some last minute sightseeing before we next head to St Petersburg by overnight train - it's a good idea to buy some snacks before we board!
Day 18 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.
Included Excursions: Hermitage Museum
Day 21 to 21 - Depart St Petersburg
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. 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.
This itinerary is a guide. Changes may be made before or during your tour to improve the running or due to unforseen circumstances.
We have a detailed packing list for all of our Adventure Tours here.
On all of our Adventure Tours, you will be required to carry your luggage long distances down unpaved and uneven roads or up flights of stairs when elevators are not available. It is important that you choose a durable and lightweight soft bag that you can carry comfortably on your back.
You will also need a small daypack, large enough to carry everything you might need on overnight excursions.
Add-ons & Extras
On many of our Group Tours, we spend one night in our arrival and departure cities. If you want to explore these cities more we can book pre and post tour accommodation, city tours and airport transfers for you. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour. We also have Add-ons - short packages that can be booked alongside a tour or on their own and have been carefully designed to ensure you don't miss out on popular highlights.
All our Adventure Tours are priced per person on a shared room basis meaning there is no compulsory extra payment for those travelling on their own.
I'd like my own room
If you are a solo traveller, a single room is available on most occasions at an extra cost. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour.
Each year this tour meets Rio Carnival. The dates of these tours are listed in our brochure and can be found on our website. Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnival period must be booked for a four night stay only, including the nights of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This is an additional cost. Click here for further details about the Rio Carnival.
Rio Carnival Supplement
All Group Tours that start, end or travel through Rio de Janeiro for Carnival have an additional supplement added to cover the higher cost of accommodation for the arrival (Thursday) and departure (Tuesday) days. We are unable to secure single rooms over these days and so any upgrade to your own room will be unavailable.
Day by Day Itinerary
|Day 3||Overnight train to Ulaanbaatar||✓|
|Day 5||Ger Camp||LD||✓|
|Day 6||Ger camp||BLD|
|Day 10||Lake Baikal|
|Day 11||Lake Baikal||B|
|Day 17||Overnight train to St Petersburg||B||✓|
|Day 18||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.
For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available.