Home >> Trans Mongolian Railway Tour to Russia, Mongolia, China - Dossier

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

China, Mongolia, Russia

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: 08-09-2014
  • 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.

What's Included

  • Great Wall of China

  • Ulaanbaatar City Tour

  • Moscow Kremlin

  • Lenin's Tomb

  • Hermitage Museum

  • 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 included 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.

Detailed Itinerary

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.

Included Excursions: Great Wall of China
Optional Excursions: Summer Palace – CNY30 • Beijing Opera – US$40 • Temple of Heaven – CNY35 • Beijing Duck Dinner - US$10 • Gate of Heavely Peace – CNY15 • Chairman Mao Museum – free • Lama Temple – CNY25 • White Cloud Temple – CNY20 • Forbidden City – CNY60

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
Optional Excursions: Krasnaya Ploshchad and Pokrovsky Sobor (Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral) – RUB 100 • Muzey Izobrazitelnykh Iskusstv im A S Pushkina (Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts) – RUB 300 • Tretyakov Galereya (Tretyakov Gallery) – RUB 250 • Novodevichy Monastyr (Novodevichy Monastery) – RUB 150 • Moscow Metro – RUB 25 • Muzey-panorama ‘Borodinskaya bitva’ (Museum-Panorama 'Borodino Battle') – RUB 50 • Memorialny Muzey Kosmonavtiki (Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics) – RUB 250 • Khram Khrista Spansitelya (Christ the Saviour Cathedral) – free • Gorky Park – free • Metro Stations and the Moscow River guided tour – Approx. RUB 1000 per person (duration 4 hours including 90 minute boat ride) Please note: Many museums do not offer English interpretation

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
Optional Excursions: Isaakievsky sobor (St Isaac’s Cathedral) – RUB 300 • Muzeh-domik Petra I (Cabin of Peter the Great) – RUB 200 • Khram Spas-na-Krovi (Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood) – RUB 320 • Piskariovskoye Memorialnoe Kladbishche (Piskarivskoye Memorial Cemetery) – free • Kreyser Avrora (Cruiser Aurokyrra) – free • Muzeh Antropologiy i Etnografii imena Petra Velikovo - Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology) – RUB 250 • The Vodka Museum – RUB 450 (includes guided tour, tasting and small traditional snacks)

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.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day Activity Country Meals Single Room
Day 1 Beijing China
Day 2 Beijing
Day 3 Overnight train to Ulaanbaatar
Day 4 Ulaanbaatar Mongolia
Day 5 Ger Camp LD
Day 6 Ger camp BLD
Day 7 Ulaanbaatar B
Day 8 Train B
Day 9 Train Russia
Day 10 Lake Baikal
Day 11 Lake Baikal B
Day 12 Train B
Day 13 Train
Day 14 Train
Day 15 Moscow
Day 16 Moscow 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)

For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available. The detailed and day by day itineraries above are provided in good faith and it is our intention to adhere to the published route. Changes may be made before or during your tour for operational or safety reasons or to incorporate improvements. Impromptu changes may also occur whilst you are travelling as a result of one-off circumstances such as an excursion being closed on a particular day, weather conditions or transport. Delays are rare but occur occasionally and for this reason and the reasons above this itinerary should be considered as a guide only. Published transport times are approximations and may vary depending on local conditions.

Russian Visas

A visa is needed to enter Russia and must be obtained prior to travel. We can issue you a Letter of Invitation which you will need to take to your Russian Embassy for a small fee. Click here to find out more about Russian Visas.

Joining your tour

Your joining location is:

Botai Hotel
No. 140 Jiaodaokou South Street.
Dongcheng District. 

Tel: +86 10 6407 9911 or +86 10 6407 9911

The address in Chinese (this is useful for taxi drivers):

Hotel Address

The hotel is located near the centre of the city and there are plenty of restaurants, shops and ATMs. It is also near many of the sites including the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

If you have booked pre tour accommodation, you will also be staying at this hotel. Please check your tour vouchers for confirmation details.

There are safe deposit boxes for your use (you will get an itemised receipt). Please leave all of your important documents, money and travellers cheques here when you go out but remember to carry some form of ID and a photocopy of your passport with you.

It is advisable not to wear chains or expensive looking watches or jewellery while in major cities. You should also keep your camera concealed when not in use and carry daypacks on your front for extra safety.

Arrival in Beijing

On entering China you must be able to prove that you are leaving by plane or have a confirmed and presentable alternative travel ticket as evidence.

When arriving at Beijing International Airport we recommend that you obtain some Chinese yuan as soon as you arrive. There are international ATMs inside the airport, as well as money exchange offices offering a good rate. The rate will always vary slightly depending on where you go, it may be worth changing a small amount of money at the airport for your transport, and then finding a bank or money exchange within the town centre.

Airport Transfers

Airport transfers are not included in the tour price and must be booked separately in advance through Tucan Travel. If you have booked an airport/hotel transfer with us, please look out for someone with a sign which has your name, Tucan Travel, or both after exiting the customs hall.

If you have booked an arrival transfer with us and you are going to be delayed by more than two hours, you must advise us of the delay at least six hours before arrival. If we are advised in time, we will make every effort to reschedule your transfer and your driver will be asked to wait for two hours after your new expected arrival time. However, if we are not made aware of any change, the driver will only wait for two hours after the original scheduled arrival time and after this point it will be up to you to arrange transport to your hotel at your own expense. Please contact us on the emergency contact details below if you are likely to be delayed.

Contact your arrival transfer:

Tel: +86 13501213676
Contact: Zhang Shuping (Maria)

If you would prefer to make your own way the easiest way is by airport express train and metro. Take the airport express to Sanyuanqiao station. From Sanyuanqiao, take line 10 (Circle line) to Huixinxijie Nankou. This is three stops along. From here, take line 5 southbound alighting at Zhangzizhonglu. The hotel is around the corner from the station. Below are the names of the train stations using Chinese characters.

Sanyuanqiao Station
Sanyuanqiao Station


Huixinxijie Nankou Station
Huixinxijie Nankou Station


Zhangzizhonglu Station
Zhangzizhonglu station

Train station to hotel

Pre-Departure Meeting

When you arrive on day one of your trip, you should find some local information at the hotel lobby. Your tour leader will be staying in the hotel and should have put up a welcome note to let you know what room they are in. A pre-departure meeting is usually held in the afternoon or early evening of day one. You will need to bring the following important items to the meeting with your tour leader:

  • Your passport, including any necessary visas and at least one photocopy to give to your tour leader
  • Vaccination certificates if relevant to any destinations on your tour
  • Travel insurance policy and a photocopy to give to your tour leader
  • Your travel voucher
  • Your local payment in US$ cash (Budget Expeditions only)

Missing the tour departure

If you miss the start of your tour, please ask at the reception of the hotel for a message from your tour leader which will give you instructions on how to catch up with the group. Any associated costs will be at your own expense (although, depending on the reason, you may be able to claim these from your travel insurance so ensure you keep all receipts).

If you know in advance that you are unlikely to arrive on time, please contact Tucan Travel immediately so we can inform the tour leader. Tucan Travel cannot be held responsible should your airline/boat/coach be delayed and we are unable to refund any unused portion of your tour.

Time Keeping

Punctuality is very important and throughout the tour your tour leader will give you the time to meet in reception. Tour leaders will often post notes at reception with meeting times, so remember to always look out for these.

Although rare, delays can occur and we therefore advise you not to arrange your onward travel too close to the end of the tour. We take no responsibility for any missed flights or additional expenses If the group arrives late into the departure city at the end of the tour.

Emergency Contact Details

In the unlikely event of an emergency, please contact our Asia Destinations Manager on +44 (0)203 129 3763

Emergency contact details are a service for emergency calls only. We respectfully request that you consider the urgency of your enquiry. Non-urgent enquiries should be made during office hours. Visit contact us page for office hours.

Keeping in Touch

Your tour leader will point out internet cafes in all major cities and towns and Wi-Fi may be available in some hotels. Mobile phones may not work locally depending on your network. If you have an unlocked phone you may be able to purchase a local SIM card. Hotel details, apart from the joining hotel, are not given in advance and are subject to change, so if someone needs to contact you urgently during your tour the best method is to contact our office who can pass a message on to the tour leader.


For personal spending money we recommend bringing US dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros to exchange for or use alongside local currency. Travellers cheques are not accepted everywhere and can be expensive to exchange, but offer a more secure way of transporting funds. While bank cards provide a very good way to access funds overall, it is not recommended to rely on them as your sole source of funds as cash machines do not always work and may not be available in remote locations. Carry a mix of cards and cash with you, including notes in small denominations.

ATMs are fairly commonplace and pay out in local currency, except in Cambodia where US dollars is the main form of currency. If the ATM doesn’t work after the first two attempts, find another machine as it may retain your card the third time. Always make sure no one else sees your PIN number when using ATMs.

Your spending money should cover some meals, optional excursions, souvenirs, drinks, laundry, border and airport taxes and any visas obtained locally. We provide guideline prices for optional excursions in the itinerary to help you budget, but ultimately the amount you will need to budget for your trip very much depends on your individual requirements. We recommend bringing extra money to cover emergencies or unexpected situations.


Tipping is a part of the life in Asia, but you should not feel obliged or pressured to tip if you have not received good service. A gratuity of 10% of the total bill is recommended in restaurants. Gratuities are usually expected for local guides on included and optional excursions. Tips are also appreciated by Tucan Travel tour leaders at the end of your tour and we recommend an average of $2-$4 per person per day for the duration of your tour. This is only if you feel that their service was up to standard and is completely at your own discretion.

Packing List

The best advice when packing is to travel light and leave space for souvenirs in your bag.


It is important to bring luggage you can carry and lift comfortably, potentially up several flights of stairs in hotels where elevators are not available and between bus/train stations and hotels. There may be times when you have to get your luggage through crowded streets which may be cobbled or store your luggage in lockers. Luggage too large for lockers will have to be left insecurely or carried for the duration of the day.

We recommend a frameless backpack or a sports type shoulder bag which fits comfortably on your shoulders, as they are less bulky and easier to handle than rigid suitcases or framed backpacks. Suitcases are not suitable for our tours and are not recommended. Tucan Travel takes no responsibility for damage to your luggage while on tour.

In addition to your main bag, you will need a small daypack for your everyday excursions. Try to keep this bag as light as possible and make sure that all main sections of your bags can be padlocked. This daypack should have enough room to carry food and snacks for long hikes and treks and space to carry belongings for overnight excursions.

Sleeping Sheet

Sleeping bags are not required on this tour, but a sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet is optional if you wish to bring one along. Some passengers like to use them on long bus journeys and overnight trains.

Clothing and Footwear

We recommend packing lightweight and durable clothes. Nights can be cold at higher altitude, so it is a good idea to bring at least one pair of warm trousers plus several thinner sweaters / fleeces which you can layer. Please avoid military or camouflage-patterned clothing as it can cause problems and in some countries may be illegal. In some sacred and religious areas you will be required to cover your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect (this often applies to men as well as women). A sarong or light scarf can be very useful in these scenarios.

Good, comfortable walking shoes are essential. These do not need to be expensive boots, but they should have good ankle support and grip, be worn in and ideally waterproof.

Essential items:

  • A lightweight water/windproof jacket with hood
  • East to pack wide-brimmed hat of cap
  • Towel - you will need a towel for most overnight excursions
  • Swimwear
  • Sandals or thongs/jandals/flip flops

Suggested items:

  • Money belt
  • Sunglasses
  • Small calculator
  • Small collapsible umbrella
  • Universal washbasin plug
  • Head torch or flashlight
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Lip balm, sun block with high UV factor
  • Wet wipes
  • Cheap plastic watch
  • Plenty of spare memory cards for your camera
  • Spare rechargeable batteries for camera
  • Writing materials, address book and diary
  • Travel games, cards and a couple of paperbacks
  • Toilet paper (best to carry a roll with you at all times and/or tissues)
  • Small medical kit with diarrhoea remedy, rehydration salts, antiseptic cream, sterile dressings, plasters, bandages, pain-killers, safety pins etc.
  • Plastic bags for waterproofing
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Swiss army type penknife
  • Binoculars
  • Travel plug adaptor with a USB port
  • Small sewing kit
  • Insect repellent (DEET 35% min) and bite cream
  • Antibactarial hand clensing gel
  • Ear plugs and sleep mask
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Spare pair of spectacles or contact lenses and solution
  • Hard drive or USB stick to back up your photos
  • Pocket size phrasebook
  • Pegless washing line & travel laundry detergent (bio-degradable preferable)
  • As gifts for local children - pens, coloured pencils, small notepads. To discourage a begging mentality we recommend that you try to give these gifts at schools or childcare centres rather than on the street.


There are usually laundromats or laundry services in or near most of our hotels. Hotel services can be pretty costly however your tour leader will be able to recommend cheaper options. If you wash clothes yourself take care not to be too obvious where you hang them as most hotels do not like guests washing and drying their clothes in the hotel rooms.

Electricity Supply

The power supply in Asia differs not only from country to country but sometimes from region to region within a country.

  • Vietnam, Thailand & Laos require a European plug with two circular metal pins
  • Singapore and Malaysia requires a three square pin power sockets as in the UK.
  • Japan requires a plug with two flat parallel prongs similar to those used in North and Central America. However, the Japanese plug has two identical flat prongs.
  • China use a Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades; Australian-style plug with two flat angled blades and one vertical grounding blade; British-style plug with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade; South African/Indian-style plug with two circular metal pins above a large circular
  • Cambodia uses a European plug with two circular metal pins or Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades.
  • Nepal uses 2 or 3 round prongs as found in the US. You will also need a voltage converter.
  • India use South African/Indian-style plug with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin.
  • Central Asia, Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia use a European plug with two circular metal pins.

We recommend bringing a universal plug adaptor with you.

Health, Fitness & Safety


It is important to consult your doctor or travel clinic in good time before your tour departs to determine what vaccinations you require. You may need several vaccinations and/or malaria tablets and you should be aware that some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer. Always carry your International Certificate of Vaccination with your passport.

Malaria can be found in some parts of Asia. The risk is greater in rainforests or other areas at sea level. If required make sure you pack sufficient prophylactics for the duration of your tour and the incubation period after. You should take a good insect repellent (with DEET) and apply liberally and regularly. Flying-insect spray or mosquito coils (containing a pyrethroid insecticide) can help clear rooms of mosquitoes and may be worth bringing.

Pack a Medical Kit

A medical kit is handy for minor wounds and ailments. In areas with limited or dubious medical facilities, an emergency medical kit containing sterile syringes is also advisable. By law our staff are not allowed to administer first aid or give drugs to travellers, so please be prepared with your own supplies.

If you are taking medication, please ensure you bring an adequate supply and a letter from your doctor to avoid potential issues at border crossings.

Fitness & Suitability

This is a public transport-based tour so it is essential that you be able to carry your bags over distances between bus and train stations and hotels, generally for up to 20 minutes. Disruptions happen and while your tour leader will make every effort to ensure your trip runs smoothly, patience, a sense of humour and willingness to get involved and help your tour leader are essential ingredients for a successful and happy group.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions please let us know at the time you book or as early before departure as possible. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may be asked to produce a medical certificate from your doctor approving your participation in this tour. While this would only happen in very exceptional circumstances, if we consider you incapable completing this tour or you have concealed an existing medical condition which is affecting your ability to participate in the tour of Tucan Travel reserve the right to turn you away without reimbursement.

Safety & Security

Asia is generally safe, even more so in a group. Reasonable precaution is advised; do not bring valuable jewellery or watches (even fakes can catch the eye of a thief), do not walk by yourself at night, heed your tour leader’s advice and always keep an eye and a hand on your camera and bags in public places. Tucan Travel cannot accept responsibility for any valuables left in safe deposits in hotels or on public transport.

Travel Guides

If you would like to discover more about your destination, including history, geography, climate and language, please have a read of our country travel guides available here: http://www.tucantravel.com/destination-travel-guides/asia-travel-guides.



Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after you have finished your tour with sufficient blank pages for visas and immigration stamps. Photocopy your passport, leaving one copy at home and taking one with you on tour. If you lose your passport while on tour, you will be responsible for any expenses incurred such as extra accommodation and transport while replacing your passport and will not be entitled to a refund of any unused portion of your tour.

Tour Documents

Before you depart you will be issued with a voucher for your tour and separate vouchers for any extra services such as airport transfers and pre/post tour accommodation. Please print these out and bring them with you. This dossier is updated regularly, so we recommend checking our website for the latest version just prior to the start of your tour.

Final Balance

The balance for your tour is due no later than 60 days prior to the start of your tour and no tour vouchers will be issued until this is received. In addition please send the following details at least 60 days before you depart:

  • Passport number, date of issue, date of expiry, nationality and place of issue
  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Flight arrival details in your starting city
  • Special requirements, e.g. special dietary requirements or allergies

Please let us know if you are travelling with another person on the tour but have made separate bookings and we will endeavour to make suitable rooming arrangements.


All countries have visa requirements that are subject to change at short notice. A general guideline for visa requirements is available here: http://www.tucantravel.com/before-you-go/visa-guide, but you must check with your local embassy or consulate for the very latest visa requirement information based on your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary visas for your tour. If you would like help applying for visas, we have recommended visa agencies on our visa page that we work with regularly.

Important things to check when applying for visas:

  • Does the validity of the visa cover the duration of your time spent in the country?
  • Do you require a single or multiple entry visa(s) for your tour?
  • Are you required to show additional documentation when you arrive in a country? (Examples include proof of onward travel and travel itinerary)

Some visas are only valid for entry within three months of the date of issue which means on some of our longer tours the visa would expire before you are scheduled to enter the country. In these cases you must obtain the relevant visa during your tour. If it is necessary for you to obtain any visas en-route, please contact Tucan Travel or your travel consultant and inform your tour leader at the start of the tour. If you do not have the appropriate visas, Tucan Travel will not reimburse any expenses incurred in acquiring visas or any unused portion of the tour.

It is best to apply for visas in your home country if possible. If applying for visas by post, please allow plenty of time before departure and send your application by registered mail. Postal applications tend to be given a lower priority than in person applications and can take longer to process.

Special Note: If you have dual nationality it is advised not to obtain different visas in different passports. Although this may sometimes be cheaper, you may encounter problems at border crossings if your exit stamps from one country are not the same as your visa for the next.

Travel Insurance Policy

Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours. You must be adequately insured for medical, hospital, baggage and personal expenses, any necessary extra travel (rejoining tour or repatriation) as well as curtailment and cancellation.

We strongly recommend that all clients carry a copy of their full policy document with them at all times, together with any certificate showing the policy number and emergency contact details. Your tour leader will also ask for a photocopy of your insurance document, so please take this to the pre-departure meeting at the start of your tour. You will not be able to commence your tour unless you can provide proof of insurance to your tour leader.

Document Checklist

  • Tour Voucher & Vouchers for extra services
  • Passport (with photocopies of information pages and visas)
  • Tour Dossier
  • Cash & credit/debit cards (best to take a mixture and more than one card in case one does not work)
  • Travel Insurance Certificate and photocopy for tour leader
  • Travel consultant's phone number and email address
  • Proof of onward travel, ie airline ticket

Optional Excursions

Optional excursions are not operated by Tucan Travel and while every effort is made prices may not be up-to-date and are intended as a general guide to help you budget for your trip. Prices for vehicle-based excursions such as game drives are approximate based on the optimum number of participants and the actual price may vary depending on group size.

Sufficient safety equipment such as helmets and life jackets are sometimes not available and Tucan Travel is unable to provide this equipment. If you intend to participate in an optional excursion you may like to consider bringing your own safety gear.

Excursions are run by a local operator or third party with both Tucan Travel and the Tour Leader acting as a booking agent only. Optional activities are not part of the tour and Tucan Travel’s booking conditions do not apply to them. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct travel insurance for the excursions you intend to take part in and Tucan Travel is not liable for any injuries incurred.

Responsible Travel

We work hard to ensure our tours are sustainably and ethically run. You can read our responsible travel policy and advice on how you can travel responsibly here: http://www.tucantravel.com/about-us/responsible-travel.

Meet Up

Our free Meet Up app, available on Facebook, on iTunes and Google Play is an opportunity to chat with others passengers before you depart or keep in touch when you arrive back from tour. Information on the app is available here: http://www.tucantravel.com/before-you-go/meet-up

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.

Illegal Drugs

The possession or use of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our tours. When overseas you are subject to local laws and the penalties for breaking these laws can be harsh. In order to safeguard the interests of the group as a whole, our tour leaders have been instructed to insist that any person found with illegal drugs leave the tour immediately – without refund. The tour leader’s decision on this matter is final. If you need to carry certain drugs with you for purposes of medication, please inform your tour leader and ensure that you carry a copy of your prescription or letter from your doctor.

Customer Reviews


"One of the best ways to do South America! Stunning sights, unbelievably knowledge tour and local guides and time well spent with lifelong friends. An experience like no other."

Received March 2014

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British Travel Awards 2014

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