Tour Dossier Introduction
- Dossier Last Updated: 01-10-2014
- 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 taxi, on foot
What's not Included
International flights and departure taxes
Domestic flight taxes if applicable
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.
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 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 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.