tour@expresstorussia.com

Highlights on the Trans-Sib

13 days and 12 nights

  • Schedule

    Tour can be started on any Tuesday
  • Route

    Moscow - Irkutsk - Ulan Bator - Beijing
  • Languages

    English-speaking guide is guaranteed. Other languages are on request.
  • Accommodation

    The following hotel options are available:
    3 stars
  • PRIVATE TOUR

    This is a private tour, there won't be other people in your group
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Itinerary

Moscow - Irkutsk - Ulan Bator - Beijing
This tour is a nice choice to see the highlights of Russia, Mongolia and China. From Gold-Domed Moscow you will continue on to Irkutsk in the heart of Siberian. From there you will visit Lake Baikal – one of the most impressive natural landmarks on earh. Mongolia will greet you with its endless steppes and the Goby desert. A highlight will be staying overnight in gers and experiencing a little of what it might be like to be a nomad. Finally, you will reach China and visit the magnificent Great Wall, Ming Tombs and Forbidden city. Don’t forget to sample the local cuisine.

Day 1 Moscow (Tue)

Moscow, the capital of Russian Federation, is the starting point of your great Trans Siberian journey.
On arrival in Moscow you will be met by our friendly representative who will escort you by car or mini bus to your hotel. On the way to the hotel, you will have the opportunity to get your first glimpse of this truly unique city.

Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. This amazing city has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Moscow has had a tumultuous history dating back to medieval times when it was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki (Yuri of the Long Arms, known for the length of his arms!) in the early 12th century. It has seen numerous invasions and sieges from the Mongols to the Poles and Lithuanians to the Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and finally the Nazi’s but it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city is filled with unique architecture from the Kremlin and Red Square to giant Stalin skyscrapers to new office blocks built during the economic boom of recent years and it contains a strikingly beautiful metro system. The city is the center of political as well as economic power in Russia and visitors can feel the energy in the streets. There is always something going on in Moscow and there is so much to see.

Day 2 (Wed)

After breakfast at the hotel you will have some free time to become oriented. In the afternoon, you will check out of the hotel and meet with your guide. Your excursion program starts with a city tour by car or minibus.

Panoramic City Tour. This tour is a great start to your trip and the best way to get acquainted with many of the city´s major highlights. Our professional guide will escort you on a route that includes Vorobyevi Hills where you will get an incredible view of the city from an observation point, you will proceed to Moscow State University which is an example of architecture from the time of Stalin and one of Russia’s leading schools of higher education, then on to Novodevichiy Convent, the Diplomatic Village, Victory Park, the Triumphal Arch, Kutuzovsky Prospect and much more.

Departure by rail to Irkutsk.

Day 3-5 (Thu - Sat)

Almost all the cities along the way date back to 11-13th centuries. The first city where the train will stop is Vladimir, one of the cities comprising the Golden Ring, famous for its history and beautiful gold-domed churches. The next city is Nizhny Novgorod with its stunning Kremlin settled on the bank of the majestic Volga river.

During the night you will cross the Vyatka River, the town Kotelnich, Vyatka (made immortal by the famous Vyatka washing machine!!!), Balyezino and arrive at the foot of the Ural Mountains. In the morning, the train will stop in the city of Perm, an old Russian city known as a city of ballet and literature. After Krasnoyarsk, this part of Trans-Siberian route is considered to be the most beautiful. You will see incredible nature consisting of many Siberian rivers, lakes, forests and mountains. The trip will take you almost the entire day.

Day 6 Irkutsk (Sun)

Your train arrives in the morning in Irkutsk where our representatives will meet and take you to Lake Baikal, the largest body of fresh water in the world. On the way from Irkutsk, we will make a stop at the Ethnographical museum “Taltsy” consisting of examples of Siberian wooden houses from the past centuries.

We will also make a stop to see the lake from the “Cherskiy Peak” observation point. On arrival to a hotel we will have lunch (optional). This is not the end of the day; we will also visit the Limnological museum, where exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake are displayed. There is also an aquarium where you can see different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa – the earth’s only fresh water seal. And we will visit the functioning St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker Orthodox Church.

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world with an average depth of 744.4 m (2,442 ft) and contains roughly 20 percent of the world´s surface fresh water. The body of water is also known as the “Baikal Sea” and the "Pearl of Siberia". At 1,642 meters (5,390 ft) Lake Baikal is the deepest, and among the clearest lakes in the world. At more than 25 million years old, Baikal is also the world´s oldest lake. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to the Buryat people who follow the Tibetan Buddhist religion and reside on the eastern side of the lake rearing goat, camel, cattle and sheep.

Day 7 (Mon)

After breakfast you will travel by comfortable car or mini bus to Irkutsk where you will drop off your luggage in the luggage room of a hotel and continue on with your tour.

After this you will be taken on a city tour. The tour includes a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign (Znamensky Cathedral). Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard where you will see the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov. We will then proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists. The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist Revolt. The Decembrists were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum evokes the period of 18th century Russia.

Before being taken to the train station to continue your journey you will visit the hotel to pick up your luggage. Your train leaves in the evening.

Irkutsk began as a small settlement in the mid 17th century for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. The settlement officially became a town in 1686 and the first road between Moscow and the new city was built in 1760. With the road construction, many new products, often imported from China, were widely available in Irkutsk for the first time including gold, diamonds, furs, wood, silk and tea. In 1821, Irkutsk became the seat of the Governor-General of East Siberia. In the early 19th century, many Russian officers and nobles were sent into exile in Irkutsk for their part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I. Due to this influx of individuals from St. Petersburg, Irkutsk became the Siberian center of intellectual and cultural life. By 1900, the city had earned the nickname “The Paris of Siberia.” Today Irkutsk has become a college town with many young people studying at the university and other institutes of higher education in the city.

Day 8 (Tue)

This day you will stay in the train which runs along the lake’s shore. The views of the lake and the surrounding nature are breathtaking. Later in the day you will cross the Russian-Mongolian border.

Day 9 Ulan Bator (Wed)

Morning arrival in Ulan Bator, you will be greeted by our representatives and the Mongolian part of your journey will begin. After your arrival you start off on a city tour. We will visit the heart of Ulan Bator - Sukhbaatar square with its statue of Sukhbaatar, the national hero in the center. We will then leave the square and drive to Gandan Monastery, which was destroyed during Stalin’s rule, but has since been rebuilt.

Then you will be transfered to the National Park "Terelj" (110km) which is situated in a picturesque mountain valley. We will stop at Ovoo, a pile of stones built as a landmark for worship near the mountain pass.

Return to Ulan Bator. You will spend this night in your hotel.

Ulan Bator is Mongolia’s capital and largest city with a population of over 1 million. The city was founded in 1639 as an initially nomadic Buddhist monastic center. In 1778, it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that it had changed location 28 times, with each location being chosen ceremonially. By the early 20th century the city had a population of 25,000, of whom some 10,000 were Buddhist monks or monastery workers. Today, Ulan Bator is the economic and cultural center of the country. The city has a number of noteworthy historical monuments.

Day 10 (Thu)

After an early breakfast, you will transfer to the railway station to take train to Beijing at 08.05. The entire day will be spent on the train, admiring the scenery of valleys and mountains.

Day 11 Beijing (Fri)

On arrival to Beijing you will be met at the railway station by our Chinese representatives and transfer to your hotel by car or minibus. After this you will begin your sightseeing city tour. This tour is the best way to see the main highlights of Beijing which include the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City lies in the very heart of Beijing. Built between 1406 and 1420, this palace served as the home of China´s emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for five centuries - from 1406 until 1908. The palace consists of 9000 halls and rooms, containing many precious relics. The palace is considered to be the largest palace in the world and one of mankind’s major cultural heritage sites. 
In the evening you will have free time for walking along the city streets and admiring the surroundings. If you would like recommendations on good places to eat or other activities, don’t hesitate to ask your guide.

Beijing is the capital of China and China’s second largest city after Shanghai with more than 17 million people in the greater Beijing area. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational and cultural center of China while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields. Beijing is one of the world’s greatest cities and has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries - there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that doesn´t have at least some historical significance. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city a center of culture and art in China. We are sure that you will enjoy your time here and find the city fascinating.

Day 12 (Sat)

After breakfast at the hotel, we will head off to one of the most powerful symbols of ancient Chinese civilization – the Great Wall, stretching 6,350 km. The Great Wall was built as a defensive structure. Construction began during a very unstable time of Chinese history, the warring period of 476 - 221 B.C. In the beginning, walls were built at strategic points by different kingdoms to protect their own territories. After the first Emperor Qin Shihuang of the Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 B.C., he decided to have the individual walls joined together in order to create one Great Wall. It took more than 1 million people and more than 10 years to finish the work. In 1987, the Great Wall was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
After time at the wall, we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
The second part of the excursion will take you to the Ming Tombs. The Ming Tombs are a group of mausoleums built for 13 Ming emperors, their empresses and their concubines. The tombs are located about 31 miles north of Beijing over an area of 25 square miles. Two of the tombs, Changling and the most famous, Dingling, an underground palace, are open to the public.

Day 13 (Sun)

After breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport. This ends your Trans-Siberian journey. We hope that you had a wonderful time and we look forward to welcoming you back to this region of the world sometime in the future!

Included Sightseeing

These sights are included into the standard package:

Lake Baikal

Listvyanka

Listvyanka

Listvyanka is a small settlement located on the shore of Lake Baikal. On the way from Irkutsk to Listvyanka there are 3 places of interest. The first is the obo - a sacred place for the local Buryat people. The second is Taltsy - an open air Museum of Russian Wooden Architecture. The third is the famous Shaman Rock (another sacred site) located on the headwaters of the Angara river. Listvyanka is also home to the Church of Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker - the guardian angel of travelers, and the Baikal Ecology Museum with exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake. There is also an aquarium which contains different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa - the earth's only fresh water seal.

Beijing

The Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs are a group of mausoleums built for 13 Ming emperors, their empresses and their concubines. The tombs are located about 31 miles north of Beijing over an area of 25 square miles. Two of the tombs, Changling and the most famous, Dingling, an underground palace, are open to the public.

The Great Wall

The Great Wall

Stretching 6,350 km, the Great Wall was built as a defensive structure. Construction began during a very unstable time of Chinese history, the warring period of 476 - 221 B.C. In the beginning, walls were built at strategic points by different kingdoms to protect their own territories. After the first Emperor Qin Shihuang of the Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 B.C., he decided to have the individual walls joined together in order to create one Great Wall. It took more than 1 million people and more than 10 years to finish the work. In 1987, the Great Wall was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City lies in the very heart of Beijing. Built between 1406 and 1420, this palace served as the home of China´s emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for five centuries - from 1406 until 1908. The palace consists of 9000 halls and rooms, containing many precious relics. The palace is considered to be the largest palace in the world and one of mankind’s major cultural heritage sites.

Ulan Bator

Sukhbaatar square

Sukhbaatar square

The central city square is home to a statue of Sukhbaatar, the national hero of Mongolia.

Gandan Monastery

Gandan Monastery

Gandan Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Ulan Bator. In 1944-1990 it was the only functioning Buddhist worship place in Mongolia. At the moment over 150 monks live there. Of special interest is a 26-meter statue of bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Irkutsk

Taltsy Ethnographic Museum

Taltsy Ethnographic Museum

This architectural and ethnographic museum opened its doors to the public in 1980. On the territory of 67 hectares there are over 40 architectural monuments (fortress wall, churches, barns, water mills, parish school, peasant houses) and over 8,000 exhibits that tell about life in the Siberian villages XVII-XIX centuries. The museum often hosts folk festivals, and is also often used by filmmakers because of its authentic look.

Museum of the Decembrists

Museum of the Decembrists

The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist revolutionaries - these were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum is truly evocative of 19th century Russia.

Cathedral of the Holy Sign

Cathedral of the Holy Sign

Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard containing the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov.

Moscow

Major Moscow City Highlights

Major Moscow City Highlights

Major Moscow highlights include: Vorobyevi Hills with an incredible view of the city from an observation point; Moscow State University which is an example of architecture from the time of Stalin; Novodevichiy Convent, the Diplomatic Village, Victory Park, the Triumphal Arch, Kutuzovsky Prospect, the Arbat and much more.

Prices and Terms

Classic Package

Low Nov 1st - Apr 30th

  1st class 2nd class
1 $4383 $3759
2 $3304 $2680
3 - 4 $3137 $2513
5 - 6 $3069 $2445
single supplement $359 $359

High May 1st - Oct 30th

  1st class 2nd class
1 $4626 $3910
2 $3547 $2831
3 - 4 $3380 $2664
5 - 6 $3312 $2596
single supplement $359 $359

Full Package

Low Nov 1st - Apr 30th

  1st class 2nd class
1 $5368 $4744
2 $3862 $3238
3 - 4 $3615 $2991
5 - 6 $3500 $2876
single supplement $359 $359

High May 1st - Oct 30th

  1st class 2nd class
1 $5610 $4894
2 $4104 $3388
3 - 4 $3858 $3142
5 - 6 $3743 $3027
single supplement $359 $359

*Prices are per person based on double occupancy in a specific hotel. You should add single supplement to the price in case you travel in a group but you stay at a single room. We offer discounts for groups of 7 or more. To inquire about group rates, please contact us.

Please note, train fares & schedule are subject to change without notice and the program can be slightly changed. Anyway this will not influence the quality of the services and we will try to make your trip unforgettable. 

Classic package includes:

  • Transfers airport–hotel / hotel-airport or train station–hotel / hotel–train station;
  • Train tickets 1st (2-berth compartment*) or 2nd class (4-berth compartment);**
  • Russian visa invitation (single entry).
  • Accommodation hotel 3*, DBL, B&B;

Full package includes :

  • Transfers airport–hotel / hotel-airport or train station–hotel / hotel–train station;
  • Train tickets 1st (2-berth compartment*) or 2nd class (4-berth compartment);**
  • Russian visa invitation (single entry).
  • Bilingual guide for all programs (Russian/English);
  • Accommodation hotel 3*, DBL, B&B;
  • Excursions according to programs;
  • Entrance tickets to museums.

* Single compartment in the train is available on request. 

IMPORTANT: The train  #362 which operates on Irkutsk - Ulan Bator route has only 2nd class 4-berth compartments, passengers traveling 1st class are provided with a separate compartment for 2 people. There is no dining car in this train.

Not included in tours unless indicated in Classic or Full packages:

  • Meals and snacks not listed in the program or listed as “optional”;
  • Visa fees levied by the Russian, Mongolian and/or Chinese Embassies. For US, UK and Canadian citizens, our company offers Full Visa Support. This is where you send us your passport and other documentation and we obtain the Russian visa for you. To learn more about this option, please visit the Full Visa Support page
  • International airfare. Our Russian tours are offered as land only where you arrange your own airfare and we meet you at the airport and handle everything else. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office.
  • Fee for oversized and overweight luggage;
  • Travel and health insurance;
  • Tips.

Please note that every effort will be made to adhere to the tour pricing, however, currency fluctuation beyond our control may affect final costs.

Payment policy:
To book a tour, 30% deposit is required at the moment of booking. The trip must be fully paid 61 days before departure.

Cancellation policy:
61 or more days before departure - a fee equal to 15% of the entire package will be charged.
60-15 days before departure - a fee equal to 30% of the entire package will be charged.
14 days or less before departure or no-show - a fee equal to 100% of the package will be charged.

Very often travelers coming to Russia have many questions concerning our tours, accommodation, visas, transfers and more. To see the answers to the most frequently asked questions, please consult our FAQ page.

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