Day 1: Beijing
Arrive in Beijing and meet your fellow travellers. Check out the Forbidden City for a window into Imperial times, sink your teeth into Chinese culture with a visit to Tiananmen Square and an exploration of the hutong neighbourhoods. Hutongs were first established during the Yuan Dynasty; many of these alleys are protected today to preserve traditional culture. Test out your haggling skills and try local delicacies at colourful markets.
Wangfujing Snack Street is one night spot to check out with an empty belly and an open mind. You'll find a mind-boggling array of options speared on sticks or squished in buns - from deep fried insects to candied fruits and everything in between!
Day 2: Across Mongolia
Your first taste of the world-renowned Trans Mongolian Railway. Sit back, relax and watch the world transform from your window. As you roll across the legendary Gobi Desert, keep your eyes peeled for Bactrian camels among the golden terrain. Gold soon gives way to green as you enter the lush steppe, where you'll start to see nomadic settlements, yaks and wild horses dot the landscape.
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar
Explore the unexpected vibrancy of Mongolia's capital. There's a real mix of tradition and modern in this urban hub. The skyline is a mosaic of intricate Buddhist buildings, brazen Soviet blocks, ger suburbs line the city boundary, and beyond, there is nothing but grasslands for hundreds of kilometres in every direction.
Mingle with ruby-robed monks at Gandan Khiid Monastery or witness the unusual array of artefacts at the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan. Sample the hearty local fare and listen to the unique talent of Mongolian throat singing one of the world's oldest forms of music.
Day 4: Terelj National Park
Head out to a traditional ger camp in a protected nature reserve. Meet real nomads and see how they live. Their roving traditions haven't changed for hundreds of years, except for the introduction of solar power to light their gers at night. Soak up the stunning surroundings and enjoy a hike in the wilderness. If you want to horse ride across the open steppe or try your hand at archery, your Honcho can help organise this. If a local offers you a drink, it's culturally rude not to accept at least one; this could be homemade vodka, or it could be the local delicacy, fermented mare's milk. Bottoms up!
Day 5: Trans Mongolian Railway
Enjoy your morning in Terelj with a hike to Turtle rock or just relax in the peaceful surrounds before we journey beyond the rolling grasslands and back to the bustling city. We'll take a detour en route to visit the man himself the mighty Genghis Khan!
Days 6-7: To Lake Baikal
Welcome to Russia and right into the heartland of Siberia. Settle into your shore-side home at Lake Baikal, take a stroll around the water's edge and soak up the scenery. As the largest freshwater lake in the world, it holds 20% of Earth's freshwater and seems to stretch on to an infinite horizon. Take a dip if you're feeling brave, and taste the local cuisine. Omul is a fish endemic to the lake and served up in many ways; smoked, raw and barbequed. Bon Appetit.
Days 8-11: Irkutsk and the Trans Siberian Railway
Take in the cultural capital of Siberia. Early tea and fur merchants established Irkutsk as a trade outpost. It expanded during Russia's revolutions as elites and intellectuals were exiled here for having opposing opinions. During this time a signature style of architecture decorated the city in wooden latticework. Today, the city is a bustling university town with plenty to explore. Have a wander and a gander before boarding an afternoon train to Moscow.
Back on the iron-way, choose your own pace. Relax and contemplate what you've discovered so far and map out what you want to do when you roll into Moscow. Or push yourself to communicate with Russian travellers. Try out some new words and get inventive with sign language, you'll find yourself laughing with locals in no time. Remember to hop off at stations along the way to sample food from Babushkas, we can't promise healthy fare, but it will be a welcome break from your 2-minute noodles.
Days 12-13: Moscow
Congratulations. You've survived a 7,865km jaunt across some of the world's harshest terrain to arrive in Russia's capital; we reckon that's worth celebrating. Head to Arbat Street for a sweet treat or take things up a notch with some vodka and pickled accompaniments at one of the many bars.
Take in the iconic sights of the Kremlin and Red Square. The mesmerising St. Basils Cathedral may be one of the most Instagrammed places in the world, but you're getting to gawk at it firsthand. There's so much to see and do in this city of 10 million; from visiting an embalmed Lenin, experiencing the Museum of Soviet Arcade Games, petting feline friends at the cat caf , or just strolling through the city soaking up the extraordinary architecture. There's a buzzing nightlife too, from live music to underground dance parties to casual ping-pong bars. Whatever your niche, you'll find it in Moscow.
Extend your experience: Stay an extra day or two in Moscow. Chill out in Gorky Park - a hot spot for young people and sun worshippers. Explore more of the city's music scene and make some Russian friends as you party into the wee hours.