Day 1-3: Beijing
The adventure begins join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers this evening as final preparations are made for your departure. Please meet your Tour Leader at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your Joining Instructions.
Immerse yourself in the bustling metropolis of Beijing, where our first impressions are of the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square. Mao Zedong's mausoleum is a popular attraction in the center of this vast public square, so too the impressive gate to the Forbidden City (closed Mondays) which carries his image. Beyond the city we take an unforgettable walk on the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu.
Day 4: Trans Mongolian Railway
Board an early morning departure on the Trans Mongolian Railway and observe the villages and fields of northern China slip away as we head north. As the sun sets we'll cross the Gobi Desert bound for the Mongolian border, and its quirky yet friendly capital of Ulaanbaatar.
Day 5: Ulaanbaatar
The scenery as we approach Ulaanbaatar is impressive. The train winds around tight bends to provide excellent photo opportunities. Finally the capital appears, set amid endless grassy steppes.
We visit the Zaisan Memorial from which the entire city is visible. We continue to Gandan Khiid the country's largest remaining monastery where you can mingle with Buddhist monks and view the impressive 25-meter statue of Magjid Janraisig (the lord who looks in every direction).
Day 6: Terelj National Park
The wide-open spaces beckon and we answer the call by driving into the spectacular Terelj National Park to spend the night in a traditional ger faithful in design to those still used by the country's nomadic herdsman. The air is fresh and the surrounding mountain scenery is glorious!
Day 7: Ulaanbaatar and across Mongolia
We return to Ulaanbaatar where you have the opportunity to further explore this fascinating city before boarding our overnight train to Siberia.
Days 8-9: Arrive Irkutsk and to Lake Baikal
Our train rolls into Irkutsk Station late afternoon, from here we will drive to the nearby lakeside village of Listvyanka, where we will spend the next two nights, visiting the fascinating Limnological Museum the following day. This is typically rural Russia and a perfect spot to pause and relax.
Days 10-12: Irkutsk and aboard the Trans Siberian Railway
Upon our return from Lake Baikal we will embark on a walking tour where you will discover the city's wonderful historic sights 18th century churches, bright painted shutters and log houses decorated with intricate wooden lacework. It's a charming city with a history dating from the fur and tea trading days when it began as an isolated Cossack outpost. Aristocratic exiles from the west brought a touch of elegance with their ornately decorated wooden houses, while Asian traders from Mongolia and China introduced a touch of the Orient.
Late this evening we join the Trans Siberian Railway! We head west pausing briefly at stations - Novosibirsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg among them riding the rails of the world-famous Trans Siberian Railway en route for Kazan.
Days 13-14: Welcome to Kazan
One of Russia's most progressive cities the capital of the Tatarstan Republic within Russia, where orthodox and Islamic cultures meet.
Built on the intersection of two rivers, Kazan has endured a tumultuous history, in 1553 Ivan the Terrible took it from the Golden Horde and the city under went a process of Russification. Today Tatars, the descendants of the Golden Horde, make up about 43% of the population, maintain their own language as well as culture, and are very proud of their history.
Day 15: Kazan and onto Moscow
Today you can soak in the history and culture of this wonderful city on a full day tour with a local guide including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kazan Kremlin before we board our overnight train to Moscow.
Days 16-17: Hello Moscow!
Welcome to Moscow! This city will amaze you, its palaces and public buildings restored to their former glory. The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid twirled cupolas of St. Basil's across the cobblestones. Explore the Kremlin itself, where we go behind it walls to visit the Armoury Chamber with its vast array of treasures.
Day 18: Moscow and to St. Petersburg
Enjoy the day in Moscow exploring the city. Head underground to see the palatial, chandelier-draped metro, people watch on Arbat Street or wander the recently opened Zaryadye Park and take in the breathtaking views of the Kremlin. Returning to the station late in the evening, we board our train to St. Petersburg for our final leg of this epic journey.
Days 19-21: St. Petersburg
It is the city on the water, the 'Venice of the North', standing resplendent on the delta of the Neva River. Our City Tour will reveal the city's other great secrets including St. Isaac's Cathedral and the enormous Palace Square.