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ITMES - Trans Mongolian Express - Independent

This is an amazing adventure for aspiring travellers seeking a great experience in a short time. Take in the highlights: Russia's greatest cities, remote Siberia, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert; and Beijing. Travel the rails with the Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian railways.


Group size
Tour Provider Sundowners Overland
Number of Days
Price From
AUD $5,115
Start Location
St Petersburg, Russia
End Location
Beijing, Russia
Age Range
Avg. 40+
Group Size
1 to 15
Tour Style
Tour Themes
Adventure, Self Guided
Physical Rating
Tour departure dates
01 Jan 201801 Jan 2019Please see web site for departure detailsAUD $5,115
Days 1-3: St. Petersburg
Your adventure begins in St. Petersburg where you will be amazed how well the city fathers have preserved the 18th century architecture. It's a city of canals, standing resplendent on the Neva River.
Day 4: St. Petersburg and to Moscow
Further explore this luxurious city with richly filled palaces and museums, wide boulevards and Venice-like canals. The gilded halls of the Hermitage Museum are hung with the works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt and many others of the great masters, today you have the chance to see these magnificent treasures with our own eyes before joining the overnight express to Moscow Your epic journey is underway!
Days 5-6: Welcome to the Capital Moscow
Arriving into the capital mid-morning allows ample time to discover the wonderfully diverse monuments and spectacles on offer. These days the national capital is fairly buzzing with activity, but Red Square is much more sedate, with the colourful onion-shaped domes of St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin watching over it. In the 1970's a wooden spiral staircase was discovered within the walls of St. Basil's, you can now take this route into the central church, inside its extraordinary, soaring tented roof and a fine 16th Century iconostasis. Getting around this city is easy and an experience in itself as you discover the amazingly palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-reliefs.
Days 7-10: Aboard the Trans Siberian Railway
Late this evening you board the Trans Siberian Railway in Moscow and travel east via the Ural Mountains, which divide Europe from Asia, and cross the Irtysh and Ob rivers en route to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal deep in Siberia. During your time on board there's a great opportunity to pass the time getting to know some of the Russian passengers.
Days 11-12: Arrive Irkutsk and to Lake Baikal
After your evening arrival into Irkutsk, transfer to Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake, where you will enjoy a two-night interlude at nearby Listvyanka on the shores of the lake. A perfect picturesque location to relax and take in the area's beautiful wooden church and nearby Limnological Museum.
Days 13: Return to Irkutsk
Irkutsk made its fame as a stopping place on the caravan route from China and for many years was home to exiled aristocracy from Russia's west. Visit the homes of the Decembrists where you can gain an insight into the daily lives of St. Petersburg radicals dispatched here in 1825, or follow the green line around the city for your own walking tour of Irkutsk.
Day 14: Aboard the Trans Siberian
As the train leaves Irkutsk you will skirt the shores of the magnificent Lake Baikal, before entering the mountains that border Mongolia to your next stop, Ulaanbaatar.
Day 15: Hello Mongolia!
As day breaks you will be greeted with classic scenes of ger-dotted steppe and the occasional yak before arriving into Ulaanbaatar early in the morning. The capital displays ancient Buddhist origins, echs of its days as a Soviet satellite nation, and modern development with shiny new apartment blocks where the more affluent citizens live. Recent arrivals from the countryside opt for the cheaper and traditional gers which abound in some areas. Travel out across the grasslands to Terelj National Park where you will spend the night in a traditional ger and get a taste of the life of Mongolia's nomads.
Day 16: Terelj National Park and Ulaanbaatar
After a morning in the Mongolian wilderness, return to Ulaanbaatar for your final night in the capital. Here you have the chance to visit Zaisan Memorial, where Soviet soldiers are honoured and from which the entire city can be seen. Or mingle with Buddhist monks at Gandan Khiid Monastery and view the massive 25-metre statue of Megid Janraisig - the lord who looks in every direction.
Day 17: Across the Gobi Desert To Beijing
All aboard for your final train journey on the Trans Mongolian Railway! Early this morning, return to the railway station to meet the Beijing express train that will take us across the Mongolian steppe and Gobi Desert into China. At the Mongolian border town of Dzamin Ude, pause for border formalities and the train's bogies are changed, quite a sight to behold before we continue towards Beijing.
Days 18-21: Beijing
Around midday your journey will bring you to China's bustling 'Imperial City', where there are copious amounts of sights to see and thing to do. Over the next three days you have ample time to explore famous Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven, feast on many tasty morsels at the local markets and of course take an excursion out into the countryside to walk the Great Wall of China that stretches 10,000 li (around 5000 km) across the distant hills.