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ITMNS - Trans Mongolian with Naadam Festival - Independent

Walk along the Great Wall, celebrate Mongolia's greatest and most colourful festival, traverse the mighty Siberian landscape, and explore Russia's most exciting cities on this grand adventure.

Inclusions

Group size
Meals
Transfers
Accommodation
Sightseeing
Expertise
Tour Provider Sundowners Overland
Number of Days
24
Price From
AUD $7,215
Start Location
St Petersburg, Russia
End Location
Beijing, Russia
Age Range
Avg. 40+
Group Size
1 to 24
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Adventure, Self Guided
Physical Rating
Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
01 Jan 201801 Jan 2019Please see web site for departure detailsAUD $7,215
ItineraryExpand
Day 1: St. Petersburg
Your journey begins in St. Petersburg, the 'Venice of the North'. This classic city is not to be missed with grand 18th century buildings, even grander palaces, and the greatest art collection of all, at the Hermitage. Stroll the wide boulevards, canals and beautiful bridges. The Nevsky Prospect is the hub of the city's cultural and social life, a great spot to people watch from the many cafes and restaurants that line the street.
Day 2: St. Petersburg and on to Moscow
Wander the gilded halls of the Hermitage Museum hung with the works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt and many other great masters or catch a world-class ballet or opera performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, before travelling onto Moscow aboard your first overnight train.
Days 3-4: Hello Moscow!
Moscow's eclectic collection of palaces and massive Soviet-style tower blocks that dot the city provide a fascinating set for your exploration of this impressive city. Take in the highlights around Red Square, including the colourful twirled cupolas of the iconic St. Basils Cathedral and further afield to the city's heart and soul The Kremlin. Showcasing monumental walls and towers, golden-domed cathedrals and magnificent treasures housed in its Armoury Chamber. Despite the loss of significant items from the collection during the 16th Century the treasures found within the Armoury are absolutely astounding!
Days 5-8: Moscow and aboard Trans Siberian Railway
After a final day soaking in the sights and lively culture of Moscow you join the Trans Siberian Railway for the four night journey towards Siberia. Leaving Moscow you begin the journey traversing Eurasia, through the Ural Mountains, the divide between Europe and Russia, venturing deep into Siberia booming over the steel bridges spanning Siberia's nerve system of five thousand rivers, across the breathtaking landscapes of the Altai Mountains and onto Irkutsk. The train is the best place to mingle with locals and fellow travellers with the dining carriage being the social hub whilst on board a great opportunity to practice your Russian!
Day 9: Irkutsk
You train pulls into Irkutsk station late tonight. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel where you will spend the night.
Days 10-11: Lake Baikal
After your overnight stay in Irkutsk you'll drive to the picturesque village of Listvyanka on the shores of the world's deepest freshwater lake, Baikal where you will spend the next two nights. Here you have time to explore the village with its traditional houses, Limnological Museum and spectacular landscapes.
Day 12: Return to Irkutsk
Almost in the geographical centre of Asia, Irkutsk made its fame as a stopping place on the caravan route from China. The city today still boasts 18th century churches and is renowned for its brightly painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lace work. Discover the city's major landmarks and historic sites whilst exploring this intriguing city.
Day 13: To Ulaanbaatar
Return to the station early this morning to board your onward train to Mongolia. Settle into life on board with your fellow travelling companions. As the train leaves Irkutsk you will skirt the shores of the magnificent Lake Baikal, before entering the mountains that border Mongolia towards your next stop - Ulaanbaatar.
Days 14-16: Ulaanbaatar and Naadam Festival
Arriving into the capital the atmosphere is electric as the commencement of Naadam Festival is imminent. Take in the incredible panoramic views of the city at Zaisan Memorial or mingle with monks at Gandan Khiid Monastery. Join in the excitement and mix with the crowds at the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival which is held annually in the National Sports Stadium. A unique spectacle showcasing traditional Mongolian sports and culture, the Naadam Festival is a point of national pride. The first rounds of wrestling and archery begin, with horseracing the focus on the second day, out of town on the steppe. These races are the domain of the younger children, who compete for the title 'Tumnii Ekh' ('Leader of Ten Thousand'). Join the crowds, who are often as entertaining as the competitors themselves, in cheering the winners and serenading the losers in song.
Day 17: Kharkhorin
For a real taste of this remote nation you journey to Kharkhorin; the ancient capital of Genghis Khan's empire. While here you can visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual home of Mongolian Buddhism. Over 100 temples were constructed, but most were destroyed during the Soviet era, nevertheless, Erdene Zuu retains much of its former glory and is a remarkable site to visit.
Day 18: To Bayangobi
Mongolia is a country with such diverse landscapes and today you experience the uniqueness of the Bayangobi, surrounded by the Ikhee Bogd mountain range and Gobi-like desert. Here you have the opportunity to visit the marvellous oasis of Elsen Tasarkhai, to hike in the stunning sand dunes and visit the Uvgun Monastery. Tonight you stay in a ger, the traditional home of the Mongolian nomads.
Day 19: To Khustai National Park
Continuing across the rolling steppe, you spend the night amongst the wild desolate countryside of Khustai National Park, to see the last remaining breed of wild horse. Once on the brink of extinction, the Przewalski horse was reintroduced to this area over twenty-five years ago, and has since established a stable population of these animals that are sacred to the Mongolian nomadic culture.
Days 20-24: Beijing
Take to the skies and make your way across the great Gobi desert onto Beijing. Take in the great sights and monuments of this imperial city and venture out beyond its busy streets to visit the incredible Great Wall of China. Immerse yourself in the bustling metropolis of Beijing, exploring the remarkable Temple of Heaven, wandering through Tiananmen Square and stepping back in time amongst ancient Hutong's. On Day 24 it is time to farewell the neon city strips of Beijing, as your Trans Mongolian journey comes to an end.