Day 1: St. Petersburg
Our 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.
Join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers on Day 1 at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.
Day 2: St. Petersburg and on to Moscow
After this morning's City Tour we wander the gilded halls of the Hermitage Museum hung with the works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt and many other great masters before travelling onto Moscow aboard our 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 our exploration of this impressive city. We 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 we 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
We hop off the train for an overnight stay in Irkutsk. Almost in the geographical centre of Asia, Irkutsk made its fame as a stopping place on the caravan route from China.
Day 10: Lake Baikal
After our overnight stay in Irkutsk, we will drive to the picturesque village of Listvyanka on the shores of the world's deepest freshwater lake, Baikal where we will spend the night. Here we have time to explore the village with its traditional houses, Limnological Museum and spectacular landscapes.
Day 11: Return to Irkutsk
We return to Irkutsk. The city today still boasts 18th century churches and is renowned for its brightly painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lace work. This afternoon's sightseeing tour will reveal the city's major landmarks and historic sites before we spend our final night in Siberia.
Day 12: To Ulaanbaatar
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 our next stop - Ulaanbaatar.
Days 13-15: Ulaanbaatar and Naadam Festival
We arrive into the capital where the atmosphere is electric as the commencement of Naadam Festival is imminent. We 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.We will take in the incredible panoramic views of the city at Zaisan Memorial before mingling with monks at Gandan Khiid Monastery and taking in the highlights of Ulaanbaatar on our City Tour.
Day 16: Terelj National Park
Today we travel out across the grasslands, through the countryside that was once the home to Genghis Khan and his Golden Horde, to the pristine Terelj National Park. Here we spend the night in a traditional Mongolian nomad ger (felt tent), amongst spectacular rock formations and wild rolling hills. Living among nomadic families and their grazing livestock we can explore nearby valleys or just relax and enjoy the area.
Day 17: Kharkhorin
For a real taste of this remote nation we journey to Kharkhorin; the ancient capital of Genghis Khan's empire. While here we 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 we experience the uniqueness of the Bayangobi, surrounded by the Ikhee Bogd mountain range and Gobi-like desert. Visiting the marvelous oasis of Elsen Tasarkhai, here we have the opportunity to hike in the stunning sand dunes and visit the Uvgun Monastery. Tonight we stay in a ger, the traditional home of the Mongolian nomads.
Day 19-20: Across the Gobi to Beijing
We return for one last night in Ulaanbaatar, then all aboard for our final train journey on the Trans Mongolian Railway! Early this morning we arrive at 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 we pause for border formalities and the train's bogies are changed, quite a sight to behold, before we continue towards Beijing.
Days 21-24: 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.
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 Hutongs. 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. On Day 24 it is time to farewell your new friends as your Trans Mongolian journey comes to an end.