Days 1-4: Arrive Beijing
The adventure begins join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers in the morning of Day 2 at 0830 in the hotel lobby.
We visit Beijing's many wonderful sights the magnificent Lama Temple, Tiananmen Square and Mao's Mausoleum. Set in beautiful parklands we discover the fascinating history and significance of the serene Temple of Heaven and later we visit the almost timeless lanes and family courtyards of the hutong area.
The following day set off on an unforgettable excursion to visit one of China's most popular destinations, the Great Wall of China. Built to defend the civilised world from the fierce and capable Mongol horsemen, the Wall stretches some 5,000 kilometres across China's mountainous northern frontier.4
Day 5: Aboard the Trans Mongolian
Very early this morning, the overnight express waits to take us north to Mongolia. On board we quickly settle in and enjoy rambling scenery as the train tackles the mountains before descending to the arid lands of Inner Mongolia, and onwards to the very heart of Asia.
Day 6: Arrive Ulaanbaatar
Awake to the stunning visual of the south Gobi, the horse and ger dotted steppe stretches from horizon to horizon, the occasional nomad encampment appears mirage-like through the carriage window. This afternoon you will arrive into Ulaanbaatar where you can take some time to explore the city. In the evening we will see a cultural performance where you will hear the unique Mongolian throat singing that brings the day to a close.
Days 7-8: To Terelj National Park
This morning we visit the Gandan Khiid Monastery, where you can mingle with ruby-robed monks young and old, via the Zaisan Memorial for panoramic views of the city. The Mongolia of Genghis Khan lies beyond the city, the land of the nomad. In the afternoon, we travel to the countryside retreat of Terelj National Park for a two night stay in a ger the traditional home of the Mongolian people. In the countryside, we see remains of Genghis Khan's seat of power, enjoy the stunning mountain views, go horse or yak riding and learn of traditional Mongolian culture.
Day 9: Ulaanbaatar
This morning we return to one of the world's most remote capital Ulaanbaatar where we will enjoy seeing some sights of the city, including the National History Museum, which reveals the remarkable and unique history of Mongolia.
Day 10: Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway
This afternoon we depart aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway to Siberia.
Day 11: Arrive Irkutsk to Lake Baikal
This morning we arrive into Irkutsk and transfer straight to the lakeside village of Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal. You will marvel at the vastness of this inland 'sea'. Over 600 kilometres long and up to 80 kilometres wide, Baikal contains one-fifth of the earth's fresh water and is home to many unique species. En route we visit the Museum of Wooden Architecture and the Limnological Museum where you have the opportunity to gain an insight into the traditional lives of Siberian people and the lake's inhabitants. Enjoy a picnic by the lake where you can meander along the lakeshore or for the adventurous a swim!
Day 12: Irkutsk
Leaving the lakeside village of Listvyanka we return to Irkutsk always a highlight with its rich cultural heritage including the architectural influences of exiled aristocrats from the west, and the Asiatic influences introduced by ancient traders from Mongolia and China.
Days 13-14: Aboard the Trans Siberian Railway
On our last morning in Irkutsk, we enjoy a city tour. Old buildings and timeworn mansions lend a beauty to this remote but flourishing city of Irkutsk, sometimes called "The Paris of Siberia". Visit the central market, cathedrals and many of the old buildings with intricate wooden lacework, and with our local guide we learn the history of the Decembrists and their exile to Irkutsk in the 1860's.
Late afternoon we bid farewell to Siberia as we board the Trans Siberian Railway to Yekaterinburg. There's plenty of time to enjoy the company of Russian travellers on board, as we head towards Europe, crossing the great Ob River at Novosibirsk, passing through Omsk and towards Yekaterinburg.
Days 15-16: Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg, a city founded by Peter the Great in 1723, is situated just 40 kilometers inside of Asia. Infamous as the site of the brutal murders of the Romanovs. Here you will embark on a city tour where we will take in the history and intrigue surrounding the murder of the Romanov family, a significant event that changed Russia forever and ushered in the Communist era in 1918.
This city has a much brighter side to its tragic history. Today Yekaterinburg is rich in architectural monuments, museums as well as theatres, and on our arrival, you are free to explore all that is on offer.
Day 17: Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway
A mid-morning departure has us bid farewell to Asia and we cross the Urals and enter Europe aboard the train to Moscow. As we boom over the steel bridges spanning Siberia's nerve system of 5,000 rivers, the flickering silvers and greens of the birch forest speed past the train window.
Days 18-20: Moscow
Our train pulls into the capital mid morning before we set off on an exploration of this magical city. The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid swirled cupolas of St. Basil's. The Kremlin itself the fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we go beyond the red brick walls to inspect a lavish collection of tsarist treasures in the Armoury Chamber; the Cathedral of the Assumption where Tsars were crowned, the Bell Tower and the Faberge jewels and icons.
Beneath the city lies the palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-reliefs while the vast Cathedral of Christ the Saviour again dominates Moscow's skyline. In your free time take a tour of the city's stunning Metro, explore the exciting streets of Tverskaya Ulitsa (street) or Arbat Street, famous for its cafes and souvenirs and revisit some of the cities iconic sites.
Days 21-24: St. Petersburg
'The united magnificence of all the cities of Europe are but its equal.' so said Voltaire. St. Petersburg is indeed a unique treasure house of 18th century architecture and the city that best displays the Russian genius for museums.
The Peter and Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace of Petrodvorets, Palace Square and the unequalled collections of the Hermitage. Beyond the city lie the fabulous summer palaces and residences of the tsars and the Imperial Court, the most magnificent located in the spectacular garden of Petrodvorets. During our stay we will enjoy an evening performance at one of St. Petersburg's excellent theatres.