Real Russia Blog

The Camel Festival in Mongolia
27
November
2017

The Camel Festival in Mongolia

Your Must-See Experience

The Thousand Camel festival takes place annually between the end of winter and beginning of spring in Dalanzadgad. Participating in this spectacular 2-day event is an amazing and unique opportunity to interact with the two-humped Bactrian camels and Mongolian camel herders. Every year the festival gathers more than a thousand camels, and over a thousand participants and spectators. The camels are especially pretty in winter when their fur becomes thick and lavish to stand the cold temperatures.

The Role of the Camel in the Nomadic Lifestyle.

The festival celebrates the endangered two-humped camels (Bactrian) and the role it played, and continues to play, for nomads in the Gobi. These amazing animals carry everything that a Mongolian needs to build and live in a ger (also known as a yurt). Camels are much tougher than horses and can cover 50 miles in one day, and run very quickly.

Nowadays camels have been replaced as a means of transportation by cars, but the popularity of camel racing reflects the admiration still given to them. There are approximately 500,000 Bactrian camels in the world, and 300,000 of them habit in Mongolia.

Mongolians eat camel meat, similarly to goat, and use camel wool for making clothes like jackets and socks, and blankets.

The Festival



Camel riders before the start of races

This exciting and fun event takes place in the Gobi during the time of the year when the desert is covered in snow and temperatures drop below zero. It features traditional music, costume competitions, dancing, polo competition and camel racing. After the festivities, the spectators can ride the camels and visit some of the Gobi’s unique sights.

The festival begins with a camel beauty parade where the big, fluffy animals parade in front of the crowd. They then embark on the race, where the herders drive the camels on a 15km race across the steppe. The average speed of camels is about 12 km per hour, which corresponds to the speed of a galloping horse. Racing camels is the most beautiful and popular competition of all the holidays and events of Mongolia attracting many visitors.

​ Un unlimited expanse of steppe

In addition to the race, another highlight of the event is a Polo match. Two riders sit on each camel; one controls the camel, while the second one hits the ball with a stick.

Other highlights of the festival are traditional performances of Mongolian folklore and a fair of products from camel milk and camel-hair.

________________________

If you would like to experience this unique spectacle at the end of February – beginning of March, please contact our travel specialists and get first-hand advice.

Real Russia Blog

Golden Eagle Festival
21
July
2017

Golden Eagle Festival

Take an opportunity to experience old Kazakh traditions and ways of life, and coincide your trip with the fantastic Golden Eagle Festival.

If you are looking to experience a traditional way of life, with a scenic and diverse landscape, and awe-inspiring wilderness, then a visit to Mongolia will give you a fascinating insight into invigorating eastern culture. Why not take an opportunity to experience old Kazakh traditions and ways of life, and coincide your trip with the fantastic Golden Eagle Festival.


Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Event, the Golden Eagle Festival is annually held in Mongolia during the first weekend in October. The festival was founded in 1999 to preserve the Kazakh's unique heritage, a tradition that has been practiced thousands of years, and to protect golden eagles. The Golden Eagle Festival is one of the best opportunities to catch a glimpse into the area’s unique culture.

Place: Bayan-Ölgii, the highest Mongolian province
Location: the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia
Date: 15 – 16 September 2018, 6-7 October 2018

This province is a home to ethnic Kazakh nomads who train Golden Eagles for hunting. While enjoying breathtaking scenery of the Altai mountains that offers endless opportunities for photography, you can observe an ancient and disappearing art of eagle-hunting.

Mongolian Kazakhs, who honor the tradition of hunting on horseback with Golden Eagles, continue to hunt with trained Golden Eagles today. Once a year, dozens of them, from teenagers to old men, gather in a valley of the Altai Mountains to celebrate the Golden Eagle Festival and to participate in the hunting competition to the view of locals and tourists. The Eagle Hunters compete with each other in catching animals with specially trained eagles, who follow commands of their owners.

What the tourists can’t see, though, it’s the hard work of the eagle domestication that comes before. To tame the eagle, the eaglet is starved of food for days, until it begins to accept food from humans, and then the hunter can start training the eagle. As the bond between the hunter and eagle develops, they head to the mountains, sometimes for days, to hunt their prey – usually foxes, hares or wolves – during the winter months, when it is easier to see the animals against the snow.


Eagle huntsmen compete in the hunting skills, eagles’ agility, speed and accuracy as well as in huntsmen’s clothes: the more extravagant the coat the more respected the hunter is. The hunters are dressed in traditional Kazakh costumes, with fur coats made of marmot, fox or wolf skins which have been caught by their eagles.

The festival includes an opening ceremony, parade, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations and handcrafts taking place in the centre of the town of Ölgii, followed by sporting activities and competitions outside of town towards the mountains. The other activities held during the Golden Eagle Festival include horse racing, archery and Bushkashi, where horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf.

Keeping with the tradition, no women can participate in it. However, in 2014 the 13-year-old Kazakh girl Aisholpan, who was taught to hunt with her eagles by her grandfather, challenged a male-dominated tradition and became the first female to enter and won the competition. It was featured in the documentary ‘The eagle huntress’.

Tourists, coming from all over the world to participate in the Festival, help to keep this ancient tradition alive and thus support the local community, where people still live in harmony with nature, practicing the lifestyle that ancient Kazakhs lived centuries ago.


If we inspired you to visit this spectacular event, contact our travel experts to arrange you visa, tickets and accommodation.

Real Russia Blog

Meet the team: Igor Skorodumov
19
July
2017

Meet the team: Igor Skorodumov

Our Travel Expert in Volzhsky, Russia

Introducing our team.

We have a well-established team of highly experienced travel specialists, who are happy to assist with your travel needs, or find your perfect destination within Russia and the surrounding countries. These are the people who make our company so special. Today let us introduce Igor, a Tour Operations Supervisor.

Igor, a Tour Operations Supervisor at Real Russia

Igor Skorodumov joined Real Russia team in 2007. Igor has a Specialist’s Degree in Economics and, in addition to his native Russian, speaks three foreign languages, English, French and German. Whenever he has free time, he reads books, works in his country house (dacha), makes crafts at home, practices sports, takes photos etc.

He likes to travel and often travels with his family within Volgograd and Astrakhan regions of Russia, as well as further afield.

As Igor is a well-known enthusiast of travel within Russia, a fan of history and simply a ‘human encyclopaedia’, we decided to get straight to the point.

Igor's favourite destinations in Russia

Which city in Russia is the most appealing for you ?

It’s a difficult question, because each city has its own authentic beauty, history, population, dialect etc. The further one goes away from Moscow, the more vivid the local character of the city becomes.

Apart from well-loved Moscow and St.-Petersburg, I would like to accent here four cities along the Trans-Siberian railways: Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Ulan-Ude.

Kazan

Kazan is a mixture of past and present, Muslim and Christianity, with many stunning monuments on the Volga River. It is surprising to see how the different cultures, religions can coexist peacefully for several centuries. I think this is one of the “must-see” cities in Russia for those who want to dig deeper and see the 'real' Russia.

​Against the Kazan Kremlin wall

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg is one of the cities that played the most important role in the history of the country. It is the city where the last tsar’s family was executed putting an end to Imperial Russia; it is the city where the first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin was born; he was the one who put an end to the Soviet Union; there is a border line between Europe and Asia; it is the city that culturally can challenge St. Petersburg in the number of rock bands, musicians, composers and actors it has produced. The city is beautifully located South of the Ural Mountains. If you are making a stopover in this city, don’t miss a chance to taste Ural dumplings and walk along the streets that have preserved the style of the former Soviet Union.

Novosibirsk

Nestled along the Ob river, Novosibirsk depicts the grandeur of the Russian Empire: the biggest buildings being the railway station and the Opera House. Nowadays it is the scientific and intellectual centre of Russia. Siberian culture shows itself through the authentic meals, the way they are served and the way people communicate. There are lots of places to visit, for example, the Trans-Siberian railway museum, an Open-air Museum of locomotives and carriages, and the beautiful embankment of the Tsar Alexander III.

Ulan Ude

Ulan-Ude is the capital of Buryatia, and is striking to its visitors, with its colourful Buddhist buildings and traditional clothes. People here are very hospitable and friendly. The city has lots of featured buildings that absorbed both the local, and the Russian, cultures.

Where did you spend your last holiday?

My family and I went to the Russian analogue of the Dead Sea, the lake Baskunchak. We had a tour at Bogdo Mountain, a sacred mountain for people who believe in Buddhism (Kalmyks, Buryats, Mongols etc.).

The Trans-Siberian: A taste for the ‘real’ Russia, Mongolia and China

Last year you embarked on the Trans-Siberian railway with other members of the Real Russia team. How could you describe your experience on the Trans-Siberian in three words?

Contrasts, knowledge and history.

What was the most impressive in your trip?

We had a chance to witness the contrasts between two continents- Europe and Asia, between three countries along the Trans-Siberian – Russia, Mongolia and China, and observe a variety of cultures and lifestyles, as every place we visited has its own character and story to tell. After an intense and history laden two weeks in Russia, Mongolia was very quiet and sparsely-inhabited. And then, just one night away by train, we were in heavily-populated China; another incredible change again.

Why do you think Mongolia captured you?

I expected it to be a totally new experience for me, however, it is there, in Mongolia, where I felt more like at home than anywhere in Russia. This feeling was intensified when we came to Terelj National Park. I enjoyed this authentic atmosphere of simplicity, hospitability and friendliness. This country has the authentic values and is developing at its own pace, thoroughly keeping its character.


Igor in Terelj National Park, Mongolia

What advice would you give to customers that are planning on travelling to Mongolia for the first time?

Well, I would suggest they be prepared for lots of walking (take comfortable sport clothes, sneakers etc.), exchange their currency for the local one to be able to give tips or buy some sweets to share (for example, when visiting Nomads).

For vegetarians, I suggest searching in advance for the restaurants or check with Real Russia travel specialists about places serving vegetarian food or, if tour is booked, then it should be noted beforehand, because meat is the main food in the country.

Why do you think the Trans-Siberian route is so popular among foreign travellers?

It is the longest railway in the world stretching through two continents, several time zones and different landscapes. It is the best way one can experience Russia, Mongolia and China, admiring through the window, sitting in a comfortable compartment on a train.

What don’t we know about Igor

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I like to listen to Rock music at a high volume when I am alone at home.

What are your favourite books?

Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo, ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, and ‘The Adventures of Werner Holtv’ Dieter Noll.

What do you love the most about Real Russia?

I love the most about Real Russia that it is a real team. Many of team members are from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries, and, nevertheless, we have the mutual supportiveness and dedication that make every day at work great. For me, we have a team of professionals that have been awarded the World Travel Award for being Russian’s Leading Travel Agent for last four years not by chance, but by hard work.
​_________________________________

We thank Igor for squeezing us in, and look forward to introducing you to another member of our amazing team soon. Click here to find more series of our interviews!

Let us help you with your next adventure, contact our travel specialists.

Real Russia Blog

Win a copy of Matthew Woodward`s new book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures’!
20
June
2017

Win a copy of Matthew Woodward`s new book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures’!

We have three copies of Matthew Woodward`s incredible book to give away!

As many of you are rail enthusiasts, we are very excited to introduce to you a new book, ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’, masterfully written by our long-standing customer and friend, Matthew Woodward, a rail adventurer and seasoned Trans-Siberian traveller.

A life-long adventure

Matthew has completed four long-distance rail journeys through Russia; in his own words, “Overland adventure has given me a wonderfully different perspective on the size of the world, and the diversity of its people.” With that said, his new book is the perfect companion for anyone thinking about conquering the Trans-Siberian railway; in its pages you will find entertainment, guidance and inspiration! Or, if prefer to set off on an adventure without leaving the comfort of your home, the book will immerse you into life on-board the train, and beyond it – it will be your window on contemporary, and vivid, Russian, Mongolian and Chinese cultures.

Travelling across the world’s largest country is a challenge, and once you overcome it, you want more. “I was really missing the crazy people, the strange places and the mad weather. I wanted more. Colder? Yes! Harder? Yes! Longer? Yes please!” exclaims Matthew at the end of his book. And, “Yes, please!”, exclaim we in hope that Matthew Woodward’s stories will continue.

Real Russia is delighted to have been involved in his adventures, and to have several members of the team, namely, Igor, Natasha, Yury, Tanya and Anastasia, acknowledged in the book. We will be introducing them and many other members of Real Russia's family to you through blogs and social media over the coming months. Would you like to know more about our special team, click here.

We value your opinion, and we mean it!

Have you travelled with Real Russia before? Was it the Trans-Siberian journey, a tour to Saint Petersburg, or one of a thousand other experiences? Share your thoughts on TripAdvisor to be in with a chance to win one of three signed copies of ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’ by Matthew Woodward. Simply tell us about your experience with Real Russia on Trip Advisor between 23 June and 30 September 2017. After this date three winners will be chosen at random to receive this incredible book! And if you want to increase your chance of winning, if you share some photos of your incredible trip along with your review, you will be entered into the prize draw not once, but twice!

Click here to share your experience now!

Matthew Woodward’s book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’ available in Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon.co.uk.



For more information about Matthew Woodward and his adventures, visit his website www.matthew-woodward.com. Alternatively, take a look at our interview with Matthew from last year, as part of the launch of our Trans-Siberian Guides, and find out what his funniest Trans-Siberian experience was!

If you are planning a visit to Russia, China, Mongolia, along the Trans-Siberian railway, or beyond, and would like additional guidance or information, then do not hesitate to contact a member of our travel team who will be pleased to help.

____________________________
About Real Russia

Real Russia supports thousands of people travelling through Russia and along the Trans-Siberian railway, with a range of travel services, including:
Planning unique Trans-Siberian rail tours
Booking accommodation
Transfers from airport to accommodation, to railway station (and more!)
Russian, and international. rail tickets
Moscow and St Petersburg short tours
Visa services for Russia, China, Mongolia and more

Would you like to know what our customers say? Check out our TripAdvisor page.

Real Russia Blog

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 2
19
September
2014

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 2

In our latest blog, we began the countdown for the top 10 routes our customers were interested in last winter, in order to give you some ideas of where you could go this year!

If you missed this, head over to the Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1now and then come back when you are finished, to enjoy… the final Top 5….

5 Beijing to Moscow

St Basils Cathedral In Winter

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

What to see along the way?

Starting in the Far East and ending in Europe, you will have the opportunity to see culture, scenery and architecture change before your eyes, between Beijing and Moscow, from the pagoda’s of China to the Orthodox Churches and Kremlins of European Russia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • You could take a city tour by day or even a city tour by night, each excursion will give you an entirely different experience and perspective. Uncover the glimmering buildings as twinkling lights illuminate the water of the Moskva River or simply walk along the beautiful river by daylight, absorbing the architectural wonders of Moscow; Red Square, Moscow’s classic St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, as well as the intricately decorated Triumphal Arch, which is steeped in history!

  • Kuskovo Park and Estate offers the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful Russian gardens of this country house set on the edge of Moscow. Art and history lovers will be offered the opportunity to learn about its origins dating back to the 18th century, while those looking for a time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can simply appreciate the peace and tranquillity that the grounds possess.

4 Moscow to Vladivostok

Vladivostok

Coastline in Winter, Vladivostok

What to see along the way?

Ending in Vladivostok, the only route on our list to find its way past the city of Chita, the most famous of the Trans-Siberian routes will eventually bring you to Khabarovsk and the Amur River. The Amur River marks the border between eastern Russia and northern China and will give you the opportunity to travel across the longest bridge on the Trans-Siberian.

What to do upon arrival?

  • While vodka may be the drink Russia is known for, they also make very good beer, so a beer factory tour in Vladivostok is an experience beer lovers will not want to miss. You will learn about how the beer is manufactured and even enjoy a sample of the local brew.

  • Following seven days on the rails, why not spend some time on the waves with a cruise tour with time for fishing. A local guide can take you out along the Vladivostok coastline, taking in the view that is Peter the Great Bay, and they will even help you to reel in a fish or two!

3 Saint Petersburg to Moscow

Kremlin In Winter

Kremlin on the river, Moscow

What to see along the way?

If you travel to St Petersburg on the Sapsan you will not see all that much along the way, as you will make the journey in just four hours – ideal for travelling by overland railway, with a time constraint, and you will certainly maximize your time exploring each city!

Though, if a more sedate journey is to your liking then you can choose another train to ensure you see the northern reaches of the Volga; the largest river in Europe and a river considered by many to be the national river of Russia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Those with an eye for precious rocks and metals will enjoy visiting the Kremlin, Moscow Cathedrals and Diamond Fund. Among other items, you will be able to see the crown of the Russian Empire, Russian and foreign medals, the biggest gold and platinum bars found in the country as well as giant diamonds and numerous pieces of jewellery.

  • Away from the bustling atmosphere of Moscow’s centre, why not visit Suzdal and Sergiev Posad. With historic riverside convents, monasteries and fortresses, it is the perfect way to see into Russia’s past away from the traditional tourist areas.

2 Moscow to Beijing

Chinese Statue

Forbidden city, Beijing

What to see along the way?

Just after you pass Irkutsk and start to round Lake Baikal you will find the train stopping briefly at Slyudyanka station; the only train station in the world to be built entirely from marble! Be sure to have your camera at the ready for this one of a kind sight.

What to do upon arrival?

  • A favourite attraction among many visitors to Beijing is The Gongfu (Kung-Fu) Show. Astonishing martial arts displays are woven into the story of a young boy seeking to fulfil his dream of becoming a Kung Fu Master. Your jaw will be well and truly dropped as you leave.

  • Xingshan Park, also known as Fragrant Hills Park, is a beautifully tranquil Jin Dynasty-era park covered with lakes, hills and a forest made up of maple, persimmon, pine and cypress trees. The park is named for the highest peak in the park, Xianglu Feng; a peak that reaches an impressive 557m. It can be found close to the Forbidden City, so it is a great excursion to tie in together on one short stay to see the most of Beijing.

1 Moscow to Saint Petersburg

St Petersburg Hermitage

The State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

What to see along the way?

As the best trains (such as the Grand Express) along this route all travel at night (leaving around 11.30pm and arriving around 7am) why not enjoy your luxurious surroundings, get a good night’s sleep, and prepare for a day of exploring what Saint Petersburg has to offer.

What to do upon arrival?

  • If you take a city tour through Saint Petersburg you will have the opportunity to visit, among many other wonderful places, the Peter and Paul Fortress; learning all about the history of the city formerly known as Leningrad.

  • The State Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world. It stretches across six buildings and houses over three million pieces; ranging from pre-historic artwork through to medieval weapons and armour. While you are there, why not take a short walk along the Neva River.

If any of these journeys have inspired you to take a journey of a lifetime, visit our ticket booking page, our live schedules page or get in contact with one of our travel specialists.

Alternatively, select your own journey, and try it your own way. There are thousands of routes throughout Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China that you could travel along; let your imagination guide you to Explore, Discover and Experience Eurasia!

Real Russia Blog

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1
8
September
2014

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1

As the summer comes to a close, and the long nights draw in, it is only natural to think of travel; visiting more exotic, or unusual, places to take a break from it all. Why not journey along the thousands of miles of rail track throughout Russia and beyond? From the comfort of a sleeper cabin, or the catered luxury of a dining car, travelling by train gives you the opportunity to see landscapes that you could never dream of seeing by air or road.

At this point, you may be asking, ‘…with so many wonderful journeys to choose from, where should I go first?’ In order to give you some ideas, we have looked into the journeys our Real Russia customers were interested in taking last winter, and have created a ‘'Top 10'’ for the most popular routes; highlighting points of interest along the way, and upon arrival.

10 Moscow to Ulan Bator

Ger Camps in Ulan Bator

What to see along the way?

Where to start? On a long journey such as this there are countless sights to take in. Look out for the boundary between Europe and Asia, marked by a monument, 1,777km east of Moscow, take in the awesome sight of the Ob River in Novosibirsk and relax as you watch the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal, pass by between Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Take a trip to visit a nomadic family for the day. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in how a nomadic family lives in, and around, Ulan-Bator, experiencing their culture as you dine with them and spend your day as one of the family.

  • Take a walking tour of the city. You can spend a full day discovering the delights of the city by traveling on foot, including the Choijin Lama Buddhist Monastery, which dates back to the 18th century, or the National History Museum with hundreds of Mongolian artefacts. If the full day seems a touch too long, why not just go for the morning.

9 Moscow to Berlin

Grunewald Forest

What to see along the way?

Of the four countries that you will pass through, the four capital cities, are the highlights of this journey; Moscow , Minsk (Belarus), Warsaw (Poland) and finally Berlin.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Take a stroll in the Grunewald Forest to see the man-made hill that offers an astonishing view of Berlin amongst the charming fields, trees and flowers.

  • Shop in Mauer Park, a real favourite among the locals. With market stalls and a flea market, you will have a great chance to really get to know the locals in Berlin in a natural and thrilling environment.

8 Ulan Bator to Beijing

Houhai Lake, Beijing

What to see along the way?

Your journey between Ulan Bator and Beijing will encompass many incredible vistas, chief among these is the Gobi desert, home to the Gobi Bear, the Bactrian Camel and the Gold Eagle. Before pulling into Beijing do not forget to look out for one of history’s greatest architectural achievements, the Great Wall of China.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Join the ShiChaHai Lake Bike Tour at Houhai Lake, where you can enjoy the traditional Chinese stone lions that overlook the bridge of the lake, and see the willow trees that rest between the edge of the water and a traditional Chinese house.

  • Pay a visit to an Evening Acrobatic Show that features the extraordinary balance and agility of Chinese acrobats. Their skills showcase a mixture of gymnastic skills, circus acts, martial arts and ballet; this show offers something for everyone to enjoy.

7 Moscow to Irkutsk

Frozen over Lake Baikal, Irkutsk

What to see along the way?

Passing through much of Siberia, the list of things to see is endless. One city to take note of, though, is Tyumen, built on the banks of the Tura River; the first city to be built in Siberia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Get on board the Circum-Baikal Railway, a charming Russian railway that transports you around the shoreline of Lake Baikal; the world’s largest natural fresh water resource. Lake Baikal contains 20% of the earth's freshwater, and is teeming with an array of endemic life, such as Baikal seals, also known as nerpa. In the winter, Lake Baikal entirely freezes over making it a popular tourist destination for ice fishing and ice skating.

  • Visit a local Buryat Shaman and take the opportunity to learn about the inspiring Buryat culture that carry out fascinating rituals and serve traditional authentic food to their guests; helping you to become fully immersed in the community.

6 Berlin to Moscow

Christ our Saviour Cathedral, Moscow

What to see along the way?

Between Berlin and Moscow you will cross four separate countries across Eastern Europe. This will give you the chance to take in a great many sights, such as the Vistula River, the longest and largest river in Poland, while travelling through Warsaw.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Why not enjoy a city tour encompassing sights such as Novodevichy Covent & St Basil’s Cathedral. Visit two of Moscow’s essential classics, as well as other memorable sights such as the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Moscow State University, taking a stroll up Sparrow Hills in the process for an astonishing panoramic view of Moscow.

  • There are many different ways to view the city, including Moscow’s Metro, Arbat Street, the Kremlin and the Armoury uncovering the depths of Moscow’s heritage. Visit the 19th century armoury that holds Russia’s state treasures and finery, absorb the beauty of Moscow’s delightful Metro (with stations that would not look out of place hosting ballet recitals or opera performances!), as well as indulge in shopping at traditional Russia craft stalls on Arbat Steet.

… Please click to see the final Top 5 routes on part 2 of our blog!…

It is important to remember that these are not the only routes available and, as we have customers who book with us, a wide variety of journeys; travelling all the way from Paris to Beijing and down into South East Asia.

If any of these journeys pique your interest, visit our live train schedules or our ticket booking page to take your first step towards a winter adventure!

Alternatively, create your own adventure, the possibilities are endless!

Real Russia Blog

Mongolian and Kazakhstan visa-free regime
18
July
2014

Mongolian and Kazakhstan visa-free regime

It has been an exciting few weeks for travel in Eastern Europe, with new lower cost travel opportunities being opened up to travelers.

Both the Kazakhstan and Mongolian governments have announced they have introduced a trial visa-free regime in these regions for citizens in many countries. This is primarily to encourage business to these areas, though will also promote a further positive impact on the tourism market too!

In Kazakhstan the visa-free regime has been introduced to 10 countries, for passport holding citizens travelling on tourist and business purposes for up to 15 calendar days. This type of entry is permitted between the 15th July 2014 and 15th July 2015. Please click here to see the full article, with further details including the list of 10 countries permitted for this type of entry.

In Mongolia the visa-free entry has been introduced to 42 countries, for passport holding citizens travelling on tourist and business purposes for up to 30 calendar days. This type of entry is permitted between the 25th June 2014 and 31st December 2015. Please click here to see the full article, with further details including the list of 42 countries permitted.

For both Mongolia and Kazakhstan, this will initially be a trial period and then each country will decide, independently, whether the scheme should continue beyond these dates. We will keep you updated with any extensions to this scheme as they are announced.

The news is great for travelers interested in our Trans-Mongolian tours, as it will reduce the cost of this route by £94 – a massive saving! In all cases, where Mongolia is included as part of the tour, it will mean one less visa will be required for your trip, which can only be a good thing in terms of budgeting for your travel arrangements!

If you would like to arrange a tour, or would like advice from one of our travel specialists, please get in contact with our travel team who will be happy to help.