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Golden Eagle Trans-Mongolian Westbound

Overview

The most famous railway journey of them all, the Trans-Siberian railway is a historic line that firmly connects Europe, the remote, and stunning, Siberia, and Asia. It has proven to be a steel lifeline for the Russian people since its completion a century ago. More recently, in the 1940’s, an alternative route was added, travelling between the capital of the Buryat Republic, Ulan-Ude, and the ancient city of Beijing, through the Mongolian steppe and the Gobi Desert; though this tour will begin in Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital. This line is known as the Trans-Mongolian railway. Golden Eagle Trans-Mongolian tours are timed to coincide with what is considered to be the world’s second oldest Olympics, the Naadam festival. It is Mongolia’s biggest festival of the year, full of colour and celebration, with events that encompass those activities that defined Mongolian life 800 years ago; archery, wrestling and horse-riding. It is a truly unique festival that was added to UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010, and offers an insight to Mongolia’s social, and cultural, history in a way no other experience can.

  • VIP seating at the spectacular opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival

  • Experience the Naadam Festival’s major sporting events

  • Private performance of Mongolian throat singing and contortionists

  • Discover traditional nomadic life at Mongolia’s Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

  • Private viewing of the Kremlin armoury in Moscow

  • Private classical concert at the Decembrist museum in Irkutsk

Itinerary

Ulaanbaatar

The capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, was founded in the 17th century as a Buddhist monastic centre and is the country’s largest city. It is situated in the Tuul River valley, bordering the Bogd Khan Uul National Park and close to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. The city has a rich heritage and is home to many famous tourist attractions including the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Zaisan Memorial, Choijin Lama Temple, and the Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan.

Day 1

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Your tour along the Trans-Mongolian railway will begin in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar (literally meaning Red Hero). Once the centre of one of history’s largest empires (second only to the British Empire) led by Genghis Khan, Mongolia is a country of stunning landscapes and nomadic people, rich in culture and history. Mongolia is famous for its endless green steppes, the Gobi desert, its grazing livestock and the iconic white Gers that are dotted across the landscape.

  • Dinner

  • Arrival Transfer

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Welcome reception dinner

Day 2

Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar

Naadam Festival, also known as ‘erlin gurvan Naadam’ (the three games of men), begins today, and you will be present at the colourful opening ceremony consisting of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians before being taken to the national horse race outside of Ulaanbaatar.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Naadam Festival

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Expert Guide

  • Performance of Mongolian folk arts

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

Day 3

Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar

You will have another full day to enjoy the spectacle that is Naadam.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Naadam Festival

  • Performance of Mongolian folk arts

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Souvenir Shopping

Day 4

Excursions in Ulaanbaatar

This morning you will start your day with a tour of Ulaanbaatar starting with the Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates as ‘the great place of complete joy’. Next, you will stop at Chinggis Square (formerly Sukhbaatar Square) and see the central monument to Genghis Khan; undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Gandan Monastery

  • Sukhbaatar Square

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Optional Extras

  • Ghengis Khan Monument

Travel to

Ulan-Ude

Located to the East of Russia’s popular tourist destination Lake Baikal, Ulan-Ude is a city bustling with tourist activity and is the gateway for the Trans-Mongolian Railway that travels from Ulan-Ude to Beijing via Ulaanbaatar. The city’s close proximity to the Mongolian border and well-established transport links into Asia have allowed the city to form a unique cultural identity as the center of Buddhism in Russia.

Day 5

Excursions in Ulan-Ude

Ulan Ude peopleUlan-Ude is a unique place, with a unique heritage; it is the capital of the Buryat Republic and home to the native Buryat people.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Old Believers Village

  • Concert of local traditions and folk singing

Travel to

Listvyanka

A small settlement on the Western shore of Lake Baikal, Listvyanka is a highly popular tourist area known for its distinct local culture, fish market, and breathtaking hiking trails that venture around the edges of the lake. The settlement was formed near the point where the Angara River leaves Lake Baikal and is home to the Baikal Museum, with dedicated exhibits to the fauna and wildlife that can be found in the area.

Day 6

Travelling by Lake Baikal

One of the major highlights of any journey along the Trans-Siberian, is the section alongside the majesty that is Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, holding around 20% of the world’s freshwater. Building the railway around Lake Baikal was one of the toughest challenges faced by the original architects, and you will see why as the train spends around five hours following the shoreline, across bridges and through tunnels. Try to look out for Baikal’s most unique residents, the Baikal seal, the only, exclusively, freshwater seal in the world. To top the experience off, the train will be pulled by a Soviet-era steam locomotive along this incredible section of the line.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium

  • Barbeque by Lake Baikal

  • Steam train experience

  • Optional Extras

Travel to

Irkutsk

Irkutsk is one of the largest cities in Siberia and the most important hub for tourism in the Lake Baikal region. As opposed to many of the more industrially shaped cities in Siberia, Irkutsk has a long history as a cultural centre and has been home to scientists, writers, artists, and political activists such as the Decembrists. It is also a key destination on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Day 7

Excursions in Irkutsk

Irkutsk is often called the ‘Paris of Siberia’ due to its wide streets and ornate architecture, and we are sure you will see why as you take the city tour upon arrival. Exploring the city, you will have the opportunity to take in the beauty of the intricate, lace-like, decorations carved into the classical wooden architecture, that make the regions buildings so distinctive and unique. There will also be time to visit the Volkonsky House Museum, which is dedicated to the aristocrats who were exiled to this, at the time, far flung, corner of Siberia after the failed Decembrists uprising of 1825. We recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Souvenir Shopping

  • Volkonsky House Museum

  • Champagne reception and private concert

  • Optional Extras

  • City Tour

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

Day 8

On-board

You can take a day to unwind and recharge your batteries after several jam-packed days. Watch the breath-taking scenery go by, share your experiences with your fellow travellers or, perhaps, learn a few words of Russian.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Day on the Train

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

Travel to

Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia with the flair and charm of a provincial town. It is an important commercial hub in the region, hosting one of the best and largest universities in Russia which has shaped the identity of the city. The city is home to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Novosibirsk State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet (NOVAT), considered one of the best musical and theatre groups in Russia.

Day 9

Excursions in Novosibirsk

The most populous city in Asian Russia (at the time that it hit 1 million inhabitants, it was the youngest city ever to do so), located on the banks of the Ob River, Novosibirsk is a thoroughly modern ‘Soviet’ city. Art and science are prominent in the city and it is on this basis that your tour options have been created.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • City Tour

  • Expert Guide

  • Lenin Square

  • Optional Extras

  • Free Time

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Souvenir Shopping

Travel to

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg stands close to the divide between Russia and Kazakhstan and is known as the ‘window on Asia’ due to its close proximity to the border. The city is commonly referred to as Russia’s ‘third capital’ as it is ranked third for tourism, transport, and economic size. It holds crucial significance in Russian History as the final resting place of the Romanov dynasty.

Day 10

Excursions in Yekaterinburg

Founded nearly 300 years ago by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and holds a very important place in the history of Russia, as it is here that, in 1918, the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Church on the Blood of All Russian Saints

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Free Time

  • City Tour

  • Optional Extras

Travel to

Kazan

Kazan is the largest city and capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. The city lies at the confluence of the Kazanka and Volga Rivers in the South-East of Russia and was considered a crucial trade and political center from the Late Middle Ages onwards. It has become a popular tourist destination with famous attractions including the Kazan kremlin and Kul Sharif Mosque, known to be one of the largest mosques in Russia.

Day 11

Excursions in Kazan

Situated on the Volga River, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. You will have the opportunity to experience its unique history and culture, with free time to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city, as well as a tour of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel, are a stunning mosque as well as a picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Cultural Immersive Experience

  • Expert Guide

  • Kazan Kremlin

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Private concert

  • City Tour

Travel to

Moscow

Russia’s official capital, Moscow, is the political and religious heart of the country. The city has the highest density of billionaires, is the world’s most populated inland city and boasts six out of Europe’s ten tallest buildings. It continues to be a major tourist destination in Europe growing year on year with famous attractions including Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, and the Kremlin.

Day 12

Excursions in Moscow

Having travelled nearly 4,000 miles, today the tour will arrive in its last destination, the historic capital of Russia, Moscow.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

  • Red Square

  • GUM (Main Universal Store)

  • Expert Guide

  • Kremlin with Tsar Bell, Tsar Cannon and Armoury Chamber

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Souvenir Shopping

  • City Tour

Day 13

Depart from Moscow

Breakfast will be served at your hotel before you are transferred to the airport to begin the journey home.

  • Breakfast

  • Prominent Landscape

  • Scenic Surrounds

  • Departure Transfer

Where you can stay

A hotel can be the make or break of any experience, and we understand that choosing the right hotel is important to our travellers. Check out our range of hotels ahead of time, and learn more about our standard 3-star options and the luxury 5-star upgrades that are available in the destinations you will be visiting.

Please note that the selection of hotels included here are examples of where you may stay on your tour, we will pick the best option for you based on your travel requirements.

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