Arrival in China. Exploring Beijing. Temple of Heaven
On arrival in Beijing, our driver will meet you in the arrival sector, waiting to transfer you to the hotel. We’ll begin our sightseeing programme with a sightseeing tour in Beijing.
The Great Wall. Ming Tombs. Peking Duck Dinner
The iconic symbol of China and an unmissable place to visit, today's destination, the Great Wall of China, is another of the area's UNESCO-listed sights. On our way, we shall make a stop to see the Ming Tombs, the burial site of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors. In the evening you enjoy a dinner of world-renowned Peking Duck.
Forbidden City. Departure to Mongolia
Infamous Tiananmen Square is a must-see when in the Chinese capital; it’s the largest city square in the world, boasting an impressive 440,000 m2 of space. Besides its cultural significance, it’s the location of events in 1989 when government tanks rolled in to stop pro-democracy protestors. To the north of the square lies the Forbidden City, listed by UNESCO for its collection of ancient wooden structures. We visit the Imperial Palace which dates from the Ming and Qing dynasties. At the end of the day, it’s time to begin our epic rail adventure, pulling out of Beijing station on a modern Chinese train which will take us to the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator. Note that Nostalgic Comfort and Bolshoi cars are not available for this part of the journey.
Through the Gobi Desert to Mongolia
By lunchtime, we’ve reached the Chinese-Mongolian border and will change to our private train. At Erlian, there will be a chance to wander in the colourful border market before the train makes its way across the vast Gobi desert and the Mongolian steppe.
Ulan Bator City Tour
The train pulls into Ulan Bator station in the morning. The city, whose name translates as “Red Hero”, occupies a site on the banks of the River Tuur surrounded by four sacred mountains. We’ll have time for a guided city tour before our evening transfer to a ger camp for an overnight stay in one of the country’s traditional felted yurts (overnight in a ger camp is optional).
Mongolian Countryside Guided Tour. Departure to Russia
The Mongolian countryside has been described by some as an Asian Switzerland. You’ll be able to decide for yourself as we take a bus trip through the beautiful landscapes and have a typical lunch at a nomadic herder’s ger camp. There, you’ll watch a display which showcases the incredible horsemanship of the local people. Later, we reboard our private train and continue onto Russia.
Ulan Ude City Tour
Today, we reach Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic of the Russian Federation. The city, located at the confluence of the Selenga and Uda rivers, was an important trading post between Europe and Asia. Make sure you look out for Lenin in the main square; this is the largest head of the former Russian leader anywhere in the world.
Circum-Baikal Railway Guided Tour
We reach Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest freshwater lake and our train pulls in around noon to the old station of Port Baikal, right on the lake shore. We’ll make a lengthy stop, enough time to capture some memorable shots of the lake or take a dip in its waters. There’ll be the opportunity to take a boat trip out on the lake and if it’s warm enough, we’ll picnic by the water’s edge before reboarding our train bound for Irkutsk.
Irkutsk City Tour
Beautiful Irkutsk is the capital of Eastern Siberia. On a city tour you’ll see the contrast between the elegant stone buildings of the centre and the quaint wooden cottages with their intricate fretwork decoration. Look out for the statue of Alexander III and also the lively market hall. After lunch we will visit the open-air museum "Life and Work in the Time of the Tsars” before transferring to our centrally located hotel for the night.
On the Train
Today’s train journey gives you the opportunity to appreciate the vast scale of Siberia as we head west. From your train window you’ll pass mountains, crystal clear water and evergreen forest. On board, you can choose to hear our entertaining lectures about Siberia and enjoy a Tsar’s feast prepared by the train’s talented chefs. Enjoy the legendary Russian hospitality during a vodka and caviar tasting while passing these impressive landscapes.
Novosibirsk City Tour
On arrival in Siberia’s largest city you’ll receive a traditional bread and salt welcome. Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia and its true cultural and scientific centre. This is the non-official capital of the Western Siberia.
Yekaterinburg is today’s stop. The city dates from 1723 and was developed as a fortress. These days it’s a key city in the Ural region of Russia. Our afternoon city tour explores the recently renovated city centre as well as the Cathedral-on-the-Blood, a memorial to the Tsars that were executed here. Reboarding our train, we continue west towards Kazan.
Kazan Kremlin Guided Tour
This old Tatar capital, sited on the banks of the River Volga occupies a picturesque setting. The coexistence of Russians and Tatars in the city for centuries has given this place a unique culture with traditions not seen elsewhere in the country. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city’s Kremlin before resuming your private train journey in the evening.
Arrival in Moscow. Kremlin & Cathedrals. Moscow Metro
Having crossed two continents and three countries, our train journey ends as we pull into Moscow station. Our driver will meet you off the train ready to transfer you to your hotel. At noon you visit the Kremlin grounds. Once the residence of the Tsars and now home to the Russian president. The Kremlin is also home to several beautiful orthodox cathedrals and Cathedral Square still retains the aura of early Tsarist Russia, where the spirits of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, and the early Romanovs loom large. Finally today, we head underground. No visit to Moscow is complete without a trip on its beautiful subway system, embellished with marble, mosaics, stained glass panels and bronze sculptures to make it more like an art museum than a mere transit system.
Tour Dates & Prices
Exploring the Russian Caplital. City Tour. Departure
It’s our last day in Moscow and we take a tour of some of the Russian capital’s major cultural and historic sights, including Lubyanka Square, the world-famous KGB centre during the Soviet era, and Teatralnaya Square next to Bolshoi Theatre. We reach Tverskaya Street, a busy shopping thoroughfare, by way of some interesting back lanes, before reaching Red Square. In Red Square, you’ll marvel at the coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, a feature on the Moscow cityscape since the 1550s. After the tour our driver will accompany you to the airport for your flight home.
During your tour you will stay overnight on a train, hotel and a traditional ger camp. Please see below for detailed description of accommodation options as well as various compartment categories available on your private train. Please note all our hotels and traditional accommodation in Mongolia (a ger) have been chosen for their central location, available facilities, tastefully designed interiors, and friendly service and customers’ feedbacks. All the hotels on your tour will have a 4* rating. Please note all our hotels are recommended on Tripadvisor and have above average reviews.
Tsar's Gold Private Train
Tsar’s Gold private train has been exclusively designed for tourist travel on the Trans-Mongolian railway. This is not a commuter train, rather a luxurious transportation option for holiday-makers. Tsar’s Gold private train offers seven different compartment categories ranging from the standard “budget” category with shared facilities to the VIP compartment featuring en-suite facilities and all modern amenities which can be found in a hotel. There is also a restaurant carriage on this train.
Hotel Plaza Beijing 4*
Beijing‘s Plaza Hotel is centrally located within the Chinese capital and situated within a short drive of the main tourist sights. The 218 comfortable rooms are furnished in a contemporary style. Each is fully equipped with satellite television, tea and coffee machine, minibar and in-room safe.
Hotel Marriott Courtyard 4* (from 2020)
The Courtyard by the Marriott Moscow City Centre is a brand new full service property yet safe, tranquil and residential, located right in the heart of town between Tverskaya and Nikitskaya streets, surrounded by residential buildings and the Tchaikovsky Music Conservatory. It is an ideal place to stay, whether you are on business or leisure, since the hotel is only 10 minutes walk from Kremlin, Red Square, City Hall, and the Old Arbat; all major Moscow business centres and several embassies are within easy reach.Learn more