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MONGOLIA & TRANS-SIBERIAN TOUR

MONGOLIA & TRANS-SIBERIAN 2017 DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

Day 1 - Sat 02 Sep
Arrival Beijing (3 nights)
On arrival at Beijing's International Airport you'll be met by our representative and privately transferred to our hotel. This evening at around 6.30pm we'll rendezvous in the hotel lounge for a group briefing before heading out for a welcome dinner and a chance to get acquainted with our fellow travellers. (D)
Day 2 - Sun 03 Sep
Beijing - Forbidden City and Summer Palace
This morning we visit the beautiful Forbidden City, which is a masterpiece of 5000 years of Chinese civilisation and still vividly displays the power and prestige of the former dynasties. Sprawling over acres, the City is a magnificent group of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and deep terracotta walls. Ornately furnished palace rooms, priceless artworks and treasures are all now open to the public after 500 years of seclusion. This afternoon we'll also visit the Summer Palace and tonight attend an acrobatic show. At dinner there's a chance to sample the delicious Beijing dumplings and other local specialties. (BLD)
Day 3 - Mon 04 September
Beijing - The Great Wall
It's an early morning start today to explore the Great Wall at the Mutianyu section. It's a 1˝ hour drive outside of Beijing, slightly further than the popular and very busy Badaling Gate section. On arrival we'll have the option to complete a 2-3 hour walk along this beautiful section of the wall or to enjoy this section by cable car. Mutianyu is renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers and superb views. The Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Begun over 2000 years ago, it was built along the course of several thousand kilometres as a defense line to keep out invaders. Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the various northern walls into the Great Wall we see today. We return to Beijing in the evening for a traditional Roast Peking Duck dinner. (BLD)
Day 4 - Tue 05 September
Beijing - Train (1night) to Ulaanbaatar
This morning we transfer to the train station for our overnight journey to Ulaanbaatar; a journey of around 30 hours. This is an ideal way to see a changing countryside from the frenetic pace of Beijing through the great expanse of the Gobi Desert and into downtown Ulaanbaatar. The border crossing from China to Mongolia is in the late evening and takes around 4 hours, due to the changing of the train's bogies and the border formalities. Chinese and Mongolian border officials will board the train so expect a couple of interruptions to your night's sleep! For purchases made on the train and platforms in China, you should keep some Yuan with you. There is no need to obtain Mongolian tögrög (local currency) prior to arrival in Mongolia as purchases made on the Mongolian train can only be paid in USD. (B)
Overnight: Deluxe Soft Sleeper Cabin (2 passenger cabin)
Day 5 - Wed 06 September
Ulaanbaatar - Terelj National Park (1 night)
The train arrives into Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar by mid-afternoon. On arrival we're met by our Mongolian guide and driver who will stay with us for the next 3 days. We'll drive to Terelj National Park located around 80kms away.This protected region is home to beautiful wildflowers, fascinating rock formations and rolling meadows. We spend our night in a ger camp. (D)
Accommodation: Terelj National Park ger camp (2 people per ger, twin share)
Day 6 - Thu 07 September
Terelj National Park - Ulaanbaatar (1 night)
Today we'll spend a half day in the park enjoying its natural beauty with some short hikes in the surrounding mountains. After lunch we drive back to Ulaanbaatar stopping en-route at the Genghis Khan Monument. The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue is a 40mtr tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog where according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace. We walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck, for panoramic views across Mongolia. Tonight we'll attend a concert featuring wonderful Mongolian folklore music and dancing. (BLD)
Day 7 - Fri 08 September
Ulaanbaatar - Train (2 nights) to Irkustk
After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing in and around Ulaanbaatar by driving to the Ganden Monastery. This is the biggest temple in Mongolia and was built in 1809 by Djibouti Danba IV, specifically to study the sutra. The architecture connecting the large and small temples is remarkably beautiful. The focus of the temple is the biggest Bronze Buddha in the world at 28 metres high, with gold covering the entire body and decorated with jewels. We'll drive back to our hotel to check out, leaving our luggage in storage at the hotel then head out on a city tour. We'll collect our luggage later and transfer to the train for our departure to Irkutsk. The border crossing in to Russia takes approximately 7 hours and officials will again board the train at both sides of the crossing. Although we'll be able to catch some rest during this process, we should expect some interruptions to our sleep. (Try and keep a small amount of Mongolian tögrög for small purchases on the platforms prior to crossing the border as USD is not accepted by locals). Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in the dining car if you wish and we recommend you take some snacks. (BLD)
Overnight: 2nd class 4 berth compartments reserved for 2 people per compartment (no first class on this service)
Day 8 - Sat 09 September
Ulaanbaatar - Irkutsk - On Train
Enjoy your day on the train, watching the countryside go by, chatting to your fellow travellers or sitting back with a good book. This is your time to enjoy and relax.
Day 9 - Sun 10 September
Irkutsk - Listvyanka (2 nights)
We arrive early into Irkutsk and are met by our Russian guide. An hour's drive brings us to the small town of Listvyanka located 60 km's south-east of Irkutsk. Listvyanka sits right at the edge of Lake Baikal. Located in the southern part of Siberia, UNESCO-heritage-listed Lake Baikal is the oldest, largest and deepest lake on earth, reaching a depth of more than one kilometre and holding one-fifth of all the fresh water on the planet. The Buryat-Mongol indigenous people tell of Baikal's creation in stories and legends, of the spirits and gods who inhabit its waters and of the mighty conqueror, Genghis Khan who roamed the area. National parks and reserves line the east and west shores surrounded by dense forests, snow-capped mountains, grassy steppes, wetlands, deserts, rocky islands and rugged cliffs. On arrival in Listvyanka we check-in to our hotel then meet for our walking tour with a visit to the colorful fish bazaar where you can try local specialties. Then we'll visit the old wooden St. Nikolai Church and Limnological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, & the Limnology Museum, where there is a good exhibition on the flora and flora of the lake. The evening is yours to enjoy before dinner at our hotel. (LD).
Day 10 - Mon 11 September
Listvyanka - At Leisure
The day is ours today to enjoy Listvyanka and its surrounds at our own pace. Perhaps sit by the shores of Lake Baikal or hike along the lakeside trails, walk up to the viewpoint to enjoy views over the lake, take the Circum-Baikal railway to Slyudyanka or take a boat out to Peschanaya Bay. (B)
Day 11 - Tue 12 September
Listvyanka - Irkutsk (1 night)
This morning we return to Irkutsk, visiting the museum of wood carving in Taltsy village en-route. Irkutsk is located on the banks of the Angara River. Irkutsk is easily one of the most attractive cities in Siberia and was founded in 1651 as a Cossack garrison to keep the local Buryat population in line. In the 19th century, Irkutsk was used as an exile post and received some illustrious aristocratic exiles, giving the city a rich cultural heritage. The city's location, near Mongolia and China, means that strong Asiatic influences abound but also feature classic wooden Siberian cottages with beautifully painted and carved shutters and onion-domed shaped churches. Evidence of Soviet-era planning exists as seen by row upon row of ugly white apartment blocks. (BD)



Day 12 - Wed 13 September
Irkustk - Train (2 nights) to Yekaterinburg
This morning we'll undertake a sightseeing tour in the city known as the 'Paris of Siberia' where we'll visit the main sites of interest including the Decembrist Houses and the historic churches and buildings. Lunch will be in a local restaurant and afterwards there'll be some free time for shopping to grab any last minute supplies that we might need for our next train journey. In the late afternoon we'll be met and transferred to the railway station for our departure to Yekaterinburg which will leave at approximately 5.18pm. (BL)
Overnight: 1st class cabin
Day 13 - Thu 14 September
Irkustk - Yekaterinburg - On train
During these few days spent on one of the greatest train journeys in the world, we'll be able to watch the changing landscapes. Our travelling companions could be foreign tourists or locals alike and we should make the most of our journey by absorbing the scenery, or by just relaxing and talking to our fellow travellers. This section of the trip is all about the journey. We'll have many stops, some from a short 5 minutes and others up to 30 minutes where we'll have the opportunity to stretch our legs and replenish supplies with purchases made on the platforms.
Day 14 - Fri 15 September
Arrival Yekaterinburg (2 nights)
We'll arrive into Yekaterinburg around 6.07pm where we'll be met by our local Tour Leader and transferred to our hotel. After time to settle in we'll enjoy dinner in our hotel with a chance to share our train stories to date! (D)
Day 15 - Sat 16 September
Yekaterinburg - Sightseeing
Today we embark on a city tour of Yekaterinburg which is not only Russia's fourth-largest city but also a metropolis packed with art and history. In the past it has witnessed the gem rush, miners' mythology, the execution of the Romanovs, the rise of Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, and the legendary gangster feuds of the 1990s, but today it's a largely industrial and administrative city. Our tour will take in Plotinka, one of the oldest structures of its kind in Russia, the Yeltsin-Centre and the Square of the Soviet Army which embodies the atmosphere of the Communist era in the gloomy heavy stone Palace of Officers. The two monuments commemorating the victims of the first War in Afghanistan and then the War in Chechnya bear witness to the devastating results of the totalitarian Soviet regime. We'll have lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a visit to the Church on the Blood which stands on the site where the last tsar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, and his family were executed on the night of 17 July 1918. We'll also visit the Monastery at Ganina Yama where, after the shooting of the Romanov family, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were taken in secret and thrown into the pit. On a lighter note we'll end our tour on the border of Asia-Europe where we';ll visit an old village to enjoy a cup of local tea with a farmhouse family. (BL)
Day 16 - Sun 17 September
Yekaterinburg - Train (1 night) to Moscow
Following breakfast this morning, we'll check out and be transferred to the railway station in good time for our 10.12am departure bound for Moscow. Please ensure that you have what you need for the overnight train journey to Russia's capital. (B)
Accommodation: Overnight: 1st class cabin
Day 17 - Mon 18 September
Arrival Moscow (2 nights)
This morning we'll arrive into Moscow Railway Station at around 9.23am where we're met by our local Tour Leader and transferred to our hotel. The city of Moscow needs little introduction. Over the last couple of decades it has catapulted into post communism bringing with it a wealth of improvements and problems. Whilst the essence of this great city is still evident, the shopping and nightlife have brought an entirely new layer of complexity to the capital. Later today we'll enjoy a brief city tour in Moscow with our local guide followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 18 - Tue 19 September
Moscow - Sightseeing
Today has been set aside for a visit to Red Square with the Kremlin and its cathedrals. We start with a walk through Red Square where we're likely be somewhat overwhelmed by the view of St. Basil's Cathedral. For those of us wishing to visit the Mausoleum of Lenin at the foot of the Kremlin wall, we can expect to queue for up to two hours and perhaps more. There will also be an opportunity to go inside St Basil's and while we're in the Kremlin we'll also view the Armoury, with its opulent collection of state treasures. (B)
Day 19 - Wed 20 September
Moscow - Train (1 night) to St Petersburg
We continue our sightseeing this morning by coach where we'll visit Sparrow Hills for a panoramic view of the city. We'll visit the Assumption Cathedral and walk to the Arbat District and a stroll through the market stalls. A visit to Moscow wouldn't be complete without going underground to visit the city's elaborate Metro, so along with our local guide we'll ride the Metro back to our hotel and en-route we'll stop off to visit 3 or 4 of the most interesting stations. The rest of the day is free to enjoy Moscow at our own pace before returning to our hotel in time for our late evening transfer to the station for our train journey to St Petersburg which departs just before midnight. (B)
Overnight: 1st class cabin
Day 20 - Thu 21 September
Arrival St Petersburg (2 nights)
Our local Guide will meet us at St Petersburg's Railway Station and take us for breakfast at one of their favourite restaurants before a short orientation tour of the city. Our tour includes a visit to Peter & Paul Fortress, which is the oldest building in the city and is most famous for being a political prison up until 1917. After a midday hotel check in, with time for lunch, we'll visit the Winter Palace and The Hermitage, one of the world's greatest museums. We'll view the rich art work, porcelain and tapestries, the amazing Peacock Clock and masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, El Greco, Gainsborough, Monet and many more. After the guided tour there's time to explore the vast rooms of the museum before returning to our hotel to enjoy a dinner of local specialties. (BD)
Day 21 - Fri 22 September
St Petersburg - Excursion to Peterhof
After breakfast our local guide will accompany us to Peterhof. This Palace and Park complex is often referred to as the 'Russian Versailles' and while here we'll tour the Palace before we'll have time to explore the magnificent Parks at our own pace. Early this afternoon we'll use a Meteor hydrofoil to cruise back to St Petersburg via the waterways of the Gulf of Finland and the River Neva. Later this afternoon there'll be time to further enjoy this beautiful city at our leisure. Perhaps complete some last minute shopping, take in some more historic sites, simply stroll around and admire the beautiful architecture. This evening we'll enjoy a farewell dinner of local specialties in one of our favourite restaurants. (BD)
Day 22 - Sat 23 September
Departure St Petersburg
After 22 wonderful days, it's time to bid farewell. Our tour ends after breakfast with private transfers to St Petersburg International Airport for onward journeys. Guests who remain in St Petersburg and stay at the EuroVista hotel will receive a complimentary transfer to the Airport on the day of their departure. (B)




Note: The above itinerary is subject to change necessitated by any change in Community regulations as well as changes by Government and/or natural circumstances beyond our control.