Moscow: We have a chance to visit the Kremlin, and free time to see Red Square and the onion-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral, the ornate subway system, Gorky Park, or the Arbat
Siberian Express: Hang out with fellow passengers and sample the Russian culture of ‘tea-ing’ and toasting, pirogis and providnitzas, as we venture deep into the Russian hinterland into Siberia.
Lake Baikal: Take a small ship to a serene shore, camp out and eat omul, Baikal’s indigenous fish. Stay at a homestay with a Russian banya by the lake and take a lakeside train with spectacular views.
Mongolia: Take a 4WD out to Kharkhorin, the center of Mongolian Buddhism built from the ruins of Genghis Khan’s capital city; Orkhon waterfall in Khangai Nuruu National Park; and Lake Ogii, amid the grassland plains with abundant animal and bird-life.
Beijing: Walk along a lesser visited section of the Great Wall and visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We have the opportunity to have a Beijing duck dinner and watch acrobats.
|Transport||Siberian Express train, minibus, Baikal small ship, Circum Baikal Railway, Trans Mongolian train, 4WD|
|Fully Escorted||By tour leader|
|Activities||camping by Baikal, hike on Great Wall, optional hikes around Baikal, Mongolia|
|Accomodation||8 nights hotels, 7 nights train, 1 night camping, 3 nights Mongolian gers, 1 night homestay|
|Meals||as mentioned in itinerary: B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner; allow $50/(non-train) day for Russia, $10/day for Mongolia and China|
|Entrance Fees||not included|
|Physical Rating||basic to moderate activity|
|Visa||Russian, Chinese, not needed for Mongolia (dependent on citizenship)|
|Temperature||September: 5°C (40°F) to 25°C (77°F)|
|Not Included||Entrance fees, airfare to Moscow and from Beijing|
|Day 1||Moscow||Arrival day.|
|Day 2||Moscow||We have a free day to explore Russia’s capital and its array of cultural relics from the czars, the Soviet period and today’s Russia. In the evening we board the Siberian Express.|
|Day 3-5||Siberian Express||Hang out with fellow passengers and sample the Russian culture of ‘tea-ing’ and toasting, pirogis and providnitzas, as we venture deep into the Russian hinterland into Siberia.|
|Day 6||Irkutsk||(There is an option to join the tour on this day) A free day to explore the wooden buildings and onion-domed cathedrals in this former Cossack outpost on the Angara River. (B)|
|Day 7||Lake Baikal||On the way to Baikal we stop at an open-air museum before embarking from the port of Lisvyanka on a small ship. Our destination: a serene beach where we camp next to the world’s most pristine waters and eat omul, the lake’s indigenous fresh fish. (B,D)|
|Day 8||Lake Baikal||The ship takes us to the tiny village of Port Baikal where we will stay in a small cottage homestay. This is authentic Russian hospitality where we will have the opportunity to go out in the yard and take a Russian banya (sauna). (B,L,D)|
|Day 9||Lake Baikal||We board the CircumBaikal railroad for great views and several stops along the shores of Lake Baikal. This evening we board the Trans-Mongolian Express at Slyudyanka. (B,L,D)|
|Day 10||Trans-Mongolian||Cross the Russian border into Mongolia and see the transition from taiga forest to the steppe and grasslands of central Mongolia|
|Day 11||Ulan Bator||Arrive in the morning with a free day to explore Mongolia’s rapidly transforming capital city.|
|Day 12||Ulan Bator to central Mongolian steppe||We drive by 4WD from Ulan Bator to a region where we will stay with nomads in traditional gers. We will help them make a traditional Horhog Barbeque, and can ride horses and learn fishing from the locals. (L,D)|
|Day 13||Lake Ogii||We will drive to serene Lake Ogii amid the grassland plains where we can observe the abundant animal and bird-life. (Note: during April instead we visit Khustain National Park where we observe the recently endangered Takhi wild horses, among other abundant wildlife) (B,L,D)|
|Day 14||Lake Ogii to Karakorum||Driving from Lake Ogii, we will stop at ancient pre-Mongol citadel and stupa ruins. This is before we arrive at Karakorum, the center of Mongolian Buddhism built from the ruins of Genghis Khan’s capital city. We will stay next to the Mt. Khogno Khan Nature Reserve among Buddhist monastery ruins and sand dunes. (B,L,D)|
|Day 15||Mt. Khogno Khan to Ulan Bator||Today we drive back to Ulan Bator. (B,L)|
|Day 16||Trans-Mongolian||We board the train and spend the day crossing the arid southern plains toward the Chinese border from where we descend into the ‘Middle Kingdom’.|
|Day 17||Beijing||The rest of the day is free to explore this fascinating city. In the evening we have the opportunity to have a Beijing duck dinner and see the acrobats.|
|Day 18||The Great Wall||We take an excursion from Beijing out to a less frequented portion of the wall and take a 10km (6 mile) hike between two of the most picturesque regions (optional).|
|Day 19||Beijing||We visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. There is a little more free time before those of us continuing on board the train for Xian.|
|Day 20||Beijing||The tour ends for those only doing the Moscow to Beijing segment.|
|The end of the tour or continue to Beijing to Kathmandu|
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