Guided Tour - Set Departure Date Trans Mongolian

Other Options: Weekly Independent

You are on the East to West direction (Beijing to St. Petersburg) itinerary page.
For West to East direction (St.Petersburg to Beijing) Click here : | West to East

Our set departure date, escorted Trans Mongolian train package allows you
the comfort and efficiency of a pre-organised locally guided touring programme.
This still allows flexibility and free time for personal preferences.

Our concept is to maximise the local sightseeing through efficient use of transport, with small groups of people.
We include the essentials, allow choice for further inclusions, and quality contact time with locals who know their area. In addition, our group concept gives you the security of advance arrangements, someone being available to sort out problems and changes, in the language required. In addition you increase the chance to meet and travel with fellow travellers with similar interests if you so wish.

Hear what past clients have said about our journeys. Client Comments


Itinerary East to West - Beijing to St Petersburg

Day 1 Today your great journey begins as you are transferred from your accommodation (if booked by our office) to the railway station thus beginning one of the greatest rail journeys available today. As you settle in to your allotted cabin you can view the great variety of people moving through one of the busiest railway stations. Your overnight journey takes you out of China and on to the Mongolian plains. The border crossing involves that visual, and auditory, experience of having the wheels changed to a different gauge. Note you can add one of our Beijing package before this trip. Info about the Train
Day 2 Arrive Ulaan Baatar where you are met and transferred to your accommodation. Balance of day to explore Ulaan Baatar. Ulaan Bataar is a city moving rapidly into the modern era whilst still trying to maintain links to the Mongolian culture. Massive ‘Soviet Inspired’ architecture is very evident, but this can contrast with a cow wandering the street, and traditional style design and colours being used as buildings are renovated. More information about Mongolia plus options to vary this stopover.
Day 3 Drive to Hogno Han. Visit the ruins of Uvgun monastery and take short trek into the Hogno Han mountains (optional. There is also the chance for optional horse riding. Overnight in Ger (Mongolian house tent) (BLD)
Day 4 Day trip to Khar Khorin to visit the Erdene Zuu monastery, surrounded by 108 Stupas and built in 1586. In the afternoon return to Hogno Han and visit local nomads. Overnight in Ger. (BLD)
Day 5 Today you leave (late day departure so free time in the morning available) the grasslands and drive back Drive to your Ulan Baatar accommodation. (BL)
Day 6

Free day for central Ulaan Bataar sightseeing or shopping for local souvenirs. I wonder if they have ‘Fermented Mares Milk ice cream yet? Transfer to rail station for evening train to Irkutsk. Late check out available at accommodation. (B)

Day 7 Day on the train – time to start that large novel, or get out the chess set.
Day 8

Arrive Irkutsk at about 0828 and transfer directly to in Listvyanka at Lake Baikal for two nights. En route you will be given a guided tour of the open air Wooden Architectural Museum. The highway from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal goes through ‘taiga-forest’, through rolling hills. About an hour later you reach the viewpoint for the ‘Shaman Rock’, near the source of the Angara River.

Homestay . Hotel . More information on Irkutsk including temperature guide. B

Day 9 Full day guided walking tour of the Listvyanka village area . A visit to the Museum of Lake Baikal is included.
The small village of Listvyanka is located on the shore of Lake Baikal - 70 km from Irkutsk. This old-style Siberian village is famous for its trade history. From the 18th century ferry’s took merchants across the lake for further travel to Mongolia, China and the Far East. The Museum of Lake Baikal (Limnological Museum) provides information about the origin, and wild life, of the lake. A video film gives you the opportunity to see the deepest point of the lake (1.637 m) taken from a submarine. Lake Baikal is frozen over from late January to early May. The thickness of ice near Listvyanka can be 70-80 cm. An area of the lake near the source of the Angara River is the only fresh water area in Siberia, which never freezes over.

In the village there is a variety of hot and cold smoked/salted fish called ‘omul’. Several private cafes, and restaurants, offer traditional Siberian or European meals for you. You can taste pelmeny (stuffed dumplings), pirozhki (with cabbage, or meat, or berries) and sandwiches of caviar to feel the spirit of Siberia! Add a shot, or two of the local vodka, (is this the real spirit of Siberia?) some time in a ‘banya’ (sauna), and you will soon hear balalaika music in the background! B

Day 10 Transfer back to Irkutsk where you will be taken on a three hour guided tour of the main city attractions.
Irkutsk, founded in 1661 when the Russian Cossack troops established a fortress on the right bank of Angara River. From the late 17th century, it was a political, economical and cultural center for Siberia. The city's classical architecture dates from the period of the 1880s when the city boomed after gold was discovered in the area. Most of the brick mansions and grand public buildings, varying in architectural styles, were constructed in the late 19th  to early 20th century. The Russian Orthodox churches and a Polish Cathedral (the only Siberian Gothic-style building) are located in the city centre. You will see many small, one and two-storied wooden houses, or cabins that are decorated with "wooden lattice work" (handmade carving), as well as modern buildings from the 20th century. Our trips visit either the Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies, or the Decembrists' House.  The tour of central Irkutsk is a walking tour. Sights and museums visited could vary due to a variation in local conditions. One nights hotel accommodation. B
Day 11  Morning free for personal sightseeing, or shopping. Transfer to rail station for your train to Moscow departing at approx 1355. B
Day 12 + 13 On board the famous Trans Siberian Express! Remember to get off at the short stops and wander around the station. All manner of local vendors will try to extract some Rubles for their goods.
Day 14 Arrive Moscow. You are met and transferred to your accommodation for three nights. Balance of day free to relax, relish that shower, and wander around your local environs. Accommodation: Homestay or Hotel. General notes about Moscow and sightseeing.
Day 15 Your guide will whisk you off for six hours of sightseeing using the famous Moscow Metro, local trolley buses, and if required a taxi. Yes a walking tour and with the traffic problems in Moscow this is the most efficient way to get around, not to mention the very personal side of a walking tour for a small number of people. Today you will walk the cobblestones of Red Square, wander the roads within the Kremlin and savour the majestic ancient orthodox cathedrals of this central precinct. B
Note: Should you find the duration of walking too much we can arrange alternative means of transport. This would require an additional cost and a possible reduction in the number of sites visited due to time in traffic.
Day 16 Today your guide will meet you for a second day of sightseeing using a combination of private car and public transport. Today’s major sights will be outside the central area. B
Day 17 Personal sightseeing or shopping. Afternoon transfer to the railway station for your fast train to St Petersburg. Upon arrival St Petersburg met and transferred for you late checkin to your acommodation. We no longer use the overnight sleeper train at this point. Yes it reduces costs a bit (bed for the night and cheaper rail ticket), but as it is such a short jouney it is not a fitful sleep, bags have to be stored as it is such a late departure and then the arrival is VERY early making accommodation checkin a problem. B
Day 18

Today your guide will take you on a three hour introdutory walking tour of the central area of St Petersburg. Again a combination of metro, bus and taxi may be used. St Petersburg has a much more concentrated central area and you will be amazed at how much can be accomplished today. This excursion will finish at the Hermitage Musuem allowing you time to explore this famous palace (central) at your own pace Note: Should you find the duration of walking too much we can arrange alternative means of transport. This would require an additional cost and a possible reduction in the number of sites visited due to time in traffic. B
General notes about St Petersburg and sightseeing.

Day 19 Today your guide will take you sightseeing by private vehicle to visit the famed Catherine Palace a supreme example from the time of Catherine the Great. Catherine Palace and Gardens is outside central St Petersburg. B
Day 20 Free day for personal sightseeing or shopping. B Optional excursion to the Summer Place of Peterhoff.
Day 21 After breakfast you are transferred to either the railway station, or the airport for your outbound journey, thus concluding one of the longest train rides. B

Departure Date
Guaranteed Departure Days
We have set departure days based on the most recent information from the Russian railways. Although unlikely, these can change and we would advise you as far in advance as is possible. In these cases changes can be made without administrative surcharges.
The following dates are designed to operate with a minimum of 2 persons. All train routes map (continental) - Click For Map: map is 166kb file

East - West


Depart Beijing on a Tuesday or Saturday – You can add our Beijing package.
Wednesday departure available with a surcharge.


Depart Beijing on a Saturday (Until end May). You can add our Beijing package.
A 2nd departure day will happen, but that timetable will not be known until April/May 2019.
Wednesday departure available with a surcharge.



Choice of:
1. Homestay throughout.
2. Hotels all stops. a) 2 Star: b) 3 star: c) 4 star: d) 5 star by quote only (not available at every stop).

Homestay: See our notes on this form of accommodation - click here.

Hotels: The better hotels are in Moscow and St Petersburg. 'Star' ratings can vary a bit in Russia, if compared to European, Asian and US hotels. Therefore, we state 'Three/Two' star. A particular hotel may have a local rating of three star, but by a wider world perspective it is considered two star. This relates more to hotels away from Moscow and St Petersburg. We have based the Three/Two Star price on a hotel cost across a range of hotels we access.

Meals: B = Breakfast: L = Lunch: D = Dinner:

We purposely do not include all meals. This gives you choice of time, place, and style in which you wish to dine. Where all meals are included means the local choice is limited and the included meals are good value. Part of the travel experience is to explore local cuisines, and by including set meals, at set times, within hotels can negate this opportunity. If you wish to ‘dine in’ then the choice is yours. We can provide some dining suggestions for you and your fellow travelling companions.

Meals on the train cannot be included in the cost and you should allow about EUR10 per day. A good idea is to stock up on some snacks before you board the train, and from vendors along the route. The majority of Russians find the restaurant carriage too expensive and bring all their food with them – lots of cheese, smoked fish, salamis and vodka!

Group Numbers:

This can vary. Gauranteed departures. The maximum size per group is 12 persons and the maximum number per walking guide is six persons.


Our guides are local people fluent in the languages required. Most are postgraduates, others are current part time students, and all are well educated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Our guides meet you at the railway station when your train arrives, often within a metre of the exit door when you arrive. They then return you to the train and ensure you are boarded correctly. They do not accompany you on the train, as this is not really required. At each point you have a local guide, with LOCAL KNOWLEDGE. A Russian, from Vladivostok is not going to have the same intimate knowledge of Moscow that a Muscovite will. Another reason for using locals is that this places more revenue into local pockets.

The train has been operating with local and foreign visitors for many years, even before the change from the Soviet Union to modern Russia, and so the journey runs efficiently. Remember the Trans Siberian railway celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2004! The staff on board are well used to foreigners and whilst many may not speak English they can understand problems, after all they have experienced most, or seek one of their colleagues who may be able to assist in the language required.


Sightseeing is detailed in the itinerary. There is time for more, but this can vary according to personal preference. During the ‘spare time’ slots additional sightseeing can be organised either using a walking guide or car. It is best to pre-order these, as you will then have consistency with your guide.

Museums and Galleries: Establishments such as the ‘Hermitage’ in St Petersburg are immense in size and content. Everyone has their own ‘time limit’ and absorption rate for such places. Often couples have different tolerance rates. We do not include ‘quick’ guided walks within such places, but allow the free time for people to enjoy them at their own pace. The Hermitage has a ‘two system’ entry. The standard way is to arrive, queue and buy a ticket. The second way is to advance book an entry ticket and enter via the ‘second door’ without the large queues that can be present. We can pre-order this if you wish. There is a service fee for this.


Without doubt Russia excels in these areas and many visitors wish to sample such an event. You can either ‘see what is on first before buying a ticket’, or pre-order your seats. This saves you a large amount of time and ensures you get into your chosen event when you want.

We can offer the following services;
* Establishing what is on during your stay, that relates to your interest.
* Arrange for tickets to be purchased and given to you when you arrive.
* There is a booking fee for this service.

Visa invitation documents and local registration:

The required paperwork to obtain a visa is given to you when full payment for the rail tour has been received. In addition, the ‘visa registration’ procedure is done for you upon arrival in Russia. Itinerary: East to West (Beijing to St Petersburg) West to East (St Petersburg to Beijing) .

Price Cost Page

Price: Costs: Page
Prices were correct at the time of publishing, but can change. We will then adjust this web site. If you have booked and deposited your trip there will be no surcharge. Upgrade train cabin means changing from a share 4 berth cabin to a share 2 berth cabin.
There are no single cabins. There are no 2 berth cabins on the rail section between Ulaan Bataar and Irkutsk (both directions). You can pay to make a 4 berth cabin for 2 persons. Please ask for this extra cost. Train departure days were correct at time of publishing the above itinerary. Naturally these can change and therefore we have to adjust the overall programme.

Additional Programmes

You may want to add some touring in China, or Beijing prior to your train departure. the following links will show you how.

Beijing Stopover Classics of China  

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