A winning Trans-Mongolian experience
Hands up if you ever expect to win any of the competitions you enter? Well for Cassie Silva it was no different, except that this time she got the surprise of her life when she really did win…
“As one of the winners of Intrepid’s ’30 Trips in 30 Days’ giveaway, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for one of the most fantastic tours of my life. I have travelled with several other of the big name group tour companies in the past years, but Intrepid surpassed them all.
The smaller group size was ideal – I felt like I was travelling with a group of friends (which I was!) and I never felt like cattle being herded to the next destination, like I have with some companies. I also enjoyed Intrepid’s commitment to responsible travel – even something as simple as our leader handing out canvas bags and encouraging us to use them at the grocery store instead of buying plastic ones.
I also liked how our leader encouraged us to “be Intrepid!” and go figure out things on our own (eg. asking a local for directions) rather than just following her blindly. Our Russian roommates on the train asked our leader to pass along a message to us in Russian and she said no, you guys are on your own, figure out how to communicate! (At least I assume that is what she said, it was in Russian!) This may sound cruel on the surface, but it was the best possible thing she could have done for us.
The Trans-Mongolian Experience is an epic journey, it is impossible to choose just one highlight, but the list includes riding a camel, sleeping in a ger, watching the sunset in the Gobi desert from the train window, riding horseback through the Mongolian steppe, the nighttime canal cruise in St Petersburg, the evening light and music show at St Basil’s in Moscow, exploring the Great Wall of China in the fog, and our homestay on Lake Baikal. Naturally the Trans-Siberian Railway was a highlight too – my roommate and I shared a cabin with locals, and we ended up sharing that tiny room with 16 revolving roommates over the course of 4 days!
Thanks for an unforgettable experience, I will definately consider Intrepid for my next tour because I know nothing else will compare now that I’ve had the best!”
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* photo by Betty Siemaszko – Intrepid Photography Competition