Beijing to St Petersburg Trip Notes

Beijing to St Petersburg

Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016
Beijing to St Petersburg
Trip code: CBSQC
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
Big, bigger, biggest! Travel from the world’s greatest wall, along the world’s longest railway line, through the world’s largest nation, to the world’s deepest freshwater lake. Explore far-flung cities, small rural villages and everything in between in this breathtaking part of the world. Journey to China and see the sights of Beijing, stay overnight in a Mongolian ger, then ride the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia to see impressive St Petersburg and the small town of Kungur. Immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of this region on this exciting trip, while gaining insight into a big part of the world that is little explored.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersFinish point
ThemesAccommodationFinish point description
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Why we love itMeals introductionEmergency contact
MapMealsVisas
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- You will be travelling on overnight trains for up to 3 consecutive days.
- We use a mix of accommodation on this trip, from Guesthouses, Hotels, Ger Camps and Trains.
- Travel by Overnight Sleeper Trains, Public Buses, Metro and more on this journey through Russia.
- Overnight trains are simple but comfortable. There is a toilet/bathroom and compartments with bunks/berths. Please note that we travel 2nd class on all overnight trains (4 people per compartment). While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages.
- Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only.
- Please note that on occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning.
Why we love it
- Experience this incredible bucketlist rail adventure through 3 countries.
- Overnight in a Mongolian Ger Camp.
- Visit 'Old Believers Village' in Ulan Ude, (Orthodox Christians who's way of life has changed very little since the 18th century).
- Stay in a traditional wooden guesthouse in one of Suzdal's quiet streets and visit the home of one of our local friends to indulge in a meal of hearty regional flavours and assist the family in baking some pastries.
- In beautiful Moscow visit Lenin, the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution which ushered in the era of communism, at his austere mausoleum on Red Square.
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing/Train
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please have two copies of your passport, visa and migration cards ready. One will be collected by your leader, the other is for you to keep on you at all times whilst on this trip.
The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture.
As we will depart for Mongolia early morning on Day 2 we highly recommend arriving in Beijing a few days earlier to experience all this city has to offer. Some suggestions for optional activities are below.
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square - Free
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
    Accommodation
    King Parkview or similar (1 nt)
    Day 2 Beijing - Train
    Today we board our train out of China and travel into Mongolia - the first leg of this epic train journey that will take us the 9,000 km to St Petersburg. This is an overnight journey (approx 30 hrs) that includes a long border crossing during the night where our passports are processed. It's here that the bogies (train wheels) have to be changed because of the differing rail gauges used in China and Mongolia.
    Trains on this journey are simple but comfortable. There's a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after our comfort and safety although service standards can vary greatly. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to.

    Each compartment has four bunks with luggage storage space inside. All our journeys are in 2nd class (four berths per compartment with a lockable door) on this trip. Bedding is provided, although some travellers still prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There's hot water available for making drinks or instant meals, tea and coffee. We recommend bringing a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) Sometimes snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board and most trains also have a dining car, although with a limited menu. You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.
    Trains are generally heated but most do not offer air conditioning. The train can become very hot even in winter and the train attendants will not allow the windows to be opened, please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions on these train journeys.

    Please note that in many cases, particularly in peak travel season, due to high demand for tickets on the Trans-Mongolian route we aren't always able to get all of our tickets together. It is likely that at least some members of the group will be sharing compartments with other travellers, either foreign or local, particularly if your group does not divide evenly into four.
    Accommodation
    Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
    Day 3 Ulaanbaatar
    Crammed between superpowers Russia and China, the independent nation of Mongolia is a true Intrepid destination. The capital, Ulaanbaatar (affectionately known as UB), is a city where new meets old as elderly Mongolians in traditional dress mingle with the nation's young business elite. Mongolia's past close relationship with the USSR is evident in the Soviet-style architecture and city layout. Explore the city's many museums to learn about the country's turbulent history, including the reign of history's most famous Mongolian - the feared and respected Genghis Khan.
    There are lots of great experiences to be had in UB including:
    Go to the Museum of Natural History, which has an excellent dinosaur display.
    One of the city's most fascinating museums is the Intellectual Museum where you can learn about the history and culture of this intriguing country through puzzles, toys and magic tricks.
    Perhaps experience Mongolia's rich artistic culture at a performance of traditional throat and "long song" singers, musicians, dancers and contortionists.
    Optional Activities
    • Ulaanbaatar - Intellectual Museum - MNT8000
    • Ulaanbaatar - Natural History Museum - MNT8000
    • Ulaanbaatar - National History Museum - MNT8000
      Accommodation
      J Hotel or similar (1 nt)
      Day 4 Ulaanbaatar - Ger Camp
      Travel to Terelj National Park by private van (approx 90 mins). With rolling meadows, forested hills and imposing rock formations this is the perfect place to take in Mongolia's natural beauty. We have a local guide with us to share some insight into Mongolian customs and culture, as well as lead us on a hike to a local Buddhist retreat.

      In Terelj, we stay in a holiday ger camp (multi-share) with full board. Vegetarians can be catered for although choices may be limited - please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements at time of booking. The gers at our holiday camp sleep up to three people with comfy beds and plenty of blankets. In the colder months you might want to stoke up the stove in the centre of the ger and you'll be toasty warm in no time! We share our meals together in the dining quarters. Bathroom facilities here are basic with one shower but do have toilets and basins with cold water in a support building outside. Please note in the colder months when plumbing is no longer functional there will be no running water and we'll use the outdoor pit toilet.
      Get involved in making your own dinner by learning to cook buuz - traditional Mongolian dumplings.
      Included Activities
      • Terelj National Park
      • Terelj National Park - Cooking class
        Accommodation
        Terelj Ger Camp (multi-share) or similiar (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
        Day 5 Ulaanbaatar
        Our private vehicle will return us to Ulaanbaatar after breakfast.   
        On the way back we will stop and visit the huge Genghis Khan Monument. Genghis Khan, the legendary horseman who conquered half the known world in the 13th century can be viewed from miles away. You can climb up the silver structure and see the view from the atop of the horse, this site can be a little touristy but the views are pretty amazing!
        Included Activities
        • Terelj National Park - Chinghis Khan Monument
          Accommodation
          J Hotel or similar (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 6 Train - Ulan Ude
          Today we have a city tour visiting Zaisan Hill, the Winter Palace, Gandan Monastery and more.
          We will then leave Mongolia aboard the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which takes us across the border into Russia and on to Siberia (approx 26 hrs).
          A brief word about drinking on the train: Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and Mongolia and can be an enjoyable way to meet local people as well as interact with your fellow Intrepid travellers. In order to make sure that your experience of train travel with us is a positive and safe one there are a few things we'd like you to keep in mind before setting out on your train journey.
          While alcohol is often available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) should only be consumed in the dining car. Train security guards keep a very close eye on drunken behaviour and have the legal right to fine or have any passengers who are intoxicated removed from the train without warning. Should this happen there's very little we can do to assist you in continuing your journey with the rest of the group.
          Alcoholism is also a serious social problem in Russia and Mongolia so travellers should take care not to encourage or take part in drinking to excess. Fake alcohol is common and the motives for being invited to drink with locals may not always be honest. The locals' tolerance for alcohol is likely to be much higher than your own. You may be putting yourself and other members of your group at risk by getting involved in heavy drinking while on the train.
          While we certainly want all our Intrepid travellers to have a great holiday it's important that you show due respect for your fellow group members and keep in mind that many of your local companions use the train as a means of transport to get home or to work. It's most appreciated if foreign travellers are respectful of this, particularly in the mornings and evenings or when other passengers are sleeping.
          Included Activities
          • Ulaanbaatar - City Tour including Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace & Gandan Monastery
            Accommodation
            Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Day 7 Ulan Ude
            Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia and homeland of the Buryat people who are related closely to Mongolians. After years of repression during the Soviet era, Buryat traditions and religions (shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism) are now seeing something of a revival. The future of Buryatia is directly connected with development of the Lake Baikal area as a tourism zone. By coming here with our groups, respecting environmental issues and rational use of the area's rich cultural and historic legacy, Intrepid aims to contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in Eastern Siberia.

            We don't arrive into town until the evening.
            Included Activities
            • Ulan Ude - Old Believers Village
              Accommodation
              Geser Hotel or similar (1 nt)
              Day 8 Lake Baikal
              The city has a unique cultural mix of local and Russian traditions - it's the site of numerous flourishing Buddhist Datsans and its main square is home to a large and highly unusual head of Lenin - the world's biggest!
              Make a visit to an Old Believers Village. The Old Believers are Orthodox Christians who were exiled or fled from European Russia during the church reforms that took place in the 17th century. This visit will take us to a place that has changed little since the 18th century. Visit the local church and ethnography museum, attend a concert of folk songs and games and enjoy a meal of timelessly tasty home-cooked dishes.

              Lake Baikal is the world's deepest, amazingly holding over 20% of the world's fresh water. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from during our stay here in a comfortable local guesthouse including hiking, swimming and boat trips.

              This part of the lake has long, beautiful sandy beaches and some smaller and warmer lakes, where visitors can relax, play games and enjoy the sun and magnificent scenery.

              Full board is included in Enhaluk with plenty of tasty Russian staples like salads, soups, black bread, pancakes and pies. We'll also get a chance to try the local fish from Baikal, omul, which definitely tastes even more delicious when roasted over a camp fire on the lake shore! Tonight's accommodation is multi-share.
              Accommodation
              Baikal Enkhaluk Guesthouse (multishare) or similar (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
              Day 9 Lake Baikal
              Today is a free day to enjoy your surroundings.

              Don't miss out on experiencing a banya - the Russian saunas that locals say get you cleaner than any other form of bathing. The banya here gives us a chance to cool off from our steam right into the lake, before you go back in and do it all again!
              Included Activities
              • Lake Baikal - Banya (Russian sauna)
                Accommodation
                Baikal Enkhaluk Guesthouse (multishare) or similar (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                Day 10 Trans-Siberian Railway
                Today we return to Ulan Ude and head to the train station.

                Board the train for our longest journey of the trip - the three-night journey on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway which takes us all the way to Kungur.

                Please note there are a limited number of trains from Ulan-Ude to Kungur with two different time schedules. Due to late schedule changes we may need to leave Ulan-Ude earlier and arrive during the very early morning in Kungur.
                Accommodation
                Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 11-12 Trans-Siberian Railway
                The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world's most famous train line. It's also the longest, extending from Moscow across Siberia to the far-flung town of Vladivostok. We experience part of this celebrated train odyssey from Ulan Ude to the Ural town of Kungur (3 nights total). Travelling through three time zones, we wind our way through forests, small Siberian villages and big industrial Russian cities, to reach the bustling European part of this vast and varied nation.

                The train stops roughly every 4-5 hours at major cities in Siberia, and some smaller ones as well. A list of stations where we'll stop is available, along with the time spent at each one. Major stops (15-40 mins) are usually at Irkutsk - Angarsk - Zima - Nizhneudinsk - Ilanskaya - Krasnoyarsk - Mariinsk - Tayga - Novosibirsk - Barabinsk - Omsk - Nazyvayevsk - Ishim - Tyumen - Ekaterinburg and finally Kungur where we disembark.

                The duration of each stop ranges from 2-40 minutes but ALWAYS double check with the carriage attendant and your leader and do not stray too far from the train if you get off for a walk on the platform. Trains in Russia run on Moscow time even as we pass through different time zones so make sure you and the train are on the same schedule. It may be a very long wait for the next train to come through and it's unlikely that many people at the station will speak English if you get left behind (it has happened!). Even if you get off the train for a short stop make sure you have your passport and valuables with you, as well as the itinerary with contact details of your leader and your train ticket. Additional safety issues will be discussed by your leader at the group meeting.

                It might seem like a long journey but the majority of our travellers are actually surprised how quickly it goes! Spend the days learning some Russian, chatting with your fellow travellers, having some meals in the dining car or taking a chance on finding some babushkas hawking local produce or baked goods on the platforms. Watch the landscape roll by, read up on the upcoming destinations or play cards. There's actually plenty to keep us busy and enjoying this relaxing part of our journey and you may even be reluctant to get off when we reach our next destination.
                Accommodation
                Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nt)
                Day 13 Kungur
                A pretty provincial Russian town, Kungur is well known for its traditional architecture. When Siberia was first opening up for settlement, a major road passed through here, turning it into a centre for trade.
                Kungur is seldom visited by foreign tourists and we hope that through regular visits by our groups, Intrepid can have a positive impact on the development of tourism here.
                Architects were invited from all over European Russia to make Kungur into one of the most beautiful towns in the region, something which we see in the mix of architectural styles in the original buildings we pass on our walking tour with a local guide. . Since Intrepid started visiting Kungur, we have acquired the first English speaking guide in the area, a student training to work in tourism in the future. Please take this into account during our walking tour.
                The Kungur area is interesting for its unique karst landscape. The Kungur Ice Caves are some of the most extensive in the world. Of the 6 km of passages, currently 1.5 km are open to the public. The first two caves contain permanently frozen ice formations, waterfalls and underground lakes. Watch out for the mythical monster mammoth that is said to inhabit the caves! It is possible to visit the caves as an optional activity, although please note that English speaking guides are not usually available.
                In the evening, we visit a local family for a local Russian dinner experience.
                Our accommodation in Kungur is centrally located in twin rooms, one bathroom is shared between two rooms.
                Included Activities
                • Kungur - Family visit
                • Kungur - Guided walking tour
                  Optional Activities
                  • Kungur - Ice Caves - RUB1000
                    Accommodation
                    Iren Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                    Day 14 Kungur - Perm - Moscow
                    Today is a long travelling day. We depart Kungur in a private bus and travel to Perm train station. (Approx 4 hours with stops). Perm is the most Eastern city of Europe, and is a major rail junction connecting Siberia and the Far East with the European part of the country.

                    Depending on our arrival time we may have some free time to explore here, until we board our the overnight train to Moscow (approximately 25 hrs), which departs at approx 17:20.
                    Accommodation
                    Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                    Day 15 Moscow
                    The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and seen Russia through some of its most turbulent years, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Beneath its modern veneer - a sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism - Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of sights to see.
                    We arrive in Moscow around 5pm and take the busy metro to our centrally located hotel.
                    We can celebrate the end of our journey here in Moscow with an evening visit to Red Square.
                    As there is plenty to see and do, we highly recommend staying a few extra days to enjoy everything Moscow has to offer. See the suggestions for optional activities below.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Moscow - Victory Park Museum - RUB250
                    • Moscow - Izmailovo Vernisazh Markets - RUB10
                    • Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre - RUB4000
                    • Moscow - Tretyakov Art Gallery - RUB400
                    • Moscow - St Basils Cathedral - RUB350
                    • Moscow - Gorky Park - Free
                    • Moscow - Red October Art Zone - Free
                    • Moscow - River Cruise - RUB700
                    • Moscow - Red Square & Lenin's Mausoleum - Free
                    • Moscow - Moscow Behind the Icons Urban Adventure - EUR38
                    • Moscow - Moscow Underground Urban Adventure - EUR38
                    • Moscow - Modern Moscow Urban Adventure - EUR38
                    • Moscow - Armoury Museum - RUB700
                    • Moscow - Entrance Kremlin Grounds - RUB500
                      Accommodation
                      Arbat-House Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                      Day 16 Moscow
                      As this is a combination trip, your group leader, group size and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. Please note our group size on the Moscow to St Petersburg section is 16.

                      Today is a free day to further explore Moscow. Please note we will be visiting Lenin's Mausoleum, Kremlin and the Armoury Museum on Day 19. On occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning.
                      In your free time today perhaps visit the following sites:
                      Relive the nation's turbulent past at Victory Park. Travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery. The Izmailovo Markets are considered the best place for souvenir shopping.
                      Step inside the colourful St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. Legend has it that tsar, Ivan the Terrible, had the two architects blinded so that they couldn't build anything as beautiful.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Moscow - Moscow Behind the Icons Urban Adventure - EUR38
                      • Moscow - Modern Moscow Urban Adventure - EUR38
                      • Moscow - Victory Park Museum - RUB250
                      • Moscow - Moscow Underground Urban Adventure - EUR38
                      • Moscow - Tretyakov Art Gallery - RUB400
                      • Moscow - Gorky Park - Free
                      • Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre - RUB4000
                      • Moscow - River Cruise - RUB700
                      • Moscow - St Basils Cathedral - RUB350
                      • Moscow - Red October Art Zone - Free
                        Accommodation
                        Arbat-House Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                        Day 17 Suzdal
                        Travel by private bus to Suzdal (approx 4 hours/220km).
                        Suzdal is one of the fascinating towns on the so-called 'Golden Ring' - a group of ancient and former capitals of Russia. It's a beautiful place that feels like a fairytale, with many glittering onion domes dotting the skyline, opportunities to drink mead by the riverside, and a symphony of cathedral bells to be heard. Crumbling churches and lovingly decorated wooden cottages line the narrow streets and alleys of this magical spot.
                        We stay in a traditional wooden guesthouse in one of Suzdal's quiet streets. Some rooms are twin share, while others are triple or quad share or interconnecting rooms. We share the toilet and bathroom on each floor and have access to a spacious kitchen and group dining area. On occasion, the group may stay in different guesthouses which will be located nearby.
                        Visit the home of one of our local friends tonight to indulge in a meal of hearty regional flavours.
                        Included Activities
                        • Suzdal - Russian Dinner & Traditional Pastry Baking
                          Optional Activities
                          • Suzdal - Belfry Climb - RUB100
                          • Suzdal - Mead Tasting - RUB270
                            Accommodation
                            Jeff's Guesthouse or similar (multishare) (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                            Day 18 Suzdal - Moscow
                            This morning join our local guide for a walking tour of some of the sights such as the local Kremlin, Wooden Architecture Museum, trading square, market and monasteries (approx 3 hrs).
                            We then transfer to Vladimir by private van (approx 30 min) and then take the super modern high speed Sapsan train to Moscow (less than 2 hours).
                            Spending this evening back in Moscow and maybe enjoy a free evening seeing Red Square at night.
                            Included Activities
                            • Suzdal - Guided Walking Tour
                              Accommodation
                              Arbat-House Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 19 Moscow - Novgorod
                              Visit Lenin, the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution which ushered in the era of communism, at his austere mausoleum on Red Square.
                              Enter the Kremlin grounds which house the oldest and most important churches in the country, where many Tsars and Tsarinas are laid to rest. Also head inside the Armoury Museum which houses a glittering imperial collection of regalia and items once belonging to the world's richest monarchy, including Faberge eggs and ambassadorial gifts.

                              As Moscow's premier tourist attractions, tickets for the Kremlin and Armoury are in high demand. In order to control the number of tour groups entering these sights at one time the Moscow Tourism Administration has set strict quotas. The amount of time guides can spend with their groups is also restricted to 90 minutes in each area, with any exceptions possibly resulting in the guide losing their license, so while we appreciate that some travellers would like to spend longer in the Armoury Museum we ask for your understanding that the guide is under pressure to keep to the schedule.

                              The Diamond Fund isn't included in our tour, but after the Kremlin and Armoury there may be time to visit. Entrance tickets can be purchased in the ticket office at the Armoury. The Diamond Fund is open for visitors from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Thursday it is closed.
                              Please note that on occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning.
                              This evening from Moscow's Leningradskiy railway station, board our overnight train to Novgorod (approx 8 hrs/700km).

                              Trains on this journey are simple but comfortable. There's a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after our comfort and safety although service standards can vary greatly. Each compartment has four bunks with luggage storage space inside. Bedding is provided, although some travellers still prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There's hot water available for making drinks or instant meals, tea and coffee. Sometimes snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board and most trains also have a dining car although with a limited menu. We travel 2nd class (four berths per compartment) on this trip.

                              Please note that in many cases, particularly in peak travel season, due to high demand for tickets on this route we aren't always able to get all of our tickets together. It's likely that at least some members of the group will be sharing compartments with other travellers, either foreign or local, particularly if your group does not divide evenly into four.

                              A brief word about drinking on the train: Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and Mongolia and can be an enjoyable way to meet local people as well as interact with your fellow Intrepid travellers. In order to make sure that your experience of train travel with us is a positive and safe one there are a few things we'd like you to keep in mind before setting out on your train journey.

                              While alcohol is often available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) should only be consumed in the dining car. Train security guards keep a very close eye on drunken behaviour and have the legal right to fine or have any passengers who are intoxicated removed from the train without warning. Should this happen there's very little we can do to assist you in continuing your journey with the rest of the group.

                              Alcoholism is also a serious social problem in Russia and Mongolia so travellers should take care not to encourage or take part in drinking to excess. Fake alcohol is common and the motives for being invited to drink with locals may not always be honest. The locals' tolerance for alcohol is likely to be much higher than your own. You may be putting yourself and other members of your group at risk by getting involved in heavy drinking while on the train.

                              While we certainly want all our Intrepid travellers to have a great holiday it's important that you show due respect for your fellow group members and keep in mind that many of your local companions use the train as a means of transport to get home or to work. It's most appreciated if foreign travellers are respectful of this, particularly in the mornings and evenings or when other passengers are sleeping.
                              Included Activities
                              • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury Guided Tour
                              • Moscow - Lenin's Mausoleum
                                Accommodation
                                Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                Meals
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 20 Novgorod
                                Arrive early morning in Moscow and transfer to our hotel.
                                Novgorod is Russia's oldest city and is still home to numerous well-preserved architectural monuments hinting at the glories of the past. As the former capital of ancient Russia, it's often seen as the cradle of modern Russian civilisation.
                                Explore the city's sights on foot with our local guide. The city's foremost sight is the graceful Kremlin on the banks of the Volkhov River. Inside there are parks, museums and cathedrals as well as the amazing Millennium Monument, which tells the story of 1,000 years of Russian history. On the opposite bank of the river are quiet shady streets, the graceful ruins of Yaroslav's Court and other echoes of medieval times.
                                In your free time here you might like to check out the Yurev Monastery on the shores of Lake Ilmen, visit the Wooden Architecture Museum just outside of town or catch a music performance at the Philharmonic Hall. In the summer you can also relax on the little riverside beach or take a boat trip on the Volkhov River for glimpses of the quiet countryside surrounding Novgorod.
                                Tonight, maybe join your leader and plenty of friendly locals for a refreshing steam and wash at the public banya (bath house).
                                Included Activities
                                • Novgorod - Walking Tour & Kremlin
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Novgorod - Public Banya - RUB190
                                  • Novgorod - Yuriev Monastery - Free
                                  • Novgorod - Vitaslavlitsy Wooden Architecture Museum - RUB150
                                  • Novgorod - Volhov River Cruise - RUB500
                                    Accommodation
                                    Sadko Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 21 St Petersburg
                                    Travel from Novgorod to St Petersburg by private bus (approx 4 hours/200km).
                                    Truly one of Europe's finest cities, built of baroque European architecture combined with the opulent palaces of Russian royalty, St Petersburg was built by the Russian tsar Peter the Great and his legacy will clearly be felt as you explore its enigmatic streets and visit its showcase cathedrals and museums.
                                    Visit the home of our local friends to see how the average Russian lives, and have a tea party Russian-style. Not all family members speak English but your leader will be on hand to interpret and with their warm hospitality you'll be feeling like one of the family in no time.
                                    These families live in St Petersburg's communal apartments from Soviet times. Such apartments and way of living are still common in St Petersburg however most have ceased to exist in other Russian cities. A truly unique local experience that you won't find anywhere else.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • St Petersburg - Tea party with local family
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • St Petersburg - Saint Isaac’s Cathedral - RUB400
                                      • St Petersburg - Mariinsky Theatre Perfomance - RUB4000
                                      • St Petersburg - Matryoshka Painting Workshop - RUB1200
                                      • St Petersburg - Saint Isaac’s Cathedral Colonnade - RUB400
                                      • St Petersburg - St Petersburg like a Local Urban Adventure - USD63
                                      • St Petersburg - Kazan Cathedral - Free
                                      • St Petersburg - Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - RUB250
                                      • St Petersburg - Boat Trip - RUB600
                                      • St Petersburg - Hermitage Museum - RUB600
                                      • St Petersburg - Erarta Modern Art Museum - RUB500
                                        Accommodation
                                        M-Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                                        Day 22 St Petersburg
                                        Today enjoy a free day exploring the sights of this magnificent city. We recommend you visit St Isaac's Cathedral and climb to the colonnade from where you will have magnificent views over the city. Why not walk along Nevsky Prospekt - St Petersburg's main thoroughfare - maybe popping into one of the many bakeries or pancake shops along the way, or head down to Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra where Russia's great musicians and writers like Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky are laid to rest in the cemetery. Or perhaps try your hand at a Matryoshka Doll painting workshop, a highlight for many of our past passengers. Whatever you choose the city is easy to get around and your Leader can also help you make the most of your free day.
                                        Accommodation
                                        M-Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Day 23 St Petersburg
                                        There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Itinerary disclaimer
                                        Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of this Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
                                        Physical rating

                                        Included activities
                                        Terelj National Park
                                        Terelj National Park - Cooking class
                                        Terelj National Park - Chinghis Khan Monument
                                        Ulaanbaatar - City Tour including Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace & Gandan Monastery
                                        Ulan Ude - Old Believers Village
                                        Lake Baikal - Banya (Russian sauna)
                                        Kungur - Family visit
                                        Kungur - Guided walking tour
                                        Suzdal - Russian Dinner & Traditional Pastry Baking
                                        Suzdal - Guided Walking Tour
                                        Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury Guided Tour
                                        Moscow - Lenin's Mausoleum
                                        Novgorod - Walking Tour & Kremlin
                                        St Petersburg - Tea party with local family
                                        Important notes
                                        1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please note single rooms are not available on overnight train journeys, home-stays or Ger Camps.
                                        2. Please note in order for our local operator to book train tickets in Russia, we require the following information at time of booking or no later than 60 days prior to departure.
                                        • Passengers full name (First and Last)
                                        • Full Passport Details (number, expiry, issued)
                                        • DOB
                                        • City of Birth
                                        3. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's St Petersburg Office can be reached on Tel: +7 911 7033155
                                        4. Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                        5. To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow and St Petersburg when you are there: www.mariinsky.ru, www.bolshoi.ru and www.ticketsofrussia.ru. In particular we recommend you see what's playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there especially during White Nights in St Petersburg.
                                        6. Due to international train schedules there are no departures of this trip that will be in Mongolia during Naadam Festival in 2016.

                                        Group size
                                        Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
                                        Your fellow travellers
                                        SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                        Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                                        Please note, if you have purchased a single supplement, it will not be applicable on overnight train sectors or at home stays.
                                        Accommodation
                                        Ger Camp (1 night), Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (7 nights)
                                        REGISTRATION
                                        Please be aware that Russia requires all foreign nationals to register their passports upon arrival in each city. Since March 25th, 2011 the registration rules for foreigners have been relaxed in Russia. According to these rules, foreign citizens must register themselves within 7 business days of their arrival into Russia (instead of the 3 days required before). This means that if you are arriving in Russia before the trip start date or staying extra days after the trip has finished (less than 7 days), whether at our Intrepid hotels or at accommodation of your choice, you don’t have to be registered and pay any registration fees. Intrepid will take responsibility for registration of passports at our first place of stay in Russia including any associated costs. If you are arriving more than 7 days prior to the start of the trip, or staying more than 7 days post-trip, you will need to be responsible for your own passport registration and any extra charges for this service. Failure to register could lead to problems at immigration when departing the country.

                                        TRAINS
                                        Overnight trains are simple but comfortable. There is a toilet/bathroom and compartments with bunks/berths. Please note that we travel 2nd class on all overnight trains (4 people per compartment). While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. If the group number does not divide into 4 then you can also expect that some group members will be sharing a compartment with other travellers including local people. Please note that It is NOT possible to upgrade to a higher class train compartment on any section of this trip. There are generally no power points available in the compartments of the trains. The only power outlet occasionally available is one in the corridor for the whole carriage, and this is not guaranteed to have a steady flow of electricity or to be accessible from the compartment.

                                        Trains are generally heated but most do not offer air conditioning. The train can become very hot even in winter and the train attendants will not allow the windows to be opened, please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions on these train journeys.

                                        HOT WATER:
                                        Please note that in many cities in Russia, including Moscow, hot water is turned off for up to one month during summer for routine maintenance. During this time only cold water may be available.

                                        HOMESTAYS and GUESTHOUSES:
                                        Please note that at our homestays and guesthouses you might be required to share a room with people of the opposite sex or with your leader. When we stay at people's homes, beds might be pull-out couches or mattresses on the floor.

                                        DOUBLE BEDS
                                        Please note that rooms with double beds are not always available. Wherever possible we will put couples in rooms with double beds but there may be times when only twin share rooms are available.
                                        Meals introduction
                                        While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                                        Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and choices may be limited to soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets will find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.
                                        Meals
                                        13 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
                                        Money matters
                                        China Tipping

                                        TIPPING IN CHINA:
                                        If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                                        In China tipping is not compulsory, but has become expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service.

                                        The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                        - Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals.
                                        - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group.
                                        - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers.
                                        - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                        Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

                                        At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent. The record can then be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

                                        If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

                                        Tipping is entirely voluntary. The crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person
                                        Group leader
                                        All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                                        Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                                        Safety
                                        FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                                        Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                                        TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                                        Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                                        PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                        While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                        BALCONIES:
                                        Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

                                        SEAT BELTS:
                                        Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                        BIKE HELMETS:
                                        Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
                                        Joining point
                                        King Parkview Hotel (Huayu Hotel) 北京华育宾馆
                                        55 Shatan Hou Street 地址:北京东城区沙滩后街 55号 (近五四 大街,在景山公园东门对面的胡同里)
                                        Dong Cheng District
                                        Beijing
                                        100009
                                        CHINA
                                        Phone: +86 (010)58757888
                                        Joining point description
                                        King Parkview Hotel is centrally located in Beijing, close to many historical and cultural landmarks, including Jinshan Park, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and the National Art Museum, and the hutong areaThe hotel offers comfortable rooms including en-suite bathroom, TV & AC. Hotel rooms may include a vanity pack which are not complimentary. You will be charged at checkout if you open or use the vanity pack.

                                        For more information, please go to http://pephotel.com/en
                                        Joining point instructions
                                        Beijing Capital International airport is located north-east of Beijing, 25 km from the city centre. One of the biggest airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most international flights arrive at Terminal 3. For more information about Beijing Capital Airport, please go to http://en.bcia.com.cn/

                                        An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through your booking agent.

                                        If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer with us, our local operator, Ms Qi (Ms Chee), will have sent a driver to the airport who will be holding a sign with our company logo on it and your name.

                                        If you arrive at Terminal 2, please meet your driver at the entrance/exit #7 after you go through the baggage claim area. I
                                        f you arrive at Terminal 3, please meet your driver in front of the white jade screen wall with the dragon pattern, after you walk through Exit B. Exit B is the only international arrival gate in Terminal 3. Please note that Beijing Airport is very crowded so please be patient. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk near your exit and ask them to call Ms Qi at (+86) 13671299816.

                                        In any case, please take a printed copy of your hotel name and address in Chinese as shown in the joining point hotel section with you.

                                        If you are making your own way to the joining hotel:
                                        By taxi (the easiest option): Metered taxis are available outside the airport terminal building. You can follow the airport signs to reach to the official taxi stand. The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotels takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour and should cost around CNY120 (include CNY10 for the airport expressway toll). Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown below. **PLEASE AVOID TAXI DRIVERS WHO DON'T WAIT IN THE TAXI LINE FOR CLIENTS AND APPROACH YOU IN THE QUEUE CLAIMING THEY USE METER**

                                        By airport express and taxi:
                                        You can follow the airport signs to reach to the airport express station. Take the airport express (CNY25, service time: 06:20 to 22:50) to Dongzhimen station. It is suggested to hail a passing by taxi to go to your hotel. It will cost around CNY30 from Dongzhimen Station to your hotel. Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown in the Joining Point Section. **THERE IS NO TAXI LINE AT THIS STATION. AVOID USING TAXIS THAT ARE WAITING JUST OUTSIDE THE STATION EXITS. THEY DON'T USE METER AND TEND TO OVERCHARGE. **
                                        Finish point
                                        M-Hotel М-Отель
                                        Sadovaya street #22/2 Садовая улица, 22/2
                                        Metro Gostinniy Dvor M. Гостиный двор
                                        St Petersburg
                                        RUSSIAN FEDERATION
                                        Phone: +7 (812)4488383
                                        Finish point description
                                        M-Hotel is situated in the 'Golden Triangle' of St Petersburg in close vicinity to world-famous museums such as the Hermitage, Kazan Cathedral, Church of the Savior on Blood, Russian museum and Alexandrinsky theatre where ballet performances staged by famous choreographer Boris Eyfman take place during the summer. Next to the hotel, guests will find a great variety of cafes and restaurants catering to different tastes, as well as plenty of boutiques, art galleries and antique shops.

                                        The hotel provides a full range of services including laundry and dry cleaning as well as tour and airline bookings. There is a cafe (breakfast is included), room service, bar and conference hall, 24-hour security and elevator. There is also free Wi-Fi in the rooms and lobby bar.
                                        Finishing point instructions
                                        If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.

                                        If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
                                        Emergency contact
                                        While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                                        We recognise that there may be times when your leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. If you aren’t happy with one of our leaders, please call the emergency contact numbers listed above.

                                        You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                                        For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                                        In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                                        Intrepid's Local St Petersburg Office: +7 911 7033155
                                        Visas
                                        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                        CHINA VISA:
                                        Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days.

                                        Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements for Hong Kong.

                                        Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your airline to see if the transit will require using your visa.

                                        INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR CHINESE VISA APPLICATION:
                                        List the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Tibet anywhere on your application form, even if your tour goes here. You will be given a specific itinerary to use if booking a Tibet trip. While Tibet is not off limits to travellers, you must first obtain a Chinese visa BEFORE we apply for your Tibet permit on your behalf.
                                        Including Tibet on your visa application without being booked on a government arranged tour will lead to your visa being rejected.

                                        Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
                                        Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
                                        606 InterChina Commercial Building
                                        33 Dengshikou Street
                                        Dongcheng District
                                        Beijing 100006
                                        +86 10 6406 8022

                                        DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                        * Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this, email us with your booking number and trip details.
                                        * Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided from us together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the consulate or not and will assist with your application.
                                        * Itinerary – print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required (exception - Tibet tours)
                                        * Photocopy of your passport
                                        * Passport size photos (up to 4 may be required)
                                        * Check with the consulate for any other specific requirements

                                        DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS:
                                        Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking or at least 30 days prior to travel:
                                        *Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport
                                        (Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip in case it is requested)

                                        RUSSIAN VISAS
                                        Most nationalities require a visa for Russia.

                                        LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI)
                                        You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa. You can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia. Instructions and a link to the website will be sent to you at the time of booking. Read the instructions carefully and fill in the online application form. You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that we will add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience. If you are planning to stay longer than these dates please let us know as we will need to manually request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans.

                                        The LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. LOIs for other types of visas must be organised directly with our local partners Parallel 60 (www.visain.ru).

                                        INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                        Once you have obtained your LOI you can apply for your visa. You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. It is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly through a consulate or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused.

                                        Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference Intrepid Travel or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60, our Russian partners, is the official inviting organisation, not Intrepid. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your Intrepid trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay once in Russia.

                                        DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                        * Letter of Invitation (LOI)
                                        * Photocopy of your passport
                                        * Passport size photos (up to 4)
                                        * Flight or other transport details (if requested)
                                        * Please check with the consulate for any other specific requirements

                                        VISA EXTENSIONS
                                        Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia.

                                        INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
                                        Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 30 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets.

                                        We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at immigration.

                                        MIGRATION CARDS
                                        All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card on arrival. The entry portion of the card will be retained by immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure.

                                        MONGOLIAN VISAS - TRANS-MONGOLIAN:
                                        Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Mongolia as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days, and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.

                                        If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance – this will not usually require a Letter of Invitation.

                                        LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI):
                                        Most embassies do not require a LOI. However, should you be required to present one with your visa application please contact us. There may be a fee for this service. In order for us to provide a LOI through our local partners we will require a clear, colour scan of your passport along with an indication of at which embassy you will be applying for your visa. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your LOI to be processed.

                                        VISAS EN-ROUTE:
                                        You may be able to apply for your Mongolian visa in Beijing en-route if you have time here before your trip. Please plan carefully and check the current embassy requirements. You will need to organise this yourself and ensure you have all the correct documentation to obtain the Mongolian Visa.

                                        INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                        You will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa (J) that covers the duration of your stay in Mongolia. Visas are usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue and enable to you to stay for up to 30 days.

                                        Name and address of host person or organization in Mongolia:
                                        Monkhutuch Travel Co. Ltd
                                        Bayangol district, Building 19-3
                                        Ulaanbaatar
                                        +976 701 29291

                                        Name and address of Hotel in Mongolia:
                                        J Hotel
                                        Sukhbaatar District, Khoroo I,
                                        Street of Auto Zamchid 34
                                        Tel: +976 771 15677
                                        Mongolia

                                        DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                        You may be required to provide a copy of your Intrepid itinerary, indicating the dates of your tour, along with your application.
                                        Health
                                        All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                                        You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                                        AIR POLLUTION IN CHINA:
                                        The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these type of medical conditions.

                                        You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/beijing
                                        Travel insurance
                                        Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                                        When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                        If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
                                        A couple of rules
                                        Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                        Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                        Responsible Travel
                                        We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                        The Intrepid Foundation
                                        Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                        The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                        http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in China include:

                                        * Beijing Huiling offers innovative services to youths and adults with learning disabilities and teaches people to respect what those with disabilities can do, rather than what they can't. Their activities and training facilitate independence and improve daily living and employability skills in a family-like group home environment.
                                        www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/beijing-huiling/

                                        * Xi'an Huiling provides adults with learning disabilities opportunities to develop their personal abilities and life skills, enabling them to achieve independence as a fully integrated member of the community.
                                        www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/xian-huiling/


                                        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Russia include:

                                        * Nochlezhka focuses on providing for St Petersburg's homeless community. Its Night Bus project provides a mobile social support point: two specially equipped minivans that are visited by up to 150 disadvantaged people each night. Every visitor receives a hot meal and tea, a nurse is able to provide first aid, specialised social workers can assist street children, and clean, warm clothes are also available.
                                        www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/nochlezhka/


                                        Please advise your leader if you have any unneeded clothing or toiletries you would like to donate, so that they can arrange for them to be passed on to Nochlezhka.

                                        Feedback
                                        After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback