Beijing to St Petersburg Trip Notes

Explore China, Mongolia and Russia on a journey from Beijing to St Petersburg via Ulaanbaatar, Lake Baikal and Moscow. Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway to remote Mongolian and Russian communities and townships on this amazing journey.

    • 22
    • CBSQC
    • 4.78 out of 5
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $4,745
      CAD $4,795
      AUD $4,995
      EUR €3,475
      GBP £2,990
      NZD $5,920
      ZAR R45,465
      CHF FR4,285
      *
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    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014
Beijing to St Petersburg
Trip code: CBSQC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
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
StyleMealsVisas
MapTransportHealth
ItineraryGroup leaderSafety
Also available to purchaseJoining point Travel insurance
We also recommendJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Culture shock rating Joining point instructionsA couple of rules
Physical ratingArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesFinish point Responsible Travel projects
Group sizeFinish point descriptionFeedback
Single travellersFinish point instructions
AccommodationEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Map
Beijing to St Petersburg
Itinerary
Days 1-2 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 6:00pm on Day 1.
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, including the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, markets, hutongs, opera and acrobats.
Preparing to leave China we take the subway from our hotel to the central train station (3 stops and a line change) Although we will be travelling outside of peak hour be prepared to carry your own bags.
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. 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. With the exception of the Moscow to St Petersburg journey, where we travel in open-plan 3rd class carriages with triple bunks, all our journeys are in 2nd class (four berths per compartment) on this trip.
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.
Optional Activities
  • Lama Temple - CNY30
  • Beijing Art & Architecture Urban Adventure - CNY590
  • Kung Fu show - CNY180
  • Beijing - Acrobat show - CNY250
  • Beijing Opera - CNY200
  • Temple of Heaven - CNY40
  • Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY480
  • Summer Palace - CNY40
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 3-6 Ulaanbaatar/Ger Camp
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.
Visit Mongolia's largest and most important active monastery, the lively Gandan Khiid, to learn about the main religion of Mongolia which is now experiencing a great revival - Tibetan Buddhism.
Experience Mongolia's rich artistic culture at a performance of traditional throat and "long song" singers, musicians, dancers and contortionists.
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 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 four 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 no showers 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.
Our private vehicle will return us to UB.
Leave Mongolia aboard the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which takes us across the border into Russia and on to Siberia (approx 20 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
  • Informal Mongolian Language Lesson
  • Ger Camp - Terelj National Park
  • Ger Camp - Cooking class
  • Ulaanbaatar - Intellectual Museum
  • Ulaanbaatar - Zaisan Hill
  • Ulaanbaatar - Family visit
Optional Activities
  • Traditional Cultural Show - MNT10000
  • Natural History Museum - MNT3000
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Ger (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 7-10 Ulan Ude & Lake Baikal
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.
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.
Travel to Enhaluk Village on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal by private van (approx 3 hrs).
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!
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!
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.
Included Activities
  • Ulan Ude - Old Believers Village
Optional Activities
  • Ivolginsk Monastery - RUB700
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 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 five 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 - Sverdlovsk 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 nts)
Days 13-14 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.
En-route to the nearest major train station we make a visit to the Perm-36 Memorial Complex.
Unique in Russia, this open air museum is situated on the site of one of the USSR's most notorious GULAGs. Forced labour camps such as this one interned millions of Soviet citizens during the darkest days of the regime. Perm-36 serves as a potent reminder of the political oppression that the region endured for so long and as a memorial to those who suffered here.
We have a tour with a local guide (Russian only, so our leader will translate) of the barracks and the site to hear of its history and ensure that its stories are not forgotten.
Board the overnight train to Moscow (approximately 25 hrs).
Included Activities
  • Kungur - Family visit
  • Kungur - Guided walking tour
  • Perm - Perm-36 Memorial Complex tour
Optional Activities
  • Kungur Ice Caves - RUB1000
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 15-16 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 mid morning and take the busy metro to our centrally located hotel.
Intrepid's aims when researching and contracting accommodation is to find properties that are well maintained, clean and as centrally located as possible. In an expensive destination such as Moscow there is a balance to be reached in choosing a centrally located, clean property and still maintaining a value priced trip.
The hotel we stay in is simple and is located centrally in the embassy sector of Moscow. It will only take 20 minutes walking to get to Red Square.
Visit Lenin, the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution which ushered in the era of communism, at his austere mausoleum on Red Square.
Please note that on occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning.
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.
During your free time in Moscow you might like to:
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.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader 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.
Included Activities
  • Moscow - Lenin's Mausoleum
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Victory Park Museum - RUB200
  • Izmailovo Vernisazh Markets - RUB10
  • Tretyakov Gallery - RUB400
  • Moscow Bunker & Underground Urban Adventure - RUB4090
  • Moscow Up Close & Personal Urban Adventure - RUB2770
  • Diamond Fund - RUB500
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 17-18 Suzdal
Travel by private bus to Suzdal (approx 5 hours)
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 traditional wooden guesthouses in 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. The group may sometimes stay in different guesthouses which will be in the same street.
Visit the home of one of our local friends to indulge in a dinner of hearty regional flavours.
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 transfer to Moscow by private van (approx 4 hrs).
From Moscow's Leningradskiy railway station, board our overnight train to Novgorod (approx 8 hrs).
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
  • Suzdal - Traditional home cooked dinner
  • Suzdal - Guided walking tour
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 19 Novgorod
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, 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
  • Novgorod - Public Banya
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 20-22 St Petersburg
Travel from Novgorod to St Petersburg by public bus (approx 4 hours).
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.
In the summer months, we take a night-time boat tour of the canals and waterways with a local guide to see the architecture from a unique perspective. In midsummer it will still be light as the sun barely sets during White Nights.Outside of these months we'll have a walking tour of the city.
In your free time here you may like to:
Go to St Isaac's Cathedral and climb to the colonnade from where you'll have magnificent views over the city.
Visit the Kunstkamera where Peter the Great's ghoulish collection of oddities is on show.
For many the highlight of St Petersburg is the Hermitage Museum, one of the world's premier art collections housed in the former imperial Winter Palace.
Please note that the Hermitage is closed on Mondays, and in the high season (May-Sep) there can be very long queues. In order to avoid waiting and to make the most of your free day it's possible to book tickets online in advance:
www.hermitagemuseum.org
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • St Petersburg - Tea party with local family
  • St Petersburg - Boat tour
Optional Activities
  • St Isaacs Cathedral & Colonnade - RUB400
  • Mariinsky Theatre - RUB2000
  • Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra & Cemeteries - RUB150
  • Saviour on the Spilt Blood Church (optional) - RUB250
  • St Petersburg Discovery Urban Adventure - RUB950
  • St Petersburg Unveiled Urban Adventure - RUB1420
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • CBSQC Single Supplement (CBSQC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Trans-Siberian & Mongolia (CBSU)
  • Trans-Mongolian Experience (WBSB)
  • Russia Experience (WBSF)
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Important notes
NAADAM FESTIVAL:
In 2014 the trip departing on 8th July will be in Mongolia for the Naadam Festival. This is the biggest festival of the year in Mongolia and involves elaborate parades and concerts, wresting and archery competitions and spectacular horseback events and races. Your leader will inform you at the group meeting about the possibility and prices of attending events as optional activities so that we can book with our local Mongolian partners.
RUSSIA:
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 names
• Full Passport Details
• DOB
• City of Birth
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
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.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Accommodation
Hotel (10 nts), Overnight sleeper train (7 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts), Ger (1 nt)
Meals
13 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners
USD 600.00
Transport
Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Minibus, Train, Taxi, Bus, Boat, Metro
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.
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. **
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
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.
Finish 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
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Beijing Office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328. For further contact details please use the following page:
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's St Petersburg Office can be reached on Tel: +7 911 7033155. For further contact details please use the following page:
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
CHINA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG:
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.
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 use your Chinese Visa. You need to make sure your China visa will cover you for any transits made.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Itinerary:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Kashgar, Turpan or Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.
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 please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that your trip visits
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
* Itinerary – please 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
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking, at least 30 days prior to travel:
*Clear, colour 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 as well.
RUSSIA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI)
Most nationalities require a visa for Russia. 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 may be organised at your own expense and paid directly to our local partners, Parallel 60 (www.parallelsixty.com)
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. Once you have received your LOI it is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly at an embassy 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 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 in Russia.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Letter of Invitation (LOI)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Flight or other transport details - if required
* Please check with the embassy 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.
WARNING – MIGRATION CARDS
All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card. 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.
MONGOLIA - TRANS-MONGOLIAN:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Tourist visa not required for stays of up to 30 days
Germany: Not required (For the most up to date information please consult relevant Embassy)
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Not required (For the most up to date information please consult relevant Embassy)
US nationals can travel in Mongolia for up to 90 days visa free. Most other nationalities require a visa.
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 indicating at which embassy you will be applying for your visa. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your LOI to be processed.
VISA ON ARRIVAL:
Visas are not available on arrival at any land borders into Mongolia. You must have a Mongolian visa before beginning your trip.
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.
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 11 364 708
Name and address of Hotel in Mongolia:
San Hotel
Baga-toiruu 64
Chingeltei duureg, 6-r khoroo
Ulaanbaatar
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.
BORDER CROSSINGS:
Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. For China & Russia applications please follow the provided visa instructions carefully. For Mongolia the border crossings are as follows:
Enter Mongolia - Day 2 at Erenhot
Exit Mongolia - Day 6 at Sukhbaatar
To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful : www.timeanddate.com
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 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.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK 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 the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
BIKE HELMETS:
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
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 group 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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
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.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
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.
* 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.
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.
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.
Intrepid Travel also supports the following non-profit organisation:
*Upsala Circus shows children and teenagers from social risk groups with the method of circus pedagogy an alternative from the street and to integrate them into the society.
As the only organization of its kind in Russia, Upsala Circus directly connects the professional circus and theatre art, with social work. By the everyday training in the circus and attendance at circus festivals, the children and teenagers from social risk groups experience exciting and difficult challenges. The circus is referring to "high risk" nearly like the life on the street. It appeals to them with magic, lets them explore their individual skills, makes them stronger and motivates them to create their lives in society in an active way.
More information about Upsala Circus can be found at their web-site www.upsala-zirk.org.
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.
Once you’ve left your feedback with us you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.