Travel through China and Mongolia before reaching Russia on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway.

Travel across continents and time zones on one of the world's greatest train journeys. Start in busy Beijing before heading to the untamed wilderness of Mongolia to meet its historically nomadic people. Leave Asia behind as we cross into Siberia for some traditional hospitality and stunning natural landscapes in Lake Baikal and then into Russia to arrive in majestic Moscow. This trip will open your eyes to the history, scenery and unique cultures that make up this fascinating region, so climb aboard for the ultimate Trans-Siberian experience.


Start
Beijing, China
Finish
Moscow, Russia
Destinations
China, Mongolia, Russia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
CBSU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience this incredible rail adventure through China, Mongolia, and Russia – one of the world’s greatest, most epic journeys.

  • Stay in the Mongolian wilderness in a ger camp and experience local life up-close.

  • Immerse yourself in Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan

  • Live life on the shores of magnificent Lake Baikal in a Siberian village

  • Experience a traditional Russian banya – a refreshing steam, wash and birch branch ‘massage’

  • Encounter fascinating sights over the 6000 kilometres from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to Moscow’s iconic Red Square

  • Check out our Beijing to St Petersburg trip ( search 'CBSQC' on our website) if you are interested in continuing this epic journey in Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Be prepared for some very long travel days on this trip (both on and off the train) – you are crossing the largest country on Earth after all! Settle into the rhythm and enjoy the scenery, your book, or chatting with your fellow travellers or the locals.

  • Conditions are simple but comfortable – an authentic experience and a great way to meet, and travel like, the locals. 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 basic, staying in ger camps, local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has only cold water. This all adds up to a real and authentic adventure.

  • Be prepared for three vastly different countries and experience all the cultural differences they have to offer, both from your home country, and from each other.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, this sprawling city is home to over 20 million people. We recommend arriving early, if possible, and taking some time to explore the many sights in the centre of the city including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, as well as the maze of hutongs (alleys) that hide some incredible food options. Your adventure proper kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, after which you may like to seek out Beijing's famous, crispy Peking duck. Delicious.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
  • Beijing - Great Wall Experience Urban Adventure - CNY900
  • Beijing - Beijing Insights Urban Adventure - CNY507
  • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As we will depart for Mongolia early morning on Day 2, we highly recommend arriving in Beijing a few days early to experience all this city has to offer. In this extra time a tour with Beijing Urban Adventure will give you the perfect insight into the sights and flavours of China's capital.
This morning you'll board a train, making your way out of China and into Mongolia on the first leg of this epic 6000 kilometre journey to Moscow. This is an overnight journey (approx. 30 hours) including a long border crossing during the night where passports are processed and the train are changed because of the different rail gauges used. Get comfortable as you watch the scenery change from urban to rocky desert to rolling, green meadows as you enter Mongolia.

The trains used throughout this journey are simple yet comfortable. You'll be travelling 2nd class, and there'll be a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage, but keep in mind that service standards can vary greatly (it's part of the adventure). Each compartment has four bunks with bedding provided, though some travellers preferto bring their own sheets. there's hot water for drinks and instant meals, and snacks and drinks are sometimes available for purchase with most trains having a dining car too. The trains are generally heated but most do not offer air conditioning, so they can be come very hot even in winter. For this reason, please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions you may experience.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
A brief word about drinking on the train: Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and can be an enjoyable way to meet local people as well as interact with your fellow travellers (in moderation). While alcohol is often available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) should only be consumed in the dining car. While we certainly want all our 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.
Crammed between the superpowers of Russia and China, the independent nation of Mongolia is a truly adventurous destination. The capital, Ulaanbaatar (affectionately known as UB), is a city where you’ll find elderly Mongolians in traditional dress, suit-clad entrepreneurs and young monks. After arriving mid-afternoon, maybe venture out into the city where the close relationship with the USSR is evident in the Soviet-style architecture. Tonight, perhaps experience Mongolia's rich artistic culture at a performance of traditional throat and ‘long song’ singers, musicians, dancers and contortionists.

For your free time in UB you can explore the city, maybe visiting the Museum of Natural History, which has an excellent dinosaur display, or any of the city’s other fascinating museums. At the Intellectual Museum you can learn about Mongolia's history and culture through puzzles, toys and magic tricks, or uncover the country's turbulent history in the National History Museum, including the reign of the most famous of Mongolian historical figures – the feared and respected Genghis Khan.






Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ulaanbaatar - Traditional Cultural Show - MNT25000
  • Ulaanbaatar - Intellectual Museum - MNT8000
  • Ulaanbaatar - Natural History Museum - MNT8000
  • Ulaanbaatar - National History Museum - MNT8000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a tour of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding area. Look out across the city from the top of Zaisan Hill then visit Mongolia’s largest and most important active monastery, the lively Gandan Khiid. Here you'll learn about the main religion of Mongolia – Tibetan Buddhism – before exploring the range of fascinating artefacts housed in the Winter Palace Museum of Bogd Khan.

In the afternoon, travel to Terelj National Park by private van (approximately 90 minutes). With rolling meadows dotted with munching yaks, forested hills and imposing rock formations, this is the perfect place to take in Mongolia's natural beauty. In Terelj, you’ll 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 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 – you'll be toasty warm in no time! Take in the wonderful views across the gers and rocky escarpment as you experience a memorable Mongolian sunset.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Terelj National Park
  • Ulaanbaatar - City Tour including Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace & Gandan Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Spend the day enjoying the landscapes of Terelj National Park. Your local guide will share some insights into Mongolian customs and culture, and you can choose to partake in several optional activities including a hike to a Buddhist retreat or trying your hand at Mongolian archery. Alternatively, just sit back, relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. Tonight you'll get involved in making dinner by learning to cook traditional Mongolian dumplings known as 'buuz'. 
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Terelj National Park - Cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Return to Ulaanbaatar, stopping to visit the  Chinggis (Genghis) Khan Monument en route. This gigantic statute can be seen from miles away, and you can climb up the structure to see the view from atop the horse. It's a surreal experience. After arriving back in the city, head off to do some shopping and stock up on supplies for tomorrow's overnight train ride. You could also search out local handicrafts like cashmere and felt products. This evening, either relax in the hotel or sniff out a local restaurant with your group. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ulaanbaatar - Genghis Khan Monument
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a final morning in Ulaanbaatar, perhaps checking out the Centre of Shaman Eternal Heavenly Sophistication if you get a chance. Don't be fooled by its appearance – this nondescript yard is home to a real-deal shaman. Later today you'll leave Mongolia aboard the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which takes you across the border into Russia and on to Siberia (approximately 15 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia and homeland of the Buryat people, who are closely related to Mongolians. After years of repression during the Soviet era, Buryat traditions and religions (shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism) have seen a revival, and you’ll notice how the city is an ethnic and spiritual mix of Euro-Russian, Mongolia,\ and Buryat cultures. 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 with rational use of the area's rich cultural and historic legacy, we aim to contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in Eastern Siberia. The area is fabulously beautiful, Ulan Ude is surrounded by vast, wild nature, boundless steppes, alpine and taiga forests.

Arrive around 6 am and drive approximately 2.5 hours to Lake Baikal. This is the deepest lake in the world and holds over 20% of the world's fresh water. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from during your stay in a comfortable local guesthouse here, including hiking, swimming and boat trips. Full board is included, with plenty of tasty Russian staples like salads, soups, black bread, pancakes and pies. You'll also get a chance to try the local fish from Baikal – omul – which taste even better when roasted over a camp fire on the lake shore. Accommodation here is on a multishare basis.


Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is a free day to enjoy your surroundings. This part of the lake has beautiful, long sandy beaches and some smaller and warmer lakes, where you can relax, play games and enjoy the sun and magnificent scenery. Don't miss out on experiencing a banya, the Russian version of a sauna. Locals swear by the cleansing, healing and meditative properties of having a steam and a wash in the banya, and it can also be quite the social occasion. Be sure to avail yourself of some birch twigs and slap yourself (and others) over the shoulders for a traditional Siberian 'massage' to get the true banya experience. The banya here gives you a chance to cool off from the steam by jumping straight into the lake, before you go back in and do it all again. Make the most of all the local food today, as tomorrow you'll be taking your three-night train and the culinary offerings may not be so great.

Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Baikal - Banya (Russian sauna)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Farewell Lake Baikal around midday and return to Ulan-Ude (approx. 2.5 hours), stopping at the Old Believers' village en route. The Old Believers are Orthodox Christians who were either exiled or fled rom Russia during 17th-century church reforms. Spend some time in the village, which has changed little since the 18th century, visiting the local church and ethnography museum and attending a concert of folk songs. Continue to Ulan-Ude and visit the city square, which is home to the world's biggest (and highly unusual) head of Lenin, then head to the train station for the longest journey of the trip – three nights on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway to Kungur.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ulan Ude - Tarbagatay Old believers village
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Major stops (15-40 minutes) are usually at Irkutsk - Angarsk - Zima - Nizhneudinsk - Ilanskaya - Krasnoyarsk - Mariinsk - Tayga - Novosibirsk - Barabinsk - Omsk - Nazyvayevsk - Ishim - Tyumen - Ekaterinburg and finally Kungur, where you’ll disembark. ALWAYS double check with the carriage attendant and your leader if leaving the train during stops, and do not stray too far from the trains. Trains in Russia run on Moscow time even when passing through different time zones, so make sure you and the train are on the same schedule. It would be a very long wait for the next trains 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.
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. You’ll experience part of this celebrated train odyssey from Ulan Ude to the Ural town of Kungur (3 nights total). Travelling through three time zones, you’ll wind your way through forests, small Siberian villages and big industrial Russian cities to reach the bustling European part of this vast and varied nation.

It might seem like a long journey but the majority of travellers are actually surprised how quickly it goes. Life on the train pretty much consists of eating, drinking, talking, reading, sleeping and gazing out the window. Settle into the rhythm and enjoy the simplicity of having very little to do. Pro tip: buy dill and mint from the station sellers along the way to freshen up your soups and other meals There's plenty to keep you busy and enjoying this relaxing part of the journey, and you may even be reluctant to get off when you reach the next destination.


Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Break up the journey with a stop in tranquil Kungur, a pretty provincial Russian town known for its traditional architecture. When Siberia first opened up for settlement, a new major road turned Kungur into a trade centre and though foreigners seldom visit, our aim is that by stopping here we can have a positive impact on the development of tourism. Take a walking tour with a local guide to see the interesting mix of architectural styles then perhaps choose to visit some of the most extensive ice caves in the world. The first two caves contain permanently frozen ice formations,w aterfalls and underground lakes, but be sure to keep an eye out for the mythical monster mammoth that inhabits the caves. Back in town, you’ll discover more about the people, their customs, culture and cuisine with a visit to a local family to make traditional gingerbread and enjoy plenty of cups of tea.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kungur - Family visit
  • Kungur - Guided walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Kungur - Ice Caves - RUB1000
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your accommodation in Kungur tonight is centrally located in twin rooms, with one bathroom shared between two rooms.
Prepare for a long day of travelling. Depart Kungur in a private bus and travel to Perm train station (approx. 4 hours). Perm, whose name comes from the term ‘Far-away-land’, is the most eastern city in Europe and a major rail junction connecting Siberia and the Far East with the European part of the country. Depending on when the group arrives, there may have some free time to explore the city, which is home to two of Russia’s largest art museums. Perm was infamously known as the ‘Gateway to the Gulag’, a closed city that was hidden from Soviet maps and not opened until 1990.Approximately 100 kilometres outside of the city is Perm-36, a notorious forced labour camp that wasn’t closed until 1987. In the afternoon, you’ll board your overnight train to Moscow (approx. 25 hours), which departs at approximately 5 pm.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. Take the metro to your centrally located hotel after arriving around 5 pm, then you can celebrate the end of your epic cross-continental journey with a wander around the famous Red Square by night and an optional farewell dinner with your group. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is plenty to see and do, staying a few extra days to enjoy everything Moscow has to offer is highly recommended. You could explore the Kremlin and witness its huge collection of imperial riches, walk among the cathedrals and museums and maybe get a glimpse of Lenin in his eternal resting state. There are endless cultural treasures on offer – perhaps join an Urban Adventure tour to help you get to grips with this vast city.
Optional Activities
  • Moscow - Moscow Behind the Icons Urban Adventure - EUR56
  • Moscow - Red October Art Zone - Free
  • Moscow - River Cruise - RUB700
  • Moscow - Moscow Underground Urban Adventure - EUR56
  • Moscow - Entrance Kremlin Grounds - RUB500
  • Moscow - Modern Moscow Urban Adventure - EUR38
  • Moscow - Armoury Museum - RUB700
  • Moscow - Tretyakov Art Gallery - RUB500
  • Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre - RUB12000
  • Moscow - St Basils Cathedral - RUB500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Overnight Sleeper Train, Public Bus, Private Bus, Taxi, Train, Metro

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (6 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Ger Camp (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Terelj National Park
  • Ulaanbaatar - City Tour including Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace & Gandan Monastery
  • Terelj National Park - Cooking class
  • Ulaanbaatar - Genghis Khan Monument
  • Lake Baikal - Banya (Russian sauna)
  • Ulan Ude - Tarbagatay Old believers village
  • Kungur - Family visit
  • Kungur - Guided walking tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, with the exception of overnight trains, ger camp stay and Lake Baikal guesthouse (Day 2, 4, 5, 7-12, 14), subject to availability.
2. In order for our local operator to book train tickets we require the scan of your passport information page to be provided to your booking agent no later than 45 days before departure.

Below information must be provided at the same time:
• Passengers full name (First/ Middle/ Last)
• Full Passport Details (number, expiry, issued)
• DOB
• City of Birth

3. To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow in advance.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Beijing to Moscow trips score an average of 4.86 out of 5 based on 98 reviews in the last year.

Beijing to Moscow, July 2018

Ruilin Shi

Beijing to Moscow, August 2018

Michael Stringfellow