Experience the ‘other’ Trans-Siberian Railway on this expedition from Russia's Far East

Every bit as rewarding as its famous Trans-Siberian counterpart, this lesser-known Russian rail route follows the Baikal-Amur Mainline and ventures from Russia's Far East, across Eastern Siberia and north of Lake Baikal, where it’s even more stunning than in the south. Learn the traditions of the indigenous Nanai and Evenki people, visit the astounding rock formations of Stolby National Park, soak up the rich history of Vladivostok and Moscow, and learn the hard facts of Russia’s Soviet past in places that saw unspeakable drama and revolution. With the Trans-Siberian Railway so well known, the Baikal-Amur Railway is your ticket off the beaten track and into next-level expedition travel in Russia.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Vladivostok, Russia
Finish
Moscow, Russia
Destination
Russia
Style
Original
Theme
Expedition
Code
WBSX
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 3, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get off the beaten track and onto the Baikal-Amur Mainline, where Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East unravel in a mind-boggling combination of history and landscape

  • Experience not only the spectacular scenery found north of Lake Baikal but the strange and wonderful rock formations of Stolby National Park

  • Step back into the Soviet era with a visit to fascinating Komsomolsk, where the hard times of life under Stalin time seem all too real

  • Visit indigenous Nanai and Evenki peoples and get a taste of their respective ways of life by way of musical performances and handicrafts

  • Starting in Vladivostok and finishing Moscow, see modern-day urban Russia taking shape beyond its Soviet past

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a train trip of epic proportions! That means adventure and excitement, but it also means you’ll be on the train for long stretches (five nights and many full days). There will be plenty of downtime. So be sure to come prepared with books, a music source, cards, that kind of thing.

  • Since you’ll be spending so much time on the train, you’ll need to self-cater by buying supplies at shops and markets along the way, or order from the (limited) dining car on board, for much of the trip.

  • You’ll be travelling in a region that sees few outsiders, so be prepared to forgo some of the comforts of home (such as daily showers, barista-made coffee, Wi-Fi, and general use of English). They don’t call it expedition travel for nothing!

Itinerary

Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia. Arrive in Vladivostok in time for a 6 pm welcome meeting. This city is a major eastern gateway of Russia, the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet, and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean. Other than your welcome meeting and an optional group dinner, the evening is yours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It's important to arrive in time for the 6 pm welcome meeting today; your insurance and next of kin details will be collected. Please also have two copies of your passport, visa and migration cards ready. Your leader will collect one; the other is for you to keep on you at all times whilst on the trip. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception.
Check out the city on a bus tour today (approximately 3 hours). You'll be joined by a local guide who'll give you background information on the main sights around town. Take a walk on the main streets, admire Vladivostok from the old artillery battery, and visit the famous S-56 submarine museum. When the tour's over, the rest of the day is at your leisure. Tonight maybe seek out some of the quintessential food of Russia's Far East; there's some fantastic seafood and Korean-influenced fare to be found around town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vladivostok - City tour
  • Vladivostok - S-56 Submarine
Optional Activities
  • Vladivostok - Funicular - RUB12
  • Vladivostok - Arsenev Regional Museum - RUB400
  • Vladivostok - Antique Automobile Museum - RUB200
  • Vladivostok - Vladivostok Fortress Museum - RUB200
  • Vladivostok - Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a day of optional activities before you board the overnight train in the late afternoon. Maybe ride the funicular – it's a short but beautiful ride, with scenic views over Zolotoy Rog Bay (Golden Horn Bay). Perhaps visit the Arsenev Regional Museum, take a trip over to Russky Island for a stroll along the beach, or see what's on at the fantastic Zarya Centre of Contemporary Art (entry is free). As for the train, settle in and get comfortable for the first leg of your unforgettable Russian rail trip. Travelling via Ussuriysk (where there's be a 20 min stop) we'll arrive in Komsomolsk-na-Amure at around 6 pm the following day.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Vladivostok - Voroshilov Battery - RUB200
  • Vladivostok - Primorsky Oceanarium - RUB700
  • Vladivostok - Russky Island - Free
  • Vladivostok - Fort No 7 - RUB300
  • Vladivostok - Primorsky Picture Gallery - RUB250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and when enjoyed in moderation can be a great way to meet local people as well as interact with your fellow Intrepid travellers. While alcohol is often available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) may only be consumed in the dining car by law. Officially it is illegal to be intoxicated on trains in Russia. 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 travel companions are using the train as a means of transport to get home or to work.
The train will trace the border of China today, travelling through Khabarovsk where we cross the Amur River. A stop of around 1 hour will be made in Khabarovsk, a delightful riverside city with leafy parklands and a pleasant atmosphere. Take the chance to stretch your legs with a wander around the station during the stop, and stock up on snacks supplies. This outpost of the Far East has a fascinating history, one of both Chinese and Soviet heritage. Continue the journey and arrive at around 6 pm in Komsomolsk-na-Amure, another town set on the Amur River. Head out for a walk after checking in to your hotel and seek out some dinner - your leader will have some recommendations for a great local meal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Read up on Komsomolsk and you'll find out that it was called 'the first socialist city of the country', and was the centre of Stalin's notorious GULAG camps of the region. The history, though fascinating, is far from a fairytale. On our tour today, you'll see the building where prisoners worked, the Administrative Office of the camps and a Memorial Stone to victims of political repression. After a look around the city centre we venture further afield, to one of the places where prisoners lived while building the railway. Along the railway there were camp hospitals and camp cemeteries and you'll see a quarry developed by the prisoners as part of their hard labour. This history is sobering, but important to witness. Spend tonight again in our centrally located hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - City tour
Optional Activities
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - Amur River cruise - RUB300
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we pay a visit to a local community to meet members of the Nanai minority. This memorable excursion will last for around four hours. To get there we head 40 minutes out of town, where an ethnographical museum and Nanai house offers insight into a indigenous culture of the Far East. The Nanai will give a small performance, and we'll see how their traditional coats are made from fish skin. There will also be the chance to sample some Nanai food. After the excursion we board our next train bound for Tynda, departing in the early evening. This time we will be on a train for 3 consecutive nights.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - Nanai community visit
Optional Activities
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - Municipal Museum of Regional Studies - RUB250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Sit back and enjoy the scenery of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) as the train rolls on, travelling west. The train will stop at Postyshevo (36 min), Noviy Urgal (35 min) and Verkhnezeysk (30 min). The BAM was built as an alternative to the Trans-Siberian railway and considered the "construction project of the century" by then Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. Special, durable tracks had to be used as some of the route traverses permafrost and the cost was astronomical. These days it's debatable whether the huge expense was worth it, with the line being under-utilised for commercial transport and serviced by few passenger trains. It certainly makes for an adventurous journey that few travellers take.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive early morning for a five-hour stopover in Tynda. Take the chance to have breakfast, have a shower at the station, and stretch your legs with a walk in to the town centre across the river. We will store our luggage at the station while we explore. We'll take a look at the BAM builder monument on this excursion - definitely a crucial photo stop! Your next train is to Severobaikalsk to the north of the mighty Lake Baikal, departing at 11:55 am.


Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After stops in Yuktali (44 min) and Taksimo (45 min), arrive in Severobaikalsk at around 2:30 pm. We've reached the northern end of beautiful Lake Baikal. Severobaikalsk is a key stop on the Baikal-Amur Mainline; it's a gateway to the pristine natural beauty found in the northern areas around Siberia's Lake Baikal. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please once we arrive. Settle into your guesthouse and perhaps go for a stroll around the village ahead of tomorrow's activities.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Tuck into a hearty local-style breakfast, then take a bus to Nizhneangarsk, departing at around 9 am. We're off to visit the northernmost point of Lake Baikal. We will have a few hours to spend at the center of Evenki culture, learning all about the traditions and customs of the indigenous Evenki people who call this region home. There will be an instrumental musical performance, souvenir making and a tea party. Afterwards we transfer to Baikalskoye village (around 60 km) with stops at some local Buddhist sites. Along the way we'll sit down to lunch with a local family and sample some local fish together. Then we take a 3-kilometre walk on the Great Baikal Trail, checking out archeological and landscape features as we go. Transferring back to the Severobaikalsk guesthouse we'll arrive at around 7 pm for our second night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Severobaikalsk - Day trip to Nizhneangarsk
  • Severobaikalsk - Evenki Cultural Centre
  • Severobaikalsk - Baikalskoye village & local lunch
  • Severobaikalsk - Great Baikal Trail hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Back on the train for another long stretch, we stop in Lena (30 min), Vikhorevka (24 min) and Tayshet (30 mins). At Tayshet the route connects with the mighty Trans-Siberian railway for the onward journey to Krasnoyarsk.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arriving in Krasnoyarsk at approximately 3:50 pm, we have a free afternoon. This large city is a great stop for another taste of Siberia, and has the rare distinction of having a national park contained within it. We'll be exploring the renown Stolby National Park tomorrow afternoon, so for the rest of today feel free to relax and unwind with a walk around the city and a meal in a local restaurant. We stay in a centrally located hotel tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a half day trip to Stolby National Park, where beautiful and bizarre rock formations are the stars of the show. Stolby takes its name from the rocks themselves, which jut vertically out of the hills and seem to inhabit personalities of their own. For lunch we'll have some Siberian cuisine in a local restaurant before heading out to the spectacular Krasnoyarsk dam in the afternoon. Spend our final night in Siberia tonight in our hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Krasnoyarsk - Krasnoyarsk Dam
  • Krasnoyarsk - Stolby Nature Reserve
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
As the trip draws to a close we fly from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow (approximately 5 hrs). The fact that the flight takes this long gives a great sense of just how vast this country truly is! While on board, plan your explorations for when you touch down in the Russian capital as there is so much to see and do. There are a number of daily flights to Moscow, so our arrival time may vary. Transfer from the airport to our central hotel and head out with your group to celebrate your amazing journey across the world's biggest country, to places most rarely see.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Farewell your fellow travellers as the trip comes to an end this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Metro, Plane

Accommodation

Overnight sleeper train (5 nights), Hotel (7 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Vladivostok - City tour
  • Vladivostok - S-56 Submarine
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - City tour
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure - Nanai community visit
  • Severobaikalsk - Day trip to Nizhneangarsk
  • Severobaikalsk - Evenki Cultural Centre
  • Severobaikalsk - Baikalskoye village & local lunch
  • Severobaikalsk - Great Baikal Trail hike
  • Krasnoyarsk - Krasnoyarsk Dam
  • Krasnoyarsk - Stolby Nature Reserve

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Important notes

1. 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 31 days prior to departure.
• Passengers full name (First, Middle and Last)
• Full Passport Details (number, expiry, issued)
• DOB
• City of Birth
Please note that the above information needs to be the same as your travelling passport, any wrong information provided may result in extra personal expense to reissue train tickets, or missing out altogether.

Essential trip information

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