Day 1: Hong Kong
The adventure begins -€“ join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers this evening as final preparations are made for your departure. Please meet your Tour Leader at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.
Day 2: Hong Kong and to Guangzhou
There-€™s an air of excitement in the bustling city of Hong Kong as you join the tour and board our first train. With nearly 12,000 kilometers and the anticipation of the world-€™s greatest rail journey ahead of us we travel to Guangzhou (Canton) where we will spend two nights.
Day 3: Guangzhou
Founded in 214 BC China-€™s third largest city boasts a long, colourful history spanning legends and Silk Road trade. A mesmerising concoction of glitz and flashing lights, between pockets of an old city that still retains its character from yesteryear. Today, Guangzhou is renowned as one of China-€™s top food destinations. We will gain an insight to daily local life at the unique Qing Ping Market.
Day 4: To Xian
We travel north through the ever-changing landscape of southern China, towards the gateway of the great Silk Road, Xian, arriving late in the afternoon of Day 4.
Day 5: Xian
The city still captures the romance of its rich imperial past and the glories of the Silk Road. Beyond the city the Terracotta Warriors await your inspection -€“ over 6,000 life-sized figures.
Days 6: Xian to Beijing
This morning you have some time to explore Xian's old city walls, Silk Road Monument, and Little Goose Pagoda, or just sleep in before boarding our bullet train to Beijing.
Day 7: Beijing
We have arrived in China-€™s capital, a thriving city which is the country-€™s political, economic and cultural centre. Visit Beijing-€™s many wonderful sights -€“ the magnificent Lama Temple, Tiananmen Square and Mao-€™s Mausoleum. Set in beautiful parklands we discover the fascinating history and significance of the serene Temple of Heaven.
Day 8: Beijing
Set off on an unforgettable excursion to visit one of China's most popular destinations, the Great Wall of China. Built to defend the civilised world from the fierce and capable Mongol horsemen, the Wall stretches some 5,000 kilometres across China-€™s mountainous northern frontier.
Day 9: Aboard the Trans Mongolian
Early this morning, the overnight express waits to take us north to Mongolia. On board we quickly settle in and enjoy rambling scenery as the train tackles the mountains before descending to the arid lands of Inner Mongolia, and onwards to the very heart of Asia.
Day 10: Arrive Ulaanbaatar
Awake to the stunning visual of the south Gobi, the horse and ger dotted steppe stretches from horizon to horizon, the occasional nomad encampment appears mirage-like through the carriage window. This afternoon you will arrive into Ulaanbaatar where you can take some time to explore the city. In the evening we will see a cultural performance where you will hear the unique Mongolian throat singing that brings the day to a close.
Day 11: To Terelj National Park
This morning we visit the Gandan Khiid Monastery, where you can mingle with ruby-robed monks young and old, via the Zaisan Memorial for panoramic views of the city. The Mongolia of Genghis Khan lies beyond the city, the land of the nomad. In the afternoon, we travel to the countryside retreat of Terelj National Park for a two night stay in a ger -€“ the traditional home of the Mongolian people.
Day 12: Terelj National Park
In the countryside, we see remains of Genghis Khan-€™s seat of power, enjoy the stunning mountain views, go horse or yak riding and learn of traditional Mongolian culture.
Day 13: Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway
We spend our last morning in Ulaanbaatar exploring the city`s must-see sights before boarding the Trans Mongolian Railway to Siberia.
Day 14: Arrive Irkutsk
This afternoon we arrive into Irkutsk, always a highlight with its rich cultural heritage including the architectural influences of exiled aristocrats from the west, and the Asiatic influences introduced by ancient traders from Mongolia and China.
Old buildings and timeworn mansions lend a beauty to this remote but flourishing city of Irkutsk, sometimes called -€œThe Paris of Siberia-€. Visit the central market, cathedrals and many of the old buildings with intricate wooden lacework, and with our local guide we learn the history of the Decembrists and their exile to Irkutsk in the 1860-€™s.
Day 15: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal Day Trip
We head out for the day to the lakeside village of Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal. You will marvel at the vastness of this inland -€˜sea-€™. Over 600 kilometres long and up to 80 kilometres wide, Baikal contains one-fifth of the earth-€™s fresh water and is home to many unique species. We visit the Museum of Wooden Architecture and the Limnological Museum where you have the opportunity to gain an insight into the traditional lives of Siberian people and the lake-€™s inhabitants. Enjoy a picnic by the lake where you can meander along the lakeshore or for the adventurous -€“ a swim!
Day 16: Trans Siberian Railway
Late afternoon we bid farewell to Siberia as we board the Trans Siberian Railway to Yekaterinburg. There-€™s plenty of time to enjoy the company of Russian travellers on board, as we head towards Europe, crossing the great Ob River at Novosibirsk, passing through Omsk and towards Yekaterinburg.
Day 17: Trans Siberian Railway
Life on board is a destination in itself! Mingle, learn some new phrases, or practice those you have learned on the locals over the mandatory vodka. When your train pulls into the many stations along the way hop off, stretch your limbs and restock on supplies from the platform kiosks for the next leg of your journey.
Day 18: Arrive Yekaterinburg
This city has a much brighter side to its tragic history. Today Yekaterinburg is rich in architectural monuments, museums as well as theatres, and on our arrival, you are free to explore all that is on offer.
Day 19: Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg, a city founded by Peter the Great in 1723, is situated just 40 kilometers inside of Asia. By the 20th century Yekaterinburg became one of Russia-€™s largest and most important financial, industrial and cultural centres.
Infamous as the site of the brutal murders of the Romanovs. Here you will embark on a city tour where we will take in the history and intrigue surrounding the murder of the Romanov family, a significant event that changed Russia forever and ushered in the Communist era in 1918. Pay your respects at the church recently built on the site.
Day 20: Yekaterinburg
See the obelisk which marks the spot where Europe and Asia meet and stroll around an impressive collection of museums and historic monuments.
Day 21: Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway
A mid-morning departure has us bid farewell to Asia and we cross the Urals and enter Europe aboard the train to Moscow. As we boom over the steel bridges spanning Siberia-€™s nerve system of 5,000 rivers, the flickering silvers and greens of the birch forest speed past the train window.
Day 22: Hello Moscow!
Our train pulls into the capital mid morning before we set off on an exploration of this magical city. The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid swirled cupolas of St. Basil-€™s. The Kremlin itself -€“ the fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we go beyond the red brick walls to inspect a lavish collection of tsarist treasures in the Armoury Chamber; the Cathedral of the Assumption where Tsars were crowned, the Bell Tower and the Faberge jewels and icons.
Day 23: Moscow
Today we can explore the Kremlin itself, where we go behind its walls to visit the Armoury Chamber with its vast array of treasures.
Day 24: Moscow
Beneath the city lies the palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-reliefs while the vast Cathedral of Christ the Saviour again dominates Moscow-€™s skyline. In your free time take a tour of the city-€™s stunning Metro, explore the exciting streets of Tverskaya Ulitsa (street) or Arbat Street, famous for its cafes and souvenirs and revisit some of the cities iconic sites.
Day 25: St. Petersburg
A morning train will take us north to our final destination. -€˜The united magnificence of all the cities of Europe are but its equal.-€™ -€“ so said Voltaire. St. Petersburg is indeed a unique treasure house of 18th century architecture and the city that best displays the Russian genius for museums.
We visit the stunning St. Isaac-€™s Cathedral that dominates the city skyline and the fascinating architectural Peter and Paul Fortress.
Day 26: St. Petersburg
Today we visit Palace Square and the world-renowned Hermitage Museum where we will see one of the world's largest collections of art displaying priceless works by Rembrandt, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Matisse and Picasso just to name a few. This collection will truly blow your mind!
Day 27: St. Petersburg
Beyond the city, marvel at the fabulous summer palaces of the Tsars at Catherine Place and Petrodvorets (Peterhof). On our final night in St. Petersburg we enjoy an evening performance at one of St. Petersburg-€™s excellent theatres.
Day 28: St. Petersburg
Our adventure has drawn to a close. Say farewell to your travelling companions and tour leader before departing your hotel this morning.
Alternate Itinerary: 05 May & 29 June 2020
Please note that the 05 May 2020 departure has 1 additional night in Irkutsk and 1 night less in Yekaterinburg. The Naadam departure on 29 June 2020 has 1 additional night in both Ulaanbaatar and Irkutsk and 1 night less in Yekaterinburg.
Touring with Sundowners Overland
Sundowners Overland is the leading Trans-Siberian Railway, Silk Road and Caucasus specialists, having crafted remarkable journeys across Asia since 1964.
Their journeys discover exquisite sights and wander off the tourist trail to see a destination through the eyes of a local. They offer premium fully escorted small group tours, independent journeys, private group tours and luxury train offerings with various travel styles to ensure we get the right trip for you.
These are not ordinary holidays, but rather extraordinary overland journeys that are immersed authentic local culture and connected to the vibrancy of past and present worlds. Sundowners Overland journeys walk in the audacious footsteps of early explorers, traders and conquerors like Alexander the Great and Marco Polo, then relax and ponder the cinematic scenery while traversing enchanting countries by rail, road and sea.
Their continued success is due to their focus on just one continent - Asia - and the quality of the experiences they provide. They believe your journey starts with them from your first enquiry and continues all the way through to the completion of your travels and beyond. Their experienced team of Travel Advisors, Tour Leaders, City Ambassadors and Local Guides are there with you to ensure your journey is individually tailored to meet your lifestyle and travel preferences.
As an overlanding company, they are committed to positive environmental impacts through their Responsible Travel Policy and they have a very clear mandate to support the local communities in which they travel.