Walk along the Great Wall, celebrate Mongolia’s greatest and most colourful festival, traverse the mighty Siberian landscape and explore Russia’s most exciting cities on this grand adventure.
- Small Group
Days 1-3: Beijing
The Chinese capital is a great place to start our journey with visits to Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and in the countryside a nearby walk to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This bustling city has so much more to offer than just its Imperial history. In your free time, you can indulge in China’s modern art scene, observe every day life lived out in the many parks or, sample Beijing’s famous imperial cuisine such as Peking duck. Join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers on Day 1 at 5:00pm for your pre-departure meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.
Day 4: Beijing to Ulaanbaatar
Early this morning we transfer to Beijing Station and board the first of the trains that will carry us across Asia. Through the northern plains of China, we journey beyond the border via the Gobi Desert.
Day 5: Welcome to Mongolia!
Our train pulls into Mongolia’s capital mid-afternoon. Ulaanbaatar is a contradiction – a metropolis amid endless grass steppes. Tonight you have the opportunity to listen to the unique Mongolian Throat singing and enjoy a cultural performance – it is truly incredible!
Day 6: Kharkhorin
For our first real taste of this remote nation we journey to Kharkhorin; the ancient capital of Genghis Khan’s empire. While here we visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual home of Mongolian Buddhism. Over 100 temples were constructed, but most were destroyed during the Soviet era, nevertheless, Erdene Zuu retains much of its former glory and is a remarkable site to visit.
Days 7-9: Naadam Fesitval
We join in the excitement and mix with the crowds at the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival which is held annually in the National Sports Stadium. A unique spectacle showcasing traditional Mongolian sports and culture, the Naadam Festival is a point of national pride. Enjoy the extravaganza of hundreds of horses ridden by riders in colourful national costumes before the first rounds of wrestling and archery begin.
Horse racing is the focus on the second day, out of town on the steppe. These races are the domain of the younger children, who compete for the title ‘Tumnii Ekh’ (‘Leader of Ten Thousand’). Join the crowds, who are often as entertaining as the competitors themselves, in cheering the winners and serenading the losers in song.
Day 10: Terelj National Park
This morning we continue across the rolling steppe, pausing to mingle with monks at Gandan Khiid, before venturing to Terelj National Park. Here, we spend the night under a canopy of twinkling stars in our ger camp, and have the opportunity to gain an insight into the daily lives of these nomadic families.
Day 11: Return to Ulaanbaatar and board Trans Siberian Railway
Leaving Mongolia at Sukhbaatar and continuing beyond the Russian border town of Ulan Ude, you will soon find yourself skirting along the shores of breathtaking Lake Baikal before following the well-worn ancient tea and trade route onto Irkutsk
Days 12-13: Lake Baikal
From Irkutsk Station we will drive to the picturesque village of Listvyanka on the shores of the world’s deepest freshwater lake, Baikal where we will spend the next two nights. Here we have time to explore the village with its traditional houses, Limnological Museum and spectacular landscapes.
Days 14-17: Irkutsk and Trans Siberian Railway
Almost in the geographical centre of Asia, Irkutsk made its fame as a stopping place on the caravan route from China. The city today still boasts 18th century churches and is renowned for its brightly painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lace work. This afternoon’s walking tour will reveal the city’s major landmarks and historic sites before climbing back aboard the train bound for Russia’s capital!
Travelling via great Siberian cities we will glide over the steel bridges spanning Siberia’s nerve system of five thousand rivers, through the Ural Mountains that divide Europe and Asia, to the far side of the Volga into Moscow!
Days 18-19: Moscow
Moscow’s eclectic collection of palaces and massive Soviet-style tower blocks that dot the city provide a fascinating set for our exploration of this impressive city. We take in the highlights around Red Square and further afield including the colourful twirled cupolas of the iconic St. Basils Cathedral
Day 20: Moscow to St. Petersburg
Today we delve deeper into Moscow visiting its heart and soul – The Kremlin. Showcasing monumental walls and towers, golden-domed cathedrals and magnificent treasures housed in its Armoury Chamber. Despite the loss of significant items from the collection during the 16th Century the treasures found within the Armoury are absolutely astounding! Late evening we transfer to the train station to meet the overnight express train to St. Petersburg.
Days 21-24: St. Petersburg
Our final train journey brings us to St. Petersburg this morning. This classic city is not to be missed with grand 18th century buildings, even grander palaces, and the greatest art collection of all, at the Hermitage.
On our final day we journey back in time beyond the city to explore the grandeur of the residences of the Tsar’s at Peterhof and Pushkin, adorned with perfectly manicured gardens and gilded fountain-filled grounds.
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.