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Two Weeks on the Tracks: Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Railway

It’s not a trip for the faint-hearted, nor for those who like to travel in a hurry. But covering the great Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the most memorable of journeys on the planet. This two-week itinerary has been handcrafted by our local experts, allowing you to experience the epic overland crossing in all its glory. Starting in Russia’s capital of Moscow, you’ll cover no less than 3,500 miles, journeying into the heart of Siberia, through to Mongolia and eventually ending up in Beijing where the 14-day trip finishes. The bulk of the action, however, is in Russia, with stops in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Ulan-Ude along the way. Local tour guides will show you around, visiting the best of what each city has to offer in terms of culture and history. There’s also time to explore the pristine waters and rugged mountain terrain surrounding Lake Baikal, Siberia’s most picturesque region.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Cover two continents, three countries and almost 3,500 miles over two memorable weeks
  • Spend several exciting nights on the train, sleeping on what is the world’s most famous railway route
  • Explore the fascinating city of Novosibirsk, including a full day tour or countryside excursion
  • Venture to Lake Baikal , the deepest of its type in the world and one of the Siberia’s most picturesque spots
  • Roll into Beijing after spending two days crossing the deserted, yet utterly stunning Mongolian landscape
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1

Kick-off this 14-day expedition in Russia’s capital of Moscow. Upon arrival, the first class guidance and service will begin as you’re greeted in the city and taken to the luxurious Four Seasons or Hyatt Ararat hotel. The evening is dedicated for free time; it might be wise to get an early night’s sleep in preparation for the two-week journey starting tomorrow.

Day 2

For first-time visitors, witnessing Moscow’s famed Kremlin and iconic Red Square is simply a must. Free time has been set aside for sightseeing in the morning – but try to return early to your hotel in the afternoon, as this is when you’ll be departing for the train station and heading to Yekaterinburg.

Day 3

Wake up in your comfy carriage as you rattle past the majestic Russian countryside on your way to Yekaterinburg. Most of the day will be spent on the tracks, but an excellent lunch is served on board the train, and you’ll arrive in the large city of Yekaterinburg in good time to check in to your hotel - the Hyatt Regency or Atrium Palace - and have dinner.

Day 4

Rise and shine early for a full day of touring around Russia’s fourth largest city, Yekaterinburg. Following breakfast, head out to all the main sights such as the ‘Historical Square’, a wooden dam that was home to the first iron-making plant, Lenin Monument and see all the old industrial buildings lining the quaint city streets.

Day 5

It’s 1,000 miles from Yekaterinburg to Novosibirsk, so the best part of this fifth day is spent on the train in order to get there. Fortunately, the evolving Siberian landscape is nothing short of spectacular, and the train has ample space to move around and mingle with fellow passengers. Arrive in the evening and check-in to the four-star Novosibirsk Hotel.

Day 6

You’ve come a long way to reach Novosibirsk, so better make the most of your time here with a full day’s tour to all of the most interesting attractions in and around the city. The itinerary is flexible, and options include excursions out of town to the majestic Memorial Cathedral surrounded by a centuries-old pine forest. Alternatively, head to Obelisk – the border of Europe and Asia - or take on full city tour. Head back to the train and embark for Irkutsk in the evening.

Day 7

Half-way through this trip across Siberia and it’s time to spend a full day on board the famous train. The distance from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk is almost 1,200 miles, but the journey across the deserted Russian landscape makes the long journey seem well worth it.

Day 8

After a morning arrival in the city of Irkutsk, take some time to refresh before heading off on a fascinating four-hour city tour. The expert guide will take you to all the major sites in the city, including a visit to the famed Decemberists’ Museum.

Day 9
Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is one of the most spectacular sights in the whole of Russia, and this ninth day is your opportunity to explore the region in all its glory. The whole day excursion takes you to the settlement of Listvyanka, with visits around the lake including a fresh fish lunch and trip to a museum.

Day 10

Wake up again in the comfort of your first-class carriage, as the train rolls into the city of Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia. Transfer to the three-star Geser Hotel before heading out again; today you have the choice of a four-hour city tour (which includes a visit to the famous Ivolginsky Datsan, the main Russian Buddhist temple), or eight-hour tour that heads out of town for a taste of old village life in Datsan. Back to the train in the evening – this time it’s on to Ulaanbaatar across the Russian-Mongolian border.

Day 11

Roll into Ulaanbaatar in the morning, the capital and largest city of Mongolia. Swap the train carriage for the Blue Sky Hotel before heading out again in the afternoon to explore the city. Highlights include a visit to Sukhbaatar Square, Zaisan Hill and Gandan Monastery.

Day 12

The two-week long trip is coming to an end, but there’s still time to squeeze in one more country: China. Transfer to the station in the morning and catch the onward train to Beijing departing at 06.30 a.m. A full day and overnight in the train is needed to cross between the countries, but the scenery along the way is amongst the most spectacular on the entire trip.

Day 13

After crossing two continents, three countries and nearly 3,500 miles, you will arrive in Beijing in the mid-afternoon of this 14th day. This time marks the end of the scheduled services of this epic expedition, and guests are free to explore the city or head on to their next destination of choice for the remainder of the day.


Suggested Accommodations

Ararat Park Hyatt, Four Seasons Hotel Moscow

Ararat Park Hyatt


Well placed just five minutes from Moscow’s famous Red Square and popular shopping areas, this five-star hotel belongs to an international brand that guests can trust. Renovated only in 2012, the range of 206 rooms and suites here come warmly decorated and elegantly designed, many offering splendid city views. The famous architect Tony Chi was behind the renovations, and the classy look extends from the guest rooms throughout the hotel’s impressive reception area, dining venues and leisure facilities. Ararat Park Hyatt has a sizeable gym, a luxurious spa and steamy Turkish bath, and guests can also take full advantage of the huge indoor pool – either in it - or beside it at the juice bar. As for dining options, you’ll find a wide range of European cuisine alongside local specialties, or even Japanese flavors at the hotel’s sushi bar. 


Four Seasons Hotel Moscow

Actually a modern-day replica of Moscow’s classic Hotel Moskva which first opened in 1935, this five-star hotel provides a range of luxurious rooms and suites, numerous dining and entertainment options, not forgetting a first-class spa and spacious indoor swimming pool. The total of 180 rooms here comprise 139 guestrooms, 39 suites, one Presidential Suite and a final Royal Suite reserved only for the very wealthy. The standard double rooms here start from a more-than spacious 431-square-feet, coming fully furnished with a range of technology and facilities. The lavish indoor pool offers plenty of room to do laps with over 1,500-square-feet of space, and a visit to Four Season’s ‘Qudrum’ Italian restaurant is simply a must. A daily buffet breakfast is also served every morning at ‘Bystro’ restaurant. 

Atrium Palace, Hyatt Regency

Atrium Palace

The Atrium Palace building, home to one of the city’s financial centers and an impressive solarium, is also home to a first-class hotel with over 130 rooms. Whether you opt to stay in one of the double or twin rooms here, you’ll be guaranteed comfort and convenience with free WiFi access, air conditioning, cable TV and spacious en-suite bathrooms which come with plenty of facilities and toiletries. Guests can also enjoy a massage on-site, relax in the hotel’s sauna or hit the well-equipped gym for a workout. Although there are many restaurants, bars and shops walking distance away from this city center hotel, Atrium Palace does have a restaurant of its own, ‘La Ronde’, which serves local and international dishes throughout the day. There is also an additional café specializing in Austro-Hungarian cuisine.


Hyatt Regency

Located in the city center, the huge range of 293 smoke-free rooms come well-appointed with large comfy beds, cable TV, air conditioning, spacious en suite bathrooms and a separate seating areas. Yekaterinburg’s Hyatt Regency boasts no less than two restaurants and three different bars for guests to relax in, and there’s also an impressive indoor swimming pool, health club, 24-hour reception desk and spa. Well-located near some of the city’s key attractions, the prominent 1905 Square and Ural State Conservatory are a short walk away, and the immediate neighborhood has plenty of bars, restaurants and shops for those looking to venture away from the hotel.

Doubletree by Hilton , Marriott Hotel

Doubletree by Hilton

Doubletree by Hilton is a four-star hotel in Novosibirsk, ranking among the best places to stay in what is Russia’s third-largest city. The large, modern hotel is located right in the heart of the city, although the actual road is slightly quieter than the nearby busy streets. Doubletree is just a short walk away from the famous Opera Theatre, and also a handful of other major tourist attractions in Novosibirsk. Most of the rooms and suites here present excellent city views from the large windows, which also allow light to flood into the spacious rooms during the day. The range of double and twin rooms here come fully furnished with a long list of facilities including a 32-inch LCD TV, a mini-bar, a safe, air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Those upgrading to a suite can enjoy the added luxury of a refrigerator, adjacent dining area, and additional queen-sized pull-out sofa. The on-site restaurant, Paris, serves a buffet breakfast every morning from 7am and stays open until late serving international food. The hotel also has a large swimming pool, fitness center and various  business facilities. 


Marriott Hotel

This luxurious five-star hotel was only opened in 2014, and now stands as one of the top places to stay in the central Russian city of Novosibirsk. Marriott really is a global name you can trust, and this Novosibirsk branch is no exception; expect a great location, stylish and spacious rooms and a whole host of onsite facilities and amenities. Located in the heart of the city, Marriott Hotel Novosibirsk is just steps away from the metro, shops and major attractions in the city such as the popular Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet. The hotel caters for many different types of guests, such as travelers making their way through Siberia on the train, and this is also a popular choice for business guests with its conference room facilities. In terms of leisure opportunities, Marriott Novosibirsk boasts an excellent rooftop bar with great views across what is Russia’s third-largest city. There’s also a large, all-day international restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast in the morning and a varied menu throughout the rest of the day.

Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott

Irkutsk is a city full of aging and rundown hotels, but thankfully the recent opening of Courtyard by Marriott addressed this problem, offering modern and comfortable rooms alongside a range of facilities and amenities. Heralded as the best hotel in the city, this three-star hotel has a globally-recognized name that all travelers can trust. Rooms number 208 (including eight suites) and come well-appointed with carpeted floors, large comfy beds, WiFi, satellite television, heating controls and stylish en-suite bathrooms. Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk is also ideally placed in the city center, just a short walk from Kirov Place, the Angara River, a popular drama theater and the art museum. The UNESCO World Heritage Center of Baikal Lake is also around a one-hour drive from the hotel. In terms of on-site amenities, guests are spoilt for choice with a range of dining options including an all-day international restaurant, bar, meeting room and fitness room.

Legend of Baikal Hotel

Legend of Baikal Hotel

Situated on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Baikal and lying in the shadow of the legendary Shaman Stone, this modern hotel really is one of the most impressive places to stay in Listvyanka. The hotel is also near the Angara River affluence,and the surrounding area is rich in fresh natural air, green pine trees and secluded shorelines along the perimeter of the lake. As for the hotel, interiors here feel luxurious yet cozy, with warm wood tones, large comfy beds and modern facilities found throughout the range of 39 rooms and suites. All come with electronic security systems, a local and international telephone connection, WiFi, satellite television, air-conditioning and most have balconies facing the lake. Elsewhere, guests are free to enjoy the hotel’s superb restaurant with panoramic views of Lake Baikal and the Angara River. There’s also an on-site swimming pool, sauna, games room and area for parking. Legend of Baikal Hotel is approximately one hour from the nearest major city of Irkutsk.

The Blue Sky Hotel

The Blue Sky Hotel

This five-star contemporary hotel is situated in the city’s business district and more interestingly in Ulaanbaatar’s tallest building. The hotel, decorated in a classic European style, has many top quality facilities including an indoor pool, gym, wellness centre, sauna and a business centre. There are many services on offer to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible such as 24-hour room service, car rentals, currency exchange, laundry services, luggage storage, safety deposit boxes and a 24-hour front desk. Diners will be spoilt for choice with the Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and western food on offer at the hotel’s restaurants. The rooms feature free WiFi, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, en-suite bathrooms with a bathtub and shower facilities as well as a minibar luxury toiletries, hairdryers and slippers.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing

Waldorf Astoria Beijing

Located in the shopping district close to Wangfujing Street and 1.5 miles from the Forbidden City, this purpose-built hotel expands the prestigious Waldorf Astoria brand across China. This new addition to the iconic chain comprises a gleaming 12-storey block and a traditional hutong wing located in a 200-year-old courtyard mansion restored beautifully with luxury interiors. Decor reflects Eastern aesthetic values with a contemporary edge, with paintings and sculptures by famed local artists throughout and dramatic gold and bronze features, adding old-world glamor. Executive guests will appreciate the complimentary use of corporate amenities and meeting rooms, while all travelers can enjoy free, property-wide WiFi. The Waldorf Astoria also boasts top-notch leisure facilities, including a spa with Eastern and Western treatments, a sleek indoor pool with whirlpool and a high-tech fitness center. Cantonese, European and New York-inspired food is offered in the on-site restaurants, with a sophisticated lounge area setting the scene for supper, late-night cocktails or traditional afternoon tea. An international, English-speaking staff is on hand to provide information and assistance around the clock, with concierges ready to organize bespoke touring and shopping services. 

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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald lived in China for 7 years and returns often. She loves trekking in the rice terraces of Ping An, and hugging baby pandas in Chengdu!
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