Example Itinerary

From Siberia to the South Gobi: A Remote Adventure

Duration
14 days / 13 nights
Price Per Person
From $15,000
Interests
Luxury Trains
Destinations
Siberia, Mongolia
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Two of the most remote locations in the world - the South Gobi and Siberia - await you in this two-week exploration. Learn about Russia’s Soviet past as you tour different landmarks and museums telling stories of communist times. Camp in ger-style tents as you interact with local cultures spotted across the remote South Gobi. Moscow, Irkutsk, Listvyanka, and Ulan-Ude are the perfect Siberian cities for a full tour of the area before continuing onto Mongolia’s isolated desert.

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

• Train Journeys: Siberian and Mongolian landscapes pass by the window as you chug along the Trans-Mongolian Railroad.

• Soviet History: The world’s largest statue of Lenin stands at 25 feet tall and weighs 42 tons - a truly bizarre example of Soviet art.

• Nature: The best way to explore the South Gobi is how the Mongols have for millennia: by horseback, riding across the giant dunes of Hongor Sands, which stretch for more than 100 miles.

Day-by-Day

Day 1 Moscow

Arrive in historic, stunning Moscow early in the morning. Transfer to your hotel after a long journey. Enjoy the drive into the city as you pass by incredible landmarks such as the Kremlin, Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Day 2 Irkutsk

Leave the sprawling capital and fly to Irkutsk, where you will be met by your private car, driver and English-speaking city expert. After checking into the comfortable Sun Hotel, enjoy breakfast. Your driver will take you to the Znamensky Monastery, home to the major shrine commemorating Siberia’s most famous missionary. Later that day, take a stroll along Boulevard Gargarinsky on the leafy thoroughfare, Angara. Your friendly guide will lead you through the Decemberists Museum and a walking tour of the Decembrists’ wooden houses.

Irkutsk

Day 3 Listvyanka

Rise early for breakfast and checkout. Travel in luxury on the charming old-world Circum Baikal Railway express train in the first class seats. The beautiful train is nicknamed “the golden buckle on the steel belt of Russia.” Upon arrival in Port Baikal, you will take a ferry to Listvyanka, where you check into your hotel.

Day 4 Irkutsk

Have a leisurely breakfast at your hotel as you aren’t met by your guide until mid-morning. Your guide will take you to the quaint Krestovka Village and the 19th-century Church of St. Nicholas specifically. Next, peruse the Baikal Limnological Museum, dedicated to telling the fascinating story of the stunning lake and its surrounding flora and fauna. Finish your tour with a ride on the Baikal funicular for unrivaled views of the lake, Port Baikal and the Khamar-Daban mountains. On your way back to Irkutsk (an 80-minute drive), stop at the open-air Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture and Ethnography.

Day 5 Ulan Ude

Today travel along the famous Trans-Siberian Railway to Ulan-Ude. Upon arrival in the capital of Russia’s Buryat Republic and the third largest city in Eastern Siberia, meet your guide and transfer to the Old Believers’ village of Tarbagatai. You'll drive along the Selenga river on the famous Russian federal highway M55, which is considered one of the most scenic highways in Russia. Enjoy a late lunch (or, early dinner) of Russian cuisine in the traditional log house with the family.

Ulan Ude

Day 6 Overnight Train

In the morning, you will visit the Buddhist temple Ivolginsky datsan, the center of Buddhism in Russia. Ivol-ginsky datsan is an ensemble of Buddhist temples where lamas (monks) live and receive visitors. It was established in 1945 and is also the residence of Pandito Khambo Lama, the Head of Russian Buddhists. Unique samples of old Buryat art, such as thangkas, sculptures, ritual objects are gathered and preserved at Ivolginsky datsan. In the afternoon, you'll return to Ulan-Ude for a city tour. The city was established in 1666 by the Russian Cossacks conquering Siberia, but the town was known long before as the northern capital of the Hunnic Empire. On the central square of the city, there is a huge monument of Vladimir Lenin’s head, which is one of the weirdest and most bizarre examples of Soviet Art. Next, explore downtown, then ascend to the observation point on the top of the mountain, followed by lunch at a restaurant before your transfer to railway station. Depart for Ulaanbaatar on the Trans-Mongolian Railroad - the journey will take around 15 hours.

Day 7 Ulaanbaatar

Arrive into Ulaanbaatar in the morning. Meet with your guide for an introduction to the Mongolian capital, check into your hotel, then spend the rest of the day at leisure after such a long journey. 

Day 8 Gobi Desert

Early in the morning, you'll take a flight down to Dalanzadgad in the South Gobi region, then transfer to Three Camel Lodge (the drive takes around one hour). The lodge is known as one of the top 50 eco-lodges in the world and offers luxury ger-style accommodation. Once checked in, you're ready for a full day excursion to the Gurvansaikhan Mountains and Yol Valley. Here, you can explore the vertical ravine, which often has snow and ice, even in the summer. This is a prime habitat for the bearded vulture and you'll be able to see the majestic birds flying overhead. Another rare bird, the wall creeper, can also be spotted here. Finish your tour by stopping by a local museum with dinosaur artefacts.

Gobi Desert

Day 9 Hongor Sands

Driving southwest through the mountains, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as the elusive snow leopard and its prey, the Siberian ibex and argali sheep. Your destination is Hongor Sands, located within Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Hongor Sands is known for its giant sand dunes, which stretch for miles and are up to 80 meters high. You'll stay overnight here in order to see the dunes during the best times of day - dawn and dusk. By staying overnight, you also have the opportunity to meet with local pastoralistic families and learn about their lives. 

Day 10 Gobi Desert

Next, you'll traverse to Bayanzag. The name translates to "rich in saxaul," in reference to the salt-resistant saxaul trees which grow here. The star attraction of this region is the Flaming Cliffs, which were made famous by the American explorer Roy Chapman, who found fossilized dinsoaur eggs here in the 1920s. The cliffs are ignited in red and orange hues, and are particularly dramatic around sunset. As well as wildlife such as gazelles and foxes, there are also petroglyphs to see at Havtsgait. These rock carvings are estimated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 years old. 

Day 11 Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast, you'll return to Ulaanbaatar via a domestic flight. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Ulaanbaatar

Day 12 Ulaanbaatar

Tour the unusual, Soviet-era style city with your private guide and driver. Highlights include the Gandan Monastery, the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, the Mongolia Museum of Natural History and the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan. After dinner at your hotel this evening, enjoy a traditional performance of Mongol folk music and dancing.

Day 13 Moscow

After breakfast at your hotel this morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Moscow. You have the day in Moscow at your leisure.

Day 14 Departure

Enjoy a full day exploring Moscow. Discover the historic landmarks at Red Square before a full tour of the Kremlin. The Armory Museum inside the Kremlin is considered one of Russia’s most fantastic museums. Next, visit the impressive St. Basil’s Cathedral. After lunch, visit the Tretyakov Gallery and see the world’s foremost collection of Russian fine art. Come evening, depart Moscow for your flight onward. 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some meals while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

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