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+Itinerary

Trans-Siberian Railway

Day 1: En Route from U.S.
Day 2: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar
Day 4: Gandan Monastery / Mongolian Alps 
Day 5: Ulan Ude, Russia
Day 6: Lake Baikal
Day 7: Irkutsk
Day 8: Trans-Siberia
Day 9: Novosibirsk
Day 10: Yekaterinburg
Day 11: Kazan
Day 12: Moscow
Day 13: Moscow
Day 14: Moscow / Depart for U.S.


Day 1: En Route from U.S.

Day 2: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Welcome to the diverse, sprawling capital of Mongolia—Ulaanbaatar. Not only is this culture-rich city Mongolia's industrial and financial heart, it's also the center of the country's road network and connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and the Chinese railway system. World-class museums, traditional theatre, and international cuisine flourish in this vibrant location.

Transfer to your hotel to relax and settle in before joining fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail this evening.
The Blue Sky Hotel & Tower (R)

Day 3: Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast, enjoy the city of Ulaanbaatar and its architectural contrasts. See structures with elements of historic influence existing along with modern high-rise buildings.

Set out on a guided city tour to see the Buddhist monastery, Choijin Lama Temple. This site in downtown Ulaanbaatar has five temples, but is no longer a place of worship. Now it’s a small museum that illustrates the area's historic feudal lifestyle. Exhibiting artifacts from destroyed monasteries, the rich collection features masks and robes associated with the religious Tsam dance. Art lovers will appreciate the Buddhist artifacts, wonderful embroidery, and appliqués.

Afterward, visit Parliament Square and the imposing statue of Genghis Khan, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.

This evening, attend a performance of traditional Mongolian folk arts, including dancing, the other-worldly sounds of throat singing, and music from the horse-headed fiddle. This unique instrument, called Morin Khuur in the Mongolian language, has only two strings and has figured prominently in Mongolia’s nomad culture. Mongolian poet Tsedendorj Mishig celebrated the fiddle’s power by writing, “Only its two strings express/All the events of the world.”
Overnight: The Blue Sky Hotel & Tower (B,L,D)

Day 4: Gandan Monastery / Mongolian Alps
Today visit the Gandan Monastery—the center of Mongolian Buddhism and the only working monastery during the entire communist period. The name of this Tibetan-style Buddhist structure means “the big place of complete joy,” and hundreds of monks live here. Also housed here is a high statue of Megjid-Janraiseg, a sage representing compassion who leads the men on the way of truth. Depending on arrival time, it may be possible to observe a traditional Buddhist religious ceremony.

Afterward, journey 90-minutes east of Ulaanbaatar to the Mongolian Alps. Take time to observe the stunning scenery in every direction, including the mountains' majestic topography and bizarre rock formations. With rolling landscapes and grazing herds of animals watched over by men on horses, Mongolia to some looks and feels like Texas.

Visit a typical ger camp for a wonderful front-row seat to nomadic Mongolian life that is integral to the culture. Gers, built with wooden boards held together with rope made from horses' hair, can easily be moved around according to seasons and to follow cattle pastures. Gather around the ger's centrally located stove where food is cooked and dairy products are produced for sale. 

At a picnic lunch served in a yurt camp, sample classic Mongolian specialties with rice and vegetables and possibly even their famous fermented mare's milk. Then attend a festival to view presentations on three national sports: wrestling, archery, and horse riding. 

Next transfer to the train station to board Trans-Siberian Railway's Tsar's Gold. Get acquainted with your stateroom and unpack before dinner on board.
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 5: Ulan Ude, Russia
Awaken to the train's steady hum and embrace the passing views of the Mongolian steppes. Travel through the valley of Mongolia’s largest river, the Selenga. It’s the most important of the 350-plus rivers that flow into biodiverse Lake Baikal, as it contributes almost 50% of Baikal’s water.

At Ulan Ude, one of Eastern Siberia’s most popular cities, the train reaches the main route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Disembark at the station for a guided city tour of Ulan Ude's main square—home to the largest bust sculpture of Lenin in all of Russia. Weighing 42 tons, this unique monument was constructed in honor of the centenary of Lenin’s birth in 1970.  Also visit the local theater, constructed during Stalin’s time.
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 6: Lake Baikal
Today, explore the remarkable natural phenomenon of UNESCO World Heritage Site Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater reservoir in the world. It holds around 20% of the world’s fresh surface water—more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. Lake Baikal represents the unspoiled beauty of Russia and is sometimes referred to as the “Sacred Sea.” Travel directly alongside Lake Baikal on the old route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. During two extended photography stops, wander the lakeside and capture its seemingly endless beauty. Famous for its crystal-clear water and unique wildlife, you might witness a nerpa, or Baikal seal. This is the only seal that lives entirely in freshwater, and can remain underwater for up to 45-60 minutes.

At one stop, embark upon a brief boat excursion from Port Baikal out onto the lake where the Angara River flows. Afterward, visit the picturesque Baikal village of Listvyanka to stroll the market, and for those seeking an extra adventure—take a plunge in the chilly water. Legend has it that the colbalt-blue waters have magical healing powers which give its swimmers extra years of life. Join in the thrill of a quick and bracing dip or simply have fun watching others do so. 

Tonight, delight in a fun barbecue picnic dinner along the shoreline (weather permitting). 
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 7: Irkutsk
Welcome to Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia in Tsarist times. Amid the revived churches, 19th-century architecture, and classy eateries, join a local guide for a panoramic city tour. See the structurally impressive Okhlopkov Drama Theatre—the largest of its kind in Siberia—which opened in 1896, the new memorial to Tsar Alexander III, and the photogenic market hall—one of the main centers in the city selling fresh regional produce.

Then, visit the Taltsy Museum of Architecture and Ethnography—an open-air exhibition featuring the history and culture of the people of Eastern Siberia. The museum, located at a picturesque site among forest, is composed of more than 40 historical and architectural monuments and 8,000 exhibits that tell about the peculiarities of life, customs, and traditions of past residents of the Baikal region. View this impressive collection including two chapels, a church, a watermill, and the 17th-century Iliminsk Ostrog watchtower.

As an additional cultural immersion highlight today, join a local family in their home for a traditional meal with dessert, and learn more about their daily life and customs.
Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk City Center (B,L,D)

Day 8: Trans-Siberia
Back on board the Tsar's Gold, the journey continues through many diverse landscapes of Eastern Siberia. Learn about the region through informational onboard lectures and partake in a vodka tasting with typical Russian snacks and red caviar. It’s a delicious opportunity to experience first-hand Russia's festive customs of hospitality and clever toasts!
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 9: Novosibirsk
Arrive midday in Novosibirsk—Russia's third largest city and the principal cultural and educational center in Siberia. Locals will greet you with bread and salt in the customary Russian manner before the group sets out on a panoramic tour of the city, including the mighty Ob River, the town's authentic and local Central Market, and the internationally renowned Opera and Ballet Theatre. Gaze upon the Theatre’s dome, which is nearly 200 feet wide and more than 100 feet high, yet is supported by neither columns nor girders.
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 10: Yekaterinburg
Toast with champagne while entering into Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Ural Federal District and the frontier between the Asian and European continents. This city is rich in history, being known as the home of over 600 historical and cultural monuments, Russia’s first President, and the place where the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918. On a panoramic tour, view the Church of all Saints which was built in 2003 to commemorate the tragic and historic event.

Back on board, the passing landscape of the Ural Mountains unfolds as the journey continues across the European continent. The Urals rise like a long and narrow spine, forming a natural divide between Europe and Asia. The mountain range is considered to be one of the most ancient on Earth and measures over 1,250 miles. More than 1,000 types of minerals can be found here.
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 11: Kazan
After breakfast, arrive in Kazan, the Tartar capital on the banks of the Volga River. Russia is a multi-ethnic and multi-faith country, and here during a guided city tour, see Tartar mosques and the famous Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Venture into Kazan’s Kremlin to learn about the turbulent history of the relationship between the Tartars, the Cossacks, and the Russians. Hear a legend involving one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Soyembika Tower—a tragic story of unrequited love between Ivan the Terrible and a Tatar princess.
Overnight: Tsar's Gold (B,L,D)

Day 12: Moscow
Bid the Tsar's Gold staff a fond farewell as you disembark in Russia's capital, Moscow, and meet a local expert guide for an exciting day of exploration. Join fellow travelers for a welcome lunch followed by a panoramic tour of Moscow City, the Novodevichy Convent, the Lubyanka (the former KGB headquarters), and other meaningful landmarks.

Dinner is on your own this evening with leisure time to see Red Square enchantingly illuminated at night. Did you know the name of Red Square comes from the Russian word “krasnyi,” meaning “beautiful,” and is not related to the color of the buildings? The buildings actually used to be white until late into the 19th century.
Overnight: Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow (B,L)

Day 13: Moscow
A special highlight today showcases an exclusive visit to St. Basil’s Cathedral—a wildly colorful building of shapes and spires that is unique to Russian architecture. Step inside the relatively small interior to encounter various artifacts from the church, learn history on the construction, and view lovely floral motifs and murals.

Next, arrive at another centerpiece of Red Square, the iconic Kremlin. This large fortress contains five palaces, four cathedrals and 20 towers. It’s where you can find the world’s largest bell and the world’s largest cannon by caliber, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Discover its armory chamber—a museum of items that had been preserved for centuries in the tsars' treasury and the patriarch’s vestry. See displays of uniforms and regalia, coronation dresses, ceremonial armor, and the largest collection of gold and silverware made by Russian craftsmen.

Enjoy lunch before continuing the tour to see the world-famous, attractive underground Metro and bustling Arbat Street, which has existed since at least the 15th century, making it one of the oldest surviving streets of the Russian capital. 

Tonight, join fellow travelers for a farewell dinner to reflect on the past two weeks of this phenomenal, enriching journey.
Overnight: Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow (B,L,D)

Day 14: Moscow / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, guests with flights departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. 

Guests continuing on the optional post-tour will transfer to St. Petersburg. (B)

R = Reception, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level:

Moderate

Guests should be comfortable boarding and disembarking trains without assistance, and walking and moving between cars while the train is in motion. All hallways are narrow and have handrails, but train travel can be unpredictable and some unexpected movement may occur. We expect that guests can enjoy two hours or more of walking, are sure-footed on cobbled surfaces, and can walk up and down stairs without assistance. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled are limited.