AUD 9269 / pp
24 June - 18 July 2020
Join the most eventful tour along the world-famous Trans Mongolian Railway route. During the travel, you will see the most beautiful cultural sights of St. Petersburg and Moscow, discover central Russia, Lake Baikal and Siberia, attend the most fascinating national festival of Mongolia - Naadam, and spend several unforgettable days in the Mongolian unique natural parks. It is a unique chance to experience Mongolian culture at its best!
Day 1: Arrival in St. Petersburg, Russia
Arrival in St. Petersburg. Meet & greet at the airport. Transfer to your hotel and check-in. The evening is free at leisure. Group tours enjoy welcome dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Discover St. Petersbrug
After breakfast, take a full-day sightseeing tour in St. Petersburg. Today, you visit one of the most important sites in Russian history, the world-famous Palace of the Hermitage, the former residence of the Royal Family. The Hermitage today is the second-largest art museum in the world; its collection includes over 2.7 mln items. Then, take a tour to see the city’s iconic landmark: Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress and cathedral. Visit the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood — one of the most powerful constructions in Russian Orthodox Christian architecture, an absolutely enthralling must-see. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: The Peterhof Palace tour
After breakfast, take a tour to the royal Peterhof Palace. Gardens and Parks are spread over more than four hundred hectares and include thirty-one amazing museums and beautiful Versailles-style gardens. Interiors, as always in Russia, are all made of gold. In summer, the Peterhof is especially good thanks to its famous fountains which run naturally. We shall visit the Grand Palace - the golden must-see! - and have a tour around the estate. In the evening, enjoy the boat cruise. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: St. Petersburg - Moscow
After breakfast, take a transfer to the railway station and board high-speed bullet train for 4 hours journey to Moscow. Meet & Greet at Moscow railway station and transfer to your hotel in downtown. The evening is free at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Discover Moscow
A tour to Russia is not complete without a tour to Moscow, the heart of Russia and one of the oldest cities in the country. It is a city of bright contrasts where quiet patriarchal courts and small streets adjoin to futuristic business centres, and old neighbourhoods are interspersed with modern high-rises. After breakfast, take a full-day sightseeing tour in Moscow including the Moscow Kremlin (all the highlights including the Armory), the Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Saint Basil's Cathedral, GUM, the Bolshoi Theatre, KGB Headquarters & other attractions of the downtown, Novodevichy Convent, Sparrow Hills (Lenin Hills), and Arbat street. During the tour, you also take a ride by the famous Moscow metro. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Art & History in Moscow
After breakfast, take a full-day tour. During the tour, you will visit the State Tretyakov Gallery. Then you will be transferred to Moscow Palace of the Romanov Boyars. The family country estate of Romanov Boyars (15th-17thcenturies) was restored in the 19th century by order of Alexander I, which happened to be the first scientific restoration undertaken in Moscow. The Museum exhibits authentic historical items, including 16th- and 17th-century weapons, books, engravings, writing implements, chests and other objects. Today you will also see Kolomenskoe Estate. It is a former royal estate situated several kilometres to the southeast of the city centre of Moscow. Kolomenskoye Park hosts an impressive set of different constructions and historical objects. In the evening, take a transfer to the train station to board the train to Kazan. Overnight on board.
Day 7: Discover Kazan
Early morning arrival in Kazan. Meet & greet at the train station. Then take a transfer to the hotel. Guaranteed early check-in. After breakfast, take a full-day tour to UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kremlin of Kazan and other local sights: Kul Sharif Mosque, Syumbike tower, Chak-Chak museum. Visit the old Tatar village. In the evening, enjoy a master cooking class of Tatar dishes at a traditional restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Kazan city tour - Yekaterinburg
After breakfast and check-out of the hotel, take a short Kazan city tour. Then you will be transferred to the train station to board the train to Yekaterinburg. Overnight on board.
Day 9: Arrival in Yekaterinburg
Arrival in Yekaterinburg. Meet and greet at the train station. Transfer to the hotel and check-in. The evening is free at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Discover Yekaterinburg
After breakfast, take a full-day city tour. More than 600 monuments of history and culture are located in the city, and 43 of them are considered to be top national monuments because of their special significance! During the tour, you will visit Ganina Yama Monastery, Museum of Minerals, Cathedral on the Blood, place where the last Romanov Tsar was killed after the Revolution, open-air military museum Verhkny Pyzhma, and Europe-Asia Border. The border of Europe and Asia is one of the must-visit sights in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg. The monument was erected in 2004 and represents two intertwined letters A and E. There you can happily put one foot in Europe and other in Asia and take some unique photographs. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Nevyansk & Kunara
After breakfast, take a tour to Nevyansk and Kunara. Nevyansk was founded in 1700 due to the construction of a foundry and iron factory. Although it was not granted town status until 1919, it became highly important for the well-being of the Demidov family, which extracted gold from the local foothills. In the 18th century, Nevyansk was settled primarily by Old Believers, who commissioned from local artisans some glimmering, stylish icons which may be regarded as the last phase in the history of Russian icon-painting. As for the Demidovs, they commissioned the 60-meter (200 ft) high Leaning Tower of Nevyansk, which was erected sometime between 1725 and 1740 and remains the town's principal landmark and claim to fame. During the tour, you will also take part in a pottery master-class. Then you will be transferred to the train station to board the train to Krasnoyarsk. Overnight on board.
Day 13: Discover Siberia
Having arrived at Krasnoyarsk in the morning, you will be met at the train station and transferred to your cosy hotel in downtown for guaranteed early check-in. Allow some time to refresh, get ready for a guided city tour in the afternoon, visiting the most significant local highlights. These are the chapel of Saint Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, Communal Bridge and the Krasnoyarsk dam (Hydroelectric Power Station). Ranked 15th in the top 20 largest power producing facilities in the world, Krasnoyarsk DAM at Yenisey River has the channel upstream at 243 meters above the sea level and the channel downstream 141,7 – 152,5 meters above the sea level. The reservoir is 400 km long, 15 km wide and 100 m deep. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 14: Discover Krasnoyarsk
After breakfast, take a short Krasnoyarsk city tour. Then you will be transferred to the train station to board the train to Irkutsk. Overnight on board.
Day 15: Lake Baikal tour
Arrival in Irkutsk. Transfer to Listvyanka village located near Lake Baikal. Stop for lunch and try local Buryat cuisine. Upon arrival in Listvyanka, visit Baikal Museum of Limnology and Shaman Rock. Then, take a tour to Chersky Stone observation point and the cable car. This day you can take part in optional activities like Russian banya or Lake Baikal boat cruise. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 16: Taltsy & Irkutsk
Breakfast and check-out. Transfer to Irkutsk. En route, we shall visit Taltsy Museum. The open-air museum Taltsy is located 20 kilometres away from Listvyanka. The exposition features wooden buildings brought from all over Siberia. Right now, 40 landmarked buildings and 8000 artefacts dated by XVII-XIX centuries are presented as part of the exhibition. Russian lunch in Taltsy with tea and honey degustation. Arrival in Irkutsk. Guided tour in Irkutsk: St. Epiphany Cathedral, Kirov Square. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 17: Train to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, take a transfer to the train station to board the train to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Overnight on board.
Day 18: NAADAM festival, Pt. I
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to the hotel, check-in and breakfast. Today is the opening day of the Naadam Festival. We will drive to the central stadium of Ulaanbaatar to see the delightful opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival. The Festival starts with a transferring ceremony of the nine white banners from the government house to the Naadam stadium followed by a horse parade. At 11 am, the magnificent opening ceremony takes place. Today we will see wrestling followed by anklebone shooting and archery competitions, which will be held just outside of the main stadium. After lunch at Naadam Stadium (traditional Naadam Khuushuur: fried dumplings followed by test famous Airag), we will drive to Khui Doloo Khudag to attend horse racing. In the evening, we will come back to your hotel. Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 19: NAADAM festival, Pt. II
Today is the second day of the Naadam Festival. Enjoy the show of traditional Mongolian activities and celebrate the most important national event. In the evening, we will come back to your hotel. Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 20: Hugnu Khan Mt. National Park
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel at 9 am. Drive to Hugnu Khan National Park. Hugnu Khan National Park is a picturesque area of the Rocky Mountains, semi-desert, Gobi sand dunes and steppes all in one location represents three different natural zones. There is ideal for hiking, wildlife observation, and photography. After lunch, take a short drive to Uvgun Monastery in the national park through the semi-desert and the interesting Rocky Mountains in beautiful Mountain View. In the late afternoon, visit a local nomadic family and meet nomads, explore their nomadic lifestyle which has not changed for centuries. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 21: Karakorum
After breakfast, short drive to Elsen tasarkhai magnificent sand dunes. Elsen tasarkhai magnificent sand dunes are surrounded by hills with willow trees, streams and bushes, appear as a small desert in the centre of the country. The sand dunes are the perfect place for camel riding. We will discover this magnificent place on camelback. Continue driving to Karakorum and Erdenezuu Monastery. After lunch, visiting the museum of Karakorum and the symbolic ruins of the ancient city of the Mongol Empire, which was the largest contiguous empire in World history. Visit the magnificent and the oldest Buddhist Monastery complex of Erdene Zuu, built in the 16th century, with 108 stupas. Here you can see interesting listen to monk chanting Buddhist sutras. After exploring the monastery, driving to Ugii Lake. Stay overnight at the tourist Ger camp near the lake.
Day 22: Hustai National Park
After breakfast at 8 am, drive back to Ulaanbaatar. On the way, visit Hustai National Park. Hustai National Park is a home to the Mongolian wild horse known as Przewalski horse (takhi) with a unique landscape that features mountain and steppe. After lunch, visit a small Information centre about the wild horse Takhi. A short drive to see for wild horse Takhi. Then you will be transferred to Ulaanbaatar. Arrival in the hotel at 6 pm. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 23: Departure for Beijing
After breakfast, take a transfer to the train station to board the train to Beijing. This is the final leg of your 7261 km train ride!
Day 24: Discover Beijing
We've reached the final destination of our journey, welcome to Beijing! Transfer to your hotel and free time. Optional post-tours on request are available. Group departures will enjoy the farewell dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.
The biggest festival (National Naadam) is held in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, during the National Holiday, in the National Sports Stadium. It begins with an elaborate introduction ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians. After the ceremony, the competitions begin. The competitions are mainly horseback riding. Naadam is also celebrated in different regions of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in July and August. In the Tuva Republic, Naadam is on 15 August.
Naadam is a traditional festival in Mongolia. The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery, and are held throughout the country during midsummer. Women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse-racing games, but not in Mongolian wrestling.
Mongolian traditional wrestling is an untimed competition in which wrestlers lose if they touch the ground with any part of their body other than their feet or hands. When picking pairs, the wrestler with the greatest fame has the privilege to choose his opponent. Wrestlers wear two-piece costumes consisting of a tight shoulder vest (zodog) and shorts (shuudag). Only men are allowed to participate.
Unlike Western horse racing, which consists of short sprints generally not much longer than 2 km, Mongolian horse racing as featured in Naadam is a cross-country event, with races 15–30 km long. The length of each race is determined by age class. For example, two-year-old horses race for ten miles and seven-year-olds for seventeen miles. Up to 1000 horses from any part of Mongolia can be chosen to participate. Racehorses are fed a special diet. Children from 5 to 13 are chosen as jockeys and train in the months preceding the races. While jockeys are an important component, the main purpose of the races is to test the skill of the horses.
In archery competition, both men and women may participate. It is played by teams of ten. Each archer is given four arrows; the team must hit 33 "surs".Men shoot their arrows from 75 meters away while women shoot theirs from 65 meters away. Traditionally the archers wear their national clothing (Deel) during the competition. All the archers wear leather bracers up to the elbow on their outstretched arm, so that the deel’s cuff does not interfere with shooting.
In 2010, Naadam was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa only personally (63 GBP for a visa, issued in 20 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (120 $ NZ for a visa, issued in 10 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa through Visa Application Service Centers (120 AUD, issued in 4-10 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can apply for visa personally or through Visa Application Service Centers (160 USD for the USA citizens and 112 CAD for the citizens of Canada).
Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa personally through an authorized company (40 GBP for a standard visa, issued in 5 days). Сitizens of New Zealand should apply for a visa only by mail (160 $ NZ for a standard visa, issued in 2-5 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa by mail (230 AUD, issued in 4-5 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can travel to Mongolia without a visa in case a travel period is less than 90 days.
Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa personally (85 GBP for a visa, issued in 4 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (140 $ for a visa, issued in 5 days). Citizens of Australia should apply for a visa through Chinese Visa Application Service Centers (109,5 $ AUD, issued in 4-5 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada should apply for visa personally (140 USD for the USA citizens and 100 USD for the citizens of Canada).
Centrally located hand-picked hotels
3 nights St. Petersburg // 2 nights Moscow // 1 night Kazan // 2 nights Yekaterinburg //1 night Krasnoyarsk // 1 night Listvyanka village at Lake Baikal shores // 1 night Irkutsk // 3 nights Ulaanbaatar // 1 night Beijing
2 nights in Ger Camp (Mongolia National Parks)
7 nights on board
Full breakfast in the hotels (except Day 1)
Full board in Mongolia
Buryat lunch at Lake Baikal
Russian lunch in Taltsy with tea and honey degustation
Tatar cooking master-class with lunch in Kazan
Group tour: welcome dinner and farewell dinner
Dedicated local English-speaking guide in all places as per program
St. Petersburg full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Winter Palace and the Hermitage, Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral
St Petersburg day (6 hours) guided tour: the Royal Palace of Peterhof, boat cruise
Pushkin/Tsarskoe Selo day (6 hours) guided tour: Catherine’s palace & Amber room
Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Moscow Kremlin, the Armory, the Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral (outside), Moscow metro tour, Novodevichy convent & Sparrow Hills
Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, Moscow Palace of the Romanov Boyars, Kolomenskoe Estate
Kazan full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Kul Sharif Mosque, the Kazan Kremlin, Chak-chak museum // Kazan half day (4 hours) guided city tour
Yekaterinburg full day (8 hours) guided tour: Church of All Saints, Museum of minerals, the Ipatiev House, Europe-Asia border, Pyzhma military museum
Nevyansk and Kunara tours // Pottery master-class
Krasnoyarsk full day (8 hours) guided tour: Yenisei river boat cruise (Divnogorsk, Krasnoyarsk hydropower station, Stolby national reserve) // Krasnoyarsk half day (4 hours) city tour
Irkutsk full day (8 hours) guided tour: Taltsy Open Air Siberian Museum with Matryoshka painting master class and interactive program Tea in Russia & Great Tea Way with tea degustation, Irkutsk historical downtown, St. Epiphany Cathedral, Kirov Square
Mongolia tour: Hugnu Khan Mt. National park // Elsen tasarkhai sand dunes // Karakorum // Ugii Lake // Hustai National Park
Bullet train St. Petersburg to Moscow, standard class, 4 hours ride. Please inquire about 1st class upgrade or flight options
Train tickets of the chosen category according to the itinerary
Meet & greet at every location
Return airport/train station transfers
Transportation on tours as per program in a comfortable a/c car/minivan/bus
Full metro/public transport passes in Moscow & St. Petersburg
The group tour is fully escorted by a bilingual tour director
Russian local sim card with data
Naadam Festival seats
Entrance tickets to all listed attractions
Chinese, Mongolian and Russian visa letters of invitation (required by the Embassies to grant you the visa) are provided free of charge
Meals not mentioned
Optional tours and activities
The Moscow Kremlin - all the highlights including the Armory
Naadam festival - nomad culture at its best
Real Gear Camp Experience
Amazing Hustai National Park
Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world
Ancient Erdene Zuu Monastery
Xmas in Georgia and Armenia. We wanted a personalized custom vacation to a rarely visited area of the world and found World of Discoveries tour of Armenia and Georgia fit just perfectly. Very well organized and planned, and guides were awesome. Our tour guides in both countries were packed with knowledge of architecture and cultural history, but above all they were friendly and helpful. Rafik in Armenia even took us to his parent’s home in the centre of Yerevan and we enjoyed home-made meals and talks with the locals. It was a very special evening. Be prepared for some long journeys to reach the most exciting destinations in both countries.
Central Asia, beyond ordinary I was very precise regarding locations to visit and things to do and Julie was very attentive putting our private itinerary together. We skipped Tashkent and went straight to ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, each worth a week stay to explore in detail! We then traveled to Pamir Highway which is a restricted access area, lots of papers need to be prearranged. It was well worth. Striking natural beauty absolutely recommend. From Osh, we travel through the most stunning landscapes to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Each parts of the trip, cultural and adventitious, was very well prepared – as much as it was possible for Pamir, of course, with it’s changing weather, severe driving conditions etc. However our local guides served us very well and we really had no stress as all.
I am a Sydney-based journalist who travelled to the 2018 World Cup with Discovery Russia, the sister company of World of Discoveries. Following is my review of that fabulous experience ... What a trip ... the World Cup, five cities, amazing camaraderie, and great tour leadership against the background of one of the globe’s most amazing countries ... Russia. My World Cup tour with Discovery Russia was one of the great experiences of my travel life. The Discovery Russia team provided a wonderful platform with an itinerary both practical and flexible. The local tours in each of the venue cities - Moscow, Kazan, Samara, Sochi and St Petersburg were informative and, importantly, fun. Considering the accommodation pressures created by the huge influx of Cup tourists, the hotels selected by Discovery Russia were more than adequate. Special mention goes to the Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky In St Petersburg. The tour leadership provided by the company was both expert and considerate. Importantly each traveller’s individual enjoyment and safety appeared to be the paramount consideration. This World Cup holiday was meant to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for me but I am now planning for the next Cup. Bring on 2022 in Qatar!
Egypt / Australia
Thanks you Abby and Varvara and all the other staff members of World of Discoveries for making our stay in Russia over 2 and a half weeks easy, comfortable and memorable. Thanks for the great organisation with transfers and accommodation. Thanks also for organising a phone sim card for each one in our group. It made our life much easier to stay in touch with each other and with our family and friends back home. We loved our stay in Russia and will certainly come back soon.
The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it
We have finished our trip in Mongolia and I busted to say thank you very much for all your assistance while we were on the ground in Russia. By far the best guide we had was Yuri in Moscow - he was excellent. We had a very good visit to Novgorod where Natalia was an excellent guide too, and we learnt much about Russian history: It was very good to have the car to take us around the Golden Circle and Victor was a good driver. and the guide in Peterhof and Faberge museum was very nice, approachable, taxis were always waiting for us when we got off the boat etc. We both had a very good holiday and learnt a lot about Russian history and culture: thanks again.