New for 2018: Experience the BAM Route & the Naadam Festival on a Luxury Rail Journey by Private Train

New for 2018: Experience the BAM Route & the Naadam Festival on a Luxury Rail Journey by Private Train

When most people consider traversing the treacherous hinterlands of Siberia, the Trans-Siberian Railway — Russia’s legendary route from Moscow all the way to the Pacific — almost immediately springs to mind. 

The seldom-traveled Baikal-Amur Magistral, or BAM, is a fascinating alternative to the classic Trans-Siberian route, and equally as epic a railway journey. Rolling through some of the most remote, roadless taiga in the country, the BAM blazes a path through miles of glorious, unspoiled scenerydramatic mountains, and out-of-the-way towns and villages that seem to have remained remarkably untouched by Russia’s forward momentum towards modernity.

The BAM route branches off from the main Trans-Siberian line, exploring historic little towns and miles of Siberian wilderness

Now you can set off on an incredible journey on the historic BAM line, discovering rarely seen places built on pioneering spirit and Soviet ambition, all while traveling in the comfort of a luxury private train on a brand-new rail journey for 2018, the Trans-Siberian BAM Explorer with Naadam Festival.

Book Now and Save $500!Reserve your spot before December 31, 2017 on the Trans-Siberian BAM Explorer with Naadam Festival 2018 departure and save $500 per person (more info).

Discover Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city flourishing on Russia’s east coast. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Discover Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Vibrant VladivostokThis exciting 15-day journey begins in Vladivostok, a once off-limits naval outpost, today a thriving seaport on the Pacific coast filled with restored old buildings and formerly secret military sites of interest. Take a tour of this fascinating city, then board the luxurious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, as it makes its way northeast towards the BAM route.


Khabarovsk

Founded by Cossacks in 1858, Khabarovsk was originally a military outpost guarding the Chinese border
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

The Trans-Siberian Less TraveledOriginally conceived in the 1930s, the BAM route represents one of the most ambitious engineering projects in Russia’s history, as well as one of its costliest blunders. Worried that the Chinese might seize Russian trains running on the Trans-Siberian line Joseph Stalin and his team of engineers drafted up this alternate route, which branches off the main line at the Siberian town of Taishet and travels more than 2,500 miles east to the pacific port of Sovetskaya Gavan.

But the BAM route, fraught with difficulties from the start, almost didn’t reach completion — the project was constantly set back by the challenges of inhospitable terrain and extreme weather conditions, not to mention the incredible financial and human toll it took. In 2004, nearly 60 years after construction of the line first started, the last link in the BAM was finally laid.

This monument in Severobaikalsk, Russia, honors the construction of the longest tunnel on the BAM line. Photo Credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

This monument in Severobaikalsk, Russia, honors the construction of the longest tunnel on the BAM line
Photo Credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

The line has since remained largely underused, but those who have made the journey on the BAM have been rewarded with unbelievable views of Siberia’s pristine wilderness, as well as the chance to step into the past and see firsthand an intriguing and little-known side of Soviet Russian history.

The train rounds the bend on the BAM route.

The train rounds the bend on the BAM route

Scenery, Secrets & Soviet HistoryAs you roll through the heart of the Siberian outback along the BAM, admire the fantastic forested scenery scrolling past your train window, and stop in former imperial outposts and little Soviet towns assembled in the 1970s for railroad workers.


Explore the history behind Sovetskaya Gavan, the eastern terminus of the BAM route; wander through Komsomolsk-na-Amur, a secret military town built from the ground up by the Komsomol, the Soviet youth organization, along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of gulag prisoners; and tour the city of Tynda, which hosts the headquarters of the BAM construction company.

BAM Railway Monument, Tynda, Russia

Tynda’s modern monument dedicated to the railway workers on the BAM line

Re-joining the Trans-Siberian, take in several highlights along the classic line, including charming Irkutsk, breathtaking UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, and a visit to a village of Old Believers, exiled to Siberia after their rebellion against 17th century Orthodox church reforms.

Dressing up for opening ceremonies at Mongolia's Naadam Festival Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Dressing up for the opening ceremonies at Mongolia’s Naadam Festival
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Nothing Like NaadamDipping down south onto the steppe, continue to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. See the sights of this ever-changing, energetic city, then join the crowds at the country’s favorite festival, Naadam, an extraordinary event celebrating Genghis Khan’s “three skills of man” – archery, horse racing and wrestling.


Hit the High Notes Along the BAMCheck off these amazing and rare experiences from your bucket list as you:

  • Travel where Trans-Siberian passengers rarely go – through thick taiga forests, mountains and tundra in the sparsely populated region north of the classic route on the BAM (Baikal-Amur Magistral).
  • Explore once-forbidden Vladivostok, with visits to the railway station decorated with beautiful examples of Socialist-Realist art; the Pacific Navy War Memorial; and the S-56 submarine, which once prowled the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in WWII on the hunt for enemy ships.
  • Tour the neoclassical Stalinist buildings of Komsomolsk-na-Amur, the city built by Soviet students and prisoners in 1932 as a secret center for military industries.
  • Walk through the fascinating displays at the BAM Museum in Tynda, which illustrates the epic history and construction of the BAM line.
  • Make a village visit to enjoy a home cooked meal and hear the powerful centuries-old songs of Old Believers, learning about their unique history and traditions.
  • Breathe in the astounding beauty of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, a lake so vast that locals call it “the sea.”
  • Cheer on the school-age jockeys, traditional wrestlers and keen-eyed archers at the Naadam Festival.

Travelers dine in style on board the Golden Eagle private train

Comfort of a Rail Journey by Private TrainRail journeys on the Golden Eagle private train are in a class of their own, combining the dream of Old World rail travel with modern amenities, and allowing travelers to experience remote destinations in style and comfort. Each luxury train departure is all-inclusive, with abundant food and wine, onboard entertainment and no need to pack and unpack as the journey unfolds.


 

Travel with MIR on a Luxury Rail Journey by Private Train
A stop in Novosibirsk along on the Trans-Siberian Railway Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train is ready to leave the station
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

MIR is an award-winning company with over 30 years of travel experience in this area of the world, and has affiliate offices in Siberia, Western Russia and Uzbekistan, providing a superior edge in on-the-ground operations. 

Rail journeys by private train are in a class of their own. Each train departure features comfortable accommodations, modern amenities, and superb service on board, and allows travelers to easily and efficiently cover thousands of miles across multiple time zones.

Give us a call at 1-800-424-7289 or email us to talk with one of our experts about your rail travel dreams. With so many rail journeys available and a variety of fabulous special savings offers to boot, one of them is sure to fit your style, schedule and budget.

(Top Photo: Colorful costumes are one of the highlights at the Naadam Festival opening ceremonies in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen.)

PUBLISHED: October 23, 2017

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