Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia and Western Russia

Travel on regularly scheduled Trans-Siberian trains over a dramatic and variegated route that offers limitless opportunities to meet the diverse local people – Mongol, Buryat and Russian. Experience the rolling green hills and nomadic traditions of Mongolia, Siberia’s UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal and endless taiga forest on your way to the booming capital, Moscow. The July departure features Mongolia’s Naadam Festival.

16 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Cheer the Naadam Festival athletes
    Cheer on the school-age jockeys, traditional wrestlers and keen-eyed archers at the Naadam Festival....
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  • Admire the sweeping steppe landscape of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
    Admire the rolling steppe and monumental rock formations in alpine Gorkhi-Terelj National Park; at over 5,000 feet, Terelj is a sweeping alpine landscape of grassland...
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  • Spin a prayer wheel at a Siberian Buddhist monastery
    Honor the chanting monks, townspeople and pilgrims at Ivolginsk Datsan, center of Buddhism in Russia, decorated with beautiful silks, precious stones, and painted...
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  • Sample goodies made by grannies on the railway platforms
    Sample homemade delicacies sold by babushkas, or grandmothers, during quick stops at the local train stations; sweet buns, cookies, blini and homemade pickles...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • 30 years of Russia and Mongolia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and Dartmouth have chosen MIR to guide them to Mongolia, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History as well as Princeton have chosen MIR to guide them to Russia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • MIR affiliate offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers whom clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-4: UlaanBaatar, Gorkhi-Terelj

Arriving in the capital of Mongolia, UlaanBaatar, visit the Gandan Monastery and explore the National History Museum. Drive to nearby Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, meet a nomadic family living on the steppe, and overnight in an authentic ger, with the option of an afternoon horseback ride. The July trip includes time at Mongolia’s distinctive Naadam Festival back in UlaanBaatar. The September trip includes a visit outside the capital to Mandshir Monastery, built in 1749 and partially restored since its destruction in the 1930s. Board the overnight Trans-Siberian train heading for Siberia.

Highlights

  • UlaanBaatar, capital and most important city in Mongolia
  • Cultural performance of traditional song and dance with throat-singing
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Days 5-6: Ulan Ude

Arriving in Russia, disembark near the border and drive to Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. En route stop at Hargana, a lovely little Buryat village, to visit the flourishing local school and meet the teachers and students. Tour the most interesting sites in and around Ulan Ude, including the Ivolginsk Datsan, the center of Buddhism in Russia. Pay a visit to a village of Old Believers – members of an Orthodox sect who refused changes to their rituals in the 17th century and were sent to Siberia – and enjoy dinner here.

Highlights

  • Hargana Village school visit
  • Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic with the world’s largest Lenin head
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Days 7-10: Irkutsk, Lake Baikal

Take the day train from Ulan Ude to Irkutsk and enjoy a tour of the city, including the old wooden houses with their carved fretwork. Trace the route of the Old Circumbaikal Railway by boat, Siberian style. Spend a night in Listvyanka village on the shores of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal. En route to Irkutsk, stop to see the outdoor Wooden Architecture Museum, a collection of authentic houses and community buildings from the 17th century on. Enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local family. Back in Irkutsk, visit the Decembrist House Museum.

Highlights

  • Little Listvyanka Village on the shores of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on earth
  • Circumbaikal Railway, the most scenic stretch of the original Trans-Siberian Railway
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Days 11-13: Aboard the Trans-Siberian, Ekaterinburg

Relax for two days as the train rolls through Siberia’s vast taiga forest to Ekaterinburg. Explore the city, including the Church on the Blood, standing over the spot where the last czar and his family were executed.

Highlights

  • Aboard the Trans-Siberian train to Moscow, with an overnight in Ekaterinburg

Days 14-16: Moscow

Explore Moscow’s classic sites, including Red Square, the Armory Museum and the Kremlin. Take a tour of the Moscow Metro: The stations in the city center are showpieces of socialist art. Commemorate the journey from Mongolia to Moscow on the Trans-Siberian with a farewell dinner and celebratory toast.

Highlights

  • Moscow’s 850-year-old Kremlin and Red Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Tour of the Armory Museum, housing Russia’s national treasures
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 16 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 4-16 Travelers $7,295
  • Partial Single Supplement $950

2017 Dates

  • July 10-25
  • September 4-19
  • $7,295
  • Max 16 Travelers
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Group Size

Small Groups – Never more than 16 travelers. Guaranteed!

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in superior tourist class hotels, guesthouses, and gers (yurt accommodations that sleep two).
  • Overnight sleeper train accommodations between UlaanBaatar and Naushki, and between Irkutsk and Moscow, in second-class rail compartments. One berth per traveler in four-berth train compartments is included in the program cost. Each traveler will share the compartment with three other travelers, possibly of mixed sexes as is the standard on trains in this region. Call for train upgrade prices.
  • 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 12 dinners. Some meals are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to experiment on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation by van/jeep throughout Mongolia, by coach/van throughout Russia, by seated day train along the Old Railway from Port Baikal to Irkutsk.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • Naadam entrance fees – July departure only.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list and insurance information.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application and instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for extensions to Beijing, Vladivostok, the Gobi, Kara Korum, St. Petersburg or Seoul.  All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program.  Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This Cultural Series program, by nature, is designed to be adventurous, but also comfortable for rustic travel in this region. Accommodations vary from three star hotels to simple and basic accommodations in lodges and ger camps. Five nights total are spent on overnight trains in four-berth compartments with shared WC, but no bath facilities. Each traveler will share the compartment with three other travelers.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

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MIR in the News
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    March 1, 2017

    Tours.com and Colorado Springs Style recently featured Siberia’s UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal as part of their roundup of seven “Destinations to See Fast, Before They Disappear,” noting the lake’s “threats from polluti... Read More

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    February 21, 2017

    Influential travel website GoNOMAD recently spotlighted MIR’s new-for-2017 culinary and cultural tour, Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan, in an article entitled, “Uzbekistan: Exploring Culture Through Cuisine.” Aside ... Read More

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