From China to Russia Aboard the Tsar's Gold

Starting in Beijing, where the remnants of Imperial China sit shoulder-to-shoulder with thriving businesses and five star hotels, roll along a railway that ties together two of the world’s biggest countries, China and Russia. Traverse Mongolia from the Gobi Desert across the endless steppe, where Genghis Khan’s armies once galloped, to the modern capital, UlaanBaatar. Continue up to the steep shores of ancient Lake Baikal, and on to the gleaming golden cupolas of Moscow.

Eastbound Moscow to Beijing departures are also available.

Special Offer:

Book a 2018 rail journey by private train between April 20-May 31, 2017 and pay the 2017 price PLUS save $500 (more info).

15 Day Trip

15 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Explore classic Beijing
    See the classic sights of Beijing – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall....
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  • Admire the 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks in Every Direction”
    Spend some time at the Gandan Monastery, originally founded in 1838; the temple houses a 20-ton gilded statue of...
    Read More
  • Take tea, Russian style
    Enjoy a Russian tea party experience, with hot drinks, baked goods and zakuskie, or appetizers....
    Read More
  • Appreciate the carved filigrees of Siberian architecture
    Enjoy a tour of the classic wooden architecture of one of Russia’s loveliest cities, Irkutsk...
    Read More
Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • 30 years of Trans-Siberian travel experience
  • Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, recommends MIR as the company to talk to about a Trans-Siberian journey
  • Travel programs such as Harvard, Princeton, Smith and Stanford University alumni have chosen MIR to guide them along the Trans-Siberian line
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Beijing

Explore the classic sites of Beijing, including the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, where 14 Ming and 10 Qing emperors ruled China. Travel outside the city to visit the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. Enjoy a special dinner of Peking duck before boarding the Chinese charter train for the one-night ride to the Mongolian border.

Highlights

  • Classic sites of Beijing – Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Great Wall, Ming Tombs
  • Peking duck dinner

Days 4-6: Gobi Desert, UlaanBaatar

Transfer to the Tsar’s Gold private train at the Mongolian border, continuing through the great Gobi Desert and on to the open steppe of Mongolia. Spend a night at a hotel in UlaanBaatar, discover the imposing Gandan Monastery, and attend a performance of Mongolian throat-singing. A picnic lunch in a rural ger is followed by a display of Mongolian horsemanship and Mongolian-style wrestling.

Highlights

  • UlaanBaatar, capital and most important city in Mongolia
  • Gandan Monastery, with the 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks in Every Direction”
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Days 7-9: Ulan Ude, Lake Baikal, Irkutsk

Reboard the train and continue into Russia. Spend some time in Ulan Ude, founded in 1666 by Cossacks as a winter encampment on the Selenga River. Take a short boat ride on UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on Earth, and skirt its shore on the old Circumbaikal Railway, the original line used by the Trans-Siberian Railway before the present-day route was completed. Transfer to a hotel for a night in Irkutsk, and get to know this important Siberian way station for expeditions and exiles. Wander the open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, a collection of authentic Russian and native Buryat, Evenki and Tafalar houses and community buildings dating from the 17th to the early 20th century.

Highlights

  • Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic, with the world’s largest Lenin head
  • Circumbaikal Railway, the most scenic stretch of the original Trans-Siberian Railway
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Days 10-13: Aboard train, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Kazan

In Novosibirsk travelers are met with a traditional Russian bread and salt welcome, and regaled with balalaika music. In Ekaterinburg, visit the Church on the Blood, built on the spot where the tsar and his family were killed in 1918. A tour of Kazan includes its UNESCO-listed kremlin, originally a fortress of the Golden Horde.

Highlights

  • Traditional Russian vodka tasting aboard the train
  • Bread and salt welcome in Novosibirsk
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Days 14-15: Moscow

Transfer to a centrally located hotel and begin an exploration of Moscow, including a tour of the dignified Kremlin. An after-dinner walk through Red Square and a descent into some of the city’s opulent subway stations bring this epic journey to an end.

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.

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 15 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Standard Classic, twin share
    $8,695
  • Standard Classic, single
    $12,095
  • Standard Superior, twin share
    $9,095
  • Standard Superior, single
    $12,895
  • Standard Superior Plus, twin share
    $9,695
  • Standard Superior Plus, single
    $13,495
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, twin share
    $11,695
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, single
    $17,595
  • Bolshoi Class, twin share
    $15,295
  • Bolshoi Class, single
    $23,395
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, twin share
    $18,095
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, single
    $27,395

2017 Dates

  • June 11-25
  • July 7-21
  • July 30-August 13
  • August 25-September 8
  • September 17-October 1
  • FROM
  • $8,695
Inquire Now
Trip Length: 15 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Standard Classic, twin share
    $8,395
  • Standard Classic, single
    $11,795
  • Standard Superior, twin share
    $8,795
  • Standard Superior, single
    $12,595
  • Standard Superior Plus, twin share
    $9,395
  • Standard Superior Plus, single
    $13,195
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, twin share
    $11,395
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, single
    $17,295
  • Bolshoi Class, twin share
    $14,995
  • Bolshoi Class, single
    $22,595
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, twin share
    $17,695
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, single
    $26,495

2018 Dates

  • May 13-27
  • FROM
  • $8,395
Inquire Now
Trip Length: 15 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Standard Classic, twin share
    $8,695
  • Standard Classic, single
    $12,095
  • Standard Superior, twin share
    $9,095
  • Standard Superior, single
    $12,895
  • Standard Superior Plus, twin share
    $9,695
  • Standard Superior Plus, single
    $13,495
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, twin share
    $11,695
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class, single
    $17,595
  • Bolshoi Class, twin share
    $15,295
  • Bolshoi Class, single
    $22,895
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, twin share
    $17,995
  • Bolshoi Platinum Class, single
    $26,795

2018 Dates

  • June 10-24
  • July 6-20
  • July 29-August 12
  • August 24-September 7
  • September 16-30
  • FROM
  • $8,695
Inquire Now

Early Booking Savings!

Contact our dedicated travel specialists for more details on any tour you’re interested in.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Tsar’s Gold private train and one night aboard the chartered Chinese train.
  • Per the itinerary, 5 nights of shared accommodations in well-located hotels.
  • Water, coffee and tea at meals.
  • Meals per itinerary.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Baggage handling at all railway stations.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, 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 air fare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

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

More Info

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.

More Info

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.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Eastern or Central Europe before or after your tour. Consider visiting Shanghai, China or St. Petersburg, Russia, or perhaps joining MIR’s “Classic Western Russia: Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg” tour in July, which seamlessly begins after your rail journey ends. 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 trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure.  To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow 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.

See All Journals
MIR in the News
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    Get an up-close look at northern reindeer and their herders in rugged, remote UNESCO-listed Kamchatka Peninsula. It's a Russian Far East treasure filled with rarely seen volcanoes and geysers, perfect for intrepid travelers. ... Read More

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    May 18, 2017

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Tsar's Gold

Tsar's Gold Private Train

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journeys by private train open a world of discovery to travelers who enjoy comfort and leisure time as well as exciting new vistas.

Exclusive private trains furnish the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destinations. The simple and comfortable Tsar’s Gold offers a restful and satisfying way to experience a legendary rail route.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

 

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way. Each car on the Tsar’s Gold has its own attendants who provide bed turndown service. Attendants keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train.

Towels are provided for all, and guests traveling in Nostalgic Comfort, Bolshoi and Bolshoi Platinum are also provided with bathrobes and slippers.

Six styles of accommodation are available aboard the Tsar’s Gold for the journey between Erlian and Moscow:

  • Bolshoi Platinum Class (en suite)
  • Bolshoi Class (en suite)
  • Nostalgic Comfort Class (shower for every two cabins)
  • Standard Superior Plus (shared facilities)
  • Standard Superior (shared facilities)
  • Standard Classic (shared facilities)

On the approximately 16-hour overnight journey between Beijing and Erlian (Chinese/Mongolian border where the rail gauge changes), guests travel aboard a chartered Chinese train with only one style of accommodation.*

  • Bolshoi Platinum Class

    Bolshoi Platinum Class

    Bolshoi Platinum Class cabins are the most comfortable option available on the Tsar’s Gold private train. Each cabin is outfitted with a shower, WC and washbasin. Cabins are equipped with an upper and a lower berth and a window-table.

    Additional Information

     Bolshoi Platinum Class cabin dimensions – 5 compartments/carriage:

    Cabin length: 6′ 8″ (203 cm)
    Cabin width (including closet): 8′ 2″ (250 cm)
    Cabin height: 8′ 4″ (255 cm)

    Bed 1 length: 6′ (184 cm)
    Bed 1 width: 3′ 11″ (120 cm)

    Bed 2 length: 5′ 8.5″ (174 cm)
    Bed 2 width: 2′ 8″ (82 cm)


  • Bolshoi Class

    Bolshoi Class

    Bolshoi Class cabins feature the same modern en suite amenities as Bolshoi Platinum, but in a smaller space. Bolshoi Class cabins are smaller than Bolshoi Platinum cabins but still have en suite facilities, though with a smaller shower area.

    Additional Information

    Bolshoi Class cabin dimensions – 6 compartments/carriage:

    Cabin length: 6′ 8″ (203 cm)
    Cabin width: 5′ 10″ (178 cm)
    Cabin height: 8′ 4″ (255 cm)

    Bed 1 length: 6′ (184 cm)
    Bed 1 width: 3′ 7″ (110 cm)

    Bed 2 length: 5′ 8.5″ (174 cm)
    Bed 2 width: 2′ 7.5″ (80 cm)


  • Nostalgic Comfort Class

    Nostalgic Comfort Class

    Nostalgic Comfort Class cabins are aboard new cars retrofitted with furnishings reminiscent of the special sleeping cars used by Communist Party leaders in the 1950s. Cabins include convertible upper and lower berths, a comfortable armchair and storage space above the door. A small, basic hand-held shower is shared between each two compartments and a WC is found at each end of the car.

    Additional Information

    Nostalgic Comfort Class cabin dimensions – 8 compartments/carriage:

    Bed length: 6′ 2″ (187 cm)
    Bed width: 2′ 7.5″ (80 cm)


  • Standard Superior Plus Class

    Standard Superior Plus Class

    Standard Superior Plus Class cabins feature new upholstery and modern design, include an electrical outlet in the cabin and offer the best cabin-to-shower ratio of the three Standard Class options.

    Additional Information

    All Standard Class cabins offer comfortable accommodation with twin-berth compartments featuring two lower berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel and there is storage space under the berths and above the door in each cabin.

    A WC is found at each end of the car in all cases, and every other car has a shower compartment at one end.

    Standard Superior Plus cabin dimensions – 8 compartments/carriage:

    Cabin length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Cabin width: 5′ 11.5″ (182 cm)
    Cabin height: 8′ 4″ (255 cm)

    Bed length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Bed width: 2′ 2.8″ (68 cm)


  • Standard Superior Class

    Standard Superior Class

    Standard Superior Class cabins are newly upholstered with new trim and a more modern interior design.

    Additional Information

    All Standard Class cabins offer comfortable accommodation with twin-berth compartments featuring two lower berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel and there is storage space under the berths and above the door in each cabin. A WC is found at each end of the car in all cases, and every other car has a shower compartment at one end.

    Standard Superior cabin dimensions – 8 or 9 compartments/carriage:

    Cabin length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Cabin width: 5′ 11.5″ (182 cm)
    Cabin height: 8′ 4″ (255 cm)

    Bed length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Bed width: 2′ 2.8″ (68 cm)


  • Standard Classic Class

    Standard Classic Class

    Standard Classic Class cabins are the best-value cabin option with comfortable accommodation with twin-berth compartments featuring two lower berths.

    Additional Information

    As with all Standard Class cabins, beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel and there is storage space under the berths and above the door in each cabin. A WC is found at each end of the car in all cases, and every other car has a shower compartment at one end.

    Standard Classic cabin dimensions – 8 or 9 compartments/carriage:

    Cabin length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Cabin width: 5′ 11.5″ (182 cm)
    Cabin height: 8′ 4″ (255 cm)

    Bed length: 6′ 3″ (190 cm)
    Bed width: 2′ 2.8″ (68 cm)


  • *One night aboard a Chinese Train

    *One night aboard a Chinese Train

    For the approximately 16-hour overnight journey between Beijing and Erlian (Chinese/Mongolian border where the rail gauge changes), guests travel aboard a chartered Chinese train. All cabins are similar to the Standard Class category and accommodate two passengers.

    Additional Information

    There are no Bolshoi, Bolshoi Platinum or Nostalgic Comfort type cabins on the Chinese train. The number of cabins available for single occupancy is limited; therefore single occupancy for travelers booked in Standard Class or Nostalgic Comfort Class is not guaranteed for this overnight travel segment.


  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    Five or six nights of the tour (depending on which direction you are traveling) are spent in hotels — two or three in Beijing, one in UlaanBaatar, one in Irkutsk and one in Moscow.

    Additional Information

    In Beijing and Moscow, Bolshoi Platinum and Bolshoi Class passengers are accommodated in upgraded rooms, with standard rooms booked for Nostalgic Comfort and Standard Class guests.

    Please note that the hotels in UlaanBaatar and Irkutsk are moderate — basic but comfortable. Additional nights before and after the tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train
Tsars Gold Private Train

The Tsar’s Gold private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining.

The Tsar’s Gold train is a comfortable, though not luxurious, private train, which can accommodate up to 200 passengers. Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. The exact configuration of train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure.

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the train. Decor and layout of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Dining Cars

    Dining Cars

    Dining Cars featuring Russian and European cuisine operate as lounges after dinner. Water, tea and coffee are included with your meals. A selection of soft drinks, wine, beer and spirits is available for purchase.

    Additional Information

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive line-up of educational city tours at the various stops on our routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).