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This is a journey that will take you from the grand scale, historical riches and cultural treasures of the Chinese capital to the mystical Buddhist kingdom of Tibet via a mammoth journey across “the roof the world” on the highest passenger railway line on the planet. Explore Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China before travelling for more than 40 hours across spectacular landscapes of snow-capped mountain peaks and rugged terrain and your arrival into Lhasa – the capital of Tibet and an intoxicating, captivating world of palaces, temples and timeless traditions, all immersed in the Buddhist way of life.
Car and guide will pick you up from your hotel at 17:00 and transfer you directly to Beijing West Station where you’ll board the Tibet bound train. This unique, 45-hour journey will carry you across the “roof of the world.” Due to the high elevation (portions of your ride include travel at altitudes hovering around 16,000 feet) your rail car’s air is enriched with additional oxygen – a unique amenity of this fascinating rail journey. Though cabin avail abilities may vary, sleeping accommodations aboard the train generally include semi-private, quad-occupancy cabins. Restroom facilities are provided within each car.
From the windows of your train you’ll see the majestic, snow-capped peaks of the Kunlun Mountains. Outside those windows lies some of the world’s harshest environments: high, arid, salty plateaus with sparse vegetation. Yet the views are spectacular! You’ll travel across miles and miles of Northern Tibet Grass land, through the Kekexili Nature Preserve – home to just 16 mammal species and 30 bird species. All are acclimated to the dry, cold, high-altitude climate. Here roam snow leopards, yaks, Tibet antelope and wild donkeys. Golden eagles soar above. Today’s journey carries you over the Tanggula Pass – travelling along the world’s highest passenger railway tracks (elevation – 16,649 ft. or 5072m).
Evening arrival into Lhasa Railway Station. You will be met by your guide and transferred to the three-star House of Shambala for a three-night stay. The rest of the evening is at leisure for acclimatisation or to explore and get your bearings.
Morning visit to Lhasa’s iconic landmark, the Potala Palace – dating back to the seventh century, it is magnificent from a distance, impressive close-up and a dominating sight of the city. After lunch you will visit Sera Monastery – the site is famous for the “monk debates” on the teachings of Buddha.
Morning exploring the most revered religious structure in Tibet – the Jokhang Temple (“Buddha’s House”) and the surrounding market of Barkhor. In the afternoon you will visit Norbulingkha, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport or railway station where the service we have provided will come to an end.
All kinds of people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and senior government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
To get the Tibet travel permit you need to hold a valid passport with valid Chinese visa and you will need to e-mail the following information at least 25 days prior to your arrival in Tibet. Scan of your passport, with full name, sex, date of birth, passport number, nationality, occupation together with the China visa page.
Pre-booked for your convenience
All pre-booked day trips are operated by C.I.T.S (China International Travel Services) which is a state owned and operated company. These trips will operate as groups and you should expect to meet other western tourists. The style of these trips will also include stops at commercial enterprises which sadly we cannot control.
Visting :(Badaling Great Wall and Chang Ling)
Includes: Ming Tombs
The well preserved sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are China’s most famous tourist site. These sections are mainly the remains from the Ming Dynasty, an era of tremendous construction. This area of the Wall is to the North of Beijing around 70 kms from the city centre. Here you will see a small section to include several passes and lookout towers. Lunch. This afternoon you will visit the Ming tombs. The general name given to the Mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1664). The Mausoleums have been perfectly preserved and the site has a high cultural and historic value.
English speaking guide.
Coach pick up from your hotel at 8am.
Expect to return 5pm.
Includes: Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace.
Full day look into the lives of the Emperors. The Forbidden City lies at the heart of Beijing – it was the Imperial enclave of the city, entrance was “forbidden” to common citizens. Within this enormous city-within-a-city are museums, temples, and even, ehem, Starbucks. After lunch (included) the tour continues to the Temple of Heaven, a Daoist temple where the Emperors prayed for good fortune for their people. Finally we visit the Summer Palace, laid-out in oriental gardens around a huge lake. The Gardens represent the high point of their kind, and are recognised by UNESCO. (Normally 2 hours The Forbidden City, 2 hours The Summer Palace and 1.5 hours in the Temple of Heaven)
English speaking guide.
Coach pick up from your hotel at 8am.
Expect to return 6pm.
Mutianyu is the Great Wall visit that Chinese tourists to Beijing themselves prefer, for two reasons. Firstly this part of the Wall – although a bit further from Beijing by road than Badaling – is one of the best-preserved sections. Secondly, it’s less popular with foreign tourist groups and the souvenir-industry that follows in their wake (it’s still commercialised, but in a Chinese way – something you can’t easily escape at the Wall anywhere). The Wall runs along a high escarpment here – you can take a cable car (small fee paid locally, not included in the excursion price) to the top if you like? There are stupendous views from the cable car and the Wall itself! You can come down on foot on the wooded pathway, take the cable car once more – or even take a toboggan!
NB The Ming Tombs are not visited on this Great Wall trip.
English speaking guide.
Coach pick up from your hotel at 9:30am.
Expect to return 4:30pm.
This trip has two main advantages. Firstly, the section of the Great Wall at Simatai is the most complete and well-preserved, and was not extensively altered later. Additionally it’s quite a bit further from Beijing, so Simatai attracts fewer visitors than the hordes of day-trippers who visit the Wall at Badaling (the closest point to Beijing). The trip also routes via Jinshanling, but access to the Wall there is currently closed to allow restoration work to take place. You leave your hotel early morning (at 7am), and by 10am you’re already at the Wall. There is a hiking section (sturdy footwear needed!) along the top of the Wall itself at Simatai. After the hike there’s a nice traditional lunch with locally-brewed beer, and a chance for some shopping. You’ll be back at your hotel by around 6pm, traffic permitting.
English speaking guide throughout.
Coach pick up directly from your hotel at 7am
Expect to return by 6pm.
The hutongs are Beijing’s old lanes and alleys. In the days of the Emperors, Court Officials often had their homes in the more prestigious hutongs – wealthier merchants and other professional people lived alongside. Many hutongs were saved from demolition because of their great historical and cultural value – the houses along them might now be museums, private housing, shops, cafes, workshops or even hotels. This guided tour (best in the morning or afternoon) includes a visit to a family who still live in one of the old houses in the hutongs. The pedal-cab transport adds a special Beijing flavour to the experience. In a city increasingly dominated by high-rise offices and mirror-glass skyscrapers, this is a unique chance to leave it all behind and immerse yourself in the legacy of an older and more typical Beijing-style environment.
English speaking guide throughout.
Travel to/from the Hutongs area is included – pedal-cab provided in the Hutong area only.
Half-Day excursion, timings confirmed locally by your guide.
The rich legacy of Chinese culture can sometimes seem closed-off to visitors who can’t penetrate the language barrier – but there are still two great ways of enjoying an evening out with traditional Chinese entertainment. The first choice might be a Chinese acrobatic show. The versatility and dexterity of the performers never fails to amaze, but what often surprises visitors is the beauty and artistry with which the acrobatic routines are woven into a real treat for the eyes. Alternatively you might want to experience a Beijing opera. This is traditional Chinese entertainment – it’s performed in Chinese, but your guide will explain the story before it begins. This is not European opera, but a different rich art-form which has evolved over many centuries. Often the stories are very familiar – the Prince who falls in love with the beautiful country girl – but her father hopes to make money for himself from the wedding.. this kind of thing. Very often there’s a comically irascible King who has to be placated too. Neither event is a “supper show”, so make your own dining plans separately.
English speaking guide throughout the evening
Return travel to/from the venue included.
Programme subject to confirmation and availability.
Please enquire for availability call: 0345 521 2910
Our trip dossier provides a wealth of information relating to this journey, including a full day-by-day itinerary and essential information specific to this trip. In printable format should you wish to print and read at your leisure.
All I can say is WOW!
What an amazing and epic trip! Thank you so much for making this trip such a wonderful experience. You and your team did an amazing job and I couldn’t believe how well everything worked out. Prior to departure, as the planning was coming together, I was thinking that this was a pretty complex trip with a lot of moving parts and had some concerns as to how it would all work out. Well, I needn’t have worried. The Trans-Siberian was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My guides were excellent and I really enjoyed the knowledge and insights they provided. The dog sledding and especially the snowmobiling were so much fun and The Bolshoi was wonderful. I am also glad I did this in winter, went east-to-west, and started in Vladivostok. I am still trying to process it all but wanted to drop you a note to thank you and let you know how much I enjoyed it.
Thank you again,
The guides we had were really knowledgeable and good at pitching the information and background history at the right level. It has been great to get their perspective on their country, its recent history and current position.
A note on the tours – Doing an orientation / overview guided walk as the first activity really worked for us and we’d certainly recommend the format and timing.
Esp re the carriages on the train, the mantra of under promise and over deliver worked well. Bringing ones own cup / tea bags and some food worked well and was needed once or twice. Pretty basic drop toilets and no shower on a couple of legs was not an issue as you had prepared our expectations.
VERY glad we had a cabin to ourselves. For us , 4 in a cabin would have been way too cosy. Each to their own, but for us DEFINITELY the right choice.
The time of year was good also. A week or two earlier would have seen the dog trip eventuate this year , next year may be different. We saw Siberia with snow, giant frozen lakes and it was not too cold. The other advantage was the lack of queues- esp at the iconic sights. The down side being that places such as the Peterhoff and anywhere where gardens and fountains are the theme, are nowhere near their best.
Again, we had a memorable adventure so thank you for your assistance.
Just wanted to drop a quick note to tell you how wonderful everything was on our trip. It was really even more amazing than we hoped for from start to finish. Some highlights.
• Metropole ended up being a great location (and the awesome breakfast was included) plus the concierges were very very helpful. Rooms are quite ordinary but can’t say enough about service and location.
• We got a great (affordable too!) vegetarian meal at Twin Gardens in Moscow. It was our fine dining option over White Rabbit – concierge at Metropole had made that recommendation to me in email early on and helped with reservations. We also went to Tsum Buro on their recommendation after Boshoi – also very good and both walk-able from Metropole
• Konstantine and Demitry in Yekaterinburg. They were excellent and the “ownership” they took over our care those days was very nice. He is a great partner.
• We really enjoyed our train trip (despite our overly large luggage), we had two great women carriage attendants and one bit lazy man on our middle leg who we called grandpa snow. We found our trains
comfortable and thank goodness for Susan the bathrooms very clean!
• Not sure if you heard about the coal train that derailed outside of Irkutsk in January. We were actually behind that, we are fairly convinced they moved us to another track as our ride was Very bumpy
and Lena said she was stunned we were only 15 minutes late as some trains where running 11 hour behind.
• Skiing worked out great and we did not injure ourselves.
• Weather was miraculous – Our average temperature was around -10 to -15 C, and on our ski day with sun – perfect ski weather. So hardly a hot hands was used.
• The top highlight was our cooking class in Lake Baikal, it was so very special. We went to Rita and Sasha (he’s a guide that works with Lena and she use to have a home stay before she retired) Not only did Susan get vegetarian Borscht and Rita’s Blini’s were the best. It was just great fun, good conversation and a little homemade vodka.
Thank you again for all the care you put in helping us plan this trip
and your flexibility. It was a trip of a lifetime.
FYI – I came back to sub sub zero temperatures (-33 C), I can’t believe it’s colder at home than Siberia!!
Liz & Adele
We have just checked in to Hotel Nine in Ulaanbaatar. Our train tickets for Beijing were there, waiting for us. Excellent.
There was a small moment of uncertainty when they seemed to think that we would share a room here, but that has been dealt with.
I want to take the opportunity of letting you know how fantastically well everything has been organised, and how pleased we are with everything.
The hotels were uniformly good, the transfer arrangements worked brilliantly everywhere, and all three guides (Marianna in Yekaterinburg, Anastasia in Irkutsk/Listvyanka and above all Anar in Mongolia) were fantastic.
The trip itself has so far been amazing – everything we could hope for and more.
So, very well done, and many thanks.
We’re settling back in after our big adventure. What a time we had! Would recommend and would do it again 🙂
Sorry it’s taken me too long to get in touch to thank you for everything. But thank you!! For your help setting things up and for being reactive throughout our many email trails over the last few months. It made everything so much simpler for us.
It’s definitely not a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience – we will do it again in a few years, trying a different route and some different stops along the way. It’s simply too big a deal not to have another go!
I can give you specific feedback on trains, hotels, destinations, if it interests or helps you. (In short, Mongolia was incredibly beautiful, Tomsk lovely, Moscow even better than I imagined. The train standards were a bit of a mixed bag – the Russian ones good, the Chinese and Mongolian ones not so. There are a few things I’d highly recommend, such as a couple of our hotels)
Your ticketing was seamless, and I’ve already recommended your booking services to a friend planning to travel in the summer.
So yeah, we’ve had a super time. Pretty serious come-down now!
I came back home last Wednesday evening, after a total of five weeks and about 7000 miles of railway track!
Just wanted to send you a message with a big THANK YOU for all your help, and with your incredible patience and flexibility when I was changing my mind and my plans.
And when I was panicking about things, like passport and visa. 🙂
Everything went well, it was a fantastic experience. The train tickets were all delivered on time to my accommodation. In Beijing, I figured out how to take public transport to Mutyanu to visit the Great Wall – absolutely amazing feeling to really be there! In Ulan Batar, I stayed at Zaya Hostel, super accommodation and very helpful, done a nice day trip to the Chenggis Khan statue and the National Park. In Irkutsk, I looked around in the city and also took a public minibus to go to Listvyanka, where I went for a dog sledding trip, really really nice. I’ve seen the lowest temperature of my entire trip in Irkutsk: minus 35!! After that, Alex was a fantastic guide and great company on my trip to the gulag museum and the ice caves. In Moscow also enough to see and do. After my days in Moscow, where your itinerary and service was finished, I booked myself an additional small pile of train tickets. I went to Kiev (stayed four days, well worth the extra stop!), then “station hopped” home without any more sightseeing stops: Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, Eurotunnel to London, Cardiff, Fishguard…
Big big thank you once again. Is there anywhere I can leave a review for other people to read? Maybe on your Facebook page?
Best regards, spassiba!!
Saskia van Schip
Stanton E. Samenow
We just wanted to say huge thanks to you – and to Jo and to Jackie – for all your help.
You provide a truly great service – very efficient and helping us to get a really good sense in advance of what to expect. It was a great trip which we really enjoyed.
I’ve already recommended you to a number of friends and colleagues.
The Moscow-Beijing route that we travelled uses Chinese rolling stock. And so all the carriage attendants were male and Chinese – not quite what we were expecting but they were very pleasant and helpful nonetheless!
Thank you again to all of you,
Ian & Phil
Ian Costain & Philip Hickley
I just wanted to say thanks for organizing the Trans-Siberian Rail Trip trip for me. I just arrived in Moscow and have been having a great time. Everything went incredibly smoothly. I appreciate your help planning everything. I ran into another of your clients along the way, they said the same thing.
Now, time to explore!
Hello Russia Experience,We are now in Shanghai. We had the most amazing time on the Trans-Siberian, what a great experience. The level of service and professionalism we had form yourselves continued through the whole trip. In particular the teams in Yekaterinburg and Ulaanbaatar were absolutely brilliant. I can’t believe the three weeks are over however we have memories to last forever. I would have loved to spend more time in Mongolia, so we might come back again for another adventure.I will recommend you to all our friends and I write a travel blog and have given you a good mention.Thank you so much,Chris and Jane.
Christopher Freeman & Jane Henbest
Dear JackieJust wanted to say a big thank you to everyone. I had an absolutely amazing time. Everything went to plan, all the picks ups were on time and the guides were fantastic. A wonderful experience!Judith Downes
Just a quick note to say we’ve arrived home safely and had an absolutely fantastic time, the whole trip ran like a dream, the transfers and guides were superb, it was a great experience.
Thank you so much for your recommendations, the Golden Apple and the Khan resort (especially!!) were both brilliant.
Damien & Sali Walsh
Mr & Mrs Walsh
Now that we have finished our journey across Asia, we wanted to email to thank you and your colleagues for the excellent arrangements which went without a hitch. It was a most wonderful and inspiring journey which was made the more enjoyable by knowing that we would be met and guided when it was crucial, but left also left to our own devices to explore places when it was prudent to do so.
In each place, your agents were most helpful, but we especially wanted to single out your Mongolian partners who went out of their way to make us welcome and explain to us a great deal about the country and its customs.
So, all in all, a great trip which we would recommend without hesitation: just the right blend of adventure and comfort! Thank you to all concerned.
With best wishes,
Robert & Louise
Robert & Louise
Here are some personal highlights from our trip.
I was struck by the dearth of caucasians in China and Mongolia. Some days the only non-orientals were ourselves! Great to be immersed in another culture like that.
In every big city Stephan and I did an urban run. What a great way to see a city at the street level and the people and all the energy as we ran anywhere from 3 kilometers to 10 kilometers at a go. You can imagine what it was like to run along Tianamen Square or around the Kremlin.
One extra exciting run was at Ekaterineburg. The train had a 29 minute stop and the location of the Ipatiav House where the Romanov’s were murdered was 1.5 kilometers from the train station. We had to book it off the train, through the station, onto the main boulevard and down to the huge cathedral now on that a site. Take a few pictures and hustle back with a minute to spare before the train took off!
The friends we made in wagon 6 on our trek across Siberia. There were many Brits, Canadians, and Aussies. Because we were all on the Trans-Sib/Mongolian, everyone had a sense of adventure. We were among kindred spirits. We shared stories, adventures, food, and vodka. And lots of conversation about about the Brexit vote and the results of Euro 16 football matches.
Quality time for father and son with hours together in our compartment to talk, read, share and grow closer. Stephan speaks Chinese so he was a huge asset in China as well.
A happy home away from home-coming as Sarah and Johan met us in Moscow. Good food and museums. My favorite museum is the Tretyakov and it was such a treat to view the works of Repin, Perov, Shishkin, and Lamonsov.
The Mongolian steppes. The vistas were incredible and the time spent there, as well as sleeping in a ger was so memorable.
Thank you again for your service and care for our trip. We loved it and I am so grateful for your professional wisdom and handling of the details. You are the best and can highly recommend you to all.
The Quie Family
The Havard family
Not sure if you meant it when you said you wanted some feedback but here goes. I’m on the penultimate day as we arrive in Vladivostok tomorrow. I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Nothing like what I expected but it has been a great experience and although I wouldn’t repeat it I would certainly redo it. Siberia was much less sparse than I expected and the towns were much more modern than I had expected. It’s very much a tourist trip for tourists so I could imagine some people being disappointed if they were expecting purely a culture or a geographical trip. The organisation is outstanding,service is excellent, food is very good and the facilities far above what I could have imagined. The trip itself is a curious mixture of culture,cuisine,cities,concerts,folklore,geography, history ( lectures from a professor of Russian history), entertainment,adventure and I’m sure I forgot something.
Really wonderful. Thanks for your help in giving me this experience,
John (travelled Golden Eagle Imperial Class)
Howard & Alison Brett
Nicholas Mayman & Wendy Wise
Wanted to say a huge thank you for all the help you guys gave me with the trip and the visas! and the patience you had with all my questions!!!!
I had the best time and met some awesome people ???? you guys are the best and I would definitely recommend using your company to friends and anyone that asks really!
The guides I had were all amazing and the accommodation was pretty sweet too!!
Thanks so much!
Since the end of the train trip we have been in Moscow for five days and are currently finishing up a visit to beautiful St Petersburg. Tomorrow we head to Copenhagen as we continue our three month journey.
Thanks again for all that you did on our behalf.
All services – transits, hotels, on-train facilities and guides were punctual and efficient.
We had no problems in meeting/being met by taxi drivers. Hotels were expecting us as paid-for guests.
Guides were pleasant, knowledgeable and had good English. On-train we were surprised at being offered all we wanted. Indeed, the whole package was sound and recommendable.
We were pleasantly surprised with unexpected on-train facilities. Apparently, the 1st class, two-berth, on-train service includes one cooked meal daily and complementary daily supply of tea, coffee and chocolate. Boiling water for beverages is available all day and night in each car. Bedding – linen sleeping bag and two pillows – is free. On the older railway stock, on train 8, don’t expect to wash anything except hands and your plastic crockery and cutlery. Toilet paper is always available, though not always paper towels, and the waste bins are emptied regularly.
At Irkutsk the local office manager is like no other manager. His appearance is that of a 1960s hippy – long hair tied into a pony-tail, short trousers, back-pack – but he is delightfully lucid, speaks excellent English, is clearly well-connected, is light hearted and very effective. The world needs more of his equal.
The fresh water and very clear Lake Baikal is a treasure: It’s 636 km long, about 1650 m deep and has many species found nowhere else. No wonder it has internationally recognised status for scientific interest. The Baikal museum and aquarium is truly worth a visit.
Thanks for organising a most enjoyable and interesting tour.
Our home stay hostess, Olga, was a delight. Loved the visits to villages.
Now to read and reread Russian novels! Mongolia nomad stay was more challenging than we expected but in retrospect was a good experience. Family and guide were great.
We have had an amazing time. Everything was so well organised, we always felt looked after without feeling stifled or rushed about as you might on a fully managed/guided tour. We had plenty of time to do our own thing and the trips were always in very small groups (if not only the three of us!). The local guides at each location were fantastic. All really helpful and knowledgeable and ready to do that little bit extra (special thanks to the amazing Ulziimaa in Ulaanbataar!). As you may have guessed at an early stage I can be a bit of a nervous traveller but you reassured us at every step and everything was so well planned and organised, we really had nothing to worry about at all. I appreciate hugely the fact that every email and question I had was responded to and answered within minutes/hours, even when we were in China. I will (and already have done) unreservedly recommend you and your company to anyone considering travelling through Russia, Mongolia and China.
A truly amazing experience…thank you.
Alanna, Ralph and Nathan
Karen & Jacques Grivel
Thanks for all your troubles and for a wonderful experience.
Carlos Ossenbach Sauter
Carols Ossenbach Sauter
Jessica & Nanae Warren-Hart
Bernadette & Joseph Skinner
City Walks; These added a whole new dimension to the tours as the guides were first rate and very well informed. We also found that they were happy to talk of present and past regimes which served to add colour to the situation and they were also well versed in the local customs. Without the guides the experience would not have been quite so rewarding.
Options; Not to be missed. Picnic at Lake Baikal and the trip to the Great Wall. Excellent guides and very well organised .
As promised we were always met as arranged . The drivers went out of their way to ensure that we were on time for our trains and they also made sure that we were safely on board before leaving. We were also lucky in meeting three others on the “experience” in Moscow who we were with until Beijing and so we had others to turn to when we were confused. ( Often at my age )
All in all it was a fantastic experience and one that I would not have wanted to miss at any cost. You have made two old men very happy.
My one and only complaint about the trip is that I have absolutely nothing about which to complain.
My thanks to you and all involved.
Brian Marchant & Brian Quance
We thoroughly enjoyed the hike round Lake Baikal (although the distances were a lot further than in the itinerary!!!!), and the walking guide Anton was both knowledgeable and chilled out, a great balance!
Mongolia was also an excellent experience, with the family stay being the highlight! Our guide Naki had endless information and was forever cheerful! A big thank you to him too!
The whole experience for us both was a very positive one and we will be sure to recommend your company to family and friends!!
Once again, thank you to all the drivers, guides and yourself for an excellent service!
Amanda and Duncan
Amanda Moran & Duncan Balderson
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