Mongolia Mongolia

Golden Eagle Trans-Mongolian Express

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Russia by Private Train Onboard The Golden Eagle Trans-Mongolian Express Eastbound featuring the Naadam Festival.

The Naadam Festival is the one and only Big Event in Mongolia – a lively national festival, held every year in July. Naadam means “three manly games” and is often referred to as the world’s second-oldest Olympics, it celebrates the definition of civilization in the Steppes eight centuries ago; archery, wrestling and horse riding. The competitors in the riding events are all children aged between five and twelve, many of whom have been in the saddle since the age of one. As they race along the plains for 20kms, thousands of spectators line the remote track to watch up to 650 children sitting confidently astride their small but sturdy Mongolian steeds. It is claimed that such equestrian skills won Genghis Khan an empire that stretched from the Sea of Japan all the way to Europe.  

In recent times, women have been allowed to enter and they now compete in two of the three events, horse racing and archery. Once a religious ceremony, the festival now formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself a free country.

This is a unique opportunity to be among the few non-Mongolians to experience this spectacular but little known festival and soak up the exciting atmosphere of this national holiday. The journey combines the Naadam Festival with an amazing overland journey from Moscow on board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train.

Accommodations

Moscow
One (1) night at the Ritz Carlton Moscow; Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

Golden Eagle, Trans Siberian Express
One Silver or Gold Class Cabin or Imperial Suite for Eight (8) nights on board the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express.

Ulaan Baatar
Three (3) nights at the Kempinski (or similar); Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

The Tour Includes:

  • All meals on board the train.
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks provided with Lunch and Dinner.
  • Experienced tour representatives throughout the tour.
  • Russian Interpreters able to speak English, German, French and Italian.
  • Comprehensive off-train sightseeing program as detailed in the itinerary. Please note that all touring is with fellow-passengers at all times.
  • A doctor who travels with the train throughout the tour.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water throughout the tour from your car attendant.

The Tour Does Not Include:

  • Travel cancellation insurance.
  • Charges of a personal nature on the train or at the hotels (laundry, telephone, bar account, etc.)
  • Visas (as required) or Excess Baggage Charges, Airport Departure Taxes, Vaccination or Medical Costs.

Options and Extensions:

Please contact Exeter International for tour extensions and options in Russia. All tour extensions are on a private customized basis.

Trip Departure Date:

July 1-13, 2020 (Eastbound)

July 10-22, 2020 (Westbound)

July 1-13, 2021 (Eastbound)

July 10-22, 2021 (Westbound)

Download a PDF itinerary here.

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

Silver Class $16,995.00 per person, double occupancy                                                       Silver Class $25,195.00 single occupancy Gold Class $20,995.00 per person, double occupancy                                                          Gold Class $30,595.00 single occupancy Imperial Class $34,695.00 per person, base on double occupancy.                                                            Imperial Class $67,895.00 single occupancy

Day 1
Arrival | Moscow Bolshoi Theater - Moscow, Russia

Arrive at Moscow Airport, where you are met and transferred to the luxury five-star Four Seasons Moscow.

Located in the historic building of Moskva Hotel and occupying one of the most enviable addresses in the very heart of Moscow, the hotel is a short walk from the Kremlin, Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre.

On your first evening in Moscow you will be invited to a champagne drinks reception before an exclusive Welcome Dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.

Day 2
Moscow | Moscow Saint Basil's Cathedral - Moscow, Russia

Your touring programm of Russia’s capital takes you to the grandeur of the Kremlin – the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow – and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber where we will enjoy an exclusive private viewing.

Your exploration of the city continues with a visit to Red Square, the iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might, with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture. Here you visit the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires and marvel at the beautiful façade of the world-famous GUM department store which was constructed in Tsarist times.

Lunch is served in Café Pushkin, a legendary Moscow restaurant serving traditional Russian cuisine with a décor that revives the atmosphere of an early 19th century mansion. An essential part of any visit to Moscow is a tour of the opulent and unique stations of the Moscow metro – showpieces of Socialist art furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

If you have been to Moscow before we offer included Freedom of Choice touring where we show you other sights of the city such as the famous State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art) or the Space Museum.

Upon arrival at Moscow Kazansky Station in the late afternoon, you will be greeted in the ornately decorated Imperial Waiting Room with a cold glass of Russian Champagne and canapes as you mix with the other guests and are welcomed by the train staff. The excitement in the waiting room audibly mounts and, 30 minutes before departure, your car attendants will escort you to Platform 1 where the Golden Eagle awaits ready for departure.

Day 3
Kazan | Kazan Kazan Church, Russia

Situated on the River Volga, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Here you have the opportunity to see for yourself its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is your exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel you will explore its stunning mosque and picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.

As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia’s most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), you honor his memory with a private concert of his music. You will also have time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.

Day 4
Yekaterinburg | Yekaterinburg Golden Eagle Train

Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg, is the capital of the Urals. Known as the Great Divide, the Ural Mountains create the natural border between Europe and Asia so that the cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilizations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape. Your city tour takes you to the poignant site where the Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides you with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. You will also drive to the obelisk marking the geographical border and drink a glass of champagne with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.

Time permitting, your Freedom of Choice program features a visit to the recently opened Museum of Military Machinery. The museum houses an amazing collection of different types of military hardware including tanks, aircraft, boats and even armoured trains. The museum is a real treat for anyone with an interest in the Soviet past, unparalleled by anything else along the route.

Alternatively, we will make a short stop at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre, recently opened in Yekaterinburg, which is dedicated to the contemporary political history of Russia and is first president.

Day 5
Novosibirsk | Novosibirsk Opera House - Novosibirsk, Russia

A modern ‘Soviet’ city, you experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich culture where the arts and science predominate. The city is located in the heart of Russia and is situated on both banks of the River Ob. Your city tour takes you to Lenin Square where the imposing Opera House is located. An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House, you visit an impressive statue of Lenin – a marvelous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.

Time permitting, south of the city we will visit Novosibirsk’s excellent Railway Museum. The museum displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800s, including carriages of the Tsars, through to the Soviet era. Alternatively, as part of our Freedom of Choice programme, choose to visit the Mineralogical Centre with its fine display of Siberian minerals.

Day 6
Onboard | Onboard Golden Eagle Train

A day to unwind and reflect on the sights you have experienced on the journey so far. Take the time to chat with your fellow passengers, perhaps learn a few words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever changing landscape outside your window as it unfolds.

Day 7
Irkutsk | Irkutsk Irkutsk, Russia

Your visit to Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture with its intricately carved lace-like decorations that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance.

You also visit the Volkonsky House Museum, which is dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled to this remote outpost after the failed Decembrists uprising of 1825, and you recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.

You could learn to cook some traditional Russian dishes with a local chef and prepare your own lunch with our Freedom of Choice option. Or you might also wish to visit a traditional Russian Dacha (summer house) or an urban apartment to get an insight into the everyday life of an average Russian family.

Day 8
Lake Baikal | Lake Baikal

Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal and is a major highlight on our Trans-Mongolian journey. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater. Also known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia’ it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over 50 species of fish including omul. For five hours you wind your way through tunnels along cliff hugging tracks above the lake with a vista of snowcapped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop.

To add to the grandeur of the day your Golden Eagle train will be hauled by a Soviet era steam locomotive on this beautiful section of the line. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs as the train winds its way along the lake’s edge. This will be an unforgettable part of the journey.

Weather permitting, you stop in an extremely picturesque location by the lake for photographic opportunities and for the brave hearted there is time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear and ice-cold waters of Baikal. Travelling onwards to the end of the Baikal branch line, you leave the train and travel by boat on the lake to Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills and visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the lake.

You will enjoy a delicious barbecue, including freshly smoked omul fish, prepared by your own chefs on the shore of Lake Baikal to complete a memorable day. As part of your Freedom of Choice excursion program you can choose a hiking opportunity up Chersky Mount that offers some spectacular and panoramic hillside views of the lake below.

Day 9
Ulan Ude | Ulan Ude Ulan Ude, Russia

The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, offers a unique insight into its heritage. As you tour the area you will notice the different faces of these welcoming Buryat people. During our exploration of the Old Believers’ Village you have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as you are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.

Day 10
Ulaan Baatar | Ulaan Baatar Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Your Trans-Mongolian adventure takes you into Mongolia and a 3 night stay in its capital, Ulaan Baatar. Mongolia, once the very centre of an enormous empire led by Genghis Khan, is a country of beautiful landscapes and nomadic people, rich in culture and history. Mongolia is famous for its endless green Steppes, grazing livestock and white, nomadic Gers (Yurts) dotted all across the countryside.

You’ll have a short tour of Ulaan Baatar visiting the Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates as ‘the great place of complete joy’. At Sukhbaatar Square you can see the central monument to Genghis Khan; undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol.

Day 11
Ulaan Baatar | Ulaan Baatar Naadam Festival, Mongolia

On the first day of the Naadam Festival, you’ll observe the elaborate opening ceremony which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians, before traveling outside Ulaan Baatar to watch the national horse race. The competitors in the riding events are all children between five and twelve, many of whom have been in the saddle since the age of one. As they race along the plains for 20 kilometres, thousands of spectators line the remote track to watch up to 1,000 horses with children sitting confidently astride their small but sturdy Mongolian steed. It is claimed such equestrian skills won Genghis Khan an empire that stretched from the Sea of Japan all the way to Europe.

In the evening you will enjoy a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists.

Day 12
Ulaan Baatar | Ulaan Baatar Naadam Ceremony, Mongolia

This is a unique opportunity to be among the few non-Mongolians to experience the spectacular, but little known, Naadam Festival and soak up the exciting atmosphere of this national holiday. Once a religious ceremony, the festival now formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself a free country. In recent times, women have been allowed to enter and they now compete in two of the three events, horse racing and archery.

Today is the day for all the main competitions and you will attend the archery, wrestling and ankle-bone shooting events.

Day 13
Ulaan Baatar | Ulaan Baatar Mongolia

Breakfast is served in the hotel and transfers are provided to the airport for departing flights.

Due to the popularity of the period around the Naadam Festival we reserve accommodations for our guests at a number of the best hotels in Ulaan Baatar including the Kempinski and Ramada. Please note, we cannot guarantee your preferred choice of hotel.

Meet a ballerina in St Petersburg
Extraordinary Experiences
VIEW VIEW page

Extraordinary Experiences

Discover our insider access Extraordinary Experiences.

VIEW PAGE
Exeter Experts Feb 2019
The Experts
VIEW VIEW page

The Experts

Meet the Experts that will make your trip extraordinary.

VIEW PAGE
Rovinj, Istria
View Our Destinations
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Destinations

Our specialty is in the countries that link East & West, both in Europe, and between Europe & Asia.

VIEW PAGE
Family travel
View Our Trip Types
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Trip Types

How do you like to travel? View your choices here.

VIEW PAGE