Naadam Festival Naadam Ceremony

Golden Eagle Eastbound – Naadam Festival

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Trip Departure Date:

July 1-13, 2016

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

A Private, Historical and Cultural Tour from Moscow to Ulaan Baatar with your personal English-speaking guides

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 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 onboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train.

Download Itinerary PDF Here.



Silver Class: $15,895.00 per person, double occupancy.                                                $23,495.00 single occupancy                           Gold Class: $19,595.00 per person, double occupancy                                                 $28,695.00 single occupancy                           Imperial Suite: $30,995.00 per person, double occupancy                                                Single occupancy on request.     Prices are per person for the fully inclusive tour Moscow to Ulaan Baatar. Air-fare is not included. Prices are subject to change until deposit is received.

Day 1
Arrival | Arrival

Arrival in Moscow. Your driver will meet you outside of customs and baggage claim and transfer you to the five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of this vibrant city for a one-night stay.

This evening enjoy a welcome reception dinner at your hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travelers and anticipate the epic thirteen-day voyage that lies ahead.

Day 2
Moscow | Moscow

This morning your guide will take you on a city tour of Moscow, which will include Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might. Here you will see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the somber and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.

Early afternoon transfer to the station for boarding of the luxurious Golden Eagle. After settling into your cabin, enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as your rail adventure to Mongolia begins.

Day 3
Kazan | Kazan

Arrival at the picturesque and historic city of Kazan by mid-morning. Situated on the River Volga, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan.

You will have the opportunity to see this city’s rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of today's city tour is an exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel you will explore its stunning mosque and onion-domed cathedral.

After enjoying a relaxing dinner on the Golden Eagle, you may wish to retire to the bar car where you can enjoy drinks with new friends whilst listening to the train’s resident pianist.

Day 4
Ekaterinburg | Ekaterinburg

This morning the train will cross the Europe/Asia divide before arriving in the historic city of Ekaterinburg. Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, the third largest Russian city is also the capital of the Urals. The cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilizations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape. Your guide will take you on a city tour which includes the site where Tsar Nicholas II was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

Day 5
Novosibirsk | Novosibirsk

This morning the Golden Eagle arrives in the modern ‘Soviet’ city of Novosibirsk where you will have the opportunity to experience the life and character of the city’s rich culture where the arts, science and literature predominate.

Your city tour will include the exterior of the Opera House, an architectural marvel which houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is the largest opera house in the world. In front of the Opera House, there is an imposing statue of Lenin – a marvelous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.

Day 6
Onboard | Onboard

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

Arrival in Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, where today’s visit of the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city includes an exploration of the classic wooden architecture that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance.

Next, you will visit the Decembrist House museum which is dedicated to the memory of the exiled aristocrats who were forced to flee to this remote outpost after the failed revolution of 1825. Here you can enjoy a private concert before returning to the train for dinner.

Day 8
Lake Baikal | Lake Baikal

Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal. For five hours the train will wind its way through tunnels and along cliff hugging tracks above the lake with a vista of snow capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture perfect backdrop.

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s freshwater. Also known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia’ it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over fifty species of fish including omul which will be served in the dining car for some meals.

Weather permitting, the train will stop at one of Baikal’s picturesque and secluded bays to enjoy a delicious BBQ of freshly smoked fish prepared by the train’s own chefs. For the brave hearted, there is even time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters. You will also visit Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills.

Day 9
Ulan Ude | Ulan Ude

This morning the train arrives in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its heritage. As you tour the area you will notice the different faces and dress styles of these welcoming people. During your exploration of the Old Believers Village you will have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as you enjoy a traditional meal and concert featuring local dancers and musicians.

This evening spend a final night on board the Golden Eagle.

Day 10
Ulaan Baatar | Ulaan Baatar

Today your Trans-Siberian adventure takes you to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia and your final destination where you will spend the next three nights. Passing the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and infamous Mongol, you will visit the National Museum and explore the country’s intriguing history.

Lunch is taken Mongol style, in a traditional Ger (Yurt) restaurant where you can experience an authentic meal, enjoying excellent local dishes and entertainment providing a unique opportunity to encounter this time-honored nomadic way of life. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to spend the time shopping for traditional Mongolian gifts.

Day 11
Naadam Festival | Naadam Festival

Today you will spend a full day at the Naadam Festival. You will be able to observe the elaborate opening ceremony, which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians, before watching the national horse race.

Day 12
Naadam Festival | Naadam Festival

This is the day for all main competitions. In the morning you’ll attend archery, wrestling and ankle bone shooting. After a Mongolian barbecue lunch you will visit the Museum of Religion.

This evening you will enjoy your farewell dinner in Ulaan Baatar with folk songs and dancing-Mongolian-style.

Day 13
Departure | Departure

Today your driver will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for departure on your onward flight.

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