Golden Eagle Transiberian Express Lake Baikal Golden Eagle Train Shangri-La Express

The Silk Road Eastbound Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

The most epic rail journey in the world  - the renowned Trans - Siberian Express! Travel  6,500 miles on the luxurious Golden Eagle, your luxe hotel  on wheels. During your two weeks you will see some of the most unique places in the world, Lake Baikal, Ulaan Baatar, Vladivostok -  almost inaccessible by any other route and certainly not in the same level of comfort or luxury.  

Four other journeys are possible with the Golden Eagle; perhaps the most evocative is The Silk Road. Following in the footstep of Marco Polo, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, it’s a 21 day adventure from Russia to China.

The Tour Includes:

  • All meals
  • 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.

Accommodations:

Moscow: Two (2) nights at the Ritz Carlton Moscow; Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

Golden Eagle: One Silver or Gold Class Cabin or Imperial Suite for Ten (10) nights on board the Golden Eagle. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included daily.

Shangri-La Express: One Cabin for Four (4) nights on board the Shangri-La Express. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included daily.

Dunhuang: One (1) night at the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel or similar; Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

Xian: One (1) night at the Sofitel Xian or similar; Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

Beijing: Three (3) nights at the Regent Hotel or similar; Tax and Buffet Breakfast included daily.

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 Departures: 

September 19 – October 10, 2016

September 22 - October 13, 2017

Download Itinerary PDF Here.

 

Day 1
Arrival | Arrival

Upon arrival at Moscow Airport you will be met and transferred to the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel. Located in Moscow city center, and within walking distance of Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre, guests will discover a classic and sophisticated ambience within this luxury hotel.

You will enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travelers and, together, look forward to the 22 day voyage that lies ahead.

Accomodation: Ritz Carlton Moscow

Day 2
Moscow | Moscow

Your touring program of Moscow principally 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. You also visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful facade of the world famous GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.

With your Freedom of Choice touring options you may instead wish to travel out of the city centre to Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia and the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church or visit the famous State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art).

Accomodation: Ritz Carlton Moscow

Day 3
Onboard | Onboard

This morning, you board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

Upon arrival at Moscow Kazansky Station, you will be greeted in the magnificent 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 a military brass band is playing and the Golden Eagle awaits.

Your Golden Eagle train, on selected departures, will be hauled by a Russian steam locomotive for the first section of the journey. With the opportunity to photograph the locomotive in Moscow Kazansky Station it makes for an unforgettable way to start your journey onboard Russia’s premier train, the Golden Eagle.

After settling into your modern, stylish cabins you enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as your rail journey to Beijing begins. 

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 4
Volgograd, Russia | Volgograd, Russia

Standing on the banks of the Volga, Stalingrad, as the city was known in Soviet times, was the dramatic scene of one of the most important Second World War battles. The Russians heroically turned back the Nazi advance here to alter the course of the war.  You will visit the poignantly sobering Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, followed by the informative diorama and absorbing museum visit. 

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 5
Kara Kum Desert, Turkmenistan | Kara Kum Desert, Turkmenistan

Today, enjoy a relaxing day onboard as you travel across the vast expanses of the Kara Kum desert.  As well as experiencing the unique landscape, you can take the opportunity to chat to fellow passengers and maybe take your first Russian language lesson.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 6
Khiva, Uzbekistan | Khiva, Uzbekistan

From Urgench you travel to the ancient city of Khiva, founded 2,500 years ago. As one of the Silk Road’s most important trading posts and now a World Heritage Site, it lies at the crossroads of the routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia.

A truly magnificent sight to behold, it rises out of the desert to reveal a wealth of impressive architecture. Stepping back in time, you discover its impressive mosques, madrassas, bazaars and minarets within Khiva’s ancient walls.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 7
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan | Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan is known as the ‘Las Vegas of the Kara Kum’. Situated between the Kara Kum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat is a relatively modern city built upon the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala and the Soviet city built after the devastating earthquake of 1948.

The city’s extravagant fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting. Highlights on your visit include a visit to the National Museum and Kipchak Mosque.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 8
Merv, Turkmenistan | Merv, Turkmenistan

From Mary you transfer to the ancient and mainly unrestored remains of Merv. Once an important stopping point on the Silk Road, it claims to have briefly been the largest city in the world during the 12th century.

1794 saw the demise of Merv, after the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the dam which the population depended on for its water.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 9
Bukhara, Uzbekistan | Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Bukhara is quite simply outstanding. Like Khiva, UNESCO backed the renovation of much of the city for its 2,500th anniversary in 1999.  The highlight of this wonderful tour is a visit to The Ark, a fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara - the despotic and ruthless leaders who ruled until Soviet times. You will then travel out of the city to experience the Emir’s enchantingly named, Palace of the Moon and Stars.  This evening, weather and time permitting, you will enjoy a barbecue on the station platform before the train departs.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 10
Samarkand, Uzbekistan | Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Just the mention of Samarkand instantly conjures up evocative images of the Silk Road, more so than any other town. Founded in the 6th century BC, Samarkand’s stunning architecture hints at its former status as one of the most important cities in Asia and is particularly noted for its architectural remains from the 14th to the 17th century, when it flourished as the fabled capital of the Mongol empire of Timur and his successors.

Today you will visit some of its most significant sites including Registan Square, the refined elegance of the beautifully proportioned Bibi Khanum Mosque and the Ulag Beg observatory, one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories built in 1428. Before dinner you will return to the now illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 11
Tashkent, Uzbekistan | Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan and you spend time touring this modern Soviet-style city which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966. Your tour of the city includes the Old Town, where traditional homes and religious buildings line the narrow streets and here in a small library you’ll be privileged to see one of Islam’s most sacred relics – the world’s oldest Koran. This is followed by a visit to the Railway Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 12
Almaty, Kazakhstan | Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and is notable for its wide tree-lined boulevards. Surrounded by the majesty of the Tien Shan Mountains, this beautifully verdant city derives its name from ‘alma’ meaning ‘apple’. Just a short distance from the city, apple orchards thrive in abundance.

Your city tour includes a visit to Panfilov Park where you have the opportunity to visit the Zenkhov Cathedral which was built entirely of wood. You’ll also go out of the city to the Chimbulak resort, where a cable car ride will give you spectacular views of Almaty and the mountains.

Accommodation: Golden Eagle

Day 13
Crossing into China | Crossing into China

As you arrive at the Kazakh border of Druzhba, you bid the Golden Eagle a final farewell. The border crossing takes approximately 5 hours but your patience is rewarded as the Shangri-La Express private train awaits in Alanshankou, the Chinese border station. Settle into your comfortable cabins as you head into the intriguing landscape of China.  A welcome dinner is served in the restaurant cars, giving you your first taste of authentic Chinese cuisine.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Express

Day 14
Turpan, China | Turpan, China

Turpan is the location where the Flaming Mountains create a magnificent backdrop. You take a fascinating tour to the ancient underground irrigation system that has successfully fed the rich orchards and vineyards for centuries. You will also visit the Museum of Turpan with its 5,000 artifacts detailing the rich history of the area and includes the Ancient Mummy exhibition with exhibits dating back 3,200 years. Your final destination is the elegantly decaying sand fortress city of Jiaohe that was founded in 108 BC and became an important trading route along the Silk Road until it was abandoned in the 13th century following a raid by Genghis Khan.  

Accommodation: Shangri-La Express

Day 15
Dunhuang, China | Dunhuang, China

In the small oasis city of Dunhuang you will visit the fascinating Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex. This impressive site contains almost 500 grottoes, carved between 700 and 1,700 years ago. Inside you will see an amazing collection of beautiful sculptures and murals depicting the evolution of Buddhist religious art over this 1,000 year period.

You stay for one night at the Silk Road Dunhuang hotel and tonight you’ll experience dinner and a local folk performance in this magical setting.

Accommodation: Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel

Day 16
Dunhuang, China | Dunhuang, China

You wake early this morning to experience sunrise over the magnificent sand dunes, followed by breakfast. Today you will explore the vast natural beauty of the Gobi desert by camel. Here you discover Crescent Lake. Hidden amongst towering sand dunes, it has sustained life in this region for millennia.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Express

Day 17
Xian, China | Xian, China

Your fascinating journey of discovery takes you to Xian.  Morning arrival gives you several hours to explore the world famous Terracotta Warriors, discovered by peasants only 40 years ago.  The 6,000 terracotta figures and their horses are one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century. 

Alternatively, as part of your Freedom of Choice program, you can visit the Han Yangling Museum.  This tomb, dating back 2,000 years with its adjoining museum, is one of China’s best kept secrets.

Tonight you stay overnight at the centrally located Sofitel Xian and enjoy the Tang Dynasty Dinner, Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of ancient entertainment.

Accommodation: Sofitel Xian

Day 18
Xian, China | Xian, China

Following breakfast at the hotel you will admire the city’s historical architecture on a cycle along the ancient city walls and experience the bustling street culture of the Muslim Quarter with a visit to the Great Mosque. Later this afternoon you depart Xian onboard the Shangri-La Express headed for your final destination, Beijing. 

Accommodation: Shangri-La Express

Day 19
Beijing, China | Beijing, China

Spending the last day onboard the Shangri-La Express you wind your way northwards towards the capital of China, Beijing. Having traveled a mammoth 7,000 miles (11,250kms) from Moscow you bid farewell to your train crew and transfer to the five-star Regent Hotel for a three-night stay. This luxurious Beijing hotel is minutes from the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing shopping street, the Oriental Plaza and picturesque hutongs (old lanes).

 Accommodation: Regent Beijing

Day 20
Beijing, China | Beijing, China

In your extensive touring program of the Imperial City, you visit Tiananmen Square and explore the magnificently restored Forbidden City which was built in the early 14th century and was home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Your cultural exploration continues at the Temple of Heaven, built during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifices to the heavens, which is the grandest of the four great temples situated in Beijing. Here you experience enchanting displays of traditional dancing, singing and the delicately precise ancient art of calligraphy. You’ll also explore the small ‘hutong’ lanes of old Beijing by rickshaw and visit a local family in a traditional courtyard house.

Alternatively, with your Freedom of Choice touring program you’ll be provided a number of options including a tour to Cuandixia ancient village, nestled in the mountains 90kms (56 miles) west of Beijing. Cuandixia is known for its architecture and the natural beauty of the area. It is home to more than 500 well preserved courtyard houses dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties. You’ll also be offered the fantastic opportunity to visit a Hutong Chinese Cooking School where you can learn the art of cooking authentic Chinese cuisine in a traditional courtyard home.

Accommodation: Regent Beijing

Day 21
Beijing, China | Beijing, China

During your three-night stay in Beijing you’ll devote one whole day to the most awe-inspiring site in the whole of China – The Great Wall. This amazing edifice is perhaps the most evocative symbol of Chinese skill and precision. Originally built to protect the Chinese Empire from raids by nomadic tribes, it is the longest man-made structure in the world and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

You have the privilege of walking along a portion of the wall – the perfect opportunity to take some memorable photographs with your fellow guests.

The train will host your exclusive farewell dinner in an authentic Peking Duck restaurant. The banquet will be complemented by specially selected international wines, as with all our meals, as well as a glass of local rice wine also known as ‘firewater’ as befitting this special occasion.

Accommodation: Regent Beijing

Day 22
Departure | Beijing, China

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Beijing airport for international departures.

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