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The Russian Express

The Russian Express

From {{totalPrice}} EUR Extra expenses at the destination None
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
From {{totalPrice}} EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
Duration
21
Starts in
Beijing
Ends in
St. Petersburg
Group size
15 people maximum. Big enough to form a posse, small enough to give you space.
The adventure of a lifetime awaits. Explore further, dive deeper and experience more on this epic adventure from Beijing to St. Petersburg.
You’ll have time to climb the Great Wall in China, ride across the steppe in Mongolia, wander the streets of Moscow and cruise the canals of St. Pete’s with plenty of time to relax and rest on the rails.
Itinerary

The Russian Express

Days 1-3: Beijing

Arrive in Beijing and meet your fellow adventurers. Step back into Imperial times with a visit to the Forbidden City, then soak up modern life in Tiananmen Square and explore the many colourful markets – especially those steaming and sizzling with edible delights. Jump on a rickshaw to the Hutong district; these ancient alleyways have been here since Kublai Khan established his capital here. Oh, and don’t forget the Great Wall.

Day 4: Trans Mongolian Railway

Climb aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway line and get ready for a cultural switcheroo. Settle into the rhythm of life aboard the train, and people watch as you decipher your Mongolian phrasebook.

Days 5-6: Terelj National Park

Settle in to nomadic life in a traditional ger camp. Learn about the nomad’s roving traditions, a culture that hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years and, if you’re feeling adventurous, saddle up and ride across the valley on horseback or try your hand at archery. At night you can wonder at the sky which is full of stars in the land of the blue sky.

Day 7: Ulaanbaatar & Irkutsk

Last chance for dumplings! Have a final feast before boarding the train to Siberia then relax into the journey. Cards, anyone?

Days 8-9: Lake Baikal

Take a refreshing dip and hike along the shores of the oldest and deepest lake in the world. Stop to try the lake’s delish fish or take a hike up to the top of the hill for magnificent views of the region.

Days 10-11: Irkutsk

You’ll feel relaxed and revitalised after two days at the lake, and ready for some city exploring. A town of two tales, Irkutsk began life as a trading outpost and underwent its own revolution and the influx of artists, academics and elites created a thriving cultural and educational hub in the city today.

Days 12-13: Trans Siberian Railway

Roll past changing landscapes and practise your Russian with fellow travellers. While onboard you’ll pass over the Urals that mark the end of Asia and the beginning of Europe. Hang with your group in the dining car and plan what you want to do in Kazan.

Days 14-16: Kazan

Immerse yourself in this cultural melting pot. Wander bustling Bauman Street and the Central Market, or chill in one of the many cafes and bars. There are coffee houses, live music venues, electro clubs and wild party bars to keep you busy all night. Or choose a relaxed cruise up the Volga River before departing for the capital.

Days 17-19: Moscow

Take in the iconic sight of St. Basil’s colourful cupolas and the impressive Red Square. Perhaps check out the amazing treasures in the Armoury or spend some time in Gorky Park. It’s not all about history, visit some of the amazing art clusters that are popping up all over in renovated Soviet factory buildings.

Days 20-21: St. Petersburg

After an overnight train hire a bike and get a different perspective on the city. With over 30 islands and 200 museums to discover, you might be here a while (or needing a beer by the end of it!). Don’t forget your camera, St. Pete’s is easily one of the most photogenic cities you will visit.

Inclusions

All train tickets
Visa support & destination information
Shared accommodation (9 hostel nights, 2 nights at ger camp, 2 nights at a Siberian guesthouse, 7 nights on the train (4-berth). Please note that private facilities are not guaranteed.)
Honchos throughout your journey, however, with no pre-arranged sightseeing, you have complete freedom to roam. Stay with your group or explore on your own.
All departure and arrival transfers en-route *

* Arrival transfer on Day 1 and departure transfer at the end of your itinerary are not included.
Summary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
None

Accommodation

On the Train
Sleeping compartments are usually four-share with two upper and two lower bunks - depending on the group size you could be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers or other travellers along the way. You’ll find clean bedding, reading lights, a big window, a small table and enough room for a rucksack or two, perfect for when you need a moment’s rest. All carriages have boiling water, attendants and washrooms, but no showers - that’s a luxury to look forward to once you disembark.

Off the Train
Other accommodation may include ger camps in Mongolia and yurts along the Silk Road. These are traditional nomadic homes that are sure to become one of your journey highlights. They tend to be multi-share and mixed-sex so grab your new besties and enjoy the nomadic vibes together. Hostels, hotels and guesthouses we stay at are clean, close to transport and provide legendary hospitality. We’ll do our best to pair couples, but it can’t be guaranteed so sometimes you’ll be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers of the same sex. Please also note that we cannot guarantee private facilities.

Local transport

The public scheduled trains and buses are basic but comfortable and offer a window into real life. Most locals won’t be going the same distance as you, so you’ll meet a marvellous mix along the way. Don't be afraid to say hello!

Meals

In keeping with the budget-friendly policy and adding flexibility to your trip, there are no meals included in your Vodkatrain journey. Your options while on the rails include a restaurant car *, buying food from the "Babushkas" (grandmothers) on the platforms (just make sure you check the hygiene situation before handing over the cash) and self-catering. In general just follow the simple travellers' food rule - peel it, cook it or wash it, and you should be good.

* The train from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk (and vice versa) and many of the trains in Central Asia do not have restaurant cars. There are also few opportunities to buy food on the platforms and you will need to buy enough food for the journey before you board.

Please be aware

Honchos - Local Legends
Honchos know the city better than anyone because they live there. They can show you the iconic sights and then take you behind the scenes for a real taste of local life. They’re under 35, speak excellent English and love their job because they get to meet people from all over the world. You might be comfortable dropping an "una cerveza por favour" in Spain, but do you know how to ask for directions in Russian or find the right bus in Uzbekistan? Your Honcho will not only help you with the logistics of travelling in a distant land but let you feel the pulse of a city through local gems not yet listed in the guidebooks.

- Honchos are included at every stop on your journey.
- They’ll meet you at each stop and help you get your bearings. Need to find an ATM, no worries. Want to try a local beer. Easy.
- They’ll take you to where you want to go and places you haven’t even heard of.
- They will not take you to endless souvenir shops or their cousin’s restaurant - unless you want that.
- There’s no pressure to hang with a Honcho if you’d rather do your own thing.
- They’re available in each city from 09:00 to 21:00, but can often be coerced to stay out late for a drink or two.
- When it comes time to leave, and you’re nursing a post-vodka hangover, they’ll make sure you get on the right train at the right time for stress-free travel.

The Russian Express

Price from {{totalPrice}} EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?