Trans Mongolian railway holiday

“Travel from Moscow to Beijing for two weeks aboard one of the world’s great rail journeys: the Trans Mongolian.”


Moscow | Kremlin | Kazan | Yekaterinburg | Ulaanbaatar | Terelj National Park | Stay in a Mongolian ger | Gobi Desert | Beijing | Great Wall of China |

Description of Trans Mongolian railway holiday

Watch the landscapes slowly but dramatically change from your cabin window as you embark on one of the world’s most iconic train journeys, the Trans Mongolian railway, sweeping you from the architectural treasures of Moscow to the incredible ancient metropolis of Beijing, via the peace and serenity of the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian steppe.

You’ll begin with a few days in Russia, exploring just a little of the heritage in St. Petersburg and Moscow, with visits to the Hermitage Museum and the Kremlin, before boarding your first train. Carry on via Yekaterinburg, where the last tsar of Russia and his family were infamously slain, where on day seven you first step aboard the Trans Mongolian.

Meet Russian and Mongolian travellers and perhaps get to know a little about their lives as you venture onwards, past Lake Baikal, to Ulaanbaatar and onwards to the grassy Terelj National Park, Here you will disembark to spend a couple of nights in a cosy Mongolian ger, your welcoming hosts happy to introduce you to their peaceful way of life, as well as their unique cuisine. Gers, similar to yurts, can be erected and disassembled very quickly, enabling their owners to transport them according to the movements of their herds, to wherever the pastures are fresh. Expect a wood burning stove in the centre, warm blankets, and endless horizons to enjoy.

Finally, after an (optional) display of traditional Mongolian throat singing in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, you’ll catch the Trans Mongolian again for the last leg into China. Changing bogies at the frontier in the border town of Elian, you’ll arrive in Beijing, where you’ll visit a section of the Great Wall before your itinerary comes to an end. Perhaps explore Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the hutongs, or of the adventure bug has bitten, carry on further still...

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

17 Jul 2021
excluding flights

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We are committed to positive environmental impacts through our Responsible Travel Policy. As an overland company we have extremely low carbon emissions throughout all our journeys. This departure operates exclusively on the 8,500km of rail network spanning the Trans-Mongolian railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing and we also use local buses in Mongolia when transferring to Terelj national park and public transport in both Russia and China avoiding air travel wherever possible. We offer a half day walking tour in Kazan around the city reducing the negative impact on the environment.

We use local partners in Mongolia who we work with closely to ensure they mirror our strict responsible travel policy to ‘protect our planet’ and reduce the consumption of one time plastics. We have worked with the same supplier for several years now basing our working relationship on trust and equality and always ensure that on visits to national parks, we brief our clients on environmental responsibility asking them to use re-usable water bottles during their stay and refrain from using single use carrier bags, which are becoming an serious issue in areas such as the Gobi desert.

The Impacts of this Trip

We have a very clear mandate to support the local community and without these people and experiences our tours wouldn’t be the same. We have been operating tours throughout Asia for over 50 years and strive to build on our long established reputation for having the utmost respect for the places and communities that we visit.

We contract the services of local guides and city ambassadors through our local partners. We use Aiur, a local guide in Russia for many of our tours including this departure. Aiur specialises in translation, teaching and of course guiding and his manta is, 'Helping people to discover this world.' His favourite place to visit is Mongolia sighting it’s ‘Unusual mix of nomadic culture, communist past and modern life.’

In addition, we partner with local families in Terelj national park, which we find not only enriches the overall experience but allows us to understand local traditions and create sound relationships between clients and locals.

In China we visit the local Hutongs and markets again helping to serve as an authentic and cultural experience and one, which maintains a closer bond between client and local. We always encourage our group to buy locally and encourage local trade and artistry.


2 Reviews of Trans Mongolian railway holiday

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Red square, lake baikal and the night stay in ger camp .

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don’t hesitate and get it booked. Also the 3 day 4 night train journey isn’t as bad as it seems.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes as trains are more eco friendly than flying everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Would rate it 5/5 stars. Would also like to mention how much support I had through the visa process from Tim Holland and Sasha. They were incredibly helpful throughout the process in making sure the documents were correct. Replies were always prompt and everything went smoothly.

Reviewed on 25 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting Mongolia was the highlight. We even had two extra days and a night in the country as we were 'bumped' off the train (with some other passengers) from Ulaan Bataar to Beijing. We ended up flying with Air China instead (this airline is not recommended - inflight service is truly grim!). Although it was disappointing not to complete the journey be rail, we were impressed with the operators for making excellent alternative arrangements. We stayed in an Eco-Ger camp and went camel trekking on the edge of the Gobi during our additional time in the country. We also really enjoyed Russia and the three days on the train from Yekaterinburg to Ulaan Bataar were very relaxing and more enjoyable than expected - the waiter in the Russian restaurant car was really friendly and the chef produced great food at very reasonable prices.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Prepare as much as possible before you go; especially read as much as you can about the trip and learn some Russian. The information provided by the operator was very useful. Nevertheless: Expect the unexpected! We had been to China many years ago, but had forgotten what a weird place it was - so different from any where else we have ever been to.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, especially in Mongolia. We used local services and by staying in a national park, this benefitted the local economy. It was great to meet nomads in their Gers and share some of their food. Fermented mare's milk is an acquired taste though! Traveling by train is more eco-friendly than flying and perfect for holidays. We travelled all the way by train from UK to St Petersburg before the start of the holiday. The high-light of this leg was the high-speed train from Moscow to St Petersburg - better than anything running in UK!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent - definitely a trip of a lifetime, but we would do it again, if the opportunity arose. We were fortunate to be part of a very small group and had an excellent guide, who went the extra-mile on several occasions and who was a great ambassador for her country of origin (Mongolia).

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