Beijing to Moscow
from $5285
Duration: 16 Days
Travel across continents and time zones on one of the world's greatest train journeys. Start in busy Beijing before heading to the untamed wilderness of Mongolia to meet its historically nomadic people. Leave Asia behind as we cross into Siberia for some traditional hospitality and stunning natural landscapes in Lake Baikal and then into Russia to arrive in majestic Moscow. This trip will open your eyes to the history, scenery and unique cultures that make up this fascinating region, so climb aboard for the ultimate Trans-Siberian experience.
  • Experience this incredible rail adventure through China, Mongolia, and Russia – one of the world’s greatest, most epic journeys.
  • Stay in the Mongolian wilderness in a ger camp and experience local life up-close.
  • Immerse yourself in Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan
  • Live life on the shores of magnificent Lake Baikal in a Siberian village
  • Experience a traditional Russian banya – a refreshing steam, wash and birch branch ‘massage’
  • Encounter fascinating sights over the 6000 kilometres from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to Moscow’s iconic Red Square
  • Check out our Beijing to St Petersburg trip ( search 'CBSQC' on our website) if you are interested in continuing this epic journey in Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
  • Terelj National Park
  • Terelj National Park - Buuz Cooking class
  • Ulaanbaatar - Genghis Khan Monument
  • Ulaanbaatar - City Tour including Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace & Gandan Monastery
  • Lake Baikal - Banya (Russian sauna)
  • Ulan Ude - Tarbagatay Old believers village
  • Kungur - Family visit
  • Kungur - Guided walking tour
  • Day 1 Location: Beijing
    Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. The capital of the most populous country on earth, this sprawling city is home to over 20 million people. We recommend arriving early, if possible, and taking some time to explore the many sights in the centre of the city including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, as well as the maze of hutongs (alleys) that hide some incredible food options. Your adventure proper kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, after which you may like to seek out Beijing's famous, crispy Peking duck. Delicious.
    Day 2 Location: Overnight Train
    This morning you'll board a train, making your way out of China and into Mongolia on the first leg of this epic 6000 kilometre journey to Moscow. This is an overnight journey (approx. 30 hours) including a long border crossing during the night where passports are processed and the train are changed because of the different rail gauges used. Get comfortable as you watch the scenery change from urban to rocky desert to rolling, green meadows as you enter Mongolia. The trains used throughout this journey are simple yet comfortable. You'll be travelling 2nd class, and there'll be a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage, but keep in mind that service standards can vary greatly (it's part of the adventure). Each compartment has four bunks with bedding provided, though some travellers preferto bring their own sheets. there's hot water for drinks and instant meals, and snacks and drinks are sometimes available for purchase with most trains having a dining car too. The trains are generally heated but most do not offer air conditioning, so they can be come very hot even in winter. For this reason, please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions you may experience.
    Day 3 Location: Ulaanbaatar
    Crammed between the superpowers of Russia and China, the independent nation of Mongolia is a truly adventurous destination. The capital, Ulaanbaatar (affectionately known as UB), is a city where you’ll find elderly Mongolians in traditional dress, suit-clad entrepreneurs and young monks. After arriving mid-afternoon, maybe venture out into the city where the close relationship with the USSR is evident in the Soviet-style architecture. Tonight, perhaps experience Mongolia's rich artistic culture at a performance of traditional throat and ‘long song’ singers, musicians, dancers and contortionists. For your free time in UB you can explore the city, maybe visiting the Museum of Natural History, which has an excellent dinosaur display, or any of the city’s other fascinating museums. At the Intellectual Museum you can learn about Mongolia's history and culture through puzzles, toys and magic tricks, or uncover the country's turbulent history in the National History Museum, including the reign of the most famous of Mongolian historical figures – the feared and respected Genghis Khan.
    Day 4 Location: Terelj National Park - Ger Camp
    In the morning, travel to Terelj National Park by private van (approximately 90 minutes). With rolling meadows dotted with munching yaks, forested hills and imposing rock formations, this is the perfect place to take in Mongolia's natural beauty. In Terelj, you’ll stay in a holiday ger camp (multi-share) with full board. Vegetarians can be catered for, although choices may be limited – please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements at time of booking. The gers sleep up to four people with comfy beds and plenty of blankets. In the colder months you might want to stoke up the stove in the centre of the ger – you'll be toasty warm in no time! Take in the wonderful views across the gers and rocky escarpment as you experience a memorable Mongolian sunset.
    Day 5 Location: Ulaanbaatar
    Return to Ulaanbaatar, stopping to visit the Chinggis (Genghis) Khan Monument en route. This gigantic statute can be seen from miles away, and you can climb up the structure to see the view from atop the horse. It's a surreal experience. After arriving back in the city, head off to do some shopping and stock up on supplies for tomorrow's overnight train ride. You could also search out local handicrafts like cashmere and felt products. This evening, either relax in the hotel or sniff out a local restaurant with your group. 
    Day 6 Location: Trans-Mongolian Train
    Enjoy a morning tour of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding area. Look out across the city from the top of Zaisan Hill then visit Mongolia’s largest and most important active monastery, the lively Gandan Khiid. Here you'll learn about the main religion of Mongolia – Tibetan Buddhism – before exploring the range of fascinating artefacts housed in the Winter Palace Museum of Bogd Khan. Later today you'll leave Mongolia aboard the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which takes you across the border into Russia and on to Siberia (approximately 15 hours).
    Day 7-8 Location: Lake Baikal
    Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia and homeland of the Buryat people, who are closely related to Mongolians. After years of repression during the Soviet era, Buryat traditions and religions (shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism) have seen a revival, and you’ll notice how the city is an ethnic and spiritual mix of Euro-Russian, Mongolia, and Buryat cultures. The future of Buryatia is directly connected with development of the Lake Baikal area as a tourism zone. By coming here with our groups, respecting environmental issues and with rational use of the area's rich cultural and historic legacy, we aim to contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in Eastern Siberia. The area is fabulously beautiful, Ulan Ude is surrounded by vast, wild nature, boundless steppes, alpine and taiga forests. You'll arrive at Ulan Ude around 6am in the morning, and head to Lake Baikal (approx. 3 hours), the deepest lake in the world with 20% of the world's fresh water. Please note that the breakfast this morning is included in the guesthouse, so it'll be a late one and it's best for you to have some snacks in case you get hungry. Today and tomorrow will be free days to enjoy your surroundings. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from here, including hiking, swimming, boat trips, or simply enjoy the sun and the magnificent scenery as this part of the lake has beautiful, long sandy beaches and some smaller and warmer lakes. Don't miss out on experiencing a banya, the Russian version of a sauna. Locals swear by the cleansing, healing and meditative properties of having a steam and a wash in the banya, and it can also be quite the social occasion. Be sure to avail yourself of some birch twigs and slap yourself (and others) over the shoulders for a traditional Siberian 'massage' to get the true banya experience. The banya here gives you a chance to cool off from the steam by jumping straight into the lake, before you go back in and do it all again. Your accommodation tonight is multi-share. Full board is included, with plenty of tasty Russian staples like salads, soups, black bread, pancakes and pies. You'll also get a chance to try the local fish from Baikal – omul – which taste even better when roasted over a camp fire on the lake shore.
    Day 9 Location: Ulan Ude
    Say goodbye to 'Grandpa Baikal' this morning and head back to Ulan Ude. In the afternoon, go on a short walk with your leader to visit the city center and the big Lenin head. Make the most of all the local food today, as tomorrow you'll be taking your three-night train and the culinary offerings may not be so great.
    Day 10 Location: Trans-Siberian Railway
    Before hopping onto the Trans Siberian train in the evening, head to the Old Believers' village (approx. 1 hour). The Old Believers are Orthodox Christians who were either exiled or fled from Russia during 17th-century church reforms. Spend some time in the village, which has changed little since the 18th century, visiting the local church and ethnography museum and attending a concert of folk songs. In the evening, get ready for your home for the next 3 nights and surely this epic train journey won't disappoint.
    Day 11-12 Location: Trans-Siberian Railway
    The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world's most famous train line. It's also the longest, extending from Moscow across Siberia to the far-flung town of Vladivostok. You’ll experience part of this celebrated train odyssey from Ulan Ude to the Ural town of Kungur (3 nights total). Travelling through three time zones, you’ll wind your way through forests, small Siberian villages and big industrial Russian cities to reach the bustling European part of this vast and varied nation. It might seem like a long journey but the majority of travellers are actually surprised how quickly it goes. Life on the train pretty much consists of eating, drinking, talking, reading, sleeping and gazing out the window. Settle into the rhythm and enjoy the simplicity of having very little to do. Pro tip: buy dill and mint from the station sellers along the way to freshen up your soups and other meals There's plenty to keep you busy and enjoying this relaxing part of the journey, and you may even be reluctant to get off when you reach the next destination.
    Day 13 Location: Kungur
    Break up the journey with a stop in tranquil Kungur, a pretty provincial Russian town known for its traditional architecture. When Siberia first opened up for settlement, a new major road turned Kungur into a trade centre and though foreigners seldom visit, our aim is that by stopping here we can have a positive impact on the development of tourism. Take a walking tour with a local guide to see the interesting mix of architectural styles then perhaps choose to visit some of the most extensive ice caves in the world. The first two caves contain permanently frozen ice formations,w aterfalls and underground lakes, but be sure to keep an eye out for the mythical monster mammoth that inhabits the caves. Back in town, you’ll discover more about the people, their customs, culture and cuisine with a visit to a local family to make traditional gingerbread and enjoy plenty of cups of tea.
    Day 14 Location: Perm - Overnight Train
    Prepare for a long day of travelling. Depart Kungur in a private bus and travel to Perm train station (approx. 4 hours). Perm, whose name comes from the term ‘Far-away-land’, is the most eastern city in Europe and a major rail junction connecting Siberia and the Far East with the European part of the country. Depending on when the group arrives, there may have some free time to explore the city, which is home to two of Russia’s largest art museums. Perm was infamously known as the ‘Gateway to the Gulag’, a closed city that was hidden from Soviet maps and not opened until 1990.Approximately 100 kilometres outside of the city is Perm-36, a notorious forced labour camp that wasn’t closed until 1987. In the afternoon, you’ll board your overnight train to Moscow (approx. 25 hours), which departs at approximately 5 pm.
    Day 15 Location: Moscow
    The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and seen Russia through some of its most turbulent years, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Beneath its modern veneer, a sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism, Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of sights to see. Take the metro to your centrally located hotel after arriving around 5 pm, then you can celebrate the end of your epic cross-continental journey with a wander around the famous Red Square by night and an optional farewell dinner with your group. 
    Day 16 Location: Moscow
    There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is plenty to see and do, staying a few extra days to enjoy everything Moscow has to offer is highly recommended. You could explore the Kremlin and witness its huge collection of imperial riches, walk among the cathedrals and museums and maybe get a glimpse of Lenin in his eternal resting state. There are endless cultural treasures on offer – perhaps join an Urban Adventure tour to help you get to grips with this vast city.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    15MAR2022
    Return Date:
    30MAR2022
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    12APR2022
    Return Date:
    27APR2022
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19APR2022
    Return Date:
    04MAY2022
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03MAY2022
    Return Date:
    18MAY2022
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10MAY2022
    Return Date:
    25MAY2022
    5285NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    24MAY2022
    Return Date:
    08JUN2022
    5500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    31MAY2022
    Return Date:
    15JUN2022
    5500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07JUN2022
    Return Date:
    22JUN2022
    5500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    14JUN2022
    Return Date:
    29JUN2022
    5500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    21JUN2022
    Return Date:
    06JUL2022
    5500NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    09 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Beijing to Moscow

    Trip code

    CBSU

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Travel across continents and time zones on one of the world's greatest train journeys. Start in busy Beijing before heading to the untamed wilderness of Mongolia to meet its historically nomadic people. Leave Asia behind as we cross into Siberia for some traditional hospitality and stunning natural landscapes in Lake Baikal and then into Russia to arrive in majestic Moscow. This trip will open your eyes to the history, scenery and unique cultures that make up this fascinating region, so climb aboard for the ultimate Trans-Siberian experience.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Overnight Sleeper Train,Public Bus,Private Bus,Taxi,Train,Metro

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    You will be expected to carry your own luggage including up and down stairs, in busy public transport hubs, and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk with and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes. And some accommodation may not have lifts. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your trip more enjoyable.

    Joining point

    Beijing King's Joy Hotel 北京西华京兆酒店

    81, Meishi Street 地址:北京市西城区煤市街81号

    Xicheng district

    Beijing

    CHINA

    Phone: +86 1052171900

    Joining point description

    Located almost right in the heart of Beijing, King’s joy hotel offers great convenience for your stay in Beijing. Hotel is closed to Qianmen Hutong Area with 2 min walk, only 1km away from Tian’anmen Square & Forbidden City, 2km to Temple of Heaven. Metro is also nearby, Qianmen Station (前门站) for Line 2 is only 5 minute walk which gives you easy access to the all the major sites in Beijing. Free WIFI and no-smoking room are available. 24 hours front desk service is provided. Rooms are equipped with en-suite bathroom, A/C, and other basic facilities. In the private bathroom basic show facilities are available. Other services like bike hire, internet, and laundry are also available. A fine selection of Chinese food and local Beijing cuisine can be enjoyed at the restaurant on site.

    Joining point instructions

    Beijing Capital International airport is located north-east of Beijing, 25 km from the city centre. One of the biggest airports in the world, it is relatively easy to navigate and many signs are written in English. Most international flights arrive at Terminal 3. For more information about Beijing Capital Airport, please go to http://en.bcia.com.cn/ An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through your booking agent. If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer with us, our local operator, Ms Qi (Ms Chee), will have sent a driver to the airport who will be holding a sign with our company logo on it and your name. If you arrive at Terminal 2, please meet your driver at the entrance/exit #7 after you go through the baggage claim area. If you arrive at Terminal 3, please meet your driver in front of the white jade screen wall with the dragon pattern, after you walk through Exit B. Exit B is the only international arrival gate in Terminal 3. Please note that Beijing Airport is very crowded so please be patient. If you have any problems finding the driver go to the information desk near your exit and ask them to call Ms Qi at (+86) 13671299816. In any case, please take a printed copy of your hotel name and address in Chinese as shown in the joining point hotel section with you. Below are hotel information in both English and Chinese: Hotel name: Beijing King's Joy Hotel 北京西华京兆饭店 Hotel address: No. 81 Meishijie, Xicheng District 北京市西城区煤市街81号 Hotel contact number: +86 10 5217 1900 If you are making your own way to the joining hotel: By taxi (the easiest option): Metered taxis are available outside the airport terminal building. You can follow the airport signs to reach to the official taxi stand. The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotels takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour and should cost around CNY120 (include CNY10 for the airport expressway toll). Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown below. **PLEASE AVOID TAXI DRIVERS WHO DON'T WAIT IN THE TAXI LINE FOR CLIENTS AND APPROACH YOU IN THE QUEUE CLAIMING THEY USE METER** By airport express and taxi: You can follow the airport signs to reach to the airport express station. Take the airport express (CNY25, service time: 06:20 to 22:50) to Dongzhimen station. It is suggested to hail a passing by taxi to go to your hotel. It will cost around CNY30 from Dongzhimen Station to your hotel. Show the taxi driver the address of the hotel in Chinese characters as shown in the Joining Point Section. **THERE IS NO TAXI LINE AT THIS STATION. AVOID USING TAXIS THAT ARE WAITING JUST OUTSIDE THE STATION EXITS. THEY DON'T USE METER AND TEND TO OVERCHARGE. **

    Finish point

    Moscow Arbat House Hotel Отель Арбат Хаус

    13 Skatetrniy Pereulok Скатертный переулок, дом 13

    Metro station Arbatskaya м. Арбатская

    Moscow

    RUSSIAN FEDERATION

    Phone: +7 (495)6431910

    Finish point description

    Arbat House Hotel is located in Moscow’s centre, 3 minutes walk from New Arbat avenue and only a short distance to Arbatskaya metro station. From here you can easily walk to Red Square and the Kremlin through Moscow's historical and cultural centre. The nearest airport is 30km away. Rooms are equipped with TV, telephone, air-conditioning, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, and some rooms will have a small fridge. Reception staff speak English. Visit the hotel's website here: www.arbat-house.com

    Finish point instructions

    Moscow has 4 international airports (Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky). Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo are the most commonly used by our travellers. We are happy to arrange a departure transfer for you at an additional charge. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 7 days prior to the start of your tour. Once on tour, please confirm the exact pick up time with your tour leader. Alternatively, a taxi service can be arranged locally. Please ask your leader or the hotel reception to assist you with arranging a taxi to ensure you avoid taxi touts. Otherwise, it is cheap and quick to use public transport between your hotel and any of the airports. Please ask your tour leader for directions as you may need to take a bus to the train station. To Sheremetyevo you can take the airport express train (RUB500, 30-40 minutes) from metro station Belorusskaya (Белорусская) on the dark green & brown (circle) lines. The train runs every hour from 6am to midnight. You can find timetables and buy aeroexpress ticket on-line at www.aeroexpress.ru. To Domodedovo, the airport express train runs every hour from metro station Paveletskaya (Павелецкая, RUB500, 40 to 50 minutes) on the brown (circle) & dark green lines. To Vnukovo airport, the airport express train goes from Kievskaya (Киевская) metro station on the dark blue & brown (circle) line and takes approx. 35 minutes (RUB500).

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2,6,10,11,12,14 (Sleeper Train), Day 4 (Ger Camp) and Days 7,8 (Guesthouse) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 2. Please provide your passport details and full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets. 3. We advise against travelling with multiple passports with visas in different passports. Customs officers may not allow you entry even if the visas are valid. Please provide the exact details of the passport you will be using for travel. 4. To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow in advance.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    CHINA China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safety concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, electronic devices, mobile phones, purses, and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, airports, train stations, major international events and conferences, and popular bar areas after dark. There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint. Counterfeit banknotes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine banknotes for counterfeits. A common scam when paying a taxi fare with an RMB100 note occurs when the taxi driver swaps the note for a fake note, and returns the fake note to the passenger, refusing to accept it for payment as it’s counterfeit. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so. Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop, or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

    MONGOLIA Mongolia is relatively safe, but crimes against foreigners sometimes occur. Petty crime is common in Ulaanbaatar, particularly in markets or other crowded public places. Watch out for pickpockets. Be wary of large groups of street children and teenagers, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Keep passports, money and other valuables in a safe place. Report any theft to the Pick-pocketing Department of the Police (telephone +976-93022480) or to your leader, the police can provide a letter for insurance purposes. The incidence of violent crime in Ulaanbaatar appears to be on the rise. There has been an increase in reports of foreigners being robbed and assaulted, especially when walking at night, and while using public transport and unlicensed taxis. These incidents tends to increase during festive months – New Year, Tsagaan Sar (December – February) and Naadam (July). Take extra safety precautions during these months. In recent years there have been occasional instances of civil and political unrest resulting in demonstrations and in some cases violence. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.

    RUSSIA Most visits to Russia are trouble-free, but petty crime does happen in cities. In St Petersburg there have been reports of street crime where tourists have been specifically targeted. These crimes are carried out by well-organised gangs. Be aware of pickpockets in the main tourist areas and around the main railway concourses. Bogus police officers have harassed and robbed tourists. If you are stopped always insist on seeing identification.Avoid openly carrying expensive items. Avoid walking about late at night alone. Incidents of violence in major cities are usually linked to criminal/business activities and are not usually directed against foreign visitors. If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat. Don’t leave your sleeping compartment unoccupied as some compartments only have a simple lock on the sliding door. On some trains there may be an additional security device, which can be attached to the fitted handle/lock unit. There may also be a steel switch at head-height on the door panel which, when pulled down, prevents the closed door from being slid open. Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment. When on international trains crossing borders, you should be extra vigilant and pay special attention to your luggage to be sure that no one else has put anything in your luggage.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. CHINA: Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong if you have time there before joining your trip. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for this trip valid for 30 days. Please make sure if you have a transit anywhere in China before arriving at your destination that you check with your airline to see if the transit will require using your visa. INFORMATION & DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE VISA APPLICATION: You will be provided with a Hotel List and Letter of Invitation to assist you in applying for your visa. These are the primary documents you should use to apply for your visa as they are issued by our local office in China. Name of Host/Inviting Organisation: Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd. 606 InterChina Commercial Building 33 Dengshikou Street Dongcheng District Beijing 100006 +86 10 6406 8022 * Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at the time of booking. If you do not receive this, email us with your booking number and trip details. * Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided from us together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the consulate or not and will assist with your application. * Itinerary – print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website www.intrepidtravel.com and include it with your application, marking the dates you will visit each destination if required (exception - Tibet tours) * Photocopy of your passport * Passport size photos (up to 4 may be required) * Check with the consulate for any other specific requirements * Please note that if you are not applying for a Chinese visa from your passport country, you may be required to submit further documents, ie. employment letter, immigration card, etc. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for specific requirements. TIBET: You will be given a specific itinerary to use if booking a Tibet trip. A permit to enter into Tibet must be applied prior to arrival through authorized agencies in Tibet. Please check out trip specific China visa and Tibet permit processes. Tibetan area outside Tibet visited on trips will not require a permit, but this could change without notice and we'll endeavor to advise and make alternative plans as soon as possible if this changes. HONG KONG: Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements for Hong Kong. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHINESE TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS: Intrepid requires you send the following at the time of booking or at least 40 days prior to travel: *Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip in case it is also requested. MONGOLIAN VISAS - TRANS-MONGOLIAN: Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Mongolia as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days, and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance – this will not usually require a Letter of Invitation. MONGOLIA - LETTER OF INVITATION (LOI): Most embassies do not require a LOI. However, should you be required to present one with your visa application please contact us. There may be a fee for this service. In order for us to provide a LOI through our local partners we will require a clear, colour scan of your passport along with an indication of at which embassy you will be applying for your visa. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your LOI to be processed. MONGOLIAN VISA EN-ROUTE: You may be able to apply for your Mongolian visa in Beijing en-route if you have time here before your trip. Please plan carefully and check the current embassy requirements. You will need to organise this yourself and ensure you have all the correct documentation to obtain the Mongolian Visa. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR MONGOLIAN VISA APPLICATION: You will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa (J) that covers the duration of your stay in Mongolia. Visas are usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue and enable to you to stay for up to 30 days. Name and address of host person or organization in Mongolia: Monkhutuch Travel Co. Ltd Bayangol district, Building 19-3 Ulaanbaatar +976 701 29291 Name and address of Hotel in Mongolia: J Hotel Sukhbaatar District, Khoroo I, Street of Auto Zamchid 34 Tel: +976 771 15677 Mongolia DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR MONGOLIAN VISA APPLICATION: You may be required to provide a copy of your trip itinerary, indicating the dates of your tour, along with your application. RUSSIAN VISAS Most nationalities require a visa for Russia.  RUSSIA - LETTER OF INVITATION (LOI) You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa. Logins and your trip code will be sent to you at the time of booking so that you can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia, Parallel 60, via this link:  https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/russian-letter-invitation-loi-and-visa You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that the LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. We will also add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience in case you have booked pre or post accommodation. If you require a different visa type or are planning to stay longer than these dates please contact Parallel 60 (www.visain.ru) directly to request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN VISA APPLICATION: Once you have obtained your LOI you can apply for your visa. You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. It is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly through a consulate or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused. Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference us or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60, our Russian partners, are the official inviting organisation. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay once in Russia. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN VISA APPLICATION: * Letter of Invitation (LOI) * Photocopy of your passport * Passport size photos  * Flight or other transport details (if requested) * Please check with the consulate for any other specific requirements VISA EXTENSIONS IN RUSSIA Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 35 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets. We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at immigration. RUSSIAN MIGRATION CARDS All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card on arrival. The entry portion of the card will be retained by immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure. If you travel to Russia from one of the Custom Union countries – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, please ask for one when going through immigrations into one of these countries or make sure to get one when entering into Russia. BORDER CROSSINGS: Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. For China & Russia applications please follow the provided visa instructions carefully. For Mongolia the border crossings are as follows: Enter Mongolia - Day 2 at Erenhot Exit Mongolia - Day 7 at Sukhbaatar To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following websites to be very useful: www.timeanddate.com www.thetimenow.com

    Why we love it

    Experience this incredible rail adventure through China, Mongolia, and Russia – one of the world’s greatest, most epic journeys.

    Stay in the Mongolian wilderness in a ger camp and experience local life up-close.

    Immerse yourself in Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan

    Live life on the shores of magnificent Lake Baikal in a Siberian village

    Experience a traditional Russian banya – a refreshing steam, wash and birch branch ‘massage’

    Encounter fascinating sights over the 6000 kilometres from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to Moscow’s iconic Red Square

    Check out our Beijing to St Petersburg trip ( search 'CBSQC' on our website) if you are interested in continuing this epic journey in Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Is this trip right for you

    Be prepared for some very long travel days on this trip (both on and off the train) – you are crossing the largest country on Earth after all! Settle into the rhythm and enjoy the scenery, your book, or chatting with your fellow travellers or the locals. Conditions are simple but comfortable – an authentic experience and a great way to meet, and travel like, the locals. There is a toilet/bathroom and compartments with bunks/berths. Please note that we travel 2nd class on all overnight trains (4 people per compartment). While we always try to have our groups staying together, there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. Some of the accommodation along the way is basic, staying in ger camps, local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has only cold water. This all adds up to a real and authentic adventure. Be prepared for three vastly different countries and experience all the cultural differences they have to offer, both from your home country, and from each other.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 AIR POLLUTION: Air pollution is a recognized issue for travelers in China, particularly in Beijing where the geographical location of the city exacerbates its effects. We provide travellers with certified PM (particulate matter) face masks as an option to be worn as protection during times of high levels of pollution. On days when outdoor activities are not recommended due to high pollution levels, your leader may alter some activities for the health and safety of our travellers and leaders. The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these types of medical conditions. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities in China on the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/ RUSSIA GIARDIA Giardia intestinalis, a parasite that causes severe diarrhoea has been reported from time to time in the water supply in Russia. For this reason, we recommend against drinking unboiled tap water in all Russian cites. IMPORTANT - BANNED MEDICATIONS By law, travellers bringing prescribed medicines into Russia must carry a prescription in the patient's name, that includes the name of the drug and prescribed quantity. According to official channels, if your medication contains "narcotic or psychoactive substances", a notarised translation into Russian is also required. This may include medications containing codeine or opiates, sleeping pills, medication for ADHD, antidepressants and strong painkillers. Some medicines that you can buy over the counter in your home country may require a prescription in Russia. There have been cases of travellers being detained at border crossings when undeclared or banned medications have been discovered by customs sniffer dogs. If you’re unsure whether you need to provide a prescription and notarised translation to bring your medicines into Russia, check with the Russian Embassy before you travel. TICKS In spring and early summer in rural areas of Russia ticks are prevalent. Please take precautions when walking in these areas by wearing long trousers and covered shoes, and check your clothes and body thoroughly. HYGIENE The diet and hygiene standards on this trip may be very different from what you are used to so please take care with washing hands before meals etc. and bring some medication/re-hydration salts etc if you commonly experience stomach problems with a change in diet.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. FOOD IN CHINA: What IS authentic Chinese food like? Check out these articles to get a taste: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-trip-blog/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-stereotypes/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-guide-to-traditional-chinese-street-food/ VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: Vegetarians in China certainly won't go hungry as there are always plenty of meat-free options on menus including vegetable, tofu, and egg dishes. Your leader can advise on some local favourites. Dairy is uncommon in Chinese cooking, although in some regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, and Yunnan you will find milk products as part of the local cuisine. Vegans should also have few problems finding tasty meals in most locations. Nearly all cities will have vegetarian restaurants, often near to temples or monasteries that specialise in Buddhist cuisine. Check out this blog for a guide to eating vegetarian in Beijing: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-vegetarians-guide-to-beijing/ DIETARY NEEDS: Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets. Please note that some dietary requirements, such as Gluten-Free, will be uncommon in China and you may need to explain to your leader what you can and can't eat as well as research common dishes before you travel. ALLERGIES: For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic and research suitable local foods before travelling. RUSSIA What is food in Russia really like? See our blog here for some must try foods: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/5-foods-really-need-try-russia/ Vegetarians in Russia certainly won't go hungry as there are usually plenty of meat-free options on menus including salads, certain soups, and cooked dishes such as mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, buckwheat, dumplings with vegetable fillings, savoury pancakes etc. Vegans will need to look for options without mayonnaise, sour cream and cheese which are common in Russian dishes. Moscow, St Petersburg and increasingly other towns have an ever growing number of excellent vegetarian and vegan eateries. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING Tipping can be an appropriate way to recognise great service when travelling. While it may not be customary in your home country, it is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations and is greatly appreciated by the people who take care of you during your travels. It is always best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult rather than the goodwill gesture it is intended to be. OPTIONAL TIPPING KITTY On Day 1 of your trip, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of operating a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and your tour leader distributes tips for drivers, local guides, hotel staff and other services included on your trip. This excludes restaurant tips for meals not included in your itinerary. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any funds remaining at the end of the tour will be returned to group members. We have found that this is easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. YOUR LEADER You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. BUDGET FOR MEALS NOT INCLUDED: Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. CHINA The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao). ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit/debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and look for ATMs with your card logo. You may find that your card does not work in certain ATMs, so we recommend purchasing some CNY in your home country so you have some cash for your first day. Credit cards are mostly acceptable in bigger cities and establishments while in small towns, they may not work. You can check with your leader about access to cash or paying with credit cards when moving onto new destinations to be prepared. Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however, please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change leftover CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go. MONGOLIA The official currency of Mongolia is the Tugrik (MNT). Tugrik may only be obtained within Mongolia. The easiest currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, although it is possible to exchange RUB, CNY and other currencies at some exchange points. Larger denomination notes often attract a better exchange rate. Major credit cards may be accepted in some shops and restaurants in the capital. In Ulaanbaatar you will be able to find ATMs that accept international cards and use them to withdraw local currency; however these should not be relied on as your sole financial source. Some souvenir sellers and tourist restaurants may accept USD or EUR as payment but all other purchases in Mongolia must be made in local currency. RUSSIA The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). 1 ruble = 100 kopeks. ATMs are widespread in Russia so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit or debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and note that recent travellers have experienced difficulties in using credit cards without a debit function from US banks for purchases or withdrawals. If you are travelling to remote parts of the country you will need to prepare cash exchanged into local currency. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange as what is advertised is sometimes only for transactions above US$500, carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Due to restrictions on changing money in Russia, only US$50 and US$100 notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition (no creases, marks, stamps or tears) will be accepted. Avoid bringing US$ notes in smaller denominations. By law, all purchases in Russia must be made in local currency. TRANS MONGOLIAN - TIPPING If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants/cafes with table service: In Russia and Mongolia- we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill, however check if a service charge has already been added. Tipping is not common practice in China. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 100-200 RUB/3000-5000MNG/10-15 CNY per person per activity day for local guides with the amount adjusted accordingly for guides who are with you for a for a full day. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey, while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however a base of 100-200 RUB/3000-5000MNG/10-15 CNY per person, per day is generally appropriate, with the amount adjusted accordingly for drivers who are with you for less than a full day. Please do not tip with coins, notes of and less that 1000 MNG/10 RUB/CNY1or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps). If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, flight tickets and trip notes. Photocopies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5-litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and a small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flashlight esp. for stay at local guesthouses or homestays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Earplugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

    Climate and seasonal

    CHINESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: Please note that China's national holidays are the peak travel season for Chinese nationals. During this time, literally the whole country is on the move - that's over a billion people. Although these are fascinating and exciting times to travel in China, please be aware your group will almost definitely experience transport delays and massive crowds at tourist attractions and train stations. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train or flight tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic chaotic and changes to the itinerary are often necessary as a result. If clockwork organisation is important to you we advise you book outside of the weeks of the extended Chinese New Year in January/February, in the first week of May and the first week of October. If you decide to travel during this period please come with an open mind and be prepared for changes on the ground. Here are the major holiday periods in China: Chinese New Year: Feb 11-17 2021, Jan 31- Feb 6 2022 Qingming Festival: Apr 3-5 2021, Apr 3-5 2022 Labour Day Holiday: Apr 30- May 2 2021/2022 Dragon Boat Festival: Jun 12-14 2021, Jun 3-5 2022 Mid-Autumn Day: Sep 19-21 2021, Sep 9-11 2022 National Day: Oct 1-7 2021, Oct 1-8 2022 RUSSIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day: 1 Jan New Year Holiday Week: 2-8 Jan Orthodox Christmas Day: 7 Jan Defenders of the Fatherland Day: 23 Feb International Womens Day: 8 Mar Spring & Labour Day: 1 May Spring & Labour Day Holiday: 2 May Victory Day: 9 May Russia Day: 12 Jun Russia Day holiday: 13 Jun Unity Day: 4 Nov

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +7 918 6151572

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. HOTEL ROOMS: Some travellers have reported that hotels/accommodation in this region tend to have harder bed mattresses than those they are used to at home. You may like to request an extra quilt or bedding from the hotels if you find this an issue. SMOKING ROOMS: Smoking is prevalent in China and hotels generally do not offer specific non-smoking rooms. Larger hotels with central air conditioning will sometimes transport the smell of smoke between rooms. While we ask our hotels to ensure our rooms are well cleaned and ventilated well before occupation in some cases this is not possible, and the smell of smoke may linger. Please speak to your leader about the possibility of changing rooms if you encounter this. WIFI: WiFi is often available in hotel reception areas and sometimes in rooms. Your leader will be able to advise on the best places to get connected. MONGOLIA HOT WATER: In Ulaanbaatar due to the fact that much of the city's infrastructure lacks regular maintenance, we may only have access to cold water at our hotel year round. GER STAY: Our stay in Terelj National Park is in a tourist ger camp rather than with a nomadic family in their home. Most travellers find this a very comfortable and enjoyable experience and the setting in the park is beautiful. Gers usually have 4 beds with a stove at the centre, and all linen and bedding is provided. Toilet and bathroom facilities are in a separate block and there is also a building where we have our meals. RUSSIA REGISTRATION: According to Russian law, all foreign citizens must be registered with the immigration authorities within 7 business days of arrival into Russia. If you have made your own independent travel plans in Russia for more than 7 days outside of your trip dates with us, please ensure you are registered through your accommodation in order to avoid any issues at passport control when leaving the country. HOT WATER: Please note that in many cities in Russia, including Moscow, hot water is turned off for up to one month during summer for routine maintenance. During this time only cold water may be available at some accommodation. HOMESTAYS & GUESTHOUSES: Please note that at our homestays and guesthouses rooms may be multishare and open gender. When we stay at people's homes, beds may be sofa beds or mattresses on the floor. DOUBLE BEDS: Please note that rooms with double beds are not always available at our accommodation in Russia and two single beds in a twin share room is the default. Wherever possible we will put couples in rooms with double beds if available. RUSSIA TRAINS: Trains on this journey are simple but comfortable, with standards and age of the carriages varying from route to route. You’ll travel in 2nd class ("kupe") on this trip. There's a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water, but no showers. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after your comfort and safety (although service standards can vary greatly!). Each compartment has four bunks with luggage storage space inside. Clean bedding is provided, although some travellers still prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There's hot water available for making instant meals, tea and coffee. Sometimes snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board and most trains also have a dining car, although often with a limited menu. Trains are generally heated but do not always offer air conditioning. The train can become very hot even in winter and the train attendants will often not allow the windows to be opened, so please pack clothing appropriate for the warmer conditions on these train journeys.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. BOOKING THEATRE TICKETS IN ADVANCE To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. If you are unsure about when to book your tickets please get in touch with your booking agent and find out what times and dates are free for you to see a show. As we don't want you to double book yourself! In particular we recommend you see what's playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there especially during White Nights in St Petersburg. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow and St Petersburg: www.mariinsky.ru, www.bolshoi.ru and www.mikhailovsky.ru

    Accommodation

    Hotel (6 nights),Overnight Sleeper Train (6 nights),Guesthouse (2 nights),Ger Camp (1 nights)

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