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The Grand Traverse – Beijing to St. Petersburg via Mongolia

The Grand Asian Tour. The classic train journey. The definitive adventure. Call it what you will, this is truly one of the ultimate travel experiences

We begin our journey in Beijing the “centre of the world” in Chinese custom.  We depart northwards to Mongolia with splendid views of the Great Wall en route.

Mongolia provides a chance to step back in time. We recall the simple beauty of ancient times when nomads crossed the Gobi desert on the backs of the ‘Takhi’, the Mongolian name for their horses which means ‘spiritual’. We venture into remote country to spend time on the plains.

We are submerged into the stark beauty of Siberia. The grandeur of Baikal, the world’s largest inland lake. The diverse and classic historical city of Moscow with the famed Kremlin, Red Square and Bolshoi Ballet. The quintessential cultural centre of St Petersburg.

These are the destinations long dreamed of by travellers throughout the centuries.  We have chosen a classic rail journey through China, Mongolia and Russia.  The train is our 'village' and we settle in to life on the tracks with a constant stream of companions coming and going.  There are communal areas to share a glass of vodka or a hot cup of tea with new friends.

Truly a trip of a lifetime

What People Are Saying

"I enjoy travel where I am a participant not just a spectator so I loved the opportunities to try archery, horse riding and climbing the mountains in Mongolia. We also met colourful characters, had an opportunity to stay in a Ger and be treated to authentic meals. One of the real advantages of travelling with Global Drift is that you get all the benefits of being with a tour group without feeling like you are in one. Where to next?"
Lin Wolyniec, Perth, Australia

20 Day Itinerary
Price:AUD$8490 An upgrade will be available for twin share cabins on most trains


This trip will run with a minimum of 7 passengers up to a maximum of 15.

Day 1 - arrive Beijing
Arrival day. After a meeting we can enjoy a fabulous Beijing duck dinner
Day 2 - Beijing (on train)
Excitement and anticipation as we leave to board the Ulaanbaatar Express. On board we quickly settle in and enjoy surprising views of the Great Wall as the train tackles the mountains before descending to the arid lands of Inner Mongolia and onwards to the very heart of Asia
Day 3 - arrive Ulaanbaatar
We awake to the stunning visual silence of the south Gobi, the horse and ger dotted steppe stretches from horizon to horizon. The occasional nomad encampment appears mirage-like through the carriage window. We are scheduled for an afternoon arrival in the world's most remote capital of Ulaanbaatar
Day 4 - Ulaanbaatar to Ger Camp
This morning we visit the Gandan Hiid Monastery, which gives an insight into the lives of Buddhist Mongolians. The Mongolia of Genghis Khan lies beyond the city, in the land of the nomad. In the afternoon we travel to the countryside for a two night stay in a ger - the traditional home of the Mongolian people. Our ger camp is set amid stunning alpine scenery. We visit a local family and experience the true nomadic lifestyle
Day 5 - The Mongolia Steppe
We are on the Mongolian Steppe where the lives of the Mongolian people have changed little in 500 years. The day is spent exploring this beautiful area and for the adventurous riding the horses or yaks of a nearby local family
Day 6 - Ger Camp to Ulaanbaatar (and on train)
This morning we return to the capital and visit Sukhbaatar Square and the National History Museum which reveals the remarkable and unique history of Mongolia. This evening we depart aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway to Siberia
Day 7 - Aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway
North across the steppe and through the mountains following the valley of the Selenge River to the Russian frontier and Irkutsk in the very heartland of Siberia. Train life is interesting and diverse. Wander down to the restaurant bar car or visiting old and new friends as the stunning scenery rolls by
Day 8 - arrive Irkutsk (Siberia) on to Lake Baikal
On arrival into Irkutsk we head to the shores of Lake Baikal, where we will marvel at the vastness of this inland ‘sea’. Over 600 kilometres long and up to 80 kilometres wide, Baikal contains one-fifth of the earth's fresh water and is home to many unique species
Day 9 - Lake Baikal
We enjoy the lovely day in the Baikal region based in the lakeside village of Listvyanka and a chance to walk along the shore and catch a boat to remote villages. For the adventurous - a (chilly) swim!
Day 10 - Lake Baikal to Irkutsk
Old buildings and timeworn mansions lend a beauty to this remote but flourishing city, sometimes called "The Paris of Siberia". Founded over 350 years ago it prospered as a market town on the ‘Tea Route’ between China and Europe. Irkutsk today is proud of its place in Russian history, and is always a highlight of any Trans Mongolian rail journey. We embark on our tour of Irkutsk and visit the central market, cathedrals and many of the old buildings with pretty wooden lacework. With our local guide we learn the history of the Decembrists and their exile to Irkutsk in the 1860's
Day 11 - Irkutsk (on train)
A morning to wander in the old town and perhaps a visit to the Museum of Wooden Architecture to gain an insight into the traditional lives of Siberian people. In the afternoon we bid farewell to Siberia as we board the train for Ekaterinburg
Days 12 & 13 - Aboard the Trans Siberian Railway
Life on board is a great social occasion for our Russian hosts and we have the opportunity to share our experiences with them. Travelling towards Europe we cross the great Ob River at Novosibirsk and continue through Omsk to Yekaterinburg. We continue on and bid farewell to Asia as we cross the Urals and enter Europe. As we boom over the steel bridges spanning Siberia’s nerve system of 5,000 rivers the flickering silvers and greens of the birch forests speed past
Day 14 - arrive Moscow
On past suburbs and into the heart of Moscow the train arrives almost casually in the morning from its epic journey eastwards. A stunning city full of history and grandeur awaits. We have time today to begin our exploration of the city. Beneath the city lies the palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-reliefs while the vast Cathedral of Christ the Saviour again dominates Moscow's skyline. Nightlife options include the legendary “Bolshoi Ballet” and the numerous bars and restaurants that reflect the new modern Russia
Day 15 - Moscow
The echoing vastness of Red Square, the splendid twirled cupolas of St. Basil's. The Kremlin itself, the fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where we marvel at the exquisite collection of royal treasures in the stunning Armoury Chamber; the Cathedral of the Assumption where Tsars were crowned, the Bell Tower and the Faberge jewels and icons
Day 16 - Moscow
We have a full day scheduled for exploration but there will be many options on offer for you savour this amazing city rich in history and culture
Day 17 - Moscow to St. Petersburg
We have an morning express train to St Petersburg. "The united magnificence of all of the cities of Europe are but its equal" - so said Voltaire. St. Petersburg is indeed a unique treasure house of 18th century architecture and the city that best displays the Russian genius for museums. The Peter and Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace of Petrodvorets, Palace Square and the unequalled collections of the Hermitage
Day 18 - St. Petersburg
Beyond the city lies the fabulous summer palaces and residences of the Tsars and the Imperial Court, the most magnificent being the palace of Catherine the Great at Petrodvorets. We visit the gilded rooms of the former Winter Palace, now the Hermitage Museum, which are hung with the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso and a hundred other great masters. Your guided tour of this remarkable collection can be extended. One evening we may enjoy a performance at one of St. Petersburg's excellent classical music palaces
Day 19 - St Petersburg
This morning we visit the grandiose Peterhof resplendent with expansive fountains and gardens. This leaves the afternoon free for further exploration. Our final dinner together can be enjoyed near the main square, a chance to reminisce about this journey and dream of more…
Day 20 - depart St Petersburg
The adventure is complete; a brilliant and unforgettable experience on one of the world's greatest rail journeys

Trip Options

Single Travellers:AUD$2490Details
Extra Accommodation: Single InquireDetails
Double Inquire


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