Setting a new standard for high-end travel, aboard the lavish Golden Eagle, this elegant train balances privacy with an intimate size that encourages community with other travelers. Relax in comfortable cabins with en-suite bathrooms. On smooth tracks expertly crafted for the Russian military, glide through tunnels and around stunning cliffs as beautiful birch forests and steppes rush by. This once-a-year route is specially timed for the Naadam Festival, known as the “Mongolian Olympics.” Originally a competition for warriors, the festival dates back to Genghis Khan’s 13th-century rule, and its ongoing traditions offer a stark contrast from the commercialized 2020 Olympics that will happen just weeks later. Admire the festival’s colorful pageantry, dazzling performances, and the spectacle of its archery, horseback riding, and wrestling events.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jul 9, 2020 - Jul 22, 2020
- day Thursday, July 9
Depart on an overnight flight to Ulaanbaatar.
- day Friday, July 10
Upon arrival at Ulaanbaatar Airport, you will be met for a private transfer to the well located Shangri-La Hotel for a three-night stay. Mingle with fellow travelers this evening and enjoy a welcome dinner.
- day Saturday, July 11
NAADAM FESTIVAL, ULAANBAATAR
Experience the spectacular Naadam Festival. Once a religious ceremony as well as a showcase for warriors, the festival now formally commemorates Mongolian independence. Today observe the elaborate opening ceremony, featuring local dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians. Later, travel outside the city to see the fascinating national horse race, in which all riders are children between five and twelve, while enjoying prime seating in the finish line stand.
- day Sunday, July 12
On the second day of the festival, attend the archery, wrestling, and ankle-bone shooting events. Enjoy a festive dinner tonight.
- day Monday, July 13
Begin a tour of the city at Gandan Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Mongolia, with a community of over 500 Buddhist monks. Next, visit the central monument to Genghis Khan at Sükhbaatar Square, the National Museum, and the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan Museum. Conclude in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to admire the beautiful scenery of wild Mongolia, visit a traditional ger (yurt), meet a nomadic family, and have an opportunity to try horseback riding. Later, enjoy a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists before boarding the Golden Eagle.
- day Tuesday, July 14
Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, has a population of extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity, including Russians, Buryats, Ukrainians, and Tatars. Explore the city and visit the Old Believers Village, where residents still practice 17th-century Russian Orthodox Christianity. At the village, enjoy a performance featuring local traditions and folk singing.
- day Wednesday, July 15
Ride aboard the Golden Eagle as it winds through tunnels and hugs massive cliffs, revealing a vista of snow-capped peaks. Stop at Lake Baikal, a site of stunning beauty and grandeur. Also known as “the Pearl of Siberia,” this lake holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water and is the deepest in the world. It is also home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over 50 species of fish. You may choose to swim in the bracing waters of Baikal before traveling by boat to Listvyanka, a small settlement nestled at the base of the surrounding hills. Visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium to learn about the diverse flora and fauna of the lake. End the day with a delicious twilight feast, including freshly smoked omul fish, along the lake’s shore.
- day Thursday, July 16
In Irkutsk, marvel at the most iconic sites and museums of this fascinating city, including its characteristic wooden architecture featuring intricately carved, lace-like decorations. Also
visit the Volkonsky House Museum, dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled to this remote outpost after the failed Decembrist uprising of 1825. In the evening,
enjoy a champagne reception and private concert.
- day Friday, July 17
Enjoy a day to unwind and reflect on our many experiences so far. Attend lectures by our experts, participate in a Russian language class, and enjoy the ever-changing landscape outside your window.
- day Saturday, July 18
A modern “Soviet” city in the heart of Russia, Novosibirsk holds a rich culture in which the arts and sciences predominate. Our visit takes us to Lenin Square for a tour of the imposing Opera House. An architectural marvel that is one of the largest opera house in the world, it contains two permanent ballet and opera companies.
- day Sunday, July 19
In Yekaterinburg, see where European and Asian civilizations come together at their border in the Ural Mountains. During a city tour, visit the solemn site where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site offers a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Later, drive to the obelisk that marks the border to drink a glass of champagne with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.
- day Monday, July 20
Situated on the Volga River, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. One of the highlights of our city tour is the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel, discover a stunning mosque and picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral. As Kazan is the birthplace of Feodor Chaliapin (1873–1938), one of Russia’s most famous opera singers, delight in a private concert of his music.
- day Tuesday, July 21
Arrive in Moscow and check in at the Four Seasons for a one-night stay. Tour the Kremlin, the spiritual, historical, and political heart of Moscow. Enjoy a private viewing of the treasures of the tsars in the Armoury Chamber. Visit Red Square, the iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might, to view its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture. Marvel at the ornate onion-domed spires of St. Basil’s Cathedral, and admire a department store constructed in tsarist times. Lunch is at Café Pushkin, a legendary Moscow restaurant serving traditional Russian cuisine. Explore the opulent and unique stations of the Moscow Metro—showpieces of socialist art furnished with statues, frescoes, and mosaics. Gather for a farewell dinner tonight.
- day Wednesday, July 22
MOSCOW / RETURN
Depart the hotel after breakfast this morning for the flight home.
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