Naadam Festival – Trans-Mongolian Express

Witness Mongolia's historic sporting extravaganza and take in the extraordinary landscapes of Mongolia and Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway
Embark on an iconic journey across Russia on board the luxury train combined with a visit to the Mongolian national festival.
One of the most celebrated events on the Mongolian calendar, Naadam Festival is the Mongol version of the Olympic Games and a source of deep national pride. Railway cruising on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Mongolia to Russia (or vice versa) is a fantastic way to absorb the rich culture of the Naadam Festival and the cinematic landscape of both countries. Our exclusive Trans-Mongolian Express tour through Russia and Central Asia combines first-class customer service and a romantic room with a constantly changing view from the Mongolian steppes to the Siberian taiga. On a private trip travelling aboard the luxurious Golden Eagle train, we’ll make numerous stops along the route, providing a memorable exploration of the cultures, customs and cuisine of each unique region we visit.

TRANS-MONGOLIAN & NAADAM FESTIVAL TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Nadaam Festival: For three days, Mongolians don traditional dress and celebrate games and sports derived from Mongolia’s proud warrior tradition. Witness the primal thrill of outdoor wrestling, impossible archery contests and horse racing across the vast Mongolian grasslands
  • The Siberian city of Ulan-Ude lies at the crossroads of East and West, harbouring a unique Buryat Buddhist culture. It’s also a stronghold of the last of the Russian Old Believers, who we’ll meet on a village visit to discover the unique history and traditions of these proud, welcoming and deeply religious people
  • Marvel at the shimmering beauty of Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake, with a visit to Listvyanka village. Explore the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium and meet the beloved freshwater Baikal seal before a delicious meal of barbecued Baikal fish on the lake shore
  • Kazan is the epicentre of ethnic Tartar culture. Discover the city’s mediaeval Islamic influence, tour the grounds of the picture-perfect Kazan Kremlin and enjoy a private concert of the music of Feodor Chaliapin, Kazan’s most famous opera singer
  • Moscow City Tour: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest metropolises on a guided tour of Moscow, taking in the Red Square, the Kremlin, the fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral and more

To truly experience the rich and colourful traditions and ancient heritage of Mongolia, travel the Trans-Mongolian railway in July and experience the incomparable Naadam Festival.

The origins of Naadam (literally meaning ‘three manly games’) can be traced back to the Mongolian’s abundant military history and their worldwide renown for brilliant conquests, great emperors and fierce warriors. Naadam Festival as we know it today has grown into an elaborate spectacle, drawing thousands of outside visitors every year. The main events are held in venues around Ulaan Baatar and it’s here that you’ll spend two days, kicking things off with the extravagant opening ceremony as well as travelling out of town to witness the main event – the heart-stopping national horse race.

You can either commence this tour in Ulaan Bataar the day before the Naadam opening ceremony or take the westbound route from Moscow and arrive in Mongolia in time for the festivities.

You’ll experience everything in between these two sprawling metropolises, traversing some of the most remote reaches of the European and Asian continents. From the majestic Mongolian steppes to the awe-inspiring vastness of the Gobi Desert to the sparkling lakes of forests of Khovsgol, the ever-changing landscapes on this overland adventure are a feast for the senses. We’ll make numerous stops across the span of this 13-day Trans-Mongolian tour, exploring Irkutsk and the charming holiday village of Listvyanka on Lake Baikal, crossing the vast taiga and discovering the modern face of Siberia in Novosibirsk city.

This is without doubt one of the world’s greatest railway journeys, made all the more special by the experience of travelling in a private tour group aboard the Golden Eagle. After a few days, the train becomes a community of its own as you get to know your conductor, staff and fellow passengers. Relax and socialise in the plush Lounge Car, enjoy sumptuous meals on board and retreat at day’s end to your comfortable private cabin or Imperial Suite.

13 days
from
$
16,695
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary

Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Ulaan Bataar / Moscow

Moscow / Ulaan Bataar

5* Golden Eagle train

Rail journey

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

13 days / 12 nights

     

N/A

Guaranteed departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Mongolia

Our westbound Trans-Mongolian adventure begins in Mongolia. Upon arrive at Ulaan Baatar Airport, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. We will enjoy a welcome reception dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers.

Days 2-3:Naadam Festival

On the first day of the festival, we observe the elaborate opening ceremony which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians, before travelling outside Ulaan Baatar to watch the national horse race.

On the second day of the festival, we will attend the archery, wrestling and ankle-bone shooting events.

Day 4:Ulaan Bataar

This morning we start our tour of Ulaan Baatar at Gandan Monastery. We also visit the Chinggis Square with the monument to Genghis Khan.

As an option, we drive out of the city to the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery of wild Mongolia, having the opportunity to visit a traditional Ger and meet a nomadic family or try our hand at horse-riding, an intrinsic part of Mongolian life.

Day 5:Russia. Ulan Ude

The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, offers a unique insight into its heritage. During our exploration of the Old Believers’ Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as we are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.

Day 6:Lake Baikal

For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff-hugging tracks above Lake Baikal. Travelling onwards to the end of the Baikal branch line, we leave the train and travel by boat on the lake to Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills. We visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the lake. We then enjoy a delicious barbecue, including freshly smoked omul fish, prepared by our own chefs on the shore of Lake Baikal to complete a memorable day.

Day 7:Irkutsk

Our visit to Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture.

You could learn to cook some traditional Russian dishes with a local chef or you might also wish to visit a traditional Russian Dacha (summer house) or an urban apartment to get an insight into the everyday life of an average Russian family.

Day 8:Onboard

A day to unwind and reflect on the many sights and sounds we have experienced on our journey so far. Chat to your fellow passengers, perhaps learn a few more words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever changing landscape outside your window.

Day 9:Novosibirsk

Our Novosibirsk city tour takes us to Lenin Square where the imposing Opera House is located. In front of the Opera House, we visit an impressive statue of Lenin – a marvellous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader. Alternatively, south of the city you could visit Novosibirsk’s excellent Railway Museum or choose to visit the State Art Museum.

Day 10:Yekaterinburg

Our Yekaterinburg city tour takes us to the poignant site where the Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment.
Our tour program features a visit to the recently opened Museum of Military Machinery - a real treat for anyone with an interest in the Soviet past, unparalleled by anything else along the route.

Day 11:Kazan

In Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, we have the opportunity to see for ourselves its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.

As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Here we will enjoy a private concert of Feodor Chaliapinis' music. You will also have time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.

Day 12:Moscow

After travelling nearly 4,000 miles (6,400kms) along this iconic railway, today we reach Moscow, our final destination. Our city tour takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. We also visit Red Square, the St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.

Day 13:Time to say goobye

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the Moscow Airport to begin your journey home.

You can extend your stay in Moscow with additional nights to explore more of the city at your leisure.

Inclusions

Accommodation

5* hotels

Comfortable Golden Eagle train accommodation

Meals

Full board, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day

Transportation

Arrival and departure transfers, all transportation according to the itinerary with professional drivers

Guides

Our experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and their linguistic and organisational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise

Activities and sights

Guided enriching tours with experienced English speaking guides

Wide choice of optional off-train tours

Other

All gratuities

Russian visa support documents

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
01 Jul - 13 Jul, 2019 (Eastbound)
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $16,695 US $8,000 Reserve
10 Jul - 22 Jul, 2019 (Westbound)
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $16,695 US $8,000 Reserve
13 days
Ulaan Bataar / Moscow to Moscow / Ulaan Bataar
from
$
16,695
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
13 days
from
$
16,695
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816