Trans-Siberian to the centre of Asia

17 Days 4 Night in trains Natural Sights Deep into Russia

  This epic Trans-Siberian Tour will take you from Moscow to Irkutsk via the Republic of Tyva in Central Asia - a place yet untouched by mass tourism that retains its authenticity and a fascinating culture.

  The tour along the Trans-Siberian begins in the capital of Russia - Moscow. From here you will then set off for the Urals - the natural border between Europe and Asia - and visit the centre of this region - Yekaterinburg. Afterwards you will go to Russia’s third city by population - Novosibirsk, which is also considered the unofficial capital of Siberia. The city is also a major transport hub on the Trans-Siberian. You will continue your trip into Central Asia and the Republic of Tyva by plane. You will fly over the breathtakingly beautiful Western Sayan Mountains and enter the basin where Tyva is located. This is a unique landscape consisting of a blend of forest, taiga, Mongolian steppe and mountains. Tyva is also home to a literal treasure - the Scythian Gold, which was found in archaeological digs in the region.

Trans-Siberian to the centre of Asia

  After visiting Tyva you will heading to Central Siberia crossing Sayan Mountains range through Khakassia - a proposed homeland of the Scythians. Here you will accompanied by beautiful scenery of a blend of steppe and distant hills and an abundance of kurgan burial mounds - the highest concentration in Russia and a reason why Khassia is known as the birthplace of Russian archaeology. From Khakasia you will rejoin the Trans-Siberian after a stop in Krasnoyarsk and the beautiful natural park here where you will see the Krasnoyarsk Pillars.

  You next stop will be at the deepest lake in the world - Lake Baikal - and the city of Irkutsk - essential stops for everybody travelling along the Trans-Siberian. After visiting Lake Baikal you can then continue your Trans-Siberian journey - either to Vladivostok and the Pacific Ocean, or further into Central Asia through Mongolia and China...

  Part of this trip includes a 400km transfer by car, as there is not yet a railway connection between Tyva and the rest of Russia.

DAY 1 | ARRIVAL IN MOSCOW

 Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to your hotel.

A driver with a sign saying   will wait for you in the arrival area of the airport. Free time in the city: although if you arrive in the morning and have energy we can organise an excursion for this day.

DAY 2 | FREE DAY IN MOSCOW

 Breakfast at the hotel.

  Free day in Moscow. You can investigate the city by yourself or book one of our tours.

 Night in Moscow.

DAY 3 | DIRECTION - THE EAST | 0km - 461km

Train

 Breakfast at the hotel. Free morning in Moscow.

 Transfer to Yaroslavsky Railway Station. Your journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway begins here. Don’t miss the photo opportunity at the 0km marker sign.

 Train departure for Yekaterinburg. On this day you will pass through a famous city on the Golden Ring - Vladimir. The city was once capital of the Russian state and is famous for its cathedrals and the Intercession on the Nerl Church located outside the city in the village of Bogolyubovo.
Later you will pass Nizhny Novgorod, a major city famous for its kremlin and many other architectural monuments. 

 Night on the train.

DAY 4 | URALS | 461km - 1778km

Zlatoust

  In the morning the view outside will change as the landscape becomes more hilly. You will pass through the city of Kirov - the most eastern city to be founded in Rus and now famous for its brightly coloured traditional toys. The train also makes a short stop in Perm in the Urals. The area around here also has quite a reputation as a site of paranormal activity including UFO sighting and electronics unexpectedly stopping working!

 By evening you will have arrived in Yekaterinburg where our driver will meet you to take you to your hotel.
 Night in Yekaterinburg.

DAY 5 | YEKATERINBURG 

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Сity tour of Yekaterinburg - the highlights of the tour include:

  • Church on the Spilled Blood – one of three churches in Russia which are said to have been built "on blood". At this location the Ipatiev House previously stood, which was the site of the execution of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Today they have been canonised as saints.
  • Ural Stone Museum – minerals and stones are the pride of the Urals and one of its brands. The museum has a collection of unique crystals, minerals and semi-precious stones.
  • Ganina Yama – a wooden monastery founded on the site where the remains of the last imperial family were found. The remains themselves are now buried in Ss Peter and Paul's Cathedral in St Petersburg.
  • Europe-Asia Border – one of several monuments marking the border where Europe ends and Asia begins. This spot was fixed by German scientists in 1829.

 Duration: 5h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Free time in the city.

 Evening transfer to the railway station to continue your journey straight to Siberia.

DAY 6 | TO THE CAPITAL OF SIBERIA | 1,778km - 3,303km 

Novosibirsk train

 In the morning you will pass through Omsk - a city where Dostoevsky was imprisoned for four years; the writer included his impressions of the city in his book The House of the Dead.

 Evening arrival in Novosibirsk and transfer to your hotel.

 Night in Novosibirsk.

DAY 7 | NOVOSIBIRSK

  Breakfast at the hotel.

 Panoramic tour of Novosibirsk:

  • Opera and Ballet Theatre – one of the largest theatres in Russia, bigger even than the Bolshoi. Just outside the theatre is an impressive statue of Vladimir Lenin.
  • St Aleksandr Nevsky’s Cathedral – one of the first stone buildings in Novosibirsk and one of the few churches in this enormous city.
  • St Nicholas’ Chapel - a symbol of the city which until 1913 was considered to be the centre of Russia.
  • Glory Monument - a memorial complex with an eternal flame in memory of the fallen of the Second World War.
  • Stokvartirny House – literally meaning the 100-apartment house, this building is unique for its time and was built for the Soviet elite of Novosibirsk. It won the Grand Prix at an international exhibition in Paris in 1937.
  • Beginnings of the City Park – the place where the very first bridge over the River Ob was built in Novosibirsk, the bridge subsequently played a colossal role in the development of the city. There is also a monument of Emperor Alexander III here, thanks to whom the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway began. Without the Trans-Siberian it is likely that Novosibirsk would today be a small provincial city.

 Duration: 3h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Free time in the city.

 Night in Novosibirsk.

DAY 8 | TO THE CENTRE OF ASIA | 3,303km - 4,340

khakasia

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Morning transfer to the airport.

 Flight to Kyzyl - the capital of Tyva republic. Duration: 2h15

 Upon arrival a transfer to the hotel

DAY 9 | KYZYL

Kyzyl

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 City tour of Kyzyl - the capital of Tyva. You will visit the main sights of the city:

  • National Museum of Tyva - this is a treasure trove of unique exhibits detailing the history of the republic. It includes belongings of ancient shamans, information on the first Tuvan alphabet and fragments of the meteorite that fell in the River Chenge. Most famously though is the collection of Scythian gold found in a kurgan burial mound - in total weighing 20kg.
  • Shaman Clinic - this is a unique place in Russia. Tuvans quite easily hold Buddhist beliefs alongside a more ancient faith in shamans and visit them at special clinic. Shamans use various ancient methods in their treatment, including throat singing, correcting internal rhythms and harnessing nature’s energy, as well as massage and aromatherapy.
  • Centre of Asia Obelisk - this is one of the main attractions in Kyzyl, an obelisk marking the geographical centre of the Asian continent.
  • Prayer Wheel - this Buddhist prayer wheel was installed by monks from the Gyudmed Monastery using donations from Tuvan Buddhists. The copper carcas of the wheel weighs more than 100kg and was made in Nepal and inscribed with millions of mantras. According to Buddhist beliefs, one turn of the wheel with pure thoughts is the equivalent of saying all these mantras out loud. 
  • Tsechenling Buddhist Temple - this is the main buddhist temple in Kyzyl. It was consecrated in October 1999 by His Holiness the 9th Jebtsundamba Khutunghtu - the third most authoritative figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. On the ground floor there is a residence of the representative to the Dalai Lama. On the first floor, up an impressive marble staircase, is the prayer hall containing bronze, silver and gold idols depicting the Buddha and the 14th Dalai Lama.
  • Kadarchy (Shepherd) Monument - this is a real symbol of Kyzyl and Tyva and a monument beloved by locals. Many newlyweds will come here to pay respects and take photos. Close to the statue is a wooden pole decorated with colourful bits of material. According to tradition this is a way of appeasing the spirits of the steppe.

 Duration: 4h |  Transportation: by a private car

 

 Transfer to the Ethno-Cultural Complex - You will stay here in a traditional Tuvan yurt but with all the trappings of a modern hotel room. It is located in tranquil surroundings on the banks of the River Yenisey.
 Night in the Ethno-Cultural Complex.

DAY 10 | SACRED PLACES OF TYVA

tyva

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 On this day you will have an adventure into the east of the Republic of Tyva, all the time enjoying wonderful views and holy places in the republic.

  • Ustuu-Khuree Monastery - this is one of the largest and most famous monasteries in Tyva. It dates back to the early 20th century and was built with the guidance of Tibetan lamas and the assistance of Chinese and local builders. It was closed in 1930 and its main temple was destroyed in 1937. However the temple’s walls survive and believers place bits of paper with wishes and prayers in cracks in the wall - leading to it being completely mottled with paper.
  • Khairykhan Mountain - this is a sacred place for Tuvans. Its name translates as ‘heavenly bear’ or ‘holy mountain’. According to legend, this place has strong magical energy and a healing effect. In 1992 the 14th Dalai Lama visited and commented on the strength of a holy spring located behind the mountain, which gives energy and strength.  Tuvans come here and ask requests of Buddha and take handfuls of sacred earth home.
  • Uttug-Khaya Mountain - his place is also considered holy for Tuvans and a source of special energy. People from all corners of Tyva come here to bring offerings to the spirits of the rocks and pray for good health and success. The prayers take the form of leaving a small note with the wish under a stone and leaving a treat for the spirits, before walking three times through a natural arch in the mountain and making the wish. One local legend speaks of how once Uttug-Khaya Mountain was used as an observation post for Genghis Khan.

 Duration: 7-8h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Kyzyl.

DAY 11 | THROUGH THE SAYAN MOUNTAINS

Sayan Mountains

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 The Republic of Tyva does not have railway links with other parts of Russia, so you will need to travel 400km by car to return to mainland. However the views will be worth it as the journey lies through the breathtaking scenery from steppe of Tyva  onto Sayan Mountain Range.

 Distance: 400km

 Upon arrival you will have free time in the city.

 Night in Abakan.

DAY 12 | KHAKASIA AND VALLEY OF KING 

Salbyksky

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Tour of Abakan. The highlights of the tour include:

  • Mount Samokhal - the main viewing platform in Abakan. From here you can enjoy stunning views of the valley in which the city is located and the confluence of two large rivers - the Yenisey and the Abakan. There is also a memorial complex here dedicated to warriors of ancient times.
  • St Nicholas’ Cathedral - the only cathedral in the city not to be closed during the Soviet period.
  • Topiary Art Park - a favourite place among locals for walking.
  • Dreamer Monument - one of the more unusual monuments in the city, which features a giant head deep in thought.
  • National Museum of Khakassia - this holds a one of Russia’s largest collections of stone sculptures, stella and rock carvings

 Tour to the Valley of the Kings - Khakassia’s Valley of the Kings (“Dolina Tsarey”) is a historical complex with 56 kurgans and the Great Salbyksky Kurgan here is often compared with England’s Stonehenge. The heritage sites are concentrated in an area of five square metres in the Salbykskaya Dolina, part of the Kamyzyakskaya Steppe. The kurgans are surrounded by monoliths, which were probably transported here from the banks of the Yenisey - although why and how this was done is still a mystery. The stones are also engraved with ancient petroglyphs although they have become less clear over the centuries. The Great Salbykskie Gates are considered an entrance to the valley - these are located 1.5km from the Great Salbyksky Kurgan and comprise two giant boulders standing upright and are said to symbolise the entrance into a world beyond the grave.

 Duration: 8h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Evening transfer to the railway station. Overnight train to Krasnoyarsk

 Night in the train.

DAY 13 | RETURNING TO TRANS-SIBERIAN | 3,303km - 3,888km

Krasnoyarsk

 Morning arrival in Krasnoyarsk - transfer to the hotel.

 City tour of Krasnoyarsk with a visit to the Krasnoyarskye Stolby Nature Reserve. The highlights of the tour are:

  • Ploschad Mira Museum Centre - this is the largest modern art exhibition space in Siberia. It is housed in what was once the Central Lenin Museum and the most interesting feature is that Soviet style exhibitions on Lenin stand side by side to fantastical pieces of modern art. It is a real mix of two eras and something that would never have been allowed in the Soviet period! 
  • Karaulnaya (Sentry) Mountain - St Parascheva Pyatnitsa’s Chapel, which was built on Karaulnaya Mountain in the mid-19th century, is one of the symbols of Krasnoyarsk and is featured on the RUB 10 note. Previously there was a Khakass pagan temple here. The first Orthodox chapel here was made out of wood and served as both a place of worship and a watchtower - from this vantage point no enemy can approach unnoticed.
  • Krasnoyarsk Pillars - these unique natural formations are remains of rocks which have been worn down over millennia into pillars. They are located in a nature reserve mainly comprising Siberian taiga. 
  • Svyatitel Nikolai Steamship-Museum - this vessel was built in 1886 in Tyumen and transported in parts to Krasnoyarsk for use on the Yenisey. In 1891 Tsarevich Nikolai Aleksandrovich (who later became Tsar Nicholas II) sailed on it, and in 1897 it transported a somewhat different passenger: Vladimir Lenin, who used it to get to his place of exile in Shushenskoe.

 Duration: 5-6h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Krasnoyarsk.

DAY 14 | DEEP INTO SIBERIA | 4,925km - 4,976km

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Free morning in the city.

 Afternoon transfer to the railway station.

 Train to Irkutsk.

 Day and night on the train.

DAY 15 | LAKE BAIKAL

 Morning arrival in Irkutsk - transfer to the Listvyanka.

 Distance: 70km

 Excursion around Listvyanka - the main highlights of the excursion include:

  • Viewing platform over the source of the River Angara – the River Angara is 1779km long and the only river to flow from the Baikal. In the local Buryat language its name means ‘cleft’ or ‘mouth’ and was so named for its wideness which allows a lot of water to flow from the lake. In winter the source of the Angara hardly ever freezes. Situated here is the Shaman-Rock - the summit of a large rock which was flooded with the creation of the Irkutsky hydro-electric station and which has historically been an important site for performing shamanistic rituals. 
  • Lake Baikal Museum – the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the lake, its flora and fauna and the process of water flowing in and out of the lake. Here you can see the various life forms found in Lake Baikal in an exposition which takes the form of a large aquarium which is the height of a person. The five aquariums have a total volume of 45 cubic metres and hold examples of the fish found in Baikal as well as the celebrated seal of Baikal which is known as a nerpa. The museum also offers a unique opportunity to virtually descend the lake to its very bottom.
  • Ascent of the Chersky Rock (755m) – the summit of one of the coastal hills in Listvyanka. Here there is a viewing platform from where you can enjoy spectacular panoramas of practically the whole of the southern part of Baikal. On the horizon you will see the white summit of the Khamar-Daban mountain range, below you is the source of the River Angara with the Shaman-Rock, behind you is Port Baikal and to your right you will see the Angara right up to the Irkutskskoe Reservoir.
  • St Nicholas’ Church – in the beginning of the 18th century the Russian merchant Ksenofont Serebryakov found himself in a violent storm on Lake Baikal. During the storm he prayed to St Nicholas to save him, as St Nicholas has long been seen as the protector of sailors. Serebryakov survived and in 1846 erected a church on the shores of Lake Baikal dedicated to St Nicholas. The church holds icons from the 17th century.

 Duration: 3-4h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Listvyanka. 

DAY 16 | IRKUTSK

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Free morning in Listvyanka.

 Transfer to Irkutsk. On the way to Irkutsk you will visit Taltsy Wooden Architectural complex.

 Distance: 70km

  City tour of Irkutsk - the highlights of the tour includes:

  • Icebreaker Angara Museum (outside) – one of the oldest surviving icebreakers in the world. It was made in Britain and commissioned in 1900. Over the next century it served a mix of transport, labour, scientific and military needs.
  • Angara Embankment – one of the favourite places for residents of Irkutsk to relax and walk. There are also several historical monuments located here, including a memorial complex dedicated to the achievements of local people during the Second World War, the Moskovskie Gates triumphal arch, a monument to Emperor Alexander III, and a monument to Yakov Pokhabov – one of the founders of Irkutsk.
  • 130th Quarter - a favourite places for tourists as here many historical buildings have survived and many others have been restored giving the resemblance of a 19th century Irkutsk street. Several of the buildings of this quarter are protected as monuments of federal significance.
  • Exaltation of the Cross Church - this is perhaps the most beautiful church in Irkutsk and dates from 1760. It is the only church in Siberia to retain its full 18th century interior.

 Duration: 3-4h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Irkutsk. 

DAY 17 | DEPARTING IRKUTSK

 Breakfast at the hotel.

 Transfer to to the airport or railway station if you are planning to continue your trip further to the East of Russia - to Vladivostok, or to Mongolia and China.

 

kyzyl

  • The tour is available the whole year round, but please take into account that the museum’s working hours and days-off vary so we reserve the right to change the itinerary while trying to save the excursion programme.
  • Transportation in Moscow, where travel by metro is designated, can be changed to a car upon request, but please note that the transport situation in Moscow is not very good, so you could get stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Tickets to museums cannot be sold without an excursion with a guide.
  • During state holidays and celebrations, Red Square may be closed (either partially blocked off or completely closed).
  • The tour is available in   Other languages upon request.
  • All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
  • Best time to travel on this route: from the end of May to October.

• CANCELLATION POLICY 

DATE OF CANCELLATION

CANCELLATION CHARGES

FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 10%
FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 30%
FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 50%
LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 100%

Khakasia

Date of the tour

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Adults:
Children (6-16):

Accommodation:

Cost of the tour in

Adds-ons

Included
  • Private transport service according to the programme
  • Private guide service according to the programme
  • Entrance tickets to museums.
  • Accommodation in a hotel of a category of your choice, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
  • Train tickets according the itinerary- 2nd class.
  • Plane tickets Novosibirsk - Kyzyl
  • 24h emergency support during the tour
  • Visa support documents
Not included
  • Plane tickets to/from Russia
  • Tips for a guide or driver (optional)
  • Meals (except for breakfast where stated).)
  • Evening performances such as the ballet at the Bolshoi.
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