For a romantic, luxurious, and adventurous journey, nothing comes close to the experience aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway. This network of railways is the longest in the world, spanning eight times zones and connecting Russia with Mongolia, China, and even North Korea.
Join us in 2020 as Wheel & Anchor embarks on this one-of-a-kind adventure. For 17 days and 18 nights, we’ll ride across Russia into Mongolia, then on to China on board the privately chartered Tsar’s Gold.
Travelling by train gives you a wonderful sense of a country by traversing its landscapes and encountering its people. Our itinerary allows us to stop and wander around cities and towns, interact with the locals, and explore fascinating locations. Here’s what’s in store for you.
Moscow: Russia’s cosmopolitan centre
Russia’s vibrant capital mixes history with modernity, as old monuments mingle with modern skyscrapers and buildings.
- Red Square – The former cobblestone market square stood witness to many historic events that shaped both the city and the country. It’s one of Russia’s most visited areas, thanks to several must-see sites around it, including the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and other attractions.
- Moscow’s Kremlin – The most famous of the kremlins, or citadels, is also the biggest active fortress in Europe. Within its 2,235 metre-long walls you can explore five squares, 20 towers, and the world’s largest bell and cannon.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral – Commissioned in the 1500s by Tsar Ivan IV, or Ivan the Terrible, the beautiful onion-shaped rainbow domes of the cathedral is one of the most popular symbols of Russia. The state confiscated the church in 1928 and has since used it as a museum.
Kazan: The sports capital of Russia — and more
The largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan has hosted several world sporting events, including the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 World Fencing Championships, 2015 World Aquatics Championships, 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and 2018 FIFA World Cup. But what else can you see or do in Kazan?
- Kazan Kremlin – The oldest fortress in the city, it houses several ancient buildings that you should visit, including the Annunciation Cathedral, the Söyembikä Tower, and the Kul Sharif Mosque. In 2000, UNESCO declared the Kazan Kremlin a World Heritage Site.
- Annunciation Cathedral – The first Orthodox church built within the walls of the Kremlin, it was originally made of wood, but Ivan the Terrible replaced it with a sandstone cathedral in 1552.
- Söyembikä Tower – Named after the only woman to rule the Kazan Khanate, the tower used to lean like the Tower of Pisa, but was straightened out in the 1930s and 1990s.
- Kul Sharif Mosque – Located within the Kremlin grounds, this is one of the largest mosques in Russia. It can accommodate 6,000 worshippers and also serves as a museum of Islam. The mosque also houses a library, publishing house, and the Imam’s office.
- Taste Tatar cuisine – No idea what it tastes like? Now you’ll get to try echpochmak, smetannik, peremyach, bokkan, and baursak, and find out what they are made of.
Lake Baikal: The most picturesque part of the journey
By special arrangement, the Tsar’s Gold will pass through the route hugging the shores of Lake Baikal, the largest, deepest, oldest, and most diverse freshwater lake on Earth. Few can match the beauty and magnificence of this body of water, and weather permitting, we may stop the train for a lakeside barbecue and a swim in the pure clear waters.
Crossing two borders
At Ulan Ude, we switch tracks and cross the border into Mongolia along the Trans-Mongolian Railway. After traversing the vast Gobi Desert, we will switch trains at the border of Mongolia and China.
Datong: A rare visit to a spectacular tourist spot in China
On the way to Beijing, we’ll stop at Datong prefecture in northern China. We will visit two of the most awe-inspiring sites most visitors to China rarely get to see.
- Yungang Grottoes – It’s one of the largest grotto-groups in China, a collection of 53 shallow caves containing around 51,000 statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, ranging from 4 centimeters to 7 meters tall, mostly around 1000 years old.
- Hanging Temple (or Monastery) – Built onto a cliff wall at the foot of Mt. Hangshan, the Hanging Temple is a breathtaking example of the artistry and ingenuity of Chinese architecture.
Before our last stop, we’ll visit the Great Wall of China, one of the greatest architectural and engineering marvels of the world.
Beijing: At the heart of China’s sprawling capital
Known for its ancient sites stretching back three millennia as well as its modern architecture, Beijing boasts of several imposing buildings. We’ll visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- The Forbidden City – This sprawling mega-structure was once the exclusive home of China’s ruling class. The City contains five major gates, an inner and outer court, and numerous halls.
- The Summer Palace – Said to be the largest and best preserved imperial garden in the world, this “masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design” achieves harmony between nature and its temples and pavilions. It’s so soothing and pleasing to the eyes, it’s Chinese name is apt: “Nourishing Peace Garden”.
From capital to capital: The Wheel & Anchor journey
As we travel from Moscow to Beijing, we’ll have more activities in between as we visit some of the greatest sites of three countries: Russia, Mongolia, and China. If you want to join our adventure-packed Trans-Siberian Railway tour in September 2020, click the “Send me more information” button or call us to learn more. Be part of Wheel & Anchor’s community of like-minded travellers passionate about creating unforgettable experiences.