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Trans-Mongolian Railway Adventure


Want an epic rail journey that takes you to some of the world’s most remote regions? This 11-day adventure is for you. Experience riding a section of the Trans-Mongolian Railway as you make your way from China to Mongolia. Start with the bright lights of Beijing, then take a bullet train to Inner Mongolia. Then, it’s on to the vast steppes of Khustai National Park, the dunes of the Gobi Desert, the spiritual wonders of Sainshand and more. Spend time staying in a traditional ger campsite, join a family of camel herders for lunch and return home with truly unique travel stories to tell!

11 days, from

$3,365

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: CBSM
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  China Mongolia
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights), Overnight train (1 night), Tourist ger camp (2 nights)
Transportation: Train , Overnight train , Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Travel along a section of the epic Trans-Mongolian Railway through Mongolia, following the ancient path of tea caravans.

  • Explore China’s Inner Mongolia region and its iconic vast rolling grasslands, sandy deserts and dunes, and an otherworldly stone forest.

  • Get a (literal) taste of local life as you stop for barbeque lunch at the Ulihan Desert Campsite, sampling the freshest local lamb.

  • Whisper your wishes at Sainshand’s Mountain of Wishes, then learn about the nomadic way of life as you join a camel herding family for lunch.

  • Spend a full day seeing Khustai National Park, staying in traditional gers and spotting free roaming wild horses, Golden Eagles and more.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Beijing

Huanying! Welcome to China. Touch down in China’s capital, Beijing, ready for a railway adventure. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your trip leader and travel companions. After this important meeting, why not get together with your group for an optional dinner, perhaps finding one of the best Beijing duck restaurants in the city. Your group leader will definitely know of some wonderful places where you can eat this delicious speciality.

Day 2: Inner Mongolia / Reshui

This morning, bid farewell to Beijing and hop on a bullet train to the Inner Mongolian city of Chifeng. Stop for lunch with your group, and then learn about the area’s mix of steppe and Mongolian culture with a visit to the Chifeng Museum. Afterwards, take a private transfer to the town of Reshui, which will be your gateway to the vast grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Settle into your accommodation, and rest up for a full day of exploring tomorrow!

Day 3: Inner Mongolia / Reshui

Rise in Reshui, then head out to the Huanggangliang National Forest Park. Located in the remnants of the Greater Xing’an Mountains, it’s home to Huanggang Peak which stands at an altitude of 2029 m. There are glacial and U-shaped valleys to explore, and the journey itself will be made special by the abundant flowers and endless grasslands. After lunch, you’ll visit Asihatu Stone Forest. Over 2 million years of wind and rain have contributed to make the rare stone formations! To finish the day, you’ll get the chance to see the Gongge'er Grasslands. It’s quite the sight, with rivers lazily weaving through and wild deer roaming. If you’re into your photography, this is the place to be!

Day 4: Inner Mongolia / Xilinhot

This morning, drive to Hunshandake Sandy Land, located at the southern end of the Xilingol Grassland in central Inner Mongolia. It’s a famous water desert in China, where Spring water emerges from the sandy land and gathers into small rivers and lakes. In the heart of the Hunshandake you’ll visit Ulihan Desert Campsite. The lakes and grasslands will provide a scenic backdrop for a BBQ lunch. After, you’ll visit Dali Lake, one of the four famous lakes in Inner Mongolia, and then head to Xilinhot for the night.

Day 5: Erlian / Sainshand

Get set for a day of travel. After breakfast, drive from Xilinhot to Erlian, arriving around midday. Stop for lunch and meet your new leader for the Mongolian portion of your journey, then head to the train station and hop on board the Trans-Mongolian Railway line headed to Sainshand. Stop in Zamiin-Uud along the way for a border crossing and for a change of train bogies. Watch on as the train’s lifted into the air one carriage at a time, and the wheels replaced with a different gauge. Arrive in Sainshand at around 1:05 am. There’ll be a transfer waiting to whisk you from the train station to your accommodation, and your rooms will be ready for you. Check in then rest up for the night!

Day 6: Sainshand

Start with breakfast at your hotel, then take in the sights and sounds of Sainshand on a walking tour. Visit a museum dedicated to the Noyon Khutagt, the Lama of the Gobi. A writer, composer, painter, Buddhist scholar and physician, the museum displays Buddhist artifacts that survived the period of the Mongolian People's Republic. Afterwards, a short drive will take you to Khamriin Monastery, which was founded by Noyon Khutagt on this site due to the spiritual energy radiating from the Gobi Desert. To the north of the monastery lie a series of caves where monks practiced high levels of meditation for 108 continuous days. Enjoy a short hike around the area to visit these caves, as well as the energy centre known as Mongolian Shambala. Return to Sainshand, and then spend the evening as you like!

Day 7: Sainshand / Overnight Train

After a hotel breakfast, take a drive to the Mountain of Wishes – named thanks to the belief that if you climb to the top and whisper a wish, it’ll come true. You’ll get the chance to do exactly that, using the stairs to enjoy the view over the valley and making a wish or two. Then, get an insight into local ways of life as you visit a family of camel herders. Hear stories about the nomadic way of life over a traditional, home-cooked lunch with the family. Later, return to Sainshand then board an overnight train headed to Ulaanbaatar.

Day 8: Ulaanbaatar / Khustai National Park

Arrive into Mongolia’s capital city around 7 am this morning, and get set for the day with an optional breakfast at a local cafe. Ulaanbaatar’s a fascinating town, where elderly Mongolians in traditional dress mingle with the nation's young business elite. Drive to the imposing Chinggis Khaan Statue, a 40 m high stainless-steel statue honouring the founder of the Mongolian Empire. You can take the steps to the horse’s mane for views over the valley, then visit a small museum located in the statue’s base. For lunch, drive to Nalaikh town for a meal at a monastery cafe, then continue on to Khustai National Park. Settle into your ger camp accommodation for a very special slice of traditional life!

Day 9: Khustai National Park

Start with a breakfast at camp, then embark on a hike to see the wildlife of the national park. Wild horses running free will be quite a sight to behold, and keep an eye on the sky for Golden Eagles, falcons and vultures. Once you’ve finished your trail, drive on to the Ungut Monument. The collection of 30 human-shaped stone monuments traces back to the 7th century. Thought to be an offering site, it makes for a thought-provoking stop! Then, drive back to your camp at Khustai National Park and enjoy a free evening of leisure.

Day 10: Ulaanbaatar

After a final breakfast at your ger camp, drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Your leader will take you on a final orientation walk through the city’s central square, then stop in for an optional lunch at a cafe. In the afternoon there might be the chance to shop for some local handicrafts such as cashmere and felt products, or to check out some more of the city's sights and museums. Tonight you can celebrate your journey to Mongolia by witnessing a special cultural performance featuring throat singing and traditional dancing (optional). There will be an optional final dinner at a local restaurant recommended by your leader.

Day 11: Ulaanbaatar

Say 'bayartai' to your group as your adventure draws to a close. There are no activities planned for the day, and you're free to depart the hotel at any time before 12 noon. If you'd like to stay longer in UB, it's recommended that you book additional accommodation well in advance.