Trans-Mongolian to North-Korea Tour

The epic Trans Mongolian railway is arguably the worlds greatest journey. The longest continuous railway on earth it spans more than a third of the entire globes surface, covering a huge 6000 miles (10000 km).

Our prices start at just 599€ for a one way second class ticket from Moscow to Beijing and from 1299€ for a full tour including train tickets with accommodation and tours in Irkutsk (Siberia) and Ulan Bator (Mongolia).

We can book tickets or journeys to suit your own needs. From one-way non-stop tickets to multi-stops, return journeys and tours along the way.

Our Moscow - Beijing and Beijing to Moscow two week tours cost just 1299EUR/person.

Our Moscow - Beijing deluxe 15 day tour costs 2099€/person.

Our St Petersburg - Beijing and Beijing to St P'burg 19 day tours cost 1655€/person.

Our Moscow to Pyongyang tour starts at 2476€/person.



We can book all trains along the Trans-Siberian, Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian routes. Please email us for further details.


Payment methods.

We accept payment via Bank Transfer, credit card and debit card (via Paypal).

A deposit is taken on booking with the balance to be paid no later than 8 weeks before departure.

We can break the payments into smaller installments if you prefer, we are happy to come up with a payment schedule to suit you.

For the past 4 years we have been running our biggest tour of all - a huge 21 night Trans Mongolian to North Korea tour, starting in Moscow and taking in Irkutsk, Olkhon Island and Lake Baikal (Siberia), Ulan Bator and Terelj National Park (Mongolia), Beijing and Dandong (China) and Siniuju, Pyongyang and Kaesong (North Korea).

Prices start at just 2476€ per person and the tour departs monthly! The standard itinerary can be seen below but please note that each monthly tour matches up with our North Korea group tours so the itineraries may alter slightly to fit in with the current North Korea tour departing each month.

 



Arrive at Moscow Yaroslav station and leave aboard the 13:50 train. Head out of Moscow's suburbs and begin your journey East towards Siberia.



Relax on board the train as you travel further Eastwards towards Yekaterinburg through the verdant rolling foothill landscapes of the Ural Mountains.



Relax on board the train and make the most of the restaurant car as you head towards Omsk and pass the 2102km point which officially marks the border of Siberia.

Give your legs a stretch at each stop and buy food from the many sellers on the platforms.



Onwards towards Krasnoyarsk as you pass through the busiest section of railway in the world.

Freight trains, mainly full of coal heading towards the Ural smelting works from the Kubas Basin. Further along you will cross one of the worlds longest rivers on the 870m long Ob River bridge.



Arrive in Irkutsk at 08:28. Transfer to your accommodation and spend the day at leisure around Irkutsk.
Maybe go for a leisurely stroll and take in the beautiful wooden buildings before visiting the Church of the Saviour, the Znamensky monastery and Irkutsk Museum.

Later, head to the market to pick up some supplies then head out for a tradition Siberian meal at one of the city's many restaurants before continuing onto a bar or club later.



Our driver will pick you up at 9:00 and drive you to Irkutsk station where you will transfer onto a bus and head north 250 km along the Primorsky Mountains on Baikal's western shore towards Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world at 1673m.

We have a coffee stop en route before arriving at the Olkhon Island ferry around 14:00. After a short stroll around the ferry stop we make the crossing to Olkhon Island, 71km long and 14.5km wide; making it the largest lake island in the world.

Olkhon is populated primarily by the Buryati people who are of Mongolian descent and whose Buddhist practices coexist with their shamanism. Upon arrival you are transferred to your accommodation at a fisherman's family guesthouse.

After lunch group members can explore the village and visit the museum of Local Lore. A walking excursion can be done through the village to the Cape of Burkhan to see the famous Crag of Shaman (Rock Temple) which was generally regarded as one of the 9 sanctuaries of Asia. Return to dine on the local Baikal speciality of home-cooked grayling (when available), before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.



In the morning depart by jeep or minibus to explore Olkhon Island and classic Lake Baikal vistas.

Head north and make your first stop at Sagaan-Khushun Cape, a beatiful cliff covered in red lichen. Then head forward to the coastal sand dunes and stretches of beach along the way, including the 200m high cliffs of Khoboy Cape at the northern tip of the island.

After a picnic-lunch (Baikal omul fish-soup), cooked on an open fire in Uzuri bay you will return to Khuzir village. Experience a traditional Russian banya (sauna) before being served a traditional Olkhon dinner. Again spend the rest of the evening at leisure.



After a farewell breakfast in the guesthouse, you will be picked up in a minibus and driven onwards to the ferry-station.

Cross the strait to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk. There is an en route stop for coffee soon after the ferry crossing. Arrival in Irkutsk around 16.00. A few hours at your leisure before heading to the train station for the 22.15 train to Ulan Bator, travelling around part of the lower edge of Lake Baikal.



On board the train, passing through the semi autonomous region of Buryatia and the shores of Goose Lake.

Arrive at the Russian border town of Naushki ready for your crossing into Mongolia. Here you will wait for around 3 hours and there is time for a hike up the nearby hill which gives great views across both sides of the border. After you enter Mongolia you will witness a rapid change of scenery with the pine and birch forests making way for the beautiful green pastures of the Selenge River basin.



Arrive in Ulan Bator at 05:50. Transfer to your accommodation and the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure around the capital.

Maybe visit Sukhbaatar Square, Nairamdal Park, the Gandantegchinlen Khiid temple and National Museum of Mongolian History before heading for dinner at any one of a wide range of restaurants.

We recommend you try a traditional Mongolian barbecue. In the evening you could visit the Tumen Ekh Ensemble Palace to view contortionists, dancers, opera singers and the bizarre Mongolian throat singers!



Our driver picks you up in the morning and drives you to Terelj National Park, 50 miles northeast of Ulan Bator. Enter the park and immediately feel the cool alpine air and view the magnificent mountain scenery.

You will be taken to see local artists and also view hawks, eagles and camels! You then transfer from the minibus onto horseback and a journey into the valleys past streams and through winding mountain paths. The horses are then tied up as you begin a mountain hike up to Ariyapala Temple crossing a rope bridge along the way. After ascending the steps to the temple you will have the chance to meditate or simply sit back and admire the amazing views. You then return to your horses and head back to Turtle Rock and the Ger Camp where you will spend the night.

The camp is set in the spectacular Gorkhi River valley. Settle down in your Ger then meet the farmer and his family who own the camp. Spend the rest of the afternoon taking leisurely strolls on green meadows carpeted with edelweiss and a variety of other wildflowers; view incredible rock formations against a backdrop of pine-covered mountains; and stroll along the banks of a mountain stream.

Return to your camp and relax for the evening. Dinner cooked on a stove inside your Ger and eat it outside under a huge starlit sky. When the temperature drops head inside the Ger and light up your stove to keep you warm during the night!



After breakfast we head to the Chinggis Khan complex outside Ulan Bator. Head inside the huge statue before returning to your accommodation in Ulan Bator with the afternoon spent at leisure. Maybe visit the National Modern Art Gallery, the Museum of National History and the Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan.

Visit the huge State Department Store before eating dinner at one of the cities many restaurants and maybe spend the evening watching the ballet at the State Opera & Ballet Theatre or a live rock or jazz band at River Sounds.



Arise early for your transfer to the station where you can order breakfast before the 7:15 train to Beijing arrives. head south through hundreds of miles of the Gobi desert, as far as your eyes can see.

Have dinner in the extravagant Chinese buffet car before arriving at the border around 21:00.



Travel through incredible Chinese countryside, crossing the Great Wall of China and finally arriving in Beijing at 11:20 and head to your hotel. Evening at leisure.



Full free day in Beijing. Tours can be arranged on request to Tiananmen Square, Chairman Mao's mausoleum and the Forbidden City.


Morning free around Beijing before departing at 17:30 for the overnight train to Dandong.

 


Arrive in Dandong at 7:17. You will have a couple of hours free to pick up some breakfast before returning to the station to board the train into North Korea.

We cross the Yalu river on the Sino-Korea Friendship bridge over to Sinuiju. Undergo customs checks before travelling onwards to Pyongyang.

View the Korean countryside and workers in the fields through the train windows throughout your journey to the capital. It is a great chance to mix with locals on the train and also stand on the platforms while the train stops at towns and villages along the way.

We reach Pyongyang in time for dinner before later heading to the Yanggakdo hotel. Evening spent at leisure around the hotel grounds.


After breakfast we visit Mansudae Monument before heading to Panmunjom in Kaesong the 'truce village' that straddles the North/South Korean border and visit the Armistice Hall, where the truce was signed at the end of the Korean war.

We are given talks by North Korean military personnel explaining the history of the site before heading over to visit the DMZ or Military Demarcation line; an area that Bill Clinton described as 'one of the most dangerous places in the world'.

Also visit the Koryo History Museum. Afterwards we will go for lunch before returning to Pyongyang in the afternoon to view the Tower of Juche Idea and go for a trip on the Metro. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel where you will have the chance to shop at the export store.

Option of visiting the new Rungna People's Pleasure Ground (theme park) in the evening (additional 25 Euros) or returning to the hotel where you can go bowling, go swimming, play pool or relax in the bar.


After breakfast we are driven to Mount Myohang to explore one of the most beautiful areas in the Korean peninsula. On arrival we visit the International Friendship Exhibition Hall, a huge complex consisting of over 100,000 gifts given by various world leaders and figures to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Including the extravagant sight of two trains given to Kim Il Sung by Chairman Mao and Joseph Stalin! After visiting the exhibit highlights we are taken onto the balcony of the exhibition hall to view the breathtaking scenery of the area. We leave the exhibition hall and drive to nearby Pohyon Temple. The temple dates from the 11th Century and the founding of the Koryo Dynasty. It is one of the few remaining Buddhist temples in North Korea. The local guide will give you a tour of the site and introduce you the the temple's monks. After lunch in Myohang-ch'on we return to Pyongyang and visit the Arch of Triumph and Mangyongdae Native House. Afterwards we will visit the Youth palace to watch a special performance by local children. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel.


After breakfast we take a full day tour of Pyongyang. We begin at the Kumsunsan Memorial Palace, also known as "Palace of the Sun". This is one of the most revered sites in North Korea, being the resting place of the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. See many of the personal belongings and items of both former leaders; everything from Kim Jong Il's Mac to his yacht! Finally we get to see both leaders lying in state in their glass coffins. We then head for lunch by Kim Il Sung square before visiting the Grand People's Study House. In here we can stand in on English lessons, visit 'the great philopher' who answers questions on any subject, and also visit the library, computer and music rooms. We later move on to the Korean War museum where as well as shot down US planes and captured weapons we can also climb aboard the USS Pueblo - the only US navy ship in captivity anywhere in the world. Afterwards we will have a farewell dinner in a Pyongyang restaurant before returning to the hotel.


After breakfast we will return to the train station for our journey back to Sinuiju and out of North Korea. Lunch is provided on the train. Arrive back in Dandong at 16:30 and tranfser onto the train to Beijing.

 


Arrive in Beijing at 8:30. This is where the tour ends or we can arrange onward travel for you.

 

Pricing options:


2476€/person: includes twin room hotels, except Irkutsk and Ulan Bator, which are shared hostel rooms

2526€/person: upgrade to twin room hotels in Irkutsk and Ulan Bator



The tour includes:

- All train tickets throughout the route (2nd class, 4 berth)
- Twin room accommodation in Olkhon (wood cabin), Beijing (3 star hotel), Dandong (3 star hotel) and Pyongyang (4 star hotel).
- Accommodation in Ger in Terelj National Park
- Shared room (hostel dorm) accommodation in Irkutsk or twin room hotel (3 star)
- Shared room (hostel dorm) accommodation in Ulan Bator or twin rooms hostel
- Train station transfers to hotels
- All meals included on Olkhon Island, Terelj NP tour and North Korea
- Guides for tours on Olkhon Island, Terelj NP tour and North Korea
- Russian visa invitation

- North Korea visa application and arrangement
- prices based on 2 sharing. Please contact us for sole traveller costs.

The price doesn't include:

- international flights
- travel insurance
- some meals
- tips for guides

- Olkhon NP local payment (60Rub)
- optional extra tours, drinks, gifts
- Chinese, Russian, Mongolian, North Korea visas
- flights for Americans from Beijing or Shenyang to Pyongyang (Americans are required to fly into North Korea rather than take the train)

 

In the interseason (April) the ice starts to melt and it's required to cross the lake by hovercraft. At this time there is a 350 ruble ($6) per person surcharge for each crossing of the lake, payable on arrival.

 

2018 dates (Moscow-Pyongyang):

November 3-25
15th December - 4th January

 

What does the price include?
The tour package price includes:

- All train tickets (2nd class) throughout the journey
- Hostel accommodation (or hotel for upgrade tour) in each stop along the route except Olkhon Island (wooden cabin) and Terelj National Park (Ger camp).
- Train station transfers in Irkutsk and Ulaanbataar
- All meals included on Olkhon Island and during Terelj NP tour
- Public transport to Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island
- Private transport to Terelj NP
- Driver/guide for Olkhon Island tour
- English speaking driver and guide for Terelj tour
- Russian visa invitation and supporting documents for Chinese and Mongolian visas

What does the price not include?
The price does not include:

- International flights to/from Russia and China
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Meals on trains and in each city
- Tips for guides

Which visas do I need?
Most nationalities require visas for Russia, Mongolia and China.

We will help with the full visa process, including providing you with all the necessary paperwork and instructions.

Visa fees vary between nationalities, please check your nearest Embassies

Can I take the trip from East to West?
You can take the trip from Beijing to Moscow or St Petersburg for the same price as from West to East. Departure day is every Tuesday and Saturday.

What are the trains like?
The trains are split into three separate classes: 1st, 2nd and 3rd. First class cabins are 2 berth, second class are 4 berth whilst third class are full dorm like carriages with rows of beds. First class cabins are not always available but often a cheaper option for those wanting private cabins is to book full use of a second class cabin.

There is a restaurant on each train that serves meals throughout the day. There are also two toilets per carriage as well as sinks for washing. There is also a constant supply of boiling water available to make your own cups of tea and coffee, noodles etc.

When do the tours run?
The tours are available every week throughout the year. Rather than offer a few group dates, we set up the tours so that they are available at all times, whether there is 1 or 40 people looking to take a tour that week.

Some weeks there are big groups taking the tours, others there are just one or two people. They run all the time without fail and the price remains the same unless just one person taking the tour, when there is a small surcharge.

Will we be accompanied by a guide?
The tours are not full guided affairs; you will travel alone on the trains. Guides and drivers are provided when necessary such as transfers from stations and on each tour.

Do you cater for vegetarians?
Yes vegetarians are catered for. Please inform us of your dietary needs beforehand.

When is the best time to take the tour?
The Summers are very hot whilst the Winters are very long and cold, especially in Siberia. Mongolia is more interesting in Summer when the snow cover has disappeared and you can see the vastness of the desert. Siberia is interesting throughout the year. Lake Baikal is a special place at all times, but it's an incredible experience to visit in Winter and walk across the lake whilst gazing down through the clear blue ice.

However, if you decide to travel in Winter, please be aware the temperatures can drop to as low as -40C! The trains and accommodation are well heated but please ensure you wear appropriate clothing for venturing outside!

How much money will I need?
A difficult question to answer! Moscow and St Petersburg are expensive cities, Irkutsk is mid ranged whilst Ulaanbaatar and Beijing are cheap. However, it's still possible to get by on a budget in both Moscow and St Petersburg.

On a medium budget spending money just on food, you should look at around:
- £15-30 per day in Moscow and St Petersburg
- £10-20 per day in Irkutsk
- £5-20 per day in Ulaanbaatar
- £10-20 per day in Beijing
- £5-15 per day on the train

This is only a very rough guide and you can also take your own food onboard the trains to save on costs. You should also budget between L10-30 for tips and extra money for alcoholic drinks, souvenirs etc.

Can you book accommodation and tours in China?
We can book accommodation throughout China. We offer our own tours in North East China (Dandong and Shenyang) and can also arrange tours in the rest of China through our partners in Beijing.

Booking