Imagine trying to cover ground across Russia far west to far east – a crazy thought, huh? The solution: Get on the Trans-Siberian with us and watch this epic land glide by through the window of a comfortable train. After visiting the historic sights of Moscow, take the train through the Ural Mountains (and cross into Asia!) to Yekaterinburg, before heading to the heart of Siberia in Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Learn about Buryat culture in Ulan Ude before heading to the coast in Vladivostok. The whole trip covers 9,300km (5,778 mi) and crosses seven time zones. Whether you go in the summer or winter, this trip is the definition of epic.
Kremlin and Armoury guided tour (Moscow). Suzdal tour. Orientation walk (Vladimir). Trans-Ural Railway. Yekaterinburg city tour. Trans-Siberian Railway. Lake Baikal stay. Homestay experience (Listvyanka). Irkutsk walking tour. Decembrists Museum guided visit. Local Buryat lunch (Ulan Ude). Local meal suggestions and language support throughout. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Marvel at Moscow’s Kremlin, immerse yourself in bucolic Suzdal, watch the countryside glide by from your Trans-Siberian train compartment, meet the locals at Lake Baikal, discover Buryat cuisine and history in Ulan Ude, travel west to east across this massive country
1. OFFICIAL LETTER OF INVITATION
You will require a Letter of Invitation for Russia in order to get your Russian visa. You must complete the visa information form which will be automatically sent to you or your travel agent via email upon time of booking.
2. IMMIGRATION CARD
On arrival in Russia you will receive a double immigration card, you must fill out both parts and one is taken away upon entry, the other must remain with your passport at all times and you must have it when you are leaving Russia to hand to the relevant authorities.
3. BOOK THEATRE TICKETS IN ADVANCE
To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow when you are there. In particular we recommend you see what’s playing at the Bolshoi, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there. The most useful sites to check in English are www.bolshoi.ru and www.ticketsofrussia.com.
Due to the bank restrictions on changing money in Russia only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition will be accepted for exchange. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rates.
Group Leader Description
All our G Adventures group trip is accompanied by a G Adventures Chief Experience Officer (CEO) in Russia. The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Allow USD400-500 for meals not included.
Train, private van, metro, taxis, walking
About our Transportation
All trains are 2nd Class Kupe Soft sleepers: 4 berth compartments that have lockable doors. There an overhead locker and storage space under the bottom bunk that is sufficient space for your luggage. Bed linen is provided on all trains. Each carriage has two toilets and one hot water boiler. There are two train attendants in each carriage to take care of passengers and maintain the facilities. Most of the trains (but not all) will have dining car. This being said, it is always a good idea to bring your own snacks aboard for more variety of food options while travelling.
Hotels (10 nts), homestays (1 nt), sleeper trains (5 nts).
A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used on this trip. In some local guest houses the rooms can be small and simple with shared toilet facilities and showers. A sleep sheet and travel pillow are recommended for the overnight train journeys, although simple bedding is provided. The trains have sleeper carriages with 4 beds per cabin.
Best Western Izmailovo Vega Hotel
3B 71, 3 B Izmailovskoye sh, Moscow, 105613 Russia
Tel: + 7 459 956 05 06
Hotel – Best Western Izmailovo Vega (ИЗМАЙЛОВО ВЕГА) – is situated near metro station Partizanskaya (Партизанская) on the dark blue line. Hotel is just five minutes walk from the metro station. It is in 5 metro stops from the Red Square and the Kremlin. Please, note that the station has changed its name in 2006 and can appear on some maps as Izmailovsky Park (Измайловский Парк). Izmailovo hotel was constructed to accommodate tourists during Moscow Olympics 1980, it consists of 4 big buildings. Make sure you going to the wing Best Western Vega.
There are two international airports in Moscow: Sheremetievo terminals 1, 2 and C (Шереметьево) and Domodedovo (Домодедово). Airport Vnukovo (Внуково) services mostly domestic flights.
TRANSFER: If you pre-booked arrival transfer, meet your driver in the airport arrivals area (exit luggage claim area). The driver will be holding a sign with your name.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: From Sheremetievo airport there are public buses and express buses, going to several metro stations. To metro Rechnoi Vokzal (Речной вокзал) you can get by bus #851 and Sheremetievo Express Bus (Экспресс). To metro Planernaya (Планерная) you can take bus #817. Please, remember that Moscow’s traffic is very busy, and buses can be overcrowded at times. In general it takes about 30 – 50 minutes from the airport to the metro. Another option is to use Minibus service (миниавтобусы) – shared taxis. They connect airport with both metro stations – Rechnoi Vokzal and Planernaya. You should look for the station name on the list of stops that each minibus has. All buses and minbuses have standard fee: 20 – 40 RUB (2-3 USD) depending on the route.
From Domodoedovo Airport you can get to metro station Domodedovskaya (Домодедовская) by taking public bus #405 or Domodedovo Express Bus (fare is about 25 – 50 RUB). There are also minivans (миниавтобусы) going to Domodedovskaya (keep in mind that they usually don’t have enough space for luggage). Domodedovo airport is also connected to Paveletskaya metro station (Павелецкая) on dark green line. Journey lasts for about 40 min and cost approximately 120 RUB (4 USD). You can buy ticket from the booth at the airport exit.
TAXIS: Taxis in Russia don’t use meter. Price is agreed by bargaining, and drivers usually don’t speak English. We strongly recommend to avoid taxis both – in town (metro system is thousands times cheaper and stress-less) and on the way from the airport. Don’t follow any strangers who tell you that their car is outside – you’ll get the ride, but the price might come up to about 150 USD. Best option is to go to one of the official taxi desks located on the airport ground floor. Average cost of the taxi would be about 60 – 75 USD (1800 – 2100 RUB)
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at:
Svetlana: +7 921 936 98 58
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand:
Mr Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager – Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +998 90 134 7888 (24h)
Mobile 2: +998 93 528 7678 (24h)
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10kg / 22lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage. Please, note that we use public transport on this trip – the walking distance is never too far, but there will be up and down stairs in train stations, getting on and off metros, cobblestoned streets, etc and having a backpack makes travelling easier. We don’t recommend bringing suitcases.
It is important that your bag can be locked. We recommend an overnight pack for the long train journeys, sparing you from going in and out of your luggage in the small compartments. This should be big enough to carry a spare set of clothes, towel, book, cards and basic toiletries (approx. 30 litre/8 gallons capacity).
Travel documents and copies of each: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher.
Required visas or vaccination certificates
Money: cash/credit card
First aid kit
Day pack to carry belongings on day trips
Torch or flashlight
Lightweight travel towel
Refillable water bottle
Cutlery and plastic mug for the train journeys
Ear plugs and eye mask can be useful if you are a light sleeper
Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet
Comfortable clothes for the train
Raincoat or umbrella
Comfortable walking shoes
Lock for your bag
Some warmer clothes for cool weather or air-conditioned trains
Lightweight clothes for all seasons – indoors are very well heated in autumn/winter
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
PLEASE READ THE ENTIRETY OF THE TEXT BELOW AS THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOUR ENTRY INTO RUSSIA***
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself with the Embassy of Russia. Please, keep in mind that all countries require passports valid for at least 6 months from the moment of departure from the country.
To apply for a Russian visa, all nationalities must present an official Russian Letter of Invitation (LOI).
It is the responsibility of the traveller to check with their nearest Embassy and confirm the requirements for entry into Russia***
IMPORTANT: Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Russia, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Russia and as a Russian visa is only valid for 90 days once it is issued, you will be emailed your Russian Invitation Letter about 10 business days after submission. Russian LOI’s can be rushed in extreme circumstances.
As Russian visas are dated specifically for entry and exit, please ensure you enter the correct dates. We also recommend that you add an extra day to the end of your trip so your visa length will cover any unexpected delays. Please also remember to put exactly the same dates when you fill out the visa application at the Russian Embassy.
Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names – all of them have to be listed under “first name”).
If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the english alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue).
Please note: Our Supplier will provide the Russian LOI by email only. This Supplier is based in Russia, so please make sure to check your SPAM folder – emails from addresses ending with .ru often get redirected as SPAM.
Some nationalities may require an original copy of the LOI – please contact the Russian Embassy or Consulate to confirm. If you do require an original copy, please send an email to email@example.com to request this. You will be required to provide a valid mailing address and cover the cost of postage to receive this document.
The LOI will contain 2 sections. The section on the right in Russian is identical to the section on the left in English. Beside ‘Confirmation voucher SPC’ you will find the confirmation/application/approval number you will need when filling out your visa application. The Supplier information can be found at the bottom of the left page in English (Supplier name can be found in the quotations, address, email, website and phone number follow).
At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy):
1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa
2. 2 colour, passport sized photos (taken within 14 days)
3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank – check with your Embassy to confirm details)
4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity
5. Russia Letter of Invitation
6. We also recommend bringing your vouchers as well as proof of onward travel (flight tickets entering and leaving the country) and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed.
Please carefully check all the information below prior to submitting***
Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the Russian Embassy. Please remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct.
Information accurate as of January 21st, 2016
Russia: USD1 = approx 30 Roubles.
You will find that USD and EUR are the easiest to exchange in Russia (AUD and CAD can be exchanged also, mostly in big cities).
IMPORTANT: Due to bank restrictions, you will not be able to exchange banknotes printed earlier than 1996; and also notes with stamps or marks on them.
The most consistent way to get local currency is to exchange USD or EUR cash into Roubles but please understand the security risk of carrying large sums of money. A mix of cash, credit and debit cards are recommended but it is always good to have some cash on hand for situations where there are no other options available. A money belt is highly recommended to carry cash and importatn documents through Russia.
There are ATMs in every big city on the way: in all of them you can withdraw local currency. Major credit cards are accepted in the shops and restaurants almost everywhere in Russia.
Some banks in Moscow will allow cash advances against a credit card but these are subject to steep service charges and interest rates and should only be used in an emergency.
Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets in Russia.
In Russia some restaurants include 10% service charge into the bill – check the menu before leaving a gratuity.
Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1-$2 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
At the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person per week can be used.
▪ River Cruise – USD12
▪ Pushkin Fine Arts Museum – USD8
▪ Tretyakov Gallery – USD8
▪ St Basils Cathedral – USD5
▪ Bolshoi Theatre – various USD50 – USD250
▪ Military History Museum – USD5
▪ Ekaterinburg Opera theatre – USD7 – USD150
▪ Regional Museum ) – USD4
▪ Russian Banya – USD5
▪ Boat Trip – USD40 p/boat p/hr
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
Safety and Security
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
When packing, be aware of local dress standards. Russia will definitely display the full spectrum from high fashion to extremely conservative. As a visitor, it’s always best to dress conservatively, especially travelling into the more remote regions, as some areas are more religious/modest than others. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and practical. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered when visiting religious sites – shorts, singlets and tank tops are not suitable. For the train journeys, comfortable “lounging” clothes is recommended with slip-on sandals and light layers to pile on and take off as temperature on the train fluctuates.
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD705-920 for meals not included.
1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
PRODUCT_LINE: ARVR, ID: 22593
Day 1 Moscow
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Want to explore more of Russia? Add the “St Petersburg Express” to your adventure and spend three days getting to know the city with the guidance of a CEO. This nifty package includes arrival transfer, two nights accommodation in St Petersburg, a guided walking tour, entrance to the Hermitage, and wraps up with an overnight train ride to Moscow with free time before the next leg of your journey begins. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Moscow
The area around the Red Square is perfect for sightseeing and people watching. Visit one of the many shops, wander the Alexander Gardens, or visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Head down into the metro to explore the beautiful stations or visit another part of the city.
Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour
Day 3 Moscow/Suzdal
With free time, explore the streets of Suzdal, lined with quaint wooden houses, and enjoy relaxing by the river.
The city square is as charming as they come. Wander past the small church and chat with “babushkas” selling pickled cucumbers and mead.
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s), 219km)
Day 4 Suzdal/Yekaterinburg
Enjoy more time in Suzdal before a drive to nearby Vladimir. Take an orientation walk around the city before boarding a train for the roughly 26hr ride to Yekaterinburg.
Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s), 35km)
Overnight train (beds) (26.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Yekaterinburg
Enjoy a full day on the train crossing the Ural Mountains and the border between Europe and Asia. Arrive to Yekaterinburg in the evening.
Spend a full day on the train before an evening arrival to Yekaterinburg.
Day 6 Yekaterinburg/Irkutsk
Explore the sights around Yekaterinburg, including the Church of All Saints and the Romanov Burial Site. Enjoy free time in this Soviet-style city before boarding the Trans-Siberian for Irkutsk.
Yekaterinburg City Tour
Overnight train (beds) (55.00 hour(s))
Days 7-8 Yekaterinburg/Irkutsk
Wake up to the rhythm of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Spend two full days travelling through the SIberian taiga forests. Make some new friends or catch up on your reading list.
Overnight train (beds)
Day 9 Irkutsk/Listvyanka (1D)
Arrive in the morning to Irkutsk and drive to a small town on Lake Baikal, Listvyanka. Enjoy a homestay on the lake with the options to go for a boat ride (in summer), take a short hike, or enjoy a true Russian experience, a banya.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 10 Listvyanka/Irkutsk (1B)
Drive back to Irkutsk for a walking tour of the city including a visit to the fascinating Decembrists Museum where you’ll learn about the revolution the city was built on.
Irkutsk Guided City Tour
Decembrists Museum Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 11 Irkutsk/Ulan-Ude
Enjoy free time exploring streets lined with wooden houses or haggling at the central market. Hop an overnight train to Ulan Ude in the evening.
Overnight train (beds) (8.50 hour(s))
Day 12 Ulan-Ude (1L)
Arrive to Ulan Ude, the city with the largest Buddhist population in Russia. Here, learn about the indigenious people, the Buryats, and how they survive in such a harsh environment. Enjoy a local Buryat lunch.
Day 13 Ulan-Ude
Enjoy free time to explore Ulan Ude.
Day 14 Ulan-Ude/Vladivostok
Board the last train of the trip very early and settle in for the 55 hr ride.
Overnight train (beds) (55.00 hour(s))
Day 15 Ulan-Ude/Vladivostok
Watch the scenery go by, practice your newly acquired Russian skills, and relax to the rhythm of the train.
Overnight train (beds)
Day 16 Vladivostok
Arrive in the evening in time for an optional final dinner with the group to recount this truly epic journey.
Day 17 Vladivostok
Depart at any time.