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The Ruski Huski

From {{totalPrice}} EUR Extra kosten tijdens tour None
Dit is zonder vliegtickets. Wij helpen je graag om de goedkoopste tickets te vinden.
Wat is inbegrepen?
From 2850 EUR
Dit is zonder vliegtickets. Wij helpen je graag om de goedkoopste tickets te vinden.
Wat is inbegrepen?
Duur
19 dagen
Begint in
Beijing
Eindigt in
St. Petersburg
Grootte van de groep
12 people maximum. Big enough to form a posse, small enough to give you space.
An epic winter adventure that’s not for the fainthearted! Leave the North Pole to Santa and get yourself to Siberia for a winter adventure you’ll never forget.
Enjoy adrenaline fuelled activities amid glistening landscapes on this journey covering 8,515 km. Warm up in a Russian sauna and try your hand at cooking dumplings in a cosy ger camp. And best of all, see the iconic sights sans tourists, like the Great Wall dusted in freshly fallen snow.
Reisroute

The Ruski Huski

Days 1-2: Beijing

Arrive in Beijing and meet your fellow travellers. Check out the Forbidden City for a window into Imperial times, sink your teeth into Chinese culture with a visit to Tiananmen Square or set off on an exploration of the hutong neighbourhoods. Hutongs were first established during the Yuan Dynasty; many of these alleys are protected today to preserve traditional culture. Once your fingers have frozen, warm up over a steaming bowl bursting with exotic spices in one of the many colourful markets or neon-lit laneways.

Day 3: Trans Mongolian Railway

Your first taste of the world-renowned Trans Mongolian Railway. Sit back, relax and watch the magical landscapes from your window. Look out for Bactrian camels and yaks, their winter coats visible against the snowy steppe. Keep your eyes peeled for nomadic settlements, smoke rising from each tent as families stay warm inside.

Days 4-5: Ulaanbaatar & Terelj National Park

Arrive in the Mongolian capital and transfer to the nature reserve. Once in the domain of the nomads, settle into ger life. The roaring pot belly stove or heated floors will keep the tent cosy, a wonderful place to return to after a walk in the wilderness or an afternoon tobogganing across the sparkling terrain. It’s here you can try cooking traditional buuz, a meaty dumpling, or sample some fermented mare’s milk - a great way to beat the winter chill.

Day 6: Trans Mongolian Railway

We leave the white expanse for the glow of the Trans Siberian Railway. We’ll take a detour on the way to the train to visit the man himself - the mighty Genghis Khan! An artistic masterpiece, his silvery enormity shimmering in the white light of winter. Onboard the train, get to know your group over a tasty meal from the dining car and plan what activities you’d like to do once in the heartland of Siberia.

Days 7-9: Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Welcome to Russia and the pearl of Siberia. Settle into your shore-side home at Lake Baikal and take a stroll around its shores or over its frozen surface (mid-winter) as you soak up the beauty of this icy delight. The lake stretches on to an infinite horizon, no wonder ancient Chinese travellers called it ‘the North Sea’. You may see the waters frozen solid, or with a few floating icebergs, either way the waters will be sparkling in the winter sunlight. The crystalline ice-sheet is filled with interesting patterns of bubbles and waves as the water froze in time. Walk, drive and hover over the ice, try ice fishing, dog-sledding or snowmobiling before getting blood back into your extremities in a traditional banya (a steamy sauna with an optional birch branch bashing).

Days 10-13: Trans Siberian Railway

The cultural capital of Siberia, Irkutsk began life as a winter outpost for tea and fur traders. It expanded during Russia’s revolutions as opposing elites and intellectuals were exiled here. During this time a signature style of architecture decorated the city in wooden latticework. Today, Irkutsk is a bustling university town with plenty to explore before boarding the train to Moscow.

Back on the cosy train, choose your own pace. Relax and contemplate what you’ve discovered so far and plan what you want to do next. Push yourself to communicate with Russian travellers, learn some new words and get inventive with sign language. You’ll find yourself laughing with locals over shared snacks in no time. Hop off at stations along the way to sample food from Babushkas, we can’t promise healthy fare, but it will be a welcome break from your 2-minute noodles. Check how long the train is stopping first though, you don’t want to be left behind on an icy platform in a blizzard.

Days 14-15: Moscow

See the candy coloured domes of St Basil’s sugarcoated under a dusting of snow - it’ll make you feel like you’ve wandered into a fairytale. Ask your Honcho about visiting the markets; there are lots on over the festive period in Gorky Park, Red Square, and Sokolniki. Whizz around Red Square on ice skates if the Christmas rink is there or take the palatial metro to VDNH Park for a bigger rink with ice sculptures and light shows. If the cold gets a bit bitey, head to Tverskaya street and hunker down in one of the cosy cafes and restaurants that line the street. Sample some hearty local food with a synonymous accompaniment, vodka.

Day 16: Moscow & St. Petersburg

Wave goodbye to Moscow as you board your final Russian train. Take a moment to relax before hitting the cultural capital of Russia.

Days 17-19: St. Petersburg

Congratulations, you’ve just completed 8,515 km over icy tundra and three diverse snow-covered countries. That’s worth celebrating, and there’s plenty of places to do so in St. Petes. Perhaps begin with a wander along the frozen Neva river or canals - parents will be teaching their little ones to skate on the picturesque canals that weave through the city. Descend into underground palaces on the metro and find yourself surrounded by marble pillars, ornate chandeliers and classical frescos. Stroll down Nevsky Prospect and take in the magnificence of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. Be sure to set aside some time to visit the Hermitage Museum, in the suitably named Winter Palace, for a taste of Tsar life. Discover an experimental art scene, cosy wine bars, great tea houses and a multicultural food offering, then get to grips with local nightlife in live music venues and pulsating clubs. A local punk musician recently summed up the thriving creative scene by saying "in a city of three revolutions, you’re bound to get a fourth".

What's Included

All train tickets
Visa support & destination information
Shared accommodation including 6 hostel nights, 2 nights at a ger camp, 3 nights at a Siberian guesthouse, 7 nights on the train (4-berth)
A dedicated tour leader (Honcho) for the entire journey, however, with no pre-arranged sightseeing, you have complete freedom to roam. Stay with your group or explore on your own.
All arrival transfers once you have joined the group *

* Arrival transfer on Day 1 and departure transfer at the end of your itinerary are not included.

Overzicht

Wat is inbegrepen?

Extra kosten tijdens tour
None

Activiteiten

Your honcho can organise snowy winter activities like ice skating, snowboarding, skiing and snowmobiling. Skijoring might sound crazy, maybe it is, or maybe it will be the highlight of your trip. It’s simple - just snap on a couple of skis, harness yourself to a few speedy dogs and yell out 'Davai' (Russian for "go"). Then hold on for your life as you carve across snowy Siberian fields at speeds very few have ever experienced. Sure beats a day at the office!

Accommodatie

On the Train
Sleeping compartments are usually four-share with two upper and two lower bunks - depending on the group size you could be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers or other travellers along the way. You’ll find clean bedding, reading lights, a big window, a small table and enough room for a rucksack or two, perfect for when you need a moment’s rest. All carriages have boiling water, attendants and washrooms, but no showers - that’s a luxury to look forward to once you disembark. If you wish to have more privacy, ask your travel advisor for an upgrade to 2-berth (1st class) compartment at an extra cost.

Off the Train
Other accommodation may include ger camps in Mongolia. These are traditional nomadic homes that are sure to become one of your journey highlights. They tend to be multi-share and mixed-sex so grab your new besties and enjoy the nomadic vibes together. Hostels, hotels and guesthouses we stay at are clean, close to transport and provide legendary hospitality. We’ll do our best to pair couples, but it can’t be guaranteed so sometimes you’ll be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers of the same sex. If you wish to have more privacy, ask your travel advisor for an upgrade to a private room at an extra cost.

Lokaal vervoer

The public scheduled trains and buses are basic but comfortable and offer a window into real life. Most locals won’t be going the same distance as you, so you’ll meet a marvellous mix along the way. Don't be afraid to say hello!

Maaltijden

In keeping with the budget-friendly policy and adding flexibility to your trip, there are no meals included in your Vodkatrain journey. Your options while on the rails include a restaurant car *, buying food from the "Babushkas" (grandmothers) on the platforms (just make sure you check the hygiene situation before handing over the cash) and self-catering. In general just follow the simple travellers' food rule - peel it, cook it or wash it, and you should be good.

* The train from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk (and vice versa) does not have a restaurant car. There are also few opportunities to buy food on the platforms so you will need to buy enough food for the journey before you board the train.

Houd er rekening mee

With you for the whole journey, your Honcho is a local legend who will help you hit the highlights and discover some hidden gems. They’ll also take care of the train tickets and make sure you’re where you need to be, when you have somewhere to be. If you prefer to do things your own way, that’s fine, too.

Honchos can show you the iconic sights and then take you behind the scenes for a real taste of local life. They’re under 35, speak excellent English and love their job because they get to meet people from all over the world. You might be comfortable dropping an "una cerveza por favour" in Spain, but do you know how to ask for directions in Russian or find the right bus in Mongolia? Your Honcho will not only help you with the logistics of travelling in a distant land but let you feel the pulse of a city through local gems not yet listed in the guidebooks.

- Honchos are with you for the entire journey (even on the train).
- They’ll help you get your bearings. Need to find an ATM, no worries. Want to try a local beer. Easy.
- They’ll take you where you want to go and places you haven’t even heard of.
- They will not take you to endless souvenir shops or their cousin’s restaurant - unless you want that.
- There’s no pressure to hang out with a Honcho if you’d rather do your own thing.
- They’re available 24/7 and can often be coerced to stay out late for a drink or two.
- When it comes time to leave, and you’re nursing a post-vodka hangover, they’ll make sure you get on the right train at the right time for stress-free travel.

The Ruski Huski

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