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The Vodkatrain

The Vodkatrain

Pris fra {{totalPrice}} NOK Ekstra utgifter på reisen None
Flybilletter er ikke inkludert med mindre det står i beskrivelsen av denne reisen. Våre reisespesialister kan selvfølgelig hjelpe deg med å finne de beste billettene.
Hva er inkludert?
Pris fra 30377 NOK
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Hva er inkludert?
Varighet
21 dager
Start
St. Petersburg
Avslutter i
Beijing
Gruppestørrelse
12 people maximum. Big enough to form a posse, small enough to give you space.
Go beyond babushkas and vodka on the ultimate Trans Mongolian journey covering 8,515 km.
Encounter more people, places and tasty flavours on this epic three-week adventure. Marvel at the palaces of St. Pete’s, plunge into the sapphire depths of dazzling Lake Baikal, sleep under a blazing blanket of stars in a Mongolian ger camp, then glide into China to eat oodles of noodles and gawk at ancient sights like the Great Wall.
Reiserute

The Vodkatrain

Days 1-2: St. Petersburg

Kick things off in St Petersburg. Originally constructed as Russia’s ‘eyes into Europe’, the city has been the backdrop to countless catastrophes, but Russians are nothing if not resilient. Today, the 21 -century city is a thriving cultural capital; discover clubs and live music, an experimental art scene, cosy wine bars, great tea houses, and a multicultural food offering. A local punk musician recently summed it up by saying "in a city of three revolutions, you’re bound to get a fourth".

Descend into underground palaces on the metro and find yourself surrounded by marble pillars, ornate chandeliers and classical frescos on the way to the city’s extraordinary sights. Perhaps you would like to take in the magnificence of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood; perched canal-side, it stands a vision of immense beauty. Set aside some time to visit the opulent Hermitage Museum housed in the Winter Palace for a taste of Tsar life, and see if you can spot one of the 70 feline guards that protect the art collection from hungry mice. It’s also worth noting that there’s no avoiding vodka, so embrace it. It accompanies meals to ‘help digestion’ and seems to replace water as the giver of life. Sometimes it’s infused with mystery flavours like a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans - horseradish vodka, anyone?

Day 3: Moscow

As you take your first overnight train to Moscow, get to know your fellow adventurers and plan a list of sights you want to hit once you arrive in Russia’s capital. Study the Cyrillic alphabet and master a few words of Russian, don’t be afraid to try them out on local travellers.

Days 4-5: Moscow

Head to Red Square for an immediate WOW factor. You’ll find yourself slack-jawed on the cobbled square (surprisingly not red) staring in awe at the gingerbread masterpiece of St. Basil's. As you start to explore Moscow, you’ll soon discover that this revivalist piece is just one of the architectural wonders scattered across the city. Around the square alone, you’ll find the Kremlin - with its gothic towers watching over the treasures within, Lenin’s Mausoleum displaying the embalmed revolutionary, and the State Museum that is well worth a visit if you fancy a history lesson. You can wander to Zaryadye Park for a great vantage over the striking skyline or chill in Gorky Park, a favourite among locals soaking up their long-lost friend, vitamin D. Try the local fare, some of the best has Georgian and Asian influence. With a full belly, it’s time to check out the nightlife. Live jazz, underground dance and ping-pong bars to name a few.

Days 6-9: Trans Siberian Railway

All aboard the renowned Trans Siberian Railway! Settle into life on board as you watch the stunning scenery transform outside your window. Hang with your group in the dining car and try out your language skills on unsuspecting locals. With a little inventive sign language, you’ll all be sharing laughs and snacks in no time. The train will make minor stops along the way, ask how long it's staying before you hop off and devour homecooked delights from babushkas along the platform - a welcome break from your 2-min noodles.

Days 10-11: Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Welcome to the heartland of Siberia. Irkutsk underwent its own revolution during the 19 century when artists, officers, academics and nobles were exiled here for their part in the Decembrist Revolt against Tsar Nicolas I. The city became a thriving centre for intellectuals and elites; creating a rich cultural heritage, including the signature wooden architecture and ornate latticework. About 50% of the population were exiled, creating a prosperous cultural and educational centre.

Settle into your shore-side home at Lake Baikal and soak up the scenery as you take a stroll around the water’s edge. As the largest freshwater lake in the world, it holds 20% of the planet’s freshwater and seems to stretch on to an infinite horizon. Take a ‘refreshing’ dip if you’re feeling brave and taste the local cuisine. Sample the locally caught fish, you can eat it raw, smoked or roasted on a BBQ. Ask your honcho about lake activities; they vary throughout the year from ice driving to kayaking or something more relaxing.

Day 12: Irkutsk & Ulan Ude

Enjoy a final day in the city before boarding the train to Ulan Ude.

Days 13-14: Ulan Ude

Welcome to the Republic of Buryatia, the original home of the Buddhist-Shaman Buryats. Cossacks settled here in the 17th century, and it became a bustling trade centre connecting Russia with China and Mongolia. During Soviet times, Buddhism suffered more than other religions. Many were forced to flee or risked being accusations of being a Japanese spy.

Ask your Honcho about organising a trip to the Old Believers Village. See the wonderful colourful houses, traditional dress and enjoy a hearty meal with your hilarious hosts. The singing, dancing and infectious joy of the people will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Fancy something free? Take in the giant Lenin head in the centre of town. It’s a popular meeting place for locals and a great spot to soak up Ulan Ude’s different pace of life.

Day 15: Trans Mongolian Railway

On the rails again leaving the home of the Buryats we travel to Mongolia.

Day 16: Terelj National Park

Head out to a traditional ger camp in a protected nature reserve. See how the nomads live and see that their roving traditions haven’t changed much for hundreds of years. Enjoy a hike in the wilderness and soak up the serenity of your surroundings. Your Honcho can organise horse riding or archery to help you feel like a real Khan. Enjoy a peaceful sunset before getting cosy around the campfire. After a few airags (fermented mare’s milk), head outside to witness the Milky Way blaze across the night sky.

Day 17: Ulaanbaatar

Back in the capital you can take the opportunity to visit the Zaisan Memorial to get a great view over the sprawling capital - a skyline of Soviet blocks, Buddhist temples and ger suburbs ringed by empty grasslands for hundreds of miles in every direction. Or see the ruby-robed monks at Gandantegchinlen monastery, a name which translates to ‘the great place of complete joy’, and perhaps get a taste for the life of a Khan with a visit to the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan - one of the only historical attractions in Mongolia that the Soviets or Mongol communists didn’t destroy. Enjoy your final night in Mongolia with a feast of local cuisine and a tasty brew, like Crazy Shaman IPA at Hop & Rocks Brewery, Mongolia’s first ever producer of craft beer. Night owls will find plenty to keep them up from live music venues, beer gardens and chill bars, to pulsing clubs and luxury lounges.

Day 18: Trans Mongolian Railway

Back on board, this time on the Trans Mongolian line. Glide across the green grasslands and pass the golden Gobi before launching into China. Use your time to learn a few words of Chinese and plan what you’d like to see and eat in Beijing. There are eight national cuisines to try, so that should keep you busy when you’re not exploring Imperial Palaces or strolling along the Great Wall.

Days 19-21: Beijing

Welcome to China and congratulations, you’ve just completed an 8,515 km journey across the largest country in the world and beyond! Let’s celebrate with a visit to one of the many snack markets. Fried scorpion on a stick, anyone? Well, maybe some Peking duck in its hometown then. Here you can explore by bicycle or rickshaw and get acquainted with the patchwork of ancient, imperial and modern life. Or visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the hutong district before heading to the hills for a stroll along the most peaceful part of the Great Wall, Huanghaucheng.

What's Included

All train tickets
Visa support & destination information
Shared accommodation including 2 twin share hotel nights, 7 hostel nights, 2 nights at a Siberian guesthouse, 1 night at a ger camp, 8 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.
Oversikt

Hva er inkludert?

Ekstra utgifter på reisen
None

Overnatting

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.

Lokal transport

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!

Måltider

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.

Vær oppmerksom på

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 Vodkatrain

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