Travelling with Great Rail Journeys from London to Beijing on one of the world's most iconic trains is truly the tour of a lifetime.
If you were to travel from London to Moscow, then across Siberia and the Gobi desert and all the way to Beijing, and wanted to experience all the excitement, the culture and awe-inspiring sights along the way, there is only one way you could do it - by train. And if you wanted to make the journey from Moscow in the most comfortable and relaxing surroundings, then the iconic Tsar's Gold Private Train would be what you should choose.
This journey and this train form the basis of Great Rail Journeys 'Trans Siberian: Moscow to Beijing' tour - an experience that will, without doubt, be like no other journey you have ever taken and will create memories that will stay with you forever.
After travelling on Eurostar from St. Pancras International, to Brussels, then onwards by rail to Potsdam, Berlin and Warsaw, exploring the fascinating sights and monuments of these cities along the way, on day 6 it's time to board the famous Tsar's Gold Private Train in Moscow for the incredible 14- day adventure that will end in the ancient and enigmatic city of Beijing. The train harks back to a classic era of rail travel, but today is also equipped with modern facilities to ensure a truly memorable on-board experience. The classically appointed train has four restaurant cars, which serve both traditional Russian and international cuisine and have a bar service after dinner so you can enjoy a sociable atmosphere in the evening. Accommodation is in Superior cabins, which sleep two people in single lower berths and have washroom facilities shared by two carriages.
With such amazing cities and sights, countryside and natural wonders along the way, it would be hard to say which is the most memorable or impressive. That you can only decide for yourself.
The first stop is the old Tartar capital of Kazan, on the banks of the Volga, with a tour that highlights its magnificent past. Then it's on and across the Europe/Asia divide to Yekaterinburg, founded by Peter the Great, and a tour of the city which includes the site where the Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918. Next day, the train reaches Novosibirsk, at the heart of Siberia, then passes through the superb scenery of the Sayan Mountains. After an evening that includes a 'Tsar's Feast' with vodka tasting, the train draws into Irkutsk for two days spent exploring this fascinating city with its charming carved-wood cottages, and a leisurely boat trip across Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake.
From here the train continues along the side of the lake's sparkling waters, where the views of the surrounding hills and forests are breathtaking, and on through the magnificent Selenga Valley to Ulan Ude for a tour of the town before continuing to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. A guided tour takes in the city's impressive sights, which include the Lama Museum and the Tibetan-style Buddhist Gandan Monastery. Following a night at a first-class hotel, there is a coach trip into the luxuriant mountain region known as Mongolian Switzerland, with a traditional-style lunch in a tent settlement populated by nomadic herdsmen, followed by a show of impressive horse-riding. As an alternative to the hotel, you have the option to spend the night in an original nomad yurt to enjoy the real Mongolian experience. Back on board, the train passes across the Gobi desert and gives ample opportunity to marvel at this vast arid region where dinosaur remains have been found amongst the towering dunes.
At the Chinese border the journey continues aboard a Chinese sleeper train to Beijing and three days of exploration and discovery that includes the marvels of the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City that was the centre of power from the Ming to the Qing Dynasties, the breathtaking Temple of Heaven and many more treasures and symbols of China's power and fascinating past.
Finally, like all good things, the tour comes to an end, with a flight back to London. But what memories remain, what experiences there are to recall, what fabulous and exciting travellers' tales to recount. Few people ever get the chance to take such an incredible journey. Will you be one of them?