RUSSIA'S SIBERIAN WILDERNESS & VOLGA RIVER CRUISEwith Mongolia, Moscow and St. Petersburg 20 day cruise/ train tour - August 20, 2021
We may not have been everywhere in Russia, but we have seen a good share of it. We all sat down and made a list of what we considered to be the BEST of Russia. The list included the cities Moscow & St. Petersburg; it also included the best of Siberia with Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, the wooden Old Believers Village and Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and has the largest volume of freshwater in the world. The wonderful Volga River also rose to the top of our list. When we finished our list, we decided to design a tour and cruise that would be the best of everything in Russia. This will be the first time we or maybe anyone has ever brought the very best of Russia into one trip!!! We even decided to add Mongolia to this tour.
Here are some of the highlights you will experience on this Unique Tour only offered by us:
- Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. Home to Genghis Khan, who rose from humble beginnings to establish the largest land empire in history, conquering huge chunks of Central Asia and China. You will also stay in a real Mongolia yurt in one of the most picturesque settings ever.
- Travel by train into Siberia: the region between Mongolia and Siberia is a wild wilderness with few roads. The only way to get into Siberia from Mongolia is by train.
- Old Believers Village: These people were driven out of Russia for their Religious Beliefs in the 1600s. Enjoy this ancient village with their traditions and old houses found in the Siberian Wilderness. You will enjoy a cultural show of their traditions.
- Lake Baikal: The world’s deepest freshwater lake along with the largest freshwater volume in the world. We will pass next to Lake Baikal by train and then return for a day to really experience this area.
- Irkutsk, Siberia: Another great highlight. The Decembrist Revolt in 1826 ended up banishing many into Siberia. The legacy that outcasts had on Irkutsk is a highlight.
- St. Petersburg: Rich in Palaces, breathtaking beautiful churches, Museums and Venice like Canals. This will be a huge highlight. Plus, we enjoy it all while staying in the 5-star luxury Belmond Grand Hotel, centrally located.
- Moscow: Red Square, the Kremlin, The Armory and the Beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral. You will also enjoy the 5 star luxury of the Ritz Carlton located next to the red square.
- Highlights of Highlights, The Volga River Cruise: 5-star Luxury on the BEST river cruise ship on the Volga River. Sail from St. Petersburg all the way to Moscow.
Please believe us on this one – this really is the best trip you could ever take to Russia at the BEST time of year. Our tour and cruise will start around mid-august 2021, the best time of year to visit Siberia. We have it all, trains, planes, buses, 5-star ship and luxurious hotels. Add to all this the best in Educators: Dr. S. Michael Wilcox will be your educator in Mongolia, Siberia and St. Petersburg. Jeff Lawson, with his vast knowledge, will be your educator on the Volga River from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
In 2015 we sold a Trans-Siberian Rail Trip from Beijing to Moscow. We learned several things:
- The private train we scheduled, actually started in Mongolia, not China. We felt that traveling from Beijing to Mongolia by bus and Chinese train was not worth the time. That is why we are starting our tour/cruise in Mongolia.
- The train between Mongolia and Siberia was the best way to travel and view Lake Baikal. We are using the train for this stretch.
- Everyone loved the train trip through to Irkutsk, and almost everyone hated the train trip from Irkutsk across Siberia into Moscow. Every day was a highlight day up until they left for the long haul across Russia. It was five days four nights of higher speed constantly being knocked around by the train. They would travel for 36 hours and then stop for just a few hours and then repeat it again. It was a hard push and constant grind on the body. Everyone couldn’t wait to get off the train.
- Keeping a private train for two weeks, while some of your nights were in a hotel was very expensive.
Our solution to the issues is simple: Only use the train from Mongolia into Siberia, where everyone loved the trip and don’t take the long grueling ride by train across Russia to Moscow. Instead, we are going to fly to St. Petersburg, and not suffer by taking the train. We have kept the best of everything and cut out the bad.
Package Price Includes:
- 5-Star Luxury Volga River Cruise Ship, lower inside cabin.
- All Shore Excursions off the ship.
- All Ship taxes and fees.
- 5-Star Luxury Belmont Grand Hotel St. Petersburg.
- 5-Star Luxury Ritz Carlton Hotel Moscow.
- 5-Star Luxury Hotel Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.
- 4 Star Deluxe Marriott Courtyard Irkutsk.
- 3 Star First Class hotel Ulan Ude.
- One night Real Mongolian Yurt.
- Cultural show in Siberia.
- Cultural show in Mongolia.
- Overnight train Mongolia into Siberia – with beds.
- Train along Lake Baikal.
- Airfare from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg.
- All transfers to and from airports, hotels, trains and ship.
- All tours in Russia and Mongolia.
- Breakfast and Dinner most days.
- All entrance fees, buses and guides.
- Dr. S. Michael Wilcox special educator in Mongolia, Siberia and St. Petersburg.
- Jeff Lawson special educator on Volga River Cruise.
- Quality headset receivers that allow you to hear everything.
- Fun For Less Tours Staff.
Package Price: $8,395*
**Per person cash discount price, based on double occupancy.
Does not include international airfare, tips & visas.
The itinerary below is subject to change as needed at any time to accomplish everything we can in each area we visit. We will have local guides who will make sure we see the very best in the time we have.
Day 1: August 20: Fly To Mongolia
Today you will fly from home to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia
Day 2: August 21: Ulaanbaatar
This evening you will arrive at Ulaanbaatar; after clearing customs, you will transfer to your 5-star luxury hotel.
Day 3: August 22: Ulaanbaatar
Our full-day tour includes a city tour, Sukhbaatar square, Tchojin Lama Temple, National History Museum, Late afternoon Folklore Show. Return to your 5-star luxury hotel.
Day 4: August 23: Ulaanbaatar – Terelj National Park Ger Camp
Visit Morning Ceremony Gandan Monastery, drive to Terelj National Park with stops at Zalsan Hill with the Genghis Khan Statue. Visit of the Turtle Rock and then on to our Ger (Yurt) Camp with campfire and dinner – overnight in authentic Yurts. They have excellent modern western facilities on the property and a large inside dining hall.
Day 5: August 24: Ulaanbaatar – Train
You will have time to enjoy the beauty of where you have stayed before we head back to Ulaanbaatar to catch our train scheduled for 3:22 pm. We will be taking an overnight train with beds that you can lay down on. Before it gets dark, you will enjoy views of Mongolia as we head into Siberia. We will have a lunch sack for dinner. There are western restrooms on the train, but no showers. It is really the only way to get into Siberia from Mongolia. We will arrive early tomorrow morning where your hotel in Siberia will be waiting for you to check in early, take a shower and freshen up before our full day of touring.
Day 6: August 25: Ulan Ude
We arrive early morning on our train from Ulaanbaatar. After freshening up in our waiting hotel rooms, we will have a full-day tour that will include a city tour, a drive out to the Lvolginski Monastery, then return to the city for a possible Musical Presentation, before returning to our hotel.
Day 7: August 26: Ulan Ude – Believers Village – Train – Irkutsk
Today we start early with a drive out to the Old Believers Village. We visit homes, their ancient church and enjoy a cultural show before returning to Ulan Ude. We plan on taking the 3:27 pm train to Lake Baikal, enjoying sundown around Lake Baikal. We will continue by train to Irkutsk, arriving around 11 pm. We will then transfer to the best hotel in Irkutsk, the 4-Star deluxe Courtyard Marriott Hotel, where we will spend three nights.
Day 8: August 27: Irkutsk
Irkutsk is the capital of Siberia. Today will be a full-day tour that will include the Cathedral, Pedestrian Zone, Market and the Decembrist Museum. Overnight Courtyard Marriott
Day 9: August 28: Lake Baikal – Irkutsk
Lake Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake in the world and also has the greatest volume of freshwater in the world. There is so much to enjoy. We will visit the Taltsy Village; an open-air museum made up of a fort and many wooden structures depicting life in an ancient Siberian Village. We will also visit Liswljanka and take a cable car ride for a panorama point to view Lake Baikal. We plan to also have a BBQ lakeside before returning to Irkutsk to overnight.
Day 10: August 29: Irkutsk – St. Petersburg Russia
Mid-day flight from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg – to give you an appreciation of the distance from Irkutsk Siberia to St. Petersburg, they are five-time zones different. You are flying west, the flight is about 6.5 hours non-stop, but flying nonstop leaving at noon you arrive around 1:30 in the afternoon. You can see why it took the train almost five days of few stops to travel across Siberia. Depending on the flight time, we plan to do some touring today after we arrive before heading to our 5-star Luxury Hotel, the Belmont Grand in St. Petersburg.
Day 11: August 30: St Petersburg
We will start our day with our own private tour of the Hermitage Museum before it opens to the public. The Hermitage Museum is known for the 400 rooms containing spectacular examples of nearly all of the schools of Western art, including one of the greatest collections of French impressionist works. After we will do an orientation tour of St. Petersburg, we will also be doing a boat ride through the canals of St Petersburg.
Day 12: August 31: St Petersburg
This morning we will check out from your hotel and visit “Russia’s Versailles,” Peterhof Palace and its beautiful gardens. Peter the Great drew inspiration for his imperial palace from France’s Versailles Palace. Then we will return to St. Petersburg and visit Yusupov Palace. Later we will transfer to the luxurious MS Volga Dream and begin sailing along the Russian waterways.
Day 13: Sep 1: Svir River and the Village of Mandrogi
Today we will navigate the Svir River toward Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest freshwater lake, past a shoreline dotted with graceful willows, alder trees and stately pines. We will step ashore for a visit to the vacation village of Mandrogi to experience daily life in a quaint wooden village.
Day 14: Sep 2: Kizhi
The Karelia region, which spans the area from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, is a vast wilderness of forest and water. Discover Lake Onega, fed by 58 rivers and home to 1,369 islands, including Kizhi. See a collection of ancient Russian wooden houses and windmills, and the famous Transfiguration Church, built-in 1714 without a single nail.
Day 15: September 3: Goritsy
Today we cross Lake Beloye, or the White Lake, formerly known as the “Tsar’s fishing grounds.” After lunch, we arrive in the peaceful village of Goritsy to tour the fortress-like Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery with magnificent frescoes by one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. Return to the ship after a guided tour.
Day 16: September 4: Yaroslavl
Founded in 1010, Yaroslavl is one of the oldest cities in central Russia and the Volga’s first port. In the Spassky Monastery, we see the Transfiguration of the Savior and admire the mosaics at the Church of Elijah the Prophet.
Day 17: September 5: Uglich
This morning we dock in the ancient trading town of Uglich, one of the spokes of Russia’s renowned Golden Ring. Explore the impressive Church of St. Dimitry on the Blood, erected on the site where Dimitry, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in 1591.
Day 18: September 6: Moscow
Mid-day, we will arrive in Moscow, where we will say goodbye to the MS Volga Dream. We will do a short city tour of Moscow. We will stop at the famous Izmailovsky market to give you time to buy some souvenirs. Then we will check-in at our 5-star Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons hotel in Moscow.
Day 19: September 7: Moscow
Today we will visit the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Armory Museum to view its collection of opulent coronation finery, hand-forged armor and weapons, royal carriages and sleighs, and dazzling Faberge eggs. Visit the famous Bolshoi Theater, if possible, we will arrange a backstage tour.
Day 20: September 8: Home
This morning checkout from your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight.