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Highlights of the Trans-Siberian Railway

Here are a selection of highlights from undoubtedly the world’s greatest railway journey, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

What’s the best thing about a Golden Eagle train journey? Is it that feeling of luxury embedded into everything you touch? The romance of rail travel which has inspired a thousand stories? Could it be the companionship of fellow travellers or the friendly, expert service of our staff?

What ties all these things together is the sheer, unrivalled scope of the whole experience. Luxury, romance and friendship go hand in hand as you travel across some of the world’s most breath-taking terrain. Nowhere is this stunning variety more apparent than on our Trans-Siberian route across Russia and into Mongolia.

On this, our flagship journey, you’ll experience things that simply have to be seen to be believed. Sights and sounds which photography and the written word can only go so far towards capturing.

Visit some of Russia’s most iconic sights 

“We thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Extremely lucky to have harmonious fellow passengers. Russia was full of surprises.”

Take Red Square, for example. The literal heart of Moscow, the Square is packed with unique sights such as St. Basil’s Cathedral. Built under orders from Ivan the Terrible himself, this is a stunning example of Russian architecture which is absolutely without peer. Its distinctive bonfire design, reaching into the sky, is like no other building in Russia or indeed the world! Because of the highly individual nature of its construction it’s impossible to pinpoint just where the inspiration from the architecture came from, but what is known for sure is the source of its vibrant colour scheme. They were chosen to follow the description of the Heavenly City as given in the Book of Revelation.

Converted into a museum as part of Communist Russia’s state atheism program, this is a building which has felt the impact of some of the nation’s biggest changes without losing any of its majesty and splendour.

Explore the natural splendour of Siberia 

“For us, the whole journey is the highlight. Crossing Russia is an unforgettable experience. Exploring the communities along the way – it gave a far better understanding of Russia, especially listening to the local guides giving accounts of their localities.” 

Not all of Russia’s splendid sights are man-made. Lake Baikal is a place whose size and significance is a humbling testament to the natural world’s continuing ability to inspire us. Just to give a rough indicator of how large it is, the lake contains 20% of the planet’s unfrozen fresh water. Between 25 and 30 million years old, this is one of Earth’s most ancient lakes, home to over 1700 species of plant and animal, two thirds of which are only found here. It’s small wonder that Lake Baikal attracts a great deal of scientific interest and holds the record for the deepest freshwater dive.

Called the Pearl of Siberia, and with good reason, we take care to make the most of time spent here on our journey. In summer you can quad bike across areas overlooking the lake before enjoying a hearty barbecue, and in winter we offer snowmobiling, husky dog sledding and ice fishing on the lake itself!

“Surprised with Siberia. I didn’t realise how much forest and greenery was present, I was expecting large broken land.” 

A brief word on the landscape of Siberia itself. Many westerners picture Siberia offering nothing but an endless expanse of snowy tundra. This just isn’t the case. Every time you glance out of the window on your journey you’ll be treated to a different facet of its enormous geological variety. Siberia takes up nearly 10% of the world’s land, and while it accounts for 77% of Russia, it’s home to only 27% of the population. From the mysterious mountain ranges on the horizon to the grasslands of the Ukok plateau that make up the heart of the territory, the story of Siberia is a medley of contrasts and untouched natural beauty.

Embrace traditional Mongolian culture

“It was a real eye opener. Some real surprises such as the vibrancy of some of the places visited.” 

From there you move into Mongolia and have the chance to visit Gandan Monastery. Another religious structure which has weathered some turbulent times, the ‘Great Place of Complete Joy,’ as it properly translates to, is one of precious few Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia to survive Communist destruction in the 1930s.

More than just surviving, the place has thrived. One wooden pillar from the original temple built in 1809 stands to this day, along with a reconstruction of an original copper statue now bedecked in gold leaf and over 2,200 precious stones.

The sense of peace and serenity that its inhabitants have searched for over the centuries can be felt in the very stones of this place. It’s a feeling that’s bigger than words and pictures, and it’s something you can experience yourself as part of this amazing journey.

Complete the longest single-service railway in the world 

“Amazed at how big Russia is. Realised the only way we would have seen what we did and how it was done was by train. Overall, we’re pleased with our experience.” 

Your eastbound journey ends at Vladivostok after covering an incredible distance of 6,500 miles (11,000 kilometres). Close to the border with China and Korea, this city was closed to foreigners during Soviet rule and only opened in 1992. Home to the Russian Pacific Fleet to this day, Vladivostok retains all the awe-inspiring glory of a Soviet fortress-city.

The aura of military grandeur extends to the city’s tourist attractions. Where else can you make your way through a genuine (albeit decommissioned and perfectly safe) Russian submarine? Along with a full complement of museums and theatres that make up a full, rich tourism experience, Vladivostok is remarkable in that it provides a distinctive perspective on some of history’s greatest conflicts.

These are just a few highlights that await our passengers. What part of your Trans-Siberian journey are you most looking forward to? We’d love to hear more comments and testimonials to add to the selection we’ve presented here, so please do share your experiences or anticipations with your fellow travellers – or tell us which parts of your journey you’re looking forward to most.

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