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  • Discover the grandeur of imperial Beijing during tours of important sites.
  • Learn about the fascinating cultures of Eurasia, stopping to experience daily life in cultural capitals.
  • Witness Mongolia’s timeless traditions.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Baikal, and learn about the Slavic peoples of Irkutsk.

This trip is been discontinued instead see


Epic Trans-Siberian Journey

The Trans-Siberian Railway

China Delights



It is one of the most epic journeys on Earth, crossing two continents and linking the capital cities of two of the world’s largest countries. Travel nearly 5,000 miles through six time zones along the Trans-Siberian Railroad and experience magnificent, ever-changing landscapes.

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The Trans-Siberian Express

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Get to Cuba before it changes because it has to. January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
Cuba has been open to limited group travel for four years and is being opened to individual travel (still with restrictions) now. With thousands of Americans descending on our nearest island neighbor, Cuba has to increase its tourist infrastructure - and lose some of its charm.

Smithsonian Journeys is a great way to see Cuba before it changes. Yes, Smithsonian tours are more expensive than some other tour companies but the phrase, "you get what you pay for", certainly holds true. Everything about the tour was top notch - the American tour coordinator, the local Cuban guide, the itinerary - the best. And everything is included - everything - tipping, all activities, tours. Cuba is a fascinating destination and deserves a quality tour company.
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Operator Smithsonian Journeys


Days 1-2: U.S. to Beijing, China


Accommodation: Regent Hotel

Depart for Beijing. After crossing the International Date Line, arrive in China the following day. Regent Hotel

Day 3: Imperial Beijing


Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Regent Hotel

As an introduction to Chinese history, visit the Temple of Heaven (a World Heritage site), where the hubbub of local seniors singing and dancing in the park outside the temple grounds is as exciting as the architecture inside is majestic. Then visit Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world, which symbolizes the political center of China. Continue into the Forbidden City (a World Heritage site). Standing at Noon Gate, looking at the massive, imperial buildings spread out before you, it is easy to imagine the grandeur of China’s later dynasties. This evening, enjoy a festive dinner of Imperial cuisine overlooking Beihai Lake.

Day 4: Beijing

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Regent Hotel

Follow an expert into the hidden alleyways of Beijing’s hutong neighborhoods to see courtyard-style homes and learn about the principles of feng shui. Explore the Yonghegong Lama Temple, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing. Then board an overnight train to the Mongolian border. You will be on this train only for one night before transferring to your private train in Mongolia. Chinese train.

Day 5: Border Crossing, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Arrive at Erlian and explore this rapidly growing border town before crossing into Mongolia. Board the Tsar’s Gold private train and continue the journey north through the Gobi Desert as you settle into your comfortable cabin. Tsar’s Gold.

Day 6: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Arrive in Mongolia’s capital city this morning. Taking an overnight bag, visit the Gandan Monastery and the Fine Arts Museum. Visit the home of a prominent musician to learn about traditional Mongolian music.

Day 7: Ulaanbaatar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Khan Palace Hotel

Spend the day in the countryside. On the way out of town, stop by an orphanage dedicated to giving disadvantaged children a helping hand. Continue to Terelj National Park to watch a mini-Naadam festival featuring wrestling and archery competitions and the excitement surrounding the spectacular horse racing events. Return to the train in the evening.

Day 8: Ulan Ude, Russia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Bid farewell to the Mongolian steppes as the train rolls on through the valley of Selenga, the largest river of Mongolia. Shortly after crossing the border, the train makes a special stop just for Smithsonian Journeys travelers. Disembark and visit a village of Old Believers, a community of adherents to a pre-reformation Russian Orthodoxy. Drive by motorcoach to Ulan Ude to meet up again with the Tsar’s Gold. Here, the train joins the main route of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Day 9: Lake Baikal

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

The entire day is dedicated to Lake Baikal (a World Heritage site). Before noon arrive at the old station of Port Baikal, located directly on the shore. Absorb the breathtaking scenery during two stops along the ancient tracks, which run parallel to the shore. Enjoy a short boat ride on the lake and some time to swim or visit a picturesque Baikal village. If the night is warm, dinner will be served as a picnic on the shores of the spectacular lake before reboarding the train.

Day 10: Irkutsk

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Accommodation: Marriott Courtyard Hotel

Arrive in Irkutsk, the “capital” of Siberia, this morning and check into your hotel with your hand luggage, leaving your larger luggage secured on the train. Spend the day exploring elaborately decorated 19th-century izbas (log houses) with ornately carved eaves, known in Russia as “wooden lace.” Stop by at the Volkonsky House Museum, former home of Maria Volkonskaya, wife of Count Sergei Volkonsky, a famous “Decembrist” who settled in Irkutsk after the December 1825 uprising in St. Petersburg. The exhibits and artifacts depict the life of the women who followed their husbands into exile. Enjoy a concert in the former reception room, followed by a champagne reception. Tonight, have dinner in a local dacha as guests of the owners.

Day 11: Crossing Siberia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Reboard the train this morning and travel through the landscapes of Eastern Siberia with its mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and verdant slopes. On board, enjoy lectures about Siberia by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. A social get-together complete with caviar and vodka tasting familiarizes you with Russian hospitality.

Day 12: Novosibirsk

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Arrive at Novosibirsk, Siberia’s biggest city, and enjoy a traditional Russian welcome featuring balalaika music. Visit the Trans-Siberian Monument and the mighty Ob River. After dinner, the train continues westward.

Day 13: Yekaterinburg

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

In the afternoon the train stops in Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Ural Mountains and the border between Asia and Europe where Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Visit the Romanov execution site, view the city’s ornately decorated wooden houses, and stop by a monument marking the border between Europe and Asia. From now on your train is on European ground.

Day 14: Kazan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Accommodation: Kempinski Baltschug Hotel

After breakfast, arrive in Kazan, the old Tartar capital on the banks of the Volga River. On a guided tour of the Kazan Kremlin (a World Heritage site), learn about the bloody relations of the Tatars, Cossacks, and Russians. Visit a school for musically gifted children and listen to a special performance. Return to the train for your last dinner on board.

Day 15: Moscow

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Kempinski Baltschug Hotel

Arrive in Moscow late in the morning. After checking in to your hotel, take a guided tour of the Kremlin (a World Heritage site) and its beautiful cathedrals. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner then stop by Red Square to view the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral illuminated against the night sky.

Day 16: Depart Moscow for the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

Depart for the airport for return flights to the U.S.

Dates & Pricing

Price From


Price Per Day:

NA per person
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Trip Includes
  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour management throughout the tour.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated on the tour page, including special welcome and farewell dinners.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary.
  • Baggage handling for one bag plus one carry-on bag per person.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
Trip Excludes
  • Round-trip international airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • Transfers to and from your home to the program site and transfers to and from the airports, unless specifically noted
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Intimate Group - 12 max
Start City
End City

Trip ID#: TheTraSmi

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