Experience riding on Trans-Siberia train, the world’s longest railway. Embark from Russian Far East port city Vladivostok, head west for thousands of kilometers into the heart of Siberia and alight in Irkutsk, from here continue the journey to Lake Baikal – the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. The lake is sleeping under ice during winter, a vast ice-rink so solid that cars could travel on its surface. Some parts of the frozen lake are smooth as a polished mirror; some parts have giant icicles that rise up like gothic castles; while some parts are jagged ice fields, as if waves stiffened in its tracks.
Afternoon depart from Kuala Lumpur International airport, transit via Beijing to Vladivostok, the biggest port city of Russia’s Far East. Arrive at destination the following day. (note: tour members embarking from a third country shall meet the group in Vladivostok)
Morning arrival in Vladivostok, transfer to hotel. After breakfast, explore downtown area on foot. Vladivostok is Russia’s most important port in the Far East, and home to Russian Pacific Navy Fleet. Back in the Soviet days, the city was off-limit to foreigners. Visit the Fighters Square, and the railway station built in 1891, where a Trans-Siberia monument stands (Vladivostok is the end-terminal of the world’s longest railway). After lunch, stroll on the beach for winter sea view. Evening, enjoy seafood dinner.
Morning hike to Eagle’s Nest Hill for panoramic view of Golden Horn Bay, then take a furnicular downhill. After lunch, stroll along the harbour front to take a peep at Russian Pacific fleet and the famed Submarine used in World World II. Later, do grocery shopping for the 3 days train ride’s food supplies. Board the Irkutsk-bound train at night.
Traveling on the world’s longest railway, heading to the heart of Siberia, it will take about 3 days to reach our destination Irkutsk. Today, the tracks run parallel along the Russian-Sino border. In winter, the landscape en-route is snow covered. The train makes numerous stopovers ranging from 3 to 30 minutes at stations along the way, outdoor temperature could drop to below -20°C. However the train coach is heated, and provides hot drinking water, one could prepare own food on board the train.
During the long train journey, one could have a good rest; catch up with reading, or write some postcards, play board games, or interact with local fellow passengers. The train continues through the mineral-rich Yablonoi Mountain ranges, which is sparsely inhabited and most settlements are based around mines. The railway goes through tunnel to bypass the heights.
The train continues westward, along the border to the north of Mongolia, sceneries include rows of silver birch along the tracks (the trees shield wind sweeping in from the Siberian plains), the vast and isolated Siberian steppe, and traditional villages with wooden gingerbread houses. As the train approaching Irkutsk, the track runs along the shore of Lake Baikal, view of the vast lake sleeping beneath ice. Night arrival in Irkutsk, transfer to hostel.
Irkutsk was founded some 350 years ago, first prospered from Gold Rush, then a place for the political exiles (the Decembrists). In 1970, Irkutsk was listed as a protected Russian city to preserve its ancient town planning and wooden architectures adorned with ornate hand-carved decorations. A walking tour to admire the city architecture wonders. Other attractions include colourful Orthodox churches. In addition, enjoy tram rides to explore the city.
Transfer to Olkhon Island located on Lake Baikal. The drive passes arid Siberian steppe and traditional villages. After lunch, arrive at lake shore of Baikal, which is sealed by thick ice in winter. Drive across the lake for some 10km on “ice road” to reach the island, upon landing on the other shore, another 45 minutes to the island’s biggest village Khuzhir. Late afternoon a walking tour around the village, sights of interest include Shaman Rock and frozen pier, stroll on the frozen lake and admire sunset.
Enjoy ice-road tour on the frozen Lake Baikal, along the southern shore of Olkhon island. En-route stop at viewing points to admire winter scene of the lake and surrounding mountain ranges. Uninhibited islands scattered on the lake, such as Crocodile Island. Land on Ogoi Island and hike to the hill top to visit a giant white stupa. Drive around the frozen lake in search of interesting ice patterns and bubbles trapped under layers of ice. Picnic lunch on the way. Late afternoon, back in Khuzhir village, free & easy.
Today explore the northern shore of Olkhon Island dotted with towering cliffs, such as the “Three Brothers” and Khoboi Cliffs. Visit the cliffs’ foothill and explore hidden caves full of icicles and interesting ice formations, like an ice-sculptured palace of Snow Queen. At the Island’s northern tip, enormous ice plate cracks emerged, translucent ice bricks piled on top of each other on the lake surface. Picnic on the lake. Late afternoon back in Khuzhir. At night, one could have a traditional Russian Sauna bath (optional).
After breakfast drive back to Irkutsk, upon arrival check-in at hostel. Late afternoon, stroll around the city historic district or do some last minute souvenir shopping. At night, suggest visiting a traditional Russian restaurant for dinner, and enjoy folk cultural show while dining.
After breakfast, transfer to airport, take a morning flight to Hong Kong for transit, and late afternoon connect to a Kuala Lumpur-bound flight. Arrival at night, end of tour.
A non-refundable deposit (unless tour cancelled by LevArt) of RM 2,000 is payable to secure booking. Balance fee RM 3,150 to be collected upon booking deadline or when the tour is fully booked.
Full terms & conditions (eg: cancellation policy) please refer to: here.
Kae is passionate about music, photography, and travel. Composing music aside, Kae also makes a living out of filming weddings and events; whereas travel, is his on-going “career”. He once made a non-stop journey for more than half a year in Asian countries. He is infatuated with high-altitude places, making frequent trips to plateaus and mountains.
In recent years, he has developed a keen interest in cycling, he now dreams of traveling around the world on two wheels. Be it journeying on foot or on wheels, he believes places must be experienced first-hand to gain insights.
Please don’t rush into signing-up! Alternative travel may be a culture shock for some. The best memories from a journey are often overcoming various challenges with your team mates. Please understand our style of travel before booking.
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