|08 Oct - 23 Oct|
This small group tour is only for the adventurous traveller. We prefer our holidays with a twist of the alternative, so you'll embark on a truly unique railway holiday along the BAM section of the Trans-Siberian Railway.There's no other railway quite like the the epic Trans-Siberian, stretching all the way from Moscow to the Russian Far East, but the Baikal-Amur Mainline route branches away from the 'true' Trans-Sib to traverse remotest Siberia and skirt the northern borders of Mongolia and China to reach Vladivostok.
This route travels from Vladivostok on the far Russian east coast to Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world and stops at small towns where the lives of the inhabitants are intrinsically linked to the railroad. Officially opened in 1989, it wasn’t until 10 years later that the first tourists could take the train.
We'll take you to clatter along the rails of one of the world's most intriguing train lines, passing through the mountains, marshes and permafrost that challenged engineers daily as they built the tracks. Watch the scenery change from forests, rivers and lakes to frozen tundra from your carriage, spending time with like-minded travellers.
This morning enjoy a three-hour guided tour of the city's key military attractions including the Submarine Museum located in an old S56 on the waterfront next to the war memorial and eternal flame. (B,L)
Arrive Khabarovsk at 08:15 and transfer to a local restaurant for breakfast and freshen up. Get to know this major Siberian city on sightseeing tour of Khabarovsk including the central market. Located where the Ussuri joins the Amur River. Khabarovsk feels more like a relaxed coastal town than a bustling Siberian city, particularly in the summer when the sandy river banks are virtually transformed into a beach resort. The leafy main street called Muravyova-Amursgoko teems with life amongst its pretty Tsarist-era buildings. After lunch, visit the Amur River Bridge and the Museum of the Bridge. In the evening after dinner at a local restaurant transfer to the railway station for Train 667 to Komsomolsk departing at 21:10. (B,L,D)
Arrive 06:27 and transfer to hotel for early check-in and breakfast. Free time to explore this city, which was planned and built in 1932 as a secret centre for military industries. Its position on the Amur River, which is the border between Russia and China, and inland of the Tartar strait on the Pacific Ocean, made it a strategic spot to manufacture airplanes and submarines. It is one of the largest cities on the BAM with some 250,000 inhabitants. In the afternoon visit the Museum of Yuri Gagarin Aircraft Factory. (B)
Due to train schedules we have a free morning to explore Komsomolsk On Amur further, perhaps take a wander around the city taking photos of Stalin's Neo-renaissance style buildings in the city centre and the housing blocks, many of which are adorned with both sculptured and painted Soviet murals. We check out of the hotel at noon and in the afternoon enjoy a three hour city tour before transfer to the Railway Station for Train 363 to Tynda departing 18:53. (B)
The train passes through the region of permafrost, where the frozen earth that lies two to five feet underground keeps the trees from growing much over the height of a person's head. Also cross the Zeya and the Bureya Rivers. Towns along the BAM remain part of the land that time forgot, their Soviet architecture remains unscathed and deteriorating in the harsh Siberian climate. The BAM is only 250 miles north of the Trans-Siberian at some points, but the differences are obvious. BAM passengers tend to be predominantly local and for the most part poor and, with the exception of Severobaikalsk, there are very few foreigners on board.
This morning arrive in Tynda at 07:56. Seated at the crossroads of the BAM and branch of the main Trans-Siberian line, Tynda's life is tied to the railroad and indeed the headquarters of the BAM construction company was located here. One of the main sights in the city is the BAM museum, which contains exhibits and photos illustrating the construction of the railroad, as well as artefacts of the native Evenk people. Here explore the town with your Regent Tour Leader. Be back at the train station for Train 75 to Severobaikalsk departing at 12:47. Here the train passes through the Severomuisk Tunnel, the longest tunnel in Russia, only completed in 2004, due to the permafrost difficulties in the Severomuisk mountain range.
This morning we can grab a breakfast (at own expense) at the rail station followed by short walk to BAM rail museum [entrance not included]. Train 75 to Severobaikalsk departs 12.47.
Arrive 14:13 and transfer to Olymp Hotel. The afternoon is free to relax or perhaps walk around the town.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and embark on a two hour morning sightseeing tour of Severobaikalsk including a visit to the BAM Museum. Severobaikalsk was founded in 1974 as a base settlement of BAM (Baikal-Amur Trunk) workers at a spot called "Novogodniy" (New Year). From a small settlement of tents and wooden huts it has grown in to a modern city surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and Lake Baikal on the other. In front of the railway station is a monument to volunteers and workers from Leningrad who built the town. After lunch, visit the village of Baikalskoye before returning to Severobaikalsk. Free time until transfer from the hotel to railway station for Train 347 to Irkutsk departing 21:59. (B, L)
Arrive Irkutsk at 12:10 and transfer to Listvyanka. Listvyanka is an attractive village of wooden house stretched along the shore of Lake Baikal. Transfer to Baikal Chalet and check-in for 2 nights before lunch at the Chalet. In the afternoon visit Baikal Museum, which has a number of displays on the unique marine life and animals in the Baikal area. There is a brief excursion of Listvyanka including a visit to Shaman Rock. (L,D)
This morning take a stroll down to the harbour for boat ride on the lake (one hour) On return visit the Fish and Souvenir Market - an ideal opportunity to try smoked fish like the delicious omul and buy a matrioshka doll! Lunch and dinner back at the chalet. (B,L)
After breakfast check out and visit Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture set amongst the trees on the road from Listvyanka to Irkutsk. This collection of wooden houses some around 300 years old, offers an insight into the lives of Siberian settlers. In Irkutsk lunch is at the Sun Hotel, before a city tour of Irkutsk. Irkutsk is a relaxed city brimming with fine architecture and fascinating cultural and historical sights, Irkutsk has maintained a certain level of sophistication ever since the early 19th-century when gold was discovered in the area followed by the arrival of numerous artists and nobles who were exiled here after the Decembrist revolt. Ornate Decembrist log cabins are still dotted on the pretty streets alongside grand public buildings displaying classical Russian architecture, and there are plenty of exquisite cathedrals, churches and museums to explore giving an insight into this remote yet welcoming city. (B,L)
Please note that the single room supplement price is for hotels en route.
08 Oct 2018
23 Oct 2018