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Russia Expedition: Baikal-Amur Railway

Siberia, Russia

Russia Expedition: Baikal-Amur Railway

Hiking
·
Start: Vladivostok
·
End: Moscow

Experience the ‘other’ Trans-Siberian Railway on this expedition from Russia's Far East

Activity
Hiking
LocationSiberia, Russia
Duration15 days
Start / EndVladivostok / Moscow
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Siberia, Russia

Russia Expedition: Baikal-Amur Railway

Hiking·
15 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Vladivostok
·
End: Moscow

Description

Every bit as rewarding as its famous Trans-Siberian counterpart, this lesser-known Russian rail route follows the Baikal-Amur Mainline and ventures from Russia's Far East, across Eastern Siberia and north of Lake Baikal, where it’s even more stunning than in the south. Learn the traditions of the indigenous Nanai and Evenki people, visit the astounding rock formations of Stolby National Park, s...

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Itinerary

Day 1Vladivostok
Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia. Arrive in Vladivostok in time for a 6 pm welcome meeting. This city is a major eastern gateway of Russia, the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet, and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean. Other than your welcome meeting and an optional group dinner, the evening is yours.
Day 2Vladivostok
Check out the city on a bus tour today (approximately 3 hours). You'll be joined by a local guide who'll give you background information on the main sights around town. Take a walk on the main streets, admire Vladivostok from the old artillery battery, and visit the famous S-56 submarine museum. When the tour's over, the rest of the day is at your leisure. Tonight maybe seek out some of the quintessential food of Russia's Far East; there's some fantastic seafood and Korean-influenced fare to be found around town.
Day 3Vladivostok/Far-Eastern Railway
Today is a day of optional activities before you board the overnight train in the late afternoon. Maybe ride the funicular – it's a short but beautiful ride, with scenic views over Zolotoy Rog Bay (Golden Horn Bay). Perhaps visit the Arsenev Regional Museum, take a trip over to Russky Island for a stroll along the beach, or see what's on at the fantastic Zarya Centre of Contemporary Art (entry is free). As for the train, settle in and get comfortable for the first leg of your unforgettable Russian rail trip. Travelling via Ussuriysk (where there's be a 20 min stop) we'll arrive in Komsomolsk-na-Amure at around 6 pm the following day.
Day 4Far-Eastern Railway/Komsomolsk-na-Amure
The train will trace the border of China today, travelling through Khabarovsk where we cross the Amur River. A stop of around 1 hour will be made in Khabarovsk, a delightful riverside city with leafy parklands and a pleasant atmosphere. Take the chance to stretch your legs with a wander around the station during the stop, and stock up on snacks supplies. This outpost of the Far East has a fascinating history, one of both Chinese and Soviet heritage. Continue the journey and arrive at around 6 pm in Komsomolsk-na-Amure, another town set on the Amur River. Head out for a walk after checking in to your hotel and seek out some dinner - your leader will have some recommendations for a great local meal.
Day 5Komsomolsk-na-Amure
Read up on Komsomolsk and you'll find out that it was called 'the first socialist city of the country', and was the centre of Stalin's notorious GULAG camps of the region. The history, though fascinating, is far from a fairytale. On our tour today, you'll see the building where prisoners worked, the Administrative Office of the camps and a Memorial Stone to victims of political repression. After a look around the city centre we venture further afield, to one of the places where prisoners lived while building the railway. Along the railway there were camp hospitals and camp cemeteries and you'll see a quarry developed by the prisoners as part of their hard labour. This history is sobering, but important to witness. Spend tonight again in our centrally located hotel.
Day 6Komsomolsk-na-Amure/Baikal-Amur Railway
Today we pay a visit to a local community to meet members of the Nanai minority. This memorable excursion will last for around four hours. To get there we head 40 minutes out of town, where an ethnographical museum and Nanai house offers insight into a indigenous culture of the Far East. The Nanai will give a small performance, and we'll see how their traditional coats are made from fish skin. There will also be the chance to sample some Nanai food. After the excursion we board our next train bound for Tynda, departing in the early evening. This time we will be on a train for 3 consecutive nights.
Day 7Baikal-Amur Railway
Sit back and enjoy the scenery of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) as the train rolls on, travelling west. The train will stop at Postyshevo (36 min), Noviy Urgal (35 min) and Verkhnezeysk (30 min). The BAM was built as an alternative to the Trans-Siberian railway and considered the "construction project of the century" by then Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. Special, durable tracks had to be used as some of the route traverses permafrost and the cost was astronomical. These days it's debatable whether the huge expense was worth it, with the line being under-utilised for commercial transport and serviced by few passenger trains. It certainly makes for an adventurous journey that few travellers take.
Day 8Tynda/Baikal-Amur Railway
Arrive early morning for a five-hour stopover in Tynda. Take the chance to have breakfast, have a shower at the station, and stretch your legs with a walk in to the town centre across the river. We will store our luggage at the station while we explore. We'll take a look at the BAM builder monument on this excursion - definitely a crucial photo stop! Your next train is to Severobaikalsk to the north of the mighty Lake Baikal, departing at 11:55 am.
Day 9Baikal-Amur Railway/Severobaikalsk
After stops in Yuktali (44 min) and Taksimo (45 min), arrive in Severobaikalsk at around 2:30 pm. We've reached the northern end of beautiful Lake Baikal. Severobaikalsk is a key stop on the Baikal-Amur Mainline; it's a gateway to the pristine natural beauty found in the northern areas around Siberia's Lake Baikal. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please once we arrive. Settle into your guesthouse and perhaps go for a stroll around the village ahead of tomorrow's activities.
Day 10Severobaikalsk
Tuck into a hearty local-style breakfast, then take a bus to Nizhneangarsk, departing at around 9 am. We're off to visit the northernmost point of Lake Baikal. We will have a few hours to spend at the center of Evenki culture, learning all about the traditions and customs of the indigenous Evenki people who call this region home. There will be an instrumental musical performance, souvenir making and a tea party. Afterwards we transfer to Baikalskoye village (around 60 km) with stops at some local Buddhist sites. Along the way we'll sit down to lunch with a local family and sample some local fish together. Then we take a 3-kilometre walk on the Great Baikal Trail, checking out archeological and landscape features as we go. Transferring back to the Severobaikalsk guesthouse we'll arrive at around 7 pm for our second night.
Day 11Baikal-Amur Railway - Trans-Siberian Railway
Back on the train for another long stretch, we stop in Lena (30 min), Vikhorevka (24 min) and Tayshet (30 mins). At Tayshet the route connects with the mighty Trans-Siberian railway for the onward journey to Krasnoyarsk.
Day 12Krasnoyarsk
Arriving in Krasnoyarsk at approximately 3:50 pm, we have a free afternoon. This large city is a great stop for another taste of Siberia, and has the rare distinction of having a national park contained within it. We'll be exploring the renown Stolby National Park tomorrow afternoon, so for the rest of today feel free to relax and unwind with a walk around the city and a meal in a local restaurant. We stay in a centrally located hotel tonight.
Day 13Krasnoyarsk
Enjoy a half day trip to Stolby National Park, where beautiful and bizarre rock formations are the stars of the show. Stolby takes its name from the rocks themselves, which jut vertically out of the hills and seem to inhabit personalities of their own. For lunch we'll have some Siberian cuisine in a local restaurant before heading out to the spectacular Krasnoyarsk dam in the afternoon. Spend our final night in Siberia tonight in our hotel.
Day 14Krasnoyarsk - Moscow
As the trip draws to a close we fly from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow (approximately 5 hrs). The fact that the flight takes this long gives a great sense of just how vast this country truly is! While on board, plan your explorations for when you touch down in the Russian capital as there is so much to see and do. There are a number of daily flights to Moscow, so our arrival time may vary. Transfer from the airport to our central hotel and head out with your group to celebrate your amazing journey across the world's biggest country, to places most rarely see.
Day 15Depart
Farewell your fellow travellers as the trip comes to an end this morning.

More info

Trip title

Russia Expedition: Baikal-Amur Railway

Trip code

WBSX

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Every bit as rewarding as its famous Trans-Siberian counterpart, this lesser-known Russian rail route follows the Baikal-Amur Mainline and ventures from Russia's Far East, across Eastern Siberia and north of Lake Baikal, where it’s even more stunning than in the south. Learn the traditions of the indigenous Nanai and Evenki people, visit the astounding rock formations of Stolby National Park, soak... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Expedition

Transport

Overnight sleeper train,Private vehicle,Metro

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

You will be expected to carry your own luggage including up and down stairs, in busy public transport hubs, and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your trip more enjoyable.

Joining point

Zhemchuzhina Hotel Гостиница «Жемчужина».

Finish point

Arbat-House Hotel Отель Арбат Хаус

Finish point description

Arbat House Hotel is located in Moscow’s centre, 3 minutes walk from New Arbat avenue and only a short distance to Arbatskaya metro station. From here you can easily walk to Red Square and the Kremlin through Moscow's historical and cultural centre. The nearest airport is 30km away. Rooms are equipped with TV, telephone, air-conditioning, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, and some rooms will have a small fridge. ... Read more

Finish point instructions

If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time. If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

Group leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader... Read more

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Get off the beaten track and onto the Baikal-Amur Mainline, where Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East unravel in a mind-boggling combination of history and landscape

Is this trip right for you

This is a train trip of epic proportions! That means adventure and excitement, but it also means you’ll be on the train for long stretches (five nights and many full days). There will be plenty of downtime. So be sure to come prepared with books, a music source, cards, that kind of thing. Since you’ll be spending so much time on the train, you’ll need to self-cater by buying supplies at shops and... Read more

Health

GIARDIA Giardia intestinalis, a parasite that causes severe diarrhoea has been reported from time to time in the water supply in Russia. For this reason, we recommend against drinking unboiled tap water in all Russian cites. MEDICATION From June 2016 legislation was introduced requiring travellers bringing prescribed medicines into Russia to carry a prescription in the traveller’s name, plus the ... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

FOOD IN RUSSIA: What is food in Russia really like? See our blog here for some must try foods: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/5-foods-really-need-try-russia/ VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: Vegetarians in Russia certainly won't go hungry as there are usually plenty of meat-free options on menus including salads, certain soups, and cooked dishes such as mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, buckwheat, du... Read more

Money matters

Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com. RUSSIA The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). 1 ruble = 100 kopeks. ATMs are widespread in Russia so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and note th... Read more

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, ... Read more

Climate and seasonal

RUSSIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day: 1 Jan New Year Holiday Week: 2-8 Jan Orthodox Christmas Day: 7 Jan Defenders of the Fatherland Day: 23 Feb (25 Feb 2019, 24 Feb 2020) International Womens Day: 8 Mar (9 Mar 2020) Spring & Labour Day: 1 May Spring & Labour Day Holiday: 2-3 May 2019 Victory Day: 9 May (11 May 2020) Russia Day: 12 Jun Unity Day: 4 Nov OTHER OBSERVED HOLIDAYS: Old New Year: 14... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsible... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

RUSSIA REGISTRATION: Please be aware that Russia requires all foreign nationals to register their passports upon arrival in each city. Since March 25th, 2011 the registration rules for foreigners have been relaxed in Russia. According to these rules, foreign citizens must register themselves within 7 business days of their arrival into Russia (instead of the 3 days required before). This means tha... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Overnight sleeper train (5 nights),Hotel (7 nights),Guesthouse (2 nights)
15days
€2,825per person
Select dates
Jun 7
Vladivostok
Jun 21
Moscow
€2,825
Seats left: 9
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Jun 5
Vladivostok
Jun 19
Moscow
€2,965
Seats left: 12
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