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“fantastic holdiay Tsars Gold Zarengold”

Trans-Siberian Railway - Day Trips
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The longest train journey in the world - spanning 7 time zones and 9071 kms. This inconic journey still provides an experience that is unsurpassed. Pack your spirit of adventure and climb aboard.
Reviewed May 28, 2014

Tsars Gold or Zarengold is a private train that goes between Moscow and Beijin. It is run by a German firm Lernidee but we booked through Railbookers as they had an offer of free flights. The whole trip was extremely well organised. Though it was expensive - it was good value for money as the hotels guides and tours were of top quality ( Orginally I was going to do the standard train with tours in Moscow Irkustz and Beijing and this was going to be about half the price without food or planes) The main advantage is using the private train is that it can stop every day and so you see far more- for example it stopped for a barbi/swim by lake Baikal and in middle of the Gobi desert for a stroll and pictures.
As a normal independant traveller I was slighty nervous of the "cruise" like approach - but I did really enjoy it, and was glad that I chose this approach.

Clientel were mainly German 80% then French then Others- but no Americans which is strange as I thought this would be ideal for them. The 175 passengers are split into small groups (our was about 12-18 which included couples from Scotland, Norway, Italy, Brazil, Austrailian and England), You ate and toured in these groups and had one tour guide allocated to you for the China section and another for the rest. Note tours tended to include a local concert - which I tended to miss.

There was a reasonable amount of walking on the city tours - so if you cannt walk half a mile at a slow pace with stops then you would find it a challenge as well as in a couple of places there was a reasonable height difference between the step and the ground.

Our main bags were taken from us at the airport and put onto to the train whilst we took an overnight bag to stay at a good hotel in Moscow. The main bags were also tranfered for us to the chinese train and to the final chinese hotel. Bottled drinking water was always provided on tours and we ended up with a surplus at the end.

We used the basic two person cabin and all of us agreed that the more expensive berths did not justify the price- our carridge had two loos and a very good shower cabin that you can book slots in.

There were power sockets for charging on the Russian/Mongolian train in the corridor and loos- however they were heavily used and you might have to wait for a spare one- some were 110v - so select your charger carefully (most will do 250 and 110 volts) also if the adaptor plug and charger are too long then they tend to get knocked out/broken in the corridor sockets. The china train only had low voltage sockets.

Minor points - you have to be proactive in getting the letters of intro from lernidee required for the visas- and the cost of the visa though the recommeded visa agent was eye watering I wished I done a bit of research on that.

Food on the train was adequate quality and lots of it, Lunches sometimes in resturants as part of the city tours. Cost of drinks was reasonable. Never got bored and because so much was going on I read only a couple of books.

General level of quality roughly is halfway between the oriental express and scheduled rail sleepers.

I cannot overstress how well the tour was organised nor the quality of the staff /guides (there was mixed opinions about the carriage attendants over locking the loos to readily but I think this was a language problem only).

28  Thank Grandpy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 20, 2014

We travelled on the Golden Eagle from Moscow to Vladivostok at the end of February and had the most marvellous time. The cabins are snug and can seem quite daunting at first, but after 24 hours, we got into a routine. Suitcases are stored at the end of the carriages and always accessible so spare clothes/boots can be left in there. The train is very warm and only light clothes are needed when on board. However once you near Irkutsk, the temperature drops and you will need a fleece, shoes with good grip and gloves to move between the carriages, as the snow can blow in and make the floor slippery and the door handles are often iced over. Golden Eagle provided woollen mittens and socks, a small backpack, traditional felt boots and faux fur hats for every passenger. The hats were very warm and with ear-flaps so were well-used throughout most of the journey. The original itinerary didn't include a trip into Mongolia so we were pleased it was changed after we booked. The scenery was stunning and watching a man on a horse racing alongside the train in the snow, as we sat in the bar-car listening to traditional Mongolian throat-singing was an amazing experience. Even though the temperature dropped to -30 in Ulan Ude, the weather was great for the whole trip, bright blue sky and sun, which made the scenery even more stunning. This was certainly the case for Lake Baikal - the highlight of the trip. The lake was completely frozen over, and with the sun shining off the ice was a magical experience. We travelled in small hovercraft, but saw people in vans, cars, motorbikes and cycles on the way. Delicious lunch on the edge of the lake - don't miss the omul fish - and then snowmobiling. The food was delicious the whole way through, both on the train and in restaurants along the route, and unlimited wine and beer is included with lunch and dinner. There is a small buffet at breakfast, and hot food is cooked to order. Our tour manager Tatiana was with us for the whole trip and was a terrific asset, hard-working, professional and good fun to talk to. All in all, a most wonderful experience and one we shall never forget.

13  Thank Alys S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2014

Actually did this trip ten years ago after finishing college with a good pal of mine. To this day it was one of the most crazy and random trips ever. We got to see so many things along the way and really get to know the culture of the travellers who were in our cabin on the train. It was a peaceful and quite trip during the train journey - just the kind of trip to refuel and think about where you are going in your life. While it was a party train - we had partied hard before and after and it was everything we needed it to be. Word of advice - bring cash on board as we had feck all and we could have done with it (you can't cash travellers cheques) and also bring your own cup or flask so that you can use the hot water to make noodles, hot drinks etc.

8  Thank DindyDoodle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2014

Having planed a trip on the Trans- Siberian for many years I had researched my options in-depth prior to booking. After comparing what was available I decided to book with the UK-based tour operator The Russian Experience. The trip I booked with several stops along the way went seamlessly I am happy to say and in particular our stop at Lake Baikal was one we eally enjoyed. I booked this trip as part of a longer trip and this adventure got things off to an amazing start.

7  Thank Travelnut113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 5, 2014

We travelled from Vladivostok to Moscow on the Golden Eagle Express and it was an experience of a life time! We visited so many cities that we never heard the names of before. The local guides were very informative and friendly and well organized. We were very impressed with Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia, Lake Baikal, Ekaterinburg ( history of the last Czar and his family) and Kazan and the Volga. I even learnt a little Russian on the train. It is a 14 day trip with never a dull moment. Highly recommended! It is a luxury hotel on wheels!

10  Thank Johann S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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