In 2016, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, the world’s leading operator of exclusive, long-distance luxury rail tours, will offer the opportunity to journey by rail into the heart of some of the world’s most intriguing destinations. Step aboard the Golden Eagle to uncover destinations such as Siberia’s grand wilderness, the Norwegian Arctic Circle and the remote former Soviet Republics on the ancient Silk Road from the comfort of an exclusive private train. Next year will also mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of the wholly Russian Trans-Siberian Railway. To celebrate the centenary, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, will be introducing some special new, one-off, journeys along this iconic route between Moscow and Vladivostok.
From the moment passengers step onboard the hotel-on-wheels, they can relax in the knowledge that everything is taken care of. Expect fine dining menus, a fully guided sightseeing programme, cabin attendants and even an onboard doctor. Private en-suite cabins provide a sanctuary while the elegant Bar Lounge is the place to meet like-minded travellers. A variety of on-board activities are available too, including Russian language classes, vodka tastings, lessons on improving photography skills and talks on local history.
Undoubtedly the world’s greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across Russia connecting the east with the west. At 9,288kms in length it is the longest single-service railway in the world and crosses eight time zones as it weaves through Russia’s vast and little-visited interior, over the Urals and across the steppe. Opened in stages between 1891 and 1916, this extraordinary engineering achievement is a vital link for the many communities that live close to the line, and it also allows passengers to draw back the veil and glimpse the cinematic landscapes of this mysterious part of the world. In addition to the classic Trans-Siberian Express journey and Winter Wonderland version, Golden Eagle’s 2016 programme will feature two new and unique commemorative journeys.
Trans-Siberian Express – Classic Route:
Journeying along the Trans-Siberian line from Moscow to Vladivostok, disembark to visit the picturesque city of Kazan, the modern Soviet city of Novosibirsk and the ‘Paris of Siberia’, Irkutsk. The Golden Eagle then detours along the shores of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, and into Mongolia to explore its capital, Ulaan Baatar, ahead of arrival in Vladivostok. Covering a massive 11,000kms over two weeks, there are many highlights along the way, including: a private viewing of the Kremlin; a glass of champagne with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia at Yekaterinburg, known as the Great Divide; learning to cook traditional Russian dishes in Irkutsk; being hauled by a Soviet-Era steam locomotive along the shores of Lake Baikal and swimming in its ice-cold waters; a folk performance in the Old Believers Village at Ulan Ude; and in Mongolia, visiting a traditional Ger and meeting a nomadic family in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Price: from US$15,895 all-inclusive, including 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle and 2 nights’ hotel accommodation. Departures in 2016: Eastbound – 5 May, 22 Aug; Westbound – 18 May, 18 June, 8 Aug, 4 Sept.
NEW – Centenary Special: Trans-Siberian Express via Baikal-Amur Magistral (BAM)
This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel by private train through an outstanding area of untouched natural beauty of Siberia on the Baikal-Amur Magistral line, an engineering feat of immense proportions built across some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. Instead of detouring to Lake Baikal and into Mongolia, this journey heads through the spectacular Sayan Mountains to follow the BAM mainline that runs to the north and parallel to the original Trans-Siberian. Visit the extremely remote and beautiful Severobaikalsk and meet local inhabitants, before skirting the northern shores of Lake Baikal and heading east to Tynda, the largest town in the area. Meandering through untouched tundra to experience Russia at its most remote, the train then enters a region of permafrost to visit isolated Novy Urgal ahead of rejoining the Trans-Siberian line to Vladivostok. Price: from US$16,995 all-inclusive, including 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle and 2 nights’ hotel accommodation. Departure in 2016: 5 June.
NEW Centenary Special: Trans-Siberian Express Siberian Discovery
Following along the main Trans-Siberian line, this special journey includes additional stops in three of the remote communities of Eastern Siberia. After Lake Baikal visit Nerchinsk which was bypassed by the building of the Trans-Siberian line and leads a forgotten existence. Next up is Sretensk, another community which survives far from the beaten track of the famous railway, and offers a rare opportunity to see how families exist and livelihoods are maintained despite the isolation. Also visited ahead of arrival in Vladivostok is picturesque Blagoveshchensk, a distant outpost of the Russian Far East that rests beside the mighty Amur River and Zeya River, which separates Russia from China. Price: from US$16,995 all-inclusive, including 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle and 2 nights’ hotel accommodation. Departure in 2016: 26 July.
Trans-Siberian Express Winter Wonderland:
Join the Trans-Siberian Express in winter, following a similar route to the classic journey, with additional visits to the historic city of Vladimir and the pastoral town of Suzdal, where guests can enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride and watch a choral performance by the resident monks at St. Euthymius Monastery. The scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful in winter, especially Lake Baikal which is completely frozen over and provides a great spot for a range of snowy activities such as snowmobiling, dog sledding and ice-fishing. Passengers are provided with hats, felt boots and gloves to brave the sub-zero temperatures. Price: from US$15,895 all-inclusive, including 12 nights onboard the Golden Eagle and 2 nights’ hotel accommodation. Departure in 2016: 21 Feb.
OTHER JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME ONBOARD THE GOLDEN EAGLE
Persia and the Silk Road (NEW): New for 2016, this 18-day voyage between Moscow and Tehran, journeys through the Silk Road countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and into Iran.
Heart of Persia: Visiting sites rarely experienced by the Western traveller, this 14-day discovery of Iran, starts and finishes in Tehran. Highlights include Rayen, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz and Persepolis.
Arctic Explorer: Join the Golden Eagle in St Petersburg to embark upon a rail adventure deep into the Arctic Circle to seek out the Northern Lights at Kirkenes before journeying to Moscow.
Trans-Mongolian Express: This special tour journeys from Moscow to Ulaan Baatar to take in the colourful Naadam Festival. Witness the Festival games including archery, wrestling and horse riding.
Silk Road: Follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great along one of the most important trading routes of ancient civilisation. This epic journey stretches from Moscow to Beijing, passing through Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and China, reaching areas only accessible by train.
Caspian Odyssey: Discover the diversities of the South Caucasus before crossing the Caspian Sea to explore the great trading posts of the Silk Road. Journey from the Armenian capital of Yerevan to Almaty in Kazakhstan, taking in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan en route.
*Prices are per person, based on 2 sharing an en suite cabin in Silver Class (Gold and Imperial also available) on the Golden Eagle, and include all meals and drinks, fully guided off-train excursions programme, porterage, arrival and departure transfers, the services of a Tour Manager and all gratuities. Hotel accommodation is 5* (4* in Vladivostok and Kirkenes). Flights are extra.*
For further information contact Golden Eagle Luxury Trains (+44 (0)161 9289410, goldeneagleluxurytrains.com).