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Trans Siberian Railway & Silk Road

2018-19 RUSSIA | MONGOLIA | CHINA | KAZAKHSTAN | UZBEKISTAN TURKMENISTAN | IRAN | ARMENIA | GEORGIA AND BEYOND Small group tours or make your own adventure.


vodkatraintravel @vodkatrain #vodkatrain

vodkatrain.com

Your ticket to adventure


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Which journey will you choose?

KEY

(used throughout brochure) Railway travel Road travel Further experiences Starting point Night spent in ger, hostels or guesthouse Nights spent on train

NOTES

THE BUDGETING BOLSHEVIK

12 - 13 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW A magical journey that hits highlights without breaking the bank.

I’m interested in exploring...

THE GENGHIS KHAN

14 - 15 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW One of the world’s greatest journeys packed into two epic weeks.

21 DAYS | 8,515 KM ST. PETERSBURG - BEIJING OR BEIJING - ST. PETERSBURG Feed your hunger for discovery with more time to explore Mongolia and China.

THE COSSACK

THE RUSKI HUSKI 19 DAYS | 8,515 KM ST. PETERSBURG - BEIJING OR BEIJING - ST. PETERSBURG Experience a sensational winter wonderland on the ultimate Trans Siberian. THE MARCO POLO 25 DAYS | 8,425 KM SHIRAZ - BEIJING OR BEIJING - SHIRAZ Follow in the footsteps of early explorers and encounter an infusion of East and West

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23 - 24 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW Amp up your adventure with in-depth discovery and inclusive activities.

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THE VODKATRAIN

THE RAUCOUS CAUCASUS

12 DAYS | 1,590 KM TBILISI - YEREVAN Discover up-and-coming destinations set amidst lyrical landscapes.

ALSO INSIDE 06 Your adventure awaits

15 What’s included

08 7 Reasons to choose Vodkatrain

34 Make you own adventure

09 The Honcho way

36 Festivals & Events

10 What to expect

37 Extend you experience

12 Stimulate your senses

38 A story worth sharing

14 Guiding your journey

40 Booking Conditions

DREAM DESTINATIONS Decide where you want to go.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Pick an experience or make your own.

BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE

Go online or speak to our Travel Advisors.

PREPARE TO TRAVEL

Visas, insurance and what to pack.

ALL ABOARD

Bring an open mind for the trip of a lifetime.


Where we can take you

Murmansk

We make overland adventures easy; the hardest part is choosing where to go!

Arkhangelsk

He

lsin

ki

Tallinn Stockholm

Vilnius

Suzdal

Warsaw

Berlin

Urals

Nizhny Novgorod

Moscow

Riga

Copenhagen

Yaroslavl

St. Petersburg

Kazan

Minsk

Cologne

London

Krakow Prague

KAZAKHS

Kiev

Brussels Paris

UZBEKISTAN

The Caucasus

Bu

kha

h Tas

TURKMENISTAN

T Black Sea

Istanbul

s us a c u a he C

Tehran

Gergeti Trinity Church

GEORGIA

Caspian Sea

Gudauri

V Vardzia Vardzia

TURKEY

Telavi

Gori

Tbilisi

Signaghi

ARMENIA Lake Sevan

Yerevan

AZERBAIJAN Goris

IRAN

2018-19

a Sam

IRAN Isfahan

RUSSIA

Borjomi

4

Ashgabat

Mashhad

Yazd

Shiraz

rka

ra

nd


COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS RUSSIA

CHINA

TURKMENISTAN

GEORGIA

MONGOLIA

KAZAKHSTAN

UZBEKISTAN

ARMENIA

A haven for explorers and culture vultures alike.

A nomadic playground for the adventurous.

A colossal world of triumphant contrasts.

Explore unique ancient lands of marble and gold.

Exquisite old-world meets futuristic architecture.

A mosaic of adventure in a 2000-year-old fortress.

IRAN

Wander in a treasure trove of bazaars and teahouses.

Legendary hospitality that straddles East and West.

RUSSIA

s

Listvyanka

Irk

n Ula

k uts

Ud

Ula

A

ent

Bayangobi

MONGOLIA Uru

e

aa anb

Kharkhorin ty lma

Urals

Lake Baikal

STAN

hk

Work up a thirst in the birthplace of wine.

i mq

tar

Terelj National Park

Ho

hho

Bei

Harbin

t

jing

Vladivostok

JAPAN Kyoto

CHINA

Xian

Tokyo

Sakai Minato

Osaka

Chengdu

Shanghai

Kun

min

g

Nanning Hanoi

Guangzhou Hong Kong

Ho Chi Minh City

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Your adventure awaits

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Choose a journey that’s just as important as the destination. Are you ready to shed your comfort zone and dance in the face of the unknown? Well, you’re in the right place. If you want to chill by the pool for two weeks, you’ve picked up the wrong brochure – put it down and step away slowly. Phew, that was close! Vodkatrain exists for the adventurers. The explorers. The wanderers. The ramblers. The off-the-beaten trackers. Those who grab life with both hands, and have their cake and eat it too. Explore refreshing, rugged and sometimes remote destinations, and discover that the road less travelled isn’t always a road. Whether travelling by train, bus, boat or camel, this is not your average commute. It’s an electrifying juggernaut hurtling you towards new worlds. Vodkatrain doesn’t transport you to your next destination, it immerses you in it. Uncover the mystery and magnificence of cultures, customs and countries afar through chance encounters with the people who live there. Share stories, meals and thrills with local travellers and soak up an authentic flavour of each destination before you’ve even set foot there. Sit back, relax and watch the cinematic landscapes transform from your window, from desolate deserts to raging rivers and majestic mountains. Then hop off and rouse your senses in vibrant towns, rural hamlets, and nomadic settlements. Venture into the wilderness and back in time, then thrust forward again to futuristic cities with surprising people living extraordinary lives. This is a journey for the curious, the searchers and the seekers. It will not satiate your spirit of adventure but light a fire under it! Choose an overland odyssey with Vodkatrain for an authentic taste of life on and off the rails.

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Seven

1.

REASONS TO CHOOSE VODKATRAIN

2.

INTRIGUING DESTINATIONS Take the road less travelled and discover incredible places off the tourist trail.

3.

4.

AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES

HELPFUL HONCHOS

FREEDOM TO ROAM

Eat, drink, sleep and travel as the locals do for a genuine taste of life in each region.

Local legends that help you hit the highlights and the hidden gems.

With no pre-arranged sightseeing, you can stay with your group or explore on your own.

5.

6.

Our group experiences cater to 15 people max. Big enough to form a posse, small enough to give you space.

ADVENTURERS UNITE! Forge friendships on small group experiences designed for 18-35s

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SMALL MEANS SMALL

7.

YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK

Our Travel Advisors are walking encyclopaedias – helping you plan, book, and find your way if you get lost while you wander.


The Honcho way

We’ve got a network of friendly faces on the ground in each of our destinations. Some may call them city-guides, but to us, they’re Honchos – local legends ready to share their life with you. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to wander off and explore new horizons. And we know that when you do, you seek an authentic experience. Honchos know the city better than anyone because they live there. They can show you the iconic sights and then take you behind the scenes for a real taste of local life. They’re under 35, speak excellent English and love their job because they get to meet people from all over the world. You might be comfortable dropping an “una cerveza por favour” in Spain, but do you know how to ask for directions in Mandarin or Uzbek? Your Honcho will not only help you with the logistics of travelling in a distant land but let you feel the pulse of a city through local gems not yet listed in the guidebooks.

HOW IT WORKS Honchos are included at every stop on your journey. They’ll meet you at each stop and help you get your bearings. They’ll take you to where you want to go and places you haven’t even heard of. They will not take you to endless souvenir shops or their cousin’s restaurant. There’s no pressure to hang with a Honcho if you’d rather do your own thing.

TRAVELLER TALES “I loved, loved, loved The Marco Polo tour! Each Honcho along the way took great care of our group, which was especially important to me as a solo female traveller. There was plenty of time off to do our own thing and we weren’t herded to the nearest tourist trap. Highly recommended”

They’re available in each city from 9am9pm, but can often be coerced to stay out late for a drink or two. When it comes time to leave, and you’re nursing a post-vodka hangover, they’ll make sure you get on the right train at the right time for stress-free travel.

India Parish, Australia

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What to expect How you travel Vodkatrain journeys take you overland, getting you up close and personal with locals by travelling as they do – on public trains and buses. Whether you’re planning on rolling along the Trans Siberian Railway or tracing the steps of ancient traders on the Silk Road, you’ll come face to face with life beyond the tourist trail. Sit back and relax as you journey through incredible countries and discover the heartbeat of civilisations. Trains and buses are basic but comfortable and offer a window into real life. Most locals won’t be going the same distance as you, so you’ll meet a marvellous mix along the way. People-watch your heart out; you’ll cherish these ‘ordinary’ moments forever.

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Don’t be afraid to say hello to fellow travellers. Mingle with the club kids of St. Petersburg, practice mindfulness with the Buddhist monks of Mongolia, and toast to good health with Georgian wine makers… all before you hop off anywhere. Gaze at vistas from vast deserts and vibrant cities. Devour homecooked delights at platforms and road stops along the way. And be sure to give your spirit of adventure a breather before you reach your next destination. Other transport may include boat, jeep and metro, as well as the odd camel, yak, horse and husky.


Where you stay Imagine a night glamping nomadic style in the Mongolian wilderness, relaxing in a wooden chalet lakeside in Siberia, or bonding with fellow travellers in exotic guesthouses along the Silk Road. We’ve handpicked a selection of wicked spaces and places to enhance your experience. And the best part, it’s all included in the cost of your journey. Remember we said, Vodkatrain journeys are just as important as the destination? Well, no Trans Siberian or Silk Road adventure would be complete without a few nights staying on board. You’ll settle into life on the rails, become friends with fellow travellers and be made to feel at home by the friendly attendants. Sleeping compartments are usually four-share with two upper and two lower bunks – depending on group size you could be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers or other travellers along the way. You’ll find clean bedding, reading lights, a big window, a small table and enough room for a rucksack or two, perfect for when you need a moment’s rest. The dining carriage is the place to be. Interact with locals, grab a cup of tea (or something stronger) and soak up the sights as you span Siberia or the vast expanses of Central Asia. All carriages have boiling water, attendants and washrooms sans showers – that’s a luxury to look forward to once you disembark. Please note, The Budgeting Bolshevik journey is just that – a budget friendly journey. The four-berth cabins are exchanged for multi-share compartments that resemble a hostel dorm. Past Vodkatrainers tell us, the camaraderie on board is like a Glastonbury gathering and remains among their fondest memories. Other accommodation may include ger camps in Mongolia and yurts along the Silk Road. These are traditional nomadic homes that are sure to become one of your journey highlights. They tend to be multi-share and mixed-sex so grab your new besties and enjoy the nomadic vibes together. Hostels, hotels and guesthouses are clean, close to transport and provide legendary hospitality. We’ll do our best to pair couples but it can’t be guaranteed, sometimes you’ll be sharing with fellow Vodkatrainers of the same sex. Vodkatrain doesn’t charge a single supplement – it’s not a crime to travel solo. Sometimes you’ll share with fellow Vodkatrainers and other times you’ll have your own room at no extra cost. Happy days.

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Stimulate your senses Travel is not just a visual experience. It’s a combination of the everyday sights, noises, aromas, tastes and textures that make a destination distinctive so get ready to engage all your senses.

LISTEN

TASTE

SMELL

Dance to the chaotic symphony of local life; from the ambient chatter of foreign tongues wagging in the dining car to the street side clatter of ladles serving up hearty delights, and the staccato horns blaring from a tangle of traffic.

Get to know a country through its food and the people who gather to cook and eat it. Send your taste buds into rapture by savouring each morsel as if it’s passing your lips for the first time, every time.

Your sense of smell is critical to memory-making so don’t take it for granted while travelling. Let the aromas enchant you, from the intoxicating overtures of a spice market to the uplifting fragrance of leafy avenues wafting out a delicate infusion of jasmine, pepper and coffee.

Away from the thrum of the cities, let yourself be moved by the whisper of solitude in the Gobi Desert, mesmerised by the morning call of native birds, and whatever you do, don’t miss the harmonic throat singing practised throughout the Mongolian countryside.

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Challenge yourself to try local delicacies. Sprinkle on some drama as you imagine the stories behind each dish; from the traditional comfort cooking of the countryside to the cheap and cheerful hawker stalls, to the more inventive restaurants waiting to be discovered in scrumptious cities.

Engage your snout, and your memories will resurface to delight you for years to come. The splendour of 19th century Russia has even been bottled so make sure you have a sniff at the GUM department store in Moscow’s Red Square.


TOUCH

SEE

You might not be able to touch the masterpieces at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, but you can ignite this sense in other ways. Feel the reign of a new climate embrace your skin and let your heart beat to the rhythm of adventure.

Soak up the obvious and the unusual sights. Gawk at the dazzling chandeliers and frescos that adorn the Metro ceilings underneath Russia, witness incredible vistas from mountaintop villages in Georgia, and open your eyes to the awe-inspiring wonders of Kazakhstan’s canyon-filled lands.

Run your hands over soft silks and glittering dresses in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, plunge into a steamy bathhouse in Tbilisi, welcome the summer breeze on your face as you whizz around Beijing by bicycle, or crunch your feet over fresh Siberian snow in winter.

No matter if you’re exploring the exotic or the familiar, there’s a sight that must top your list: people watch. Open your eyes and heart to the people of the region and your mind will surely follow.

TRAVELLER TALES “What an incredible experience my journey has been. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. The journey has changed my life. If you are looking for an adventure that you will look back on for years, then you should just do this.” Darren Sebire, Australia

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Guiding your journey Designed for you SMALL GROUP TOURS PAGES 18 - 35 MAKE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE PAGES 36 - 42

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BOOKING YOUR ADVENTURE MAKE IT OFFICIAL

You can book online or give our Travel Advisors a call – they’ll help you plan and book your journey.

AWESOME FOURSOME

If you’re in a group of four or more, we’ll give you a 5% discount and a freebie during your trip.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It’s compulsory for group experiences and recommended for independent adventures – luckily we can source outstanding deals.

EXPLORE MORE

Extend your journey with our rail and bus passes to experience a round-the-world trip.

FLIGHTS

We can help you find the best deals to get to and from your Vodkatrain journey.

ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH! Returning Vodkatrainers are eligible for a 5% discount, so start planning your next adventure.

GET THE MOST FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE

WHAT’S INCLUDED HONCHOS

Your inside trader, but legal. They’ll help you hit the highlights and the hidden gems.

PRE-DEPARTURE

Check out our Meet Other Travellers app on Facebook (desktop version) and get chatting with your fellow Vodkatrainers before you board. It’s a great way to break the ice and plan your sightseeing bucket list together – who’s bringing the phrase book anyway?

ONBOARD

Strike up conversations with your fellow passengers and hop off at platforms to sample tasty food. You’ll be amazed at the curiosity, hospitality and generosity of locals.

OUT AND ABOUT

Whether travelling on a group experience or independent adventure, catch up with our wicked Honchos at each destination. They’ll help you navigate a foreign city and give you a true taste of local life.

THE LOWDOWN ON WIFI

Once you’re out in the wild, even Zuckerberg can’t reach you. Most city accommodation will have free WiFi, perfect for uploading those Instagram shots. Remember to #vodkatrain and we could feature your snaps.

TRAIN TICKETS

All legs of the journey are included.

STATION TRANSFERS Once you’ve joined your group, we get you from place to place with ease.

ACCOMMODATION All you need to do is rest your head.

VISA SUPPORT

We give you all the official documentation to support your applications, and you pay the relevant consulates directly.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURES

Dates that are final so you can lock in your flights and annual leave. All listed on vodkatrain.com

TRAVEL ADVISORS

Call or chat with us online; we’re a friendly bunch with a fair few adventures under our belt.

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Trans Siberian Railway experie All aboard the adventure of a lifetime! Glide along the slither of silver that connects East and West; extend halfway around the globe as you explore three distinct countries across eight time zones on the Earth’s largest continent. Take a moment to grasp the scale we’re talking. Rolling along the expanse of Russia, Mongolia and China on the world’s longest rail line, you’ll discover lands as diverse as the people who live there. Watch the world transform from your window, from dusty deserts and monumental mountains to shimmering lakes and emerald forests. Time on the train gives you an authentic taste of life in these impressive countries through chance encounters with locals. It’s up to you whether you spend your time on board vodka swilling or chilling.

RUSSIA Marvellously mammoth and irresistibly intriguing. You’ll be charmed by quaint towns that time forgot, fascinated by architectural gems and awe-struck by dramatic mountains and dazzling lakes. You’ll meet people as passionate as the domes on St. Basil’s are colourful. And just when you think you understand mother Russia, she’ll throw you a cultural curveball that’ll leave you panting for more.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Enjoy balmy nights along the riverside in St. Petersburg before hitting a club in Russia’s European hub. Marvel at the opulence of Moscow’s architecture and make sure you snap a sunset shot over colourful domes from a secret rooftop spot. Experience Siberian life while soaking up the scenery of Lake Baikal. Trek around its shores, just don’t run into the lake’s very own ‘Nessie’. Relax in Suzdal at a traditional banya – a revitalising sauna – and if you’re feeling brave, try an invigorating birch branch massage. Tuck into the traditional flavours of Tatarstan in restaurants and cafés that earned Kazan its foodie status.

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ences MONGOLIA

CHINA

Experience the outdoors away from the crowds and soak up a nomadic existence that hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years. Learn about their national hero, Genghis Khan – a fearsome warrior who founded the Mongol Empire and conquered half the world in the 13th century.

In a country this big, it’s no surprise an electrifying melting pot of culture, cuisine and customs will test, tease and tantalise every sense.

Dreamy landscapes are complemented by peaceful people living extraordinary lives. The perfect contrast to Mongolia’s vibrant capital, Ulaanbaatar, where bohemian hipsters drive democracy and development into the 21st century.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Ride into lands once ruled by Genghis Khan and take in a panoramic vista from atop a 40-metre statue of the man himself – we hope it’s not to scale. Sample hearty local cuisine and for all you dumpling lovers out there, try your hand at making traditional buuz. Visit the Gandantegchinlen Monastery – translated from Tibetan it means ‘Great Place of Complete Joy’ and if you can pronounce its name, you’re winning at life. Reconnect to nature as you wander in the wilderness and experience authentic nomadic vibes in a ger camp.

Bustling Beijing has reinvented itself more times than Madonna, and the result will surprise you at every turn. Enduring temples, hip hangouts, vibrant alleyways and the rambling Great Wall that beckons you toward the hills, deeper into China’s grasp.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Discover Beijing’s craft beer scene, Slow Boat and Jinga breweries are good places to start. Get lost among the maze-like alleyways in the Art District and be rewarded with distinct street art, sculptures, trendy cafes and underground galleries. Don’t be afraid to try food you’ve never seen before. Peking duck is a must, but why not try fried scorpions – a crunchy street snack that you won’t get back home. China’s capital is an impressive mix of ancient and modern so make sure you soak up both. Visit the imperial palaces and gardens of the Forbidden City, people-watch in Tiananmen Square, and marvel at the spectacular scenery along the Great Wall.

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THE BUDGETING BOLSHEVIK 13 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW

Want to hit the highlights without breaking the bank? Travel like a local and bypass the tourist traps for a real taste of the Trans Siberian Railway. A convergence point for countless cultures, you’ll mingle with modern Mongolians and marvel at the magnificence of Moscow in an adventure that spans three countries and seven time zones.

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TRAVELLER TALES “The Budgeting Bolshevik was the perfect introduction to Siberia and Mongolia. The Honchos were relaxed and informative, and this tour allowed for organic interaction with locals in a way no other tour I’ve been on before ever has.” Katy Corderoy, United Kingdom


Urals

RUSSIA Lake Baikal

Listvyanka

Moscow

Irkutsk Terelj National Park

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA Beijing

CHINA

MOSCOW TO BEIJING | 13 DAYS

BEIJING TO MOSCOW | 13 DAYS

Days 1-2: Moscow. Take in the iconic sights of the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square. Maybe a visit to Lenin’s Tomb or travel on the dazzling metro system.

Day 1: Beijing. Check out the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the hutongs (alleyways). Test out your haggling skills at the many colourful markets.

Days 3-5: Trans Siberian Railway. Jump on board and spend time sharing stories with the locals. Perfect your card skills or practise your language skills with fellow passengers. Days 6-7: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Visit the world’s deepest lake, hike along the shoreline and take in the magnificent views. Jump in for a dip, if you’re brave enough! Day 8: Trans Mongolian Railway. As you cross into Mongolia, catch a glimpse of your first yak and witness striking landscapes from your window. Days 9-10: Terelj National Park and Ulaanbaatar. Head out to our ger camp. Relax in the serenity and learn about the nomadic way of life before returning to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. Day 11: Across Mongolia. All aboard the train that will whisk you across the legendary Gobi Desert, towards the Chinese frontier. Days 12-13: Beijing. Arrive around midday and check out the hutongs (alleyways), the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Extend your experience: Spend a couple more days immersing yourself in Beijing and visit the Great Wall of China at Huanghaucheng.

Day 2: Across Mongolia. Your first taste of the Trans Mongolian Railway across the legendary Gobi Desert. Days 3-4: Ulaanbaatar and Terelj National Park. Explore the unexpected vibrancy of Mongolia’s capital. Head out to our ger camp. Relax in the serenity of the wide-open steppe and learn about the nomadic way of life. Days 5-6: Trans Mongolian Railway. Relax as you relish the spectacular scenery and soak up local life. Days 7-8: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Your shore-side home at Lake Baikal awaits. Take a stroll around the most ‘grammable’ lake in the world. Plunge into its refreshing waters or relax as it laps against your toes.

DATES Moscow to Beijing (Code: BBMB)

2018 Start 22 Jan 19 Mar 16 Apr 21 May 11 Jun

End 03 Feb 31 Mar 28 Apr 02 Jun 23 Jun

Start 23 Jul 20 Aug 24 Sep 22 Oct

End 04 Aug 01 Sep 06 Oct 03 Nov

End 02 Feb 30 Mar 27 Apr 01 Jun 22 Jun

Start 22 Jul 19 Aug 23 Sep 21 Oct

End 03 Aug 31 Aug 05 Oct 02 Nov

End 24 Feb 24 Mar 28 Apr 19 May 10 Jun

Start 06 Jul 10 Aug 07 Sep 12 Oct 09 Nov

End 18 Jul 22 Aug 19 Sep 24 Oct 21 Nov

End 27 Feb 27 Mar 01 May 22 May 29 Jun

Start 08 Jul 12 Aug 09 Sep 14 Oct 11 Nov

End 20 Jul 24 Aug 21 Sep 26 Oct 23 Nov

2019 Start 21 Jan 18 Mar 15 Apr 20 May 10 Jun

Beijing to Moscow (Code: BBBM)

2018 Start 12 Feb 12 Mar 16 Apr 07 May 29 May

2019 Days 9-11: Trans Siberian Railway. Laidback and tranquil or Vodka swilling and thrilling. Try out some words and get inventive with sign language, you’ll find yourself laughing with locals in no time. Days 12-13: Moscow. Take in the iconic sights of the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square. Extend your experience: Stay an extra day or two in Moscow. Chill out in Gorky Park - a hotspot for sun worshippers before partying Russian style.

Start 15 Feb 15 Mar 19 Apr 10 May 17 Jun

PRICES FROM AUD $1,995 NZD $2,095 GBP £1,195

EUR €1,395 USD $1,635 CAD $1,995

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THE GENGHIS KHAN 14 - 15 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW

Want to do it all but short on time? With this journey, you khan. Discover Moscow’s lively nightlife and ice-cream cone domes dripping in history. Chat to passionate locals as you meander through the Ural Mountains and dense forests of Siberia. Stay in a traditional ger camp in the Mongolian wilderness. Then, just as you settle into nomadic life, thrust toward Beijing and delight your senses down cobbled laneways spewing exotic flavours, smells and sounds.

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TRAVELLER TALES “The days on the train were an unexpected highlight. Eating noodles, meeting local people, drinking, playing games and looking at the changing landscapes. Just do it, and do it now!” Raissa Welten, Netherlands


Urals

RUSSIA Lake Baikal

Moscow Irkutsk

Terelj National Park

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA Beijing

CHINA

MOSCOW TO BEIJING | 14 DAYS

BEIJING TO MOSCOW | 15 DAYS

Days 1-3: Moscow. Explore Russia’s fascinating capital. Wander in art galleries and parklands, party like a local in world-class clubs and bars, and check out iconic sights like the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square.

Days 1-2: Beijing. Check out the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the many colourful markets. Visit the lesser-visited Huanghaucheng section of the Great Wall.

Days 4-7: Trans Siberian Railway. Settle into life on board as you watch the stunning scenery transform outside the window. This is a great time to learn some new language skills as you spend time with locals. Day 8: Ulaanbaatar. Get a great view of the town from the Zaisan Memorial or mingle with monks at the Gaandan Khiid Monastery. Days 9-11: Terelj National Park and Ulaanbaatar. Experience nomadic life in a traditional ger camp, explore serene grasslands and sleep under a glistening canopy of stars. Climb Turtle Rock before returning to bright lights of the city. Day 12: Ulaanbaatar to Beijing. Travel by train over the Mongolian steppe, then south across the fringes of the Gobi Desert, spot wild horses and nomadic settlements that dot the landscape. Days 13-14: Beijing. Hop on a bicycle and explore the sheer scale of Beijing. Contemplate the city’s patchwork of modern and ancient culture with a visit to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Extend your experience: Shack up in Shanghai for a couple of nights, see the iconic skyline sprouting from the water’s edge then enter the labyrinth of colour and culture.

Days 3-4: Beijing to Ulaanbaatar. Climb aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway. Check out Mongolia’s quirky capital, a surprising city embracing modernity while holding on to ancient traditions. Days 5-7: Terelj National Park. Stay in a charming ger camp under a canopy of stars. Experience nomadic life and trek in the Mongolian wilderness. Day 8: Ulaanbaatar. Get a great view of the town from the Zaisan Memorial or mingle with monks at the Gaandan Khiid Monastery. Days 9-10: To Irkutsk. Watch the landscape change as you hit the Russian frontier. Explore the culture capital of Siberia, a uni town with charming chalets before heading to the capital. Days 11-13: Trans Siberian Railway. Settle into life on board as you watch the stunning scenery outside the window. Learn new language skills as you spend time with friendly locals. Days 14-15: Moscow. Peek behind the intricate facades as you explore this fascinating city. Hit the icons like St. Basil’s Cathedral, visit cafes and galleries, and party at one of the world-class bars.

DATES Moscow to Beijing (Code: GKMB)

2018 Start 04 Mar 22 Apr 6 May 10 Jun 08 Jul

End 17 Mar 05 May 19 May 23 Jun 21 Jul

Start 22 Jul 19 Aug 16 Sep 14 Oct

End 04 Aug 01 Sep 29 Sep 27 Oct

End 16 Mar 04 May 18 May 22 Jun 20 Jul

Start 21 Jul 18 Aug 15 Sep 13 Oct

End 03 Aug 31 Aug 28 Sep 26 Oct

End 08 Apr 06 May 11 Jun

Start 05 Jul 06 Sep 20 Sep

End 19 Jul 20 Sep 04 Oct

End 11 Apr 09 May 30 May

Start 07 Jul 08 Sep 22 Sep

End 21 Jul 22 Sep 06 Oct

2019 Start 03 Mar 21 Apr 05 May 09 Jun 07 Jul

Beijing to Moscow (Code: GKBM)

2018 Start 25 Mar 22 Apr 28 May

2019 Start 28 Mar 25 Apr 16 May

PRICES FROM AUD $2,580 NZD $2,710 GBP £1,550

EUR €1,805 USD $2,115 CAD $2,580

Extend your experience: Stay on the tracks to St. Petersburg, explore the European hub of Russia before delving further into Eastern Europe.

VODKATRAIN.COM

21


THE VODKATRAIN 21 DAYS | 8,515 KM ST. PETERSBURG - BEIJING OR BEIJING - ST. PETERSBURG

Go beyond babushkas and vodka on the ultimate Trans Mongolian journey. Encounter more people, places and tasty flavours on this epic three-week adventure. Marvel at the palaces of St. Pete’s, plunge into the sapphire depths of dazzling Lake Baikal, sleep under a blazing blanket of stars in a Mongolian ger camp, then glide into China to eat oodles of noodles and gawk at ancient sights like the Great Wall.

22

2018-19

TRAVELLER TALES “From the cool St. Petersburg, bustling Moscow, clear lakes of Siberia and into Mongolia and China, The Vodkatrain transports you through the most incredible landscapes you could possibly encounter!” Riley Marks, Australia


St. Petersburg Urals

RUSSIA

Kazan

Listvyanka

Moscow

Lake Baikal

Irkutsk Terelj National Park

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA Beijing

CHINA

ST. PETERSBURG TO BEIJING | 21 DAYS

BEIJING TO ST. PETERSBURG | 21 DAYS

Days 1-3: St. Petersburg. Experience the impressive architecture, visit the spectacular Hermitage Museum and discover the live music scene, your Honcho is sure to have some faves.

Days 1-3: Beijing. Check out the hutongs (alleyways) and Tiananmen Square. Visit the Great Wall. Test out your haggling skills the many markets. Devour Peking Duck at the source.

Days 4-6: Moscow. Take in the iconic sight of St. Basil’s colourful cupolas and the iconic Red Square. Perhaps check out the amazing treasures in the Armoury or chill with locals in Gorky Park.

Days 4-5: Trans Mongolian Railway. Ride the rails to Mongolia and witness the shifting landscapes. Arrive into Mongolia’s lively capital and visit the giant Genghis statue.

Days 7-9: Trans Siberian Railway. Roll past changing landscapes and head to the dining car to meet fellow travellers and practise your Russian.

Days 6-8: Terelj National Park. Settle in to nomadic life under the stars in a traditional ger camp. If you’re feeling adventurous, ride across the valley on horseback or try your hand at archery.

Days 10-12: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Go for a refreshing swim and try the lake’s famous fish. Hike along the picturesque shores and soak up the scenery of Siberia before boarding for Mongolia. Days 13-14: Trans Mongolian Railway and Ulaanbaatar. Catch a glimpse of your first yak in Mongolia en route to Ulaanbaatar. Arrive into Mongolia’s capital and visit the giant Genghis statue. Days 15-17: Terelj National Park. Settle into life as a nomad in a traditional ger camp. If you’re feeling adventurous, ride across the valley on horseback or try your hand at archery, before returning to Ulaanbaatar. Day 18: Trans Mongolian Railway. Take the train through the magnificent Gobi Desert toward the Chinese frontier. Days 19-21: Beijing. Wander down hutongs (alleyways) and people-watch at Tiananmen Square. Visit the Great Wall, test your haggling skills at one of the many markets and devour Peking Duck in its hometown. Extend your experience: Travel on to Chengdu for Panda magic and Hong Kong for the atmospheric Man Mo Temple and views from Victoria Peak.

Day 9: Trans Mongolian Railway. Relax as you cross the border into Russia and on to ethereal Siberia. Days 10-11: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Take a refreshing dip and hike along the shores of the oldest and deepest lake in the world. Stop to try the lake’s delish fish before re-joining the train. Days 12-13: Trans Siberian Railway. Roll past changing landscapes and practise your Russian with fellow travellers. Days 14-16: Kazan. Immerse yourself in this cultural melting pot. Wander bustling Bauman Street and the Central Market, or choose to cruise up the Volga River before departing for the capital. Days 17-19: Moscow. Take in the iconic sight of St. Basil’s colourful cupolas and the impressive Red Square. Perhaps check out the amazing treasures in the Armoury or spend some time in Gorky Park. Days 20-21: St. Petersburg. Walk through the city’s imperial, fairy tale-like streets. Visit the spectacular Hermitage Museum and discover the local live music scene. Extend your experience: Enjoy a final fling in Finland with a train to Helsinki.

DATES St. Petersburg to Beijing (Code: VTSB)

2018 Start 26 Mar 09 Apr 30 Apr 07 May 04 Jun 16 Jul

End 15 Apr 29 Apr 20 May 27 May 24 Jun 05 Aug

Start 13 Aug 27 Aug 10 Sep 15 Oct 12 Nov 10 Dec

End 02 Sep 16 Sep 30 Sep 04 Nov 02 Dec 30 Dec

End 14 Apr 28 Apr 19 May 26 May 23 Jun 14 Jul 04 Aug

Start 12 Aug 26 Aug 09 Sep 23 Sep 14 Oct 11 Nov 09 Dec

End 01 Sep 15 Sep 29 Sep 13 Oct 03 Nov 01 Dec 29 Dec

2019 Start 25 Mar 08 Apr 29 Apr 06 May 03 Jun 24 Jun 15 Jul

Beijing to St. Petersburg (Code: VTBS)

2018 Start 10 Mar 31 Mar 28 Apr 12 May 20 Jun 04 Jul

End 30 Mar 20 Apr 18 May 01 Jun 10 Jul 24 Jul

Start 18 Jul 08 Aug 12 Sep 26 Sep 10 Oct 31 Oct

End 07 Aug 28 Aug 02 Oct 16 Oct 30 Oct 20 Nov

End 26 Mar 16 Apr 14 May 28 May 28 Jun 12 Jul 26 Jul

Start 20 Jul 10 Aug 14 Sep 28 Sep 12 Oct 02 Nov

End 09 Aug 30 Aug 04 Oct 18 Oct 01 Nov 22 Nov

2019 Start 06 Mar 27 Mar 24 Apr 08 May 08 Jun 22 Jun 6 Jul

PRICES FROM AUD $3,950 NZD $4,145 GBP £2,370

EUR €2,765 USD $3,240 CAD $3,950

VODKATRAIN.COM

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THE COSSACK 23 - 24 DAYS | 7,865 KM MOSCOW - BEIJING OR BEIJING - MOSCOW

Seize an adventure that goes beyond the tourist trail. Channel the freedom and independence of the Cossacks on an unforgettable journey. With more time and inclusive experiences, enjoy an in-depth discovery of Russia’s Golden Ring, Mongolia’s wild history and prevailing nomadic culture, and eat your heart out in bustling Beijing.

24

2018-19

TRAVELLER TALES “On my own, I would never have experienced so many good things, met so many nice people and made such good friends. I would definitely do it again!” Mark Longworth, United Kingdom


Urals

RUSSIA

Suzdal Moscow

Lake Baikal

Listvyanka

Kazan

Irkutsk

Ulan Ude

Kharkhorin

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA Bayangobi Hohhot Beijing

CHINA

MOSCOW TO BEIJING | 23 DAYS

BEIJING TO MOSCOW | 24 DAYS

Days 1-2: Moscow. Visit the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square and Lenin’s Tomb. Find your perfect spot to chill in picturesque Gorky Park.

Days 1-3: Beijing. Check out the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Hutongs (alleyways) and the many colourful markets. Visit the lesser known and profoundly stunning Huanghaucheng section of the Great Wall of China.

Days 3-5: Golden Ring. Famous for its churches and dome-spotted skyline. Unwind in Suzdal and relax in your first Russian banya (traditional sauna). Day 6: Kazan. Hang with the locals in bustling Bauman Street, wander the Central Market or cruise up the Volga River. Days 7-9: Trans Siberian Railway. Jump on board and spend time sharing stories with the locals over tea (or something stronger).

Extend your experience: Visit historic Xian for Taoist temples, Terracotta Warriors and a taste of the Silk Road.

End 29 Jul

Start 11 Aug

End 02 Sep

End 04 Aug

Start 17 Aug

End 08 Sep

End 30 May 04 Jul

Start 09 Jul 13 Sep

End 01 Aug 06 Oct

End 01 Jun 06 Jul

Start 11 Jul 09 Sep

End 03 Aug 02 Oct

2019

2018

Day 11: Ulaanbaatar to Ulan Ude. Visit the collosal Genghis Khan statue. Check out the market stalls and explore the city.

Days 21-23: Beijing. Check out the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the hutongs (alleyways). Test out your haggling skills at many colourful markets. Experience an unforgettable trip to the spectacular and lesser-known Huanghaucheng section of the Great Wall of China.

Start 07 Jul

Days 6-7: To Ulaanbaatar: Travel across the fringes of the Gobi Desert then over the steppe of Mongolia. Arrive in Mongolia’s capital and head to Zaisan Memorial for panoramic views.

Days 13-14: Ulan Ude into Mongolia. Visit Russia’s home of Buddhism and gawk at the world’s biggest statue of Lenin’s head, standing at 7.7 meters tall. Early morning train to Mongolia.

Day 20: Ulaanbaatar to Beijing. Travel over the steppe of Mongolia, then south across the fringes of the Gobi Desert where nomadic settlements dot the landscape.

2018

Start 13 Jul

Days 8-10: Bayangobi National Park and Kharkhorin. Enjoy your first night as a nomad in our ger camp. Test out your ger building skills. Visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual and intellectual home of Mongolia.

Days 16-19: Bayangobi National Park and Kharkhorin. Enjoy your first night as a nomad in our ger camp. Test out your ger building skills. Visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual and intellectual home of Mongolia.

Moscow to Beijing (Code: CKMB)

Days 4-5: Hohhot. The capital of Inner Mongolia and home to grassland nomads with a Chinese twist. See the harmonious fusion of Chinese and Arab architecture at the Great Mosque.

Days 10-12: Lake Baikal and Irkutsk. Head to the world’s oldest and deepest lake. Hike the shoreline for magnificent views. Visit the serene Bolshiye Koty. Wander the city of Irkutsk. Overnight train to Ulan Ude.

Day 15: Ulaanbaatar. Arrive in Mongolia’s capital and visit the giant Genghis Khan statue. Check out the market and explore the city.

DATES

Beijing to Moscow (Code: CKBM)

Start 7 May 11 Jun

2019 Start 09 May 13 Jun

PRICES FROM AUD $4,945 NZD $5,190 GBP £2,970

EUR €3,460 USD $4,055 CAD $4,945

Days 12-13: Ulan Ude to Irkutsk. Russia’s home of Buddhism and the world’s biggest statue of Lenin’s head, standing at 7.7 meters tall. Days 14-16: Lake Baikal and Irkutsk. Head to the world’s deepest and oldest lake and hike the shoreline for magnificent views. Explore further with a visit to the serene Bolshiye Koty settelement. Wander the city of Irkutsk. Days 17-18: Trans Siberian Railway. Spend time sharing stories with the locals over tea (or something stronger). Days 19-20: Kazan. Hang with the locals in bustling Bauman Street, wander the Central Market or cruise up the Volga River. Days 21: Golden Ring. Relax as you wander Suzdal’s famous churches and dome-spotted skyline, then unwind in your first Russian banya (sauna). Days 22-24: Moscow. Visit the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square. Mingle with locals in the famous Gorky Park. Extend your experience: Check out St. Petersburg, explore the picturesque European canals and immerse yourself in the city’s culture. VODKATRAIN.COM

25


THE RUSKI HUSKI 19 DAYS | 8,515 KM ST. PETERSBURG - BEIJING OR BEIJING - ST. PETERSBURG

An epic winter adventure that’s not for the fainthearted! Leave the North Pole to Santa and get yourself to Siberia for a winter adventure you’ll never forget. Enjoy adrenaline fuelled activities amid glistening landscapes. Warm up in a Russian sauna and try your hand at cooking dumplings in a cosy ger camp. And best of all, see the iconic sights sans tourists, like the Great Wall dusted in freshly fallen snow.

26

2018-19

TRAVELLER TALES “Going in winter, the scenery was simply stunning. Visiting the ger camp in Terelj National Park in Mongolia was a real highlight. I’ve never been anywhere like that in my life and it was beautiful.” Megan Morrall, United Kingdom


St. Petersburg Urals

RUSSIA Listvyanka

Moscow

Lake Baikal

Irkutsk Terelj National Park

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA Beijing

CHINA

ST. PETERSBURG TO BEIJING | 19 DAYS

BEIJING TO ST. PETERSBURG | 19 DAYS

Days 1-2: St. Petersburg. Wander by charming canals and beautiful bridges. Visit the spectacular Hermitage Museum. Treat yourself to a traditional Russian hot chocolate at the opulent Yeliseev’s Food Hall.

Days 1-2: Beijing. Explore the mish mash of modern and imperial culture, wander down alleyways and neon streets before warming up over a steaming bowl bursting with exotic flavours.

Days 3-4: Moscow. Experience Russia’s romantic side under a winter sun. See the candy coloured domes of St Basil’s sugar-coated in snow and whizz around Red Square on ice skates. Days 5-7: Trans Siberian Railway. Get cosy on board as you meet fellow travellers. Hop off at platforms along the way to sample tasty treats from Babushkas. Days 8-10: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Fancy going for a hovercraft ride over the deepest lake in the world? What about racing your mates on dog sleds? Day 11: Trans Mongolian Railway. Catch a glimpse of your first yak in Mongolia and witness the incredible landscapes from your train window. Day 12: Ulaanbaatar. Arrive into Mongolia’s capital. Perhaps visit the giant Genghis statue or check out the city’s eclectic markets. Days 13-15: Terelj National Park. Warm up round the fire in a traditional ger camp under a blazing blanket of stars. Go tobogganing in the snow or horse riding through the wilderness, before returning to Ulaanbaatar. Day 16: Trans Mongolian Railway. Travel by train over the Mongolian steppe, then south across the fringes of the Gobi Desert. Days 17-19: Beijing. Explore the patchwork of ultra-modern and ancient China. Weave through neon-strips and alleyways by bicycle and stop to sample hot teas and spicy dishes from street hawkers.

Day 3: Trans Mongolian Railway. Travel by train to the Mongolian frontier, witness the Gobi Desert even more dramatic under a sprinkling of snow. Day 4: Ulaanbaatar. Head to Naran Tuul to take in the busiest marketplace in Mongolia and visit mammoth statue immortalising Genghis Khan. Days 5-7: Terelj National Park. Enjoy two nights in a cosy ger camp under a diamond sky. Go tobogganing in the snow or ride horses over the winter wonderland. Day 8: Trans Mongolian Railway. Relax on board while you watch the dreamy landscapes transform. Try to spot huge hairy yaks dotted across the remote terrain. Days 9-12: Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Fancy going for a hovercraft ride over the deepest lake in the world? What about racing your mates on dog sleds? Days 13-15: Trans Siberian Railway. Cosy up on the warm train. Get to know your fellow travellers, share stories and perhaps a little vodka?

DATES St. Petersburg to Beijing (Code: RHSB)

2018 Start 03 Jan 31 Jan 28 Feb

End 21 Jan 18 Feb 18 Mar

Start 21 Nov 05 Dec 26 Dec

End 09 Dec 23 Dec 13 Jan

End 20 Jan 17 Feb 17 Mar

Start 20 Nov 04 Dec 25 Dec

End 08 Dec 22 Dec 12 Jan

2019 Start 02 Jan 30 Jan 27 Feb

Beijing to St. Petersburg (Code: RHBS)

2018 Start 14 Jan 18 Feb 29 Nov

End 01 Feb 08 Mar 17 Dec

Start 13 Dec 20 Dec

End 31 Dec 07 Jan

End 04 Feb 11 Mar 19 Dec

Start 15 Dec 22 Dec

End 02 Jan 09 Jan

2019 Start 17 Jan 21 Feb 01 Dec

PRICES FROM AUD $3,530 NZD $3,705 GBP £2,120

EUR €2,470 USD $2,895 CAD $3,530

Days 16-17: Moscow. See the candy coloured domes of St Basil’s sugarcoated in snow and whizz around Red Square on ice skates. Days 18-19: St. Petersburg. Wander by charming canals and beautiful bridges. Visit the spectacular Hermitage Museum with the world’s largest collection of paintings. Extend your experience: Continue your winter wanderlust with a train to Europe and explore cities like Budapest, Prague and Paris without the summer crowds.

Extend your experience: Seek a change of climate by travelling on to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

VODKATRAIN.COM

27


Silk Road & the Caucasus Retrace the steps of the world’s first explorers It’s hard to comprehend the significance of the Silk Road until you venture along the ancient trail responsible for carrying cultures across continents, silk to Europe and noodles to China. Founded as a trade route in 207BC, the diverse countries and intriguing customs are off the tourist trail and begging to be discovered. The charming Caucasus region straddles East and West and has something to excite every kind of traveller. History buffs and nature lovers will find solace in the ancient villages sprinkled amongst breath-taking scenery. Foodies will delight in the birthplace of wine, and for those seeking action, the region possesses a ‘healthy’ obsession for wrestling - pack your lycra if you’re game for a grapple.

KAZAKHSTAN A fusion of European and Asian culture plates up enough contrasts and contradictions to keep you captivated. Explore Almaty’s leafy avenues sprinkled with alfresco cafes, cable car up the snowcapped mountains, browse in boutiques and bazaars, and chat to locals over a few beers. Outside the city is a playground of untouched natural beauty. Discover rugged mountains, emerald lakes and flaming canyons as you escape modern life and chase thrills outdoors.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS If you’ve got a few days around Almaty, get yourself outdoors. Big Almaty Lake is easy to reach, Charyn Canyon or Kolsai Lakes are further but well worth the effort. The city’s architecture is a curious mix of futuristic monuments, classical Russian and ancient Islamic – make sure you look up to soak it all in. There are plenty of bars in Almaty. Bochonok is the perfect spot for balmy evenings while Chukotka is great for cheap drinks, live music and a rowdy crowd of locals and tourists.

For more destination inspiration, visit vodkatrain.com 28

2018-19


TURKMENISTAN

GEORGIA

If the ‘Stans are not already on your bucket list then get your pen out! This is the final frontier for the adventurous traveller – your chance to explore the unexplored, lay down the first footprints and encounter many ‘firsts’ before hordes of tourists catch on.

With jaw-dropping landscapes and wine to rival Tuscany, there’s something for everyone in this ancient country. Home of the first European some 1.7 million years ago, Georgia has one of the world’s richest and convoluted histories.

Those who have ventured here will tell you of people draped in vibrant, intricate fabrics, proud of their heritage with a welcoming hospitality that is already legendary. Wander around grandiose monuments and fairytale theme parks built by an eccentric leader, and soak up the essence of these ancient, spiritual and alluring lands.

UZBEKISTAN If Turkmenistan is the up and coming act, Uzbekistan is the headliner! Resplendent cities offer an array of spellbinding architecture and fascinating ancient cities straight from an Arabian Nights fable. Peek behind the carefully constructed facades and get to know the real lives of locals who will welcome you with a genuine warmth. Head out to rural fortresses, magnificent mountains and wondrous waterfalls before feasting on the heavenly, hearty and healthy fare.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Get star struck at Ulugh Beg Observatory in Samarkand. The monumental meridian arc accurately measured the night sky, Earth’s rotational axis, the plane of orbit around the sun, the length of years, and the time of day – way before its time in 1402. Prepare to have your mind blown at Registan. A sea of azure tiles, bright colossal portals, ornate minarets and dazzling cupolas. Wander in Bukhara’s 2000-year old fortress, and cool off by the Lyab-i Hauz oasis that reflects the city’s splendour.

As you unveil its architectural, archaeological and artistic delights, your heart will warm from the hospitality of its generous communities. Geographical elevation makes it a natural amphitheatre for the adventurous; walk, ride, cycle, ski or raft your way through meandering rivers and steep valleys. Stop often to soak up the stunning scenery… and of course, to sample wine glorious wine.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS

Fancy a dip? Relax in a thermal pool 200-feet underground. Try not to disturb the bats, though.

The food. Try everything. Follow your nose to find the best spots. Freshly baked bread and cheesy delicacies are to die for. Even salads are tastier – next level fresh and covered in walnut sauce!

Get an authentic taste of local life in the Tolkuchka Bazaar. Haggle for anything, from clothes to carpets to camels. Makes for an interesting day out!

The people. Make sure you engage with locals. There’s a strong sense of community and they’ll welcome you with open arms.

IRAN

ARMENIA

Think you know Iran? Think again. Liberate your wanderlust as you discover this rare travel gem; a tempting treasure trove of Persian relics, bustling bazaars and exquisite mosques.

For centuries, Armenia has been cultivating a rich, complex history. Given its position straddling the border of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it’s vibrant culture is a contrast of old and new, East and West.

Explore ancient towns filled with flowers and poetry, and let your curiosity uncover contemporary Tehran. Pack an open mind and be prepared for perception-altering conversations over tea as you encounter the warm hospitality and zeal of locals.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Be sure to pick your jaw up off the floor when you visit the Treasury of National Jewels. Consider the purpose of these priceless pieces in Iran’s history – an emblem of power and arrogance or a symbol of culture and craftsmanship, you decide. A visit to Iran wouldn’t be complete until you’ve unearthed and haggled for a hallowed Persian rug. There’s a magic carpet waiting to tap you on the shoulder in Isfahan’s Grand Bazaar.

Expect a spirited welcome as you explore natural delights, medieval monasteries and encounter the exuberance of Yerevan, the heartbeat of this landlocked nation.

HONCHO HIGHLIGHTS Pack a picnic and enjoy it as you gaze out across the azure waters of Lake Seven. While you are there, wander to the enchanting Noratus Cemetery. Park your bum in a sweet alfresco café in Yerevan, and people watch while sipping on oghi - traditional fruit liqueur. You’ll be needing a rest after wandering around the ancient sights and architectural wonders of this animated city.

VODKATRAIN.COM

29


THE MARCO POLO 25 DAYS | 8,425 KM SHIRAZ - BEIJING OR BEIJING - SHIRAZ

Meet the granddaddy of wanderlust. Marco Polo was the original traveller. His wanderings established trade between East and West and shaped civilisation as we know it. We’re talking noodles to China, silk to Europe, and Christianity to the world. Walk in his footsteps for an authentic taste of past and present worlds. Be prepared to be amazed at golden cities, vibrant bazaars and big-hearted people.

30

2018-19

TRAVELLER TALES “An amazing adventure seeing parts of the world many people never plan to see. Travelling as a group made it so easy to get around and do everything we wanted to do in each city. Fantastic Honchos in each city!” Sarah Treloar, Australia


Lake Baikal

RUSSIA

KAZAKHSTAN MONGOLIA

Aral Sea

Urumqi Almaty

GEO EORG EOR GIIA TURKEY

UZBEKISTAN Samarkand

ARME ENIA E A Caspian Sea

Tashkent

Ashgabat

KYRGYZ GYZ GYZSTAN

Beijing

Bukhara

TURKMENISTAN Tehran

IRAN

Mashhad

CHINA

Yazd

Isfahan

Shiraz

SHIRAZ TO BEIJING | 25 DAYS

BEIJING TO SHIRAZ | 25 DAYS

Day 1: Shiraz. Witness a kaleidoscope of colour in Nasir ol-Molk Mosque. Spend time in the Vakil complex, with its alluring bathhouse, mosque and bazaar.

Days 1: Beijing. See the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Visit market halls and get your fill at spicy hawker stalls.

Days 2-3: Yazd. Wander the ancient mudbrick old town, marvel at the shimmering tilework of the Masjed-e Jameh mosque.

Days 2-4: To Urumqi. Travel across the desert that links China to Central Asia – the city furthest from the sea.

DATES Shiraz to Beijing (Code: MPSB)

2018 Start 14 May

Start 13 May

Days 4-5: Isfahan. Chill out in idyllic gardens and tree-lined boulevards. Feast your eyes on the mosaics and mosques such as Masjed-e Shah. Days 6-7: Tehran. Encounter unexpected modernity in Iran’s capital. Visit the stunning Golestan Palace and hunt for a magic carpet in the Grand Bazaar.

Day 7: Tashkent. Afternoon arrival into Tashkent. After settling in, wander the Chorsu Bazaar and sample the local rice dish Plov.

2018

Days 8-9: Mashhad. Explore the evergrowing Imam Reza Holy Shrine and witness the golden and sapphire domes lighting up the skyline.

Days 8-9: Samarkand. The heartland of Uzbekistan. Home to breath-taking monuments and glittering minarets, this turquoise-spangled city is sure to impress.

2019

Days 12-13: Bukhara. Relax by the shaded Lyab-i Hauz oasis after a day exploring this ancient city. Soak up the golden architecture in the old-town. Days 14-15: Samarkand. As old as Rome, fall under the spell of this sapphirespangled city. Explore the majestic Registan Square with its portals, madrassas and minarets. Days 16-17: Tashkent. The city is a web of contradictions from Soviet to Islamic architecture to mud-brick houses and bustling bazaars. Day 18-20: Almaty. Stroll the leafy streets of this cosmopolitan city. Head to Panfilov Park and the unique Russian Orthodox Zenkov Cathedral. Days 21-22: To Urumqi. See the city furthest from the sea, then cross Dzungarian Gate – a mountain pass border into China. Day 23: To Beijing. Across the desert onto Jiayuguan and the Great Wall’s westernmost and most intact garrison. Days 24-25: Beijing. See the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Visit vibrant markets before filling your belly with exotic flavours.

Days 10-12: Bukhara. Relax by the shaded Lyab-i Hauz oasis after a day exploring the ancient Silk Road fortress and golden old-town. Days 13-15: Ashgabat. Explore Tolkuchkha Bazaar and the ruins of the ancient city, Nisa. Optional overnight excursion to Darvaza Crater - the ‘Gates of Hell’ have been burning for over 40 years!

Start 10 Sep

End 04 Oct

End 06 Jun

Start 09 Sep

End 03 Oct

End 09 Jun 08 Sep

Start 12 Sep

End 06 Oct

End 08 Jun 07 Sep

Start 11 Sep

End 05 Oct

2019

Days 5-6: To Almaty. Settle into life on the train towards Kazakhstan. Stroll Almaty’s leafy streets, head to Panfilov Park and the colourful Zenkov Cathedral before rejoining the train.

Days 10-11: Ashgabat. Explore Tolkuchkha Bazaar and the ruins of the ancient city, Nisa. Optional overnight excursion to Darvaza Crater – the ‘gates of hell’ burning for over 40 years.

End 07 Jun

Beijing to Shiraz (Code: MPBS)

Start 16 May 15 Aug

Start 15 May 14 Aug

PRICES FROM AUD $5,130 NZD $5,385 GBP £3,080

EUR €3,590 USD $4,205 CAD $5,130

Days 16-17: Mashhad. Embark on a halfday city tour, taking in the spectacular Imam Reza Holy Shrine and Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum. Day 18: Tehran. Encounter unexpected modernity and adventure in Iran’s modern capital. Visit the stunning Golestan Palace and hunt for a magic carpet in the Grand Bazaar. Days 19-20: Isfahan. Wander is idyllic gardens and tree-lined boulevards. Feast your eyes on the mind-blowing mosaics that adorn shimmering mosques, like Masjed-e Shah. Days 21-22: Yazd. The mud-brick old town and friendly locals, both ooze charm. Check out the Amir Chakmagh complex lit up at twilight. Days 23-25: Shiraz. Hear the whisper of ancient Persia with a visit to Persepolis. Don’t miss the kaleidoscope of colour at Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, and stock up on souvenirs at Vakil Bazaar.

VODKATRAIN.COM

31


THE RAUCOUS CAUCASUS 12 DAYS | 1,590 KM TBILISI - YEREVAN

Encounter a welcoming land of mountains and monasteries. Cradled by the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia and Armenia present a timeless allure amidst spectacular landscapes. Experience warm hospitality in quaint towns and cosmopolitan cities. Enjoy the region’s exuberance for all things food and wine. Experience the great outdoors, hiking to isolated monasteries clad in 4th century stonework.

32

2018-19

TRAVELLER TALES “Some of my best memories are from the time I spent in Georgia. From drinking home-made cha-cha with locals who only spoke Georgian, to the best scrubdown I’ve ever had at a Tbilisi bath-house, to hiking an hour to Gergeti Church for an amazing view of Mount Kazbegi covered in snow. Please take me back!” Megan Larsen


RUSSIA Black Sea

Gergeti Trinity Church

GEORGIA

Caspian Sea

Gudauri Borjomi

Telavi

Gori

V Vardzia Vardzia

Signaghi

Tbilisi

ARMENIA TURKEY

AZERBAIJAN

Lake Sevan

Yerevan Goris

IRAN

TBILISI TO YEREVAN | 12 DAYS Days 1-2: Tbilisi. Explore the old town, ride the cable car to Narikala fortress and get your first taste of the famous Georgian food and hospitality. Tbilisi is a liberal, welcoming, cosmopolitan city dishing up great food, lively culture, fascinating history and stunning architecture – including a few Soviet leftovers and a sprinkling of modern architecture. Day 3: Kakheti region. Explore the beautiful hilltop town of Sighnaghi and walk its fortress walls. Down from the mountains and into the valleys and vineyards of the Kakheti region. Take a chance to see and taste traditional Georgian wine. Spend the night in Telavi. Day 4: Gergeti Trinity Church and Gudauri. Travel the Georgian Military Highway deep into the Caucasus Mountains and make the walk up to Gergeti Trinity Church (2170m) before continuing to the mountain resort of Gudauri. Day 5: Return to Tbilisi. Descending from the mountains, we return to Tbilisi. Soak in the atmosphere of Rustaveli Avenue and listen to some of the local buskers. Sample some of the region’s beers on offer at the Kazbegi Brewery by the Mtkvari River. Day 6: Gori and Borjomi. Discover Gori, the birthplace of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, before we continue to the ancient Silk Road cave town of Uplistsikhe. Spend the night in Borjomi, an emerald land famous for its mineral water spouting from the springs of Borjomi gorge.

Day 7: To Armenia. Step back in time as you explore the medieval cave monastery complex of Vardzia that is etched into the rocks and cliffs and once home to 50,000 people. Cross the border into Armenia and continue to its capital Yerevan. Day 8: Yerevan. Enjoy this laid-back city of fine boulevards, European café culture and buzzing nightlife. Discover the remarkable UNESCO Heritage sites close by. For great city views make your way to the Cascade - a huge white staircase built into the hills. Days 9-10: Goris. Travel south, taking in stunning views of Mt Ararat, ancient mountaintop monasteries and mysterious stone formations. Arrive in Goris and enjoy a walk in the hills or ride the world’s longest cable car (5.7km) to Tatev Monastery.

DATES Tbilisi to Yerevan (Code: RCTY)

2018 Start 16 Jul

End 27 Jul

Start 13 Aug

End 24 Aug

End 26 Jul

Start 12 Aug

End 23 Aug

2019 Start 15 Jul

PRICES FROM AUD $1,920 NZD $1,830 GBP £1,150

EUR €1,345 USD $1,575 CAD $1,920

Day 11: To Yerevan via Lake Sevan. Travel through the Selim Pass (2410m) and the Silk Road Caravanserai. Visit Lake Sevan, set 1900m above sea level, one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world and home to the picturesque lakeside Sevanavank Monastery. Day 12: Yerevan. Enjoy your last day in Armenia’s capital before you Raucous Caucasus adventure has come to an end. Extend your experience: Head south to Agarak, a beautiful and little-used border crossing where Armenian mountains transcend into Iranian desert, then travel on to Tabriz and Tehran.

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Make your own adventure GETTING STARTED

1. 2. 3.

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CHOOSE YOUR KICK-OFF POINT PLAN YOUR ROUTE DECIDE ON NIGHTS/DURATION

4.

SELECT SERVICES: HONCHOS, STATION TRANSFERS, FLIGHTS AND INSURANCE

5.

BOOK BY CALLING OUR FRIENDLY TRAVEL ADVISORS

6.

PREPARE FOR ADVENTURE!

2018-19


Get crafty and create your own journey If you’re feeling inspired by our overland adventures but want to craft your own, then you’re on the right track. Use the map at the front of this brochure to help you plan the perfect route. Make some key decisions on where you want to go, how long you’re going for, and who you’re going with, and we can tailor the perfect journey. Previous adventurers have tweaked our small group tours, extending them at either end, or adding more time for off the beaten track excursions. Others have started from scratch. We’ve planned hikes through the untouched wilderness of Kazakhstan, horse treks over the Mongolian steppe, Trans Siberians that end in Tokyo, and an epic Trans Mongolian that began in London and finished up in Ho Chi Minh!

The only limit is your imagination, so get your thinking cap on. TRAVELLING IN A GROUP? Each year we cater to groups of mates, students and sports teams who wish to experience a small group journey together. If you’re travelling as a group of six or more then we can make the journey exclusive for you and your friends. Flexible departure dates and tailored itineraries are possible. Previous private group journeys have included photography students that tailored The Cossack with more time in Mongolia to document nomadic peoples, and a football club that tailored The Vodkatrain to coincide with catching a few games at the FIFA World cup. Talk to us about your group’s interests and we’ll help you plan an unforgettable adventure.

SOME THINGS TO KNOW Make Your Own Adventure is open to all ages so you can even take your ma. Our Honchos are available to meet you along the way, just let us know when and where, and they’ll be there to show you a destination through the eyes of a local.

VODKATRAIN.COM

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Festivals & events

Want to make your journey that extra bit special? Time your trip to catch one of these wicked events and celebrate like a local. NAADAM FESTIVAL

11 - 13 JULY | ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA Immerse yourself in Nomadic culture and witness an artistic celebration as athletes tough it out in three national sports: wrestling, archery and horseracing. This festival is captivating and completely unique; once you see it for yourself, you’ll know why it attracts visitors from all over the world.

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA 14 JUNE - 15 JULY | RUSSIA

The biggest event of 2018 is coming to Russia and we can get you there in style. Cheer on your fave team and feel the streets come alive during this busy international event.

FESTIVAL OF THE NORTH MARCH - APRIL | MURMANSK, RUSSIA

Discover the Polar Olympics and see athletes compete in biathlons, reindeer-sled races, ice hockey, snowmobile contests and ‘refreshing’ underwater swimming. Soak up arctic scenery and Russian hospitality as you explore city life during the games.

MUSIC FESTIVALS

Get your festival vibes at some of Russia’s best and party like a local all summer long. Moscow: Afisha Picnic (Jul), Bosco Fresh Fest (Jun), Park Live (Jul) St. Petersburg: Present Perfect (Jul), Stereoleto (Jul) Nizhny Novgorod: Alfa Future People (Jul)

THE WEIRD & THE WONDERFUL

Experience exotic culture and creativity at one of these unique celebrations. Festival of Khan-Atlas: See modern designs using traditional Silk Road fabrics at Tashkent’s famous fashion festival, Uzbekistan (Jun) Silk & Spice Festival: Get a taste of what Bukhara was like when it was a thriving Silk Road city (Jun) Maslenitsa: Fistfights, fires and pancakes – celebrate the end of winter, Russian style (Feb) Cucumber Festival: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this harvest fest is a sight to behold. Just don’t bring your cat. Suzdal, Russia (Jul) 36

2018-19


Extend your experience Don’t want your journey to end at the final whistle? No worries! Bookend your trip with rail and bus passes to explore more of Asia and Europe. EXTEND THROUGH EUROPE

LONDON CALLING Russia’s cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg give you easy access to Europe, allowing you to experience a round-theworld trip by rail. Whether you leave from London or want Helsinki you can hit the RUSSIA to end up there, highlights of East and West Stockholm in one incredible journey.St. Petersburg Eurail passesRiga give you unlimited travel in 28 countries Moscow Vilnius without having to pre-book tickets. Enjoy a breakfast Hamburg croissant in Paris, before finishing the day with beers in Warsaw Minsk up hungover in Hanover, just jump When you wake CologneBerlin. Berlin on the next train and do it all again. Brussels Prague

London

Paris

Krakow

St. Petersburg

Stockholm Tallinn Riga Copenhagen

Tallinn

Copenhagen

RUSSIA

Helsinki

Moscow

Vilnius

Hamburg London

Warsaw Cologne

Berlin

Brussels Prague

Krakow

Paris

Minsk

Kiev

Kiev

CHILLS & THRILLS Why not top or tail your journey with an epic adventure to the Arctic Circle. Explore sensational Scandinavia and soak up Nordic vibes in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Incredible scenery, unique architecture and a solid culture of innovation will leave you feeling inspired.

CHINA & SOUTH-EAST ASIA Take in China’s spectacular sights like the Terracotta Warriors, the vibrant neon strips of Shanghai and Hong Kong, and stop off at Chengdu in the pursuit of pandas. Yes. PANDAS. Travel further south for a taste of Vietnam. Don’t miss Hoi An, where you can chow down on a French Bahn Mi while soaking up an impressive collection of art and architecture that traverses eras and cultures.

CHECK OUT MORE OF ASIA Vladivostok Beijing

CHINA

Xian

Sakai Minato

Yichang Chengdu

Kyoto

Tokyo

Osaka

Shanghai

Chongqing Guiln

Kunming

Nanning

Guangzhou Hong Kong

Hanoi Hue Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh City

Jump on to vodkatrain.com or call our Travel Advisors for prices and timetables. VODKATRAIN.COM

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A story worth sharing

38

2018-19


Vodkatrain is not a journey that starts and ends on the train. Extraordinary adventures increase in potency when shared with others. It’s a scientific fact. We’re always up for dismantling the status quo, but we can’t argue with hard facts! So, how can you enhance your journey with sharing? BEFORE YOU BOARD

You’ve bagged yourself a sweet journey, now it’s time to meet your fellow adventurers. Head to the Meet Other Travellers app on the Vodkatrain Facebook page (desktop version) and put your feelers out. Connect with others in your group and feel the anticipation building as you plan the sights and activities you want to experience once on the road. Get chatting and build a hit list of the best coffee shops, gig ops, and night spots you don’t want to miss. Decide who’s responsible for bringing the phrase book, and who’s bringing the Uno cards for jovial nights spent in a vodka powered haze.

ON THE ROAD

Undoubtedly, you’ll want to share snaps of your journey to make your mates at home green with envy. It’s natural. Tag us on Facebook (@vodkatraintravel) and Instagram (@vodkatrain), and spread the love with our hashtag (#Vodkatrain), you might just see your photography prowess promoted to the world.

OUT AND ABOUT

Whether travelling on a group experience or independent adventure, catch up with our wicked Honchos at each destination. They’ll help you navigate a foreign city and give you a true taste of local life.

CREATORS

Are you a writer, blogger or photographer? We would love to hear from you. Journeys into unknown worlds have a habit of sparking an eternal flame of inspiration. Everybody is different, and we like to celebrate that. Share your unique perspective and interpretation of the cultures and countries you encounter, and inspire others to go beyond what they know to discover the world for themselves.

NEW HORIZONS

Some people think a journey is a linear path from A to B. Vodkatrainers know better. Exploring the world opens your eyes and mind and doors. What starts as an adventure becomes a fond memory of where you first met your lifelong friends. It evolves into the first journey of many. It’s where the path ahead emerges, and you realise what’s next. Previous adventurers have started careers in the travel industry. Inspired by Mongolian nomads, others have followed sustainable pursuits. Many groups start planning their next adventure before they even leave the train. Whichever you are, we know for sure your journey doesn’t end at the final whistle. Happy travels and here’s to many more. Nostrovia!

HELP US IMPROVE

Once you’re back on home soil, our Travel Advisors will send you a feedback survey. We greatly appreciate your insight to help us improve our tours and processes for future travellers. You have the power to inspire others to discover the wonders of the world by leaving an online review. You can do this on the Vodkatrain Facebook page or on third party site, tourradar.com. VODKATRAIN.COM

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BOOKING CONDITIONS | 2018 It is important that you read the following booking conditions before you book as they relate to all Vodkatrain journeys in 2018. Vodkatrain group journeys are for 18-35s only. Sundowners Travel Centre Pty. Limited (A.C.N 005 066 348) and Sundowners Travel (Europe) Limited (both referred to as “Vodkatrain” in these booking conditions) accept bookings subject to the following conditions:

1. BROCHURE VALIDITY & SURCHARGES

The information contained in this brochure and on the Vodkatrain website is correct at the time of publication. Published prices are based on the prevailing exchange rates at that time (September 2017). Our prices may change due to exchange rates and other costs. However, the prices were correct at the time of publishing. Vodkatrain reserves the right to adjust the prices listed due to currency fluctuations, government action or amendments to itineraries and train timetables beyond the control of Vodkatrain. For the most up to date information on pricing, please see our website. 1a. Rail Ticket Price Surcharges Seasonal, currency exchange or fuel surcharges may be applied to some rail ticket prices by the national rail monopolies that control ticketing prices in many of the countries Vodkatrain travels through. Such price increases are outside our control, and we reserve the right to pass on such surcharges. Any price surcharge required due to rail ticket price increases will be advised at least 60 days before the commencement your Vodkatrain travel arrangements, and payment will be required by way of a local payment in the city in which you commence your Vodkatrain travel arrangements.

2. MAKING A BOOKING

Vodkatrain group journeys are for travellers not younger than 18 years and not older than 35 years. Vodkatrain Make Your Own journeys are for travellers not younger than 18 years old. To confirm your booking Vodkatrain requires a fully completed ‘Client Information Form’ (provided to Vodkatrain or submitted online via our website). A booking is accepted on the date when Vodkatrain has confirmed acceptance in writing and issued an invoice. It is at this point that a contract between Vodkatrain and the Client comes into existence. Before your booking is confirmed and a contract comes into force, Vodkatrain reserves the right to decline any booking at their discretion. The contract, including all matters arising from it, is subject to Victorian Law (Australia) and the exclusive jurisdiction of the Victorian Courts. No employee of Vodkatrain other than a director has the authority to vary or omit any of these terms or promise any discount or refund. 2a. Deposits A deposit equivalent to 10% of the tour cost or a minimum of AUD $200, NZD $200, USD $200, CAD $200, GBP £100 or EUR €150 per person (of your chosen currency) whichever is the greater. 2b. Final Payment Final payment of the balance is due 75 days before the tour departure date, and your booking may be cancelled if full payment is not received by the due date, in which case your deposit will be forfeited. If we receive your booking less than 75 days prior to the journey departure date, it must be paid in full at time of booking.

3. REFUND

No refunds will be due for any tours, meals, accommodation, sightseeing, transfers, or any other services included in the tour cost which you did not utilise. Furthermore, refunds will not be made should you choose to voluntarily not use the service, decide to leave the tour early, or in the instance that Vodkatrain is unable to provide the service for reasons beyond its control. Any refund due for any service booked and paid for but not provided, will be assessed by Vodkatrain after the completion of your Vodkatrain travel services.

4. PASSPORTS, VISAS AND VACCINATIONS

You will require a valid passport and visas for your journey. It is solely your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the necessary documentation to comply with the laws and regulations of the countries visited. It is your sole responsibility to obtain vaccinations and preventative medicines as may be required for the duration of the tour. Information about these matters is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of Vodkatrain.

5. INSURANCE

Travel insurance is not included in the tour cost. Vodkatrain will not be responsible or liable for any injury or damages suffered or incurred in any way arising from or occurring during your journey. Comprehensive travel insurance (including medical and repatriation cover) is compulsory for all Vodkatrain journeys and Vodkatrain reserves the right to require you to leave the tour in the event that you have not secured the appropriate cover. Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended for Vodkatrain Make Your Own journeys.

6. AMENDMENTS TO BOOKINGS

If you wish to change your booking in any way, Vodkatrain will make every reasonable effort to accommodate changes and additional requests. However, the following fees will apply: If you wish to transfer your booking from one tour to another and there are at least 75 days until your departure the following transfer fees apply as per the currency of your booking: AUD $100, NZD $100, USD $100, CAD $100, GBP £50 or EUR €75 per person. If you wish to change your booking in any way less than 75 days from the departure date the cancellation fee detailed in Clause 7 will be payable. For any other changes made to your arrangements the following amendment fees apply as per the currency of your booking: AUD $50, NZD $50, USD $50, CAD $50, GBP £25 or EUR €30 per person. The only exception to this is pre or post tour accommodation and other services which may be added up to one calendar month before departure without charge. Within one calendar month, these can be added with payment of the amendment fee as shown above. Vodkatrain reserves the right to amend any tour itinerary due to force majeure, changes in local conditions, or any other reason

that Vodkatrain in its absolute discretion may determine. If an amendment to the tour itinerary is necessary, Vodkatrain will provide similar tour inclusions. Where such amendments are major (25% or more of the tour content is changed, or a price surcharge greater than 15% of the published tour cost is required) and this amendment is known before the tour commences, you will be offered the opportunity to transfer to an alternative tour, alter your departure date, or cancel with a full refund of any monies paid to Vodkatrain for the tour. Vodkatrain otherwise disclaims any liability to you for the costs of airfares, visas or any other expenses incurred by you as a result of any amendment or change to the tour itinerary. If, during the operation of the tour and for reasons beyond the control of Vodkatrain, it becomes advisable to change, amend or alter an itinerary, including the start or finish city of the tour, Vodkatrain may do so in its absolute discretion and any additional costs incurred in these changes will be the responsibility of the traveller.

7. CANCELLATION – BY TRAVELLER

Once your booking has been confirmed, Vodkatrain will only accept cancellations in writing. In the event of cancellation the following charges will apply: i) Cancellations received 75 days or more prior to departure – Loss of deposit. ii) Cancellations received between 35 days and 74 days prior to departure – 50% of the tour price. iii) Cancellations received less than 35 days prior to departure – 100% of total tour price. Note: These cancellation fees apply to tour services only. Different cancellation charges will apply to airline tickets. Depending on the reason for your cancellation, some of these cancellation charges may be recoverable under your insurance policy. No refunds will be made should you choose to leave your tour early or choose not to utilise any of the included services.

8. CANCELLATION – BY VODKATRAIN

Vodkatrain reserves the right to cancel any tour (before tour commencement), including guaranteed departures, due to force majeure, health concerns, war, or threat of war, civil unrest, acts of terrorism, strikes, industrial disputes or any other reason outside the control of Vodkatrain that Vodkatrain in its absolute discretion may determine. In such circumstances, a full refund of the tour price paid will be made, and this will be the full extent of Vodkatrain’s liability. If a guaranteed departure is cancelled for reasons other than force majeure, a full refund of monies paid will be made. In addition, Vodkatrain will offer to you a 25% reduction in the price of an alternative group tour. Vodkatrain otherwise disclaims any liability to you for the costs of airfares, visas or any other expenses incurred by you as a result of any tour cancellation.

9. PHOTOGRAPHS AND RECORDINGS

When on tour, employees, agents and/or other travellers of Vodkatrain may from time to time take photographs or make recordings of you and tour activities that may identify you. Vodkatrain reserves the right to use any and all photographs and/or recordings made on tour for promotional reasons in printed materials, on the internet or other media. In using such images, Vodkatrain undertakes not to reveal your name, contact details or other personal information. You consent to the use of such images or recordings by Vodkatrain, and you acknowledge that you will not be entitled to payment or other compensation for the giving of consent, or for the use of such images or recordings. Vodkatrain may keep such images or recordings of you on record.

10. YOUR RESPONSIBILITY 10a. Reasonable Behaviour Travelling in a group may require some compromise to accommodate the different desires and abilities of group members. When joining a Small Group Journey, you undertake to conduct yourself in a manner conducive to good group dynamics. If you act in a manner that threatens or disrupts the safety or enjoyment of others on the tour, the Honcho may in his or her absolute discretion require that you leave the tour. If you are required to leave a tour in such circumstances, no refund will be made for any unused services. 10b. Your Health & Fitness It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a suitable level of fitness to undertake the journey of your choice and that you have received required vaccinations. Fitness guidelines are provided in the Journey Itineraries and Pre-Departure Kit. You should also seek the advice of your doctor or travel health specialist regarding the specific health recommendations for travel to the countries and regions visited on your tour. You must inform Vodkatrain of any medical condition that may prevent your full participation in the tour. Should Vodkatrain or your Honcho consider you medically unfit to join a tour or should your medical condition deteriorate during the tour, to an extent where you are no longer able to fully participate in the tour, you will be required to leave the tour. No refund will be made for any unused services in such an event. Vodkatrain and their agents reserve the right to withhold or withdraw tour participation for anyone whose inappropriate behaviour or medical condition is likely to affect the smooth operation of the tour or adversely affect the safety or enjoyment of other travellers on the tour. Additionally, Vodkatrain reserves the right at any time to insist on a current medical certificate stating that you are fit to travel, and may refuse carriage if a satisfactory certificate is not supplied. Any decision to exclude a passenger for any reason will be made by Vodkatrain without any further recourse. When joining a Small Group Journey, you accept the authority of the Honcho. 10c. Complaints Should you have a complaint about any aspect of the travel arrangements you must bring it to the attention of the Honcho or our local representative at the time. If the problem is not solved to your satisfaction you must forward your complaint in writing to Vodkatrain no later than 28 days after completion of the tour addressed to Level 1, 51 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC

3000 Australia; ph +613 9672 5300 or 18to35@vodktrain.com (Attention: Liz Anderson). 10d. Health & Government Travel Advisories It is your sole responsibility to inform yourself of the prevailing travel advisories issued by the government of your country regarding the risks and associated precautions (including health) related to travel to the countries and regions visited on your tour. Health advice is available from travel health specialists and international bodies such as the World Health Organisation. Vodkatrain will not be responsible for advising you of such travel advisories or of any changes that occur to such travel advisories prior to departure of the tour.

11. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

When on tour, you may be offered the opportunity to engage in optional or non-itinerary activities. You acknowledge and agree that such activities may be inherently risky and Vodkatrain will not be responsible to you for any loss, damage, injury, accident that may occur as a result of your participation therein.

12. RESPONSIBILITY

Vodkatrain acts as an agent in the arrangement of travel services. All vouchers and tickets are issued subject to the terms and conditions specified by the supplier of those travel services. By accepting the vouchers and tickets and utilising the services, you agree that except where the law provides that liability or responsibility may not be excluded, Vodkatrain shall not be liable or responsible in respect of either person or property for any loss, damage, injury, accident, delay, diversion, fault or irregularity however occasioned, sustained or suffered in the course of any journey, trip or tour in the carrying out of any arrangements or the use of any facilities booked by or through it and not withstanding that the booking is made with a foreign company, corporation or person. You understand, and accept, that when joining a Vodkatrain tour the level of services, in the countries or regions to be visited including but not limited to, medical facilities, accommodation, transportation and communication will be lower than those you would expect at home, or in more traditional holiday destinations. You acknowledge that this can increase your personal risk, and you accept this risk. Vodkatrain shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of a matter over which it has no control including, without limitation, war or threat of war, riots, civil unrest, terrorist activity, natural disaster, weather conditions, fire, flood, industrial disputes, government action or the reasonable apprehension of any of the foregoing.

13. DEEMED CONSENT

By commencing your journey, you are deemed to have agreed and consented to all terms in these Booking Conditions and in any other documents provided to you by Vodkatrain or any other person who may have booked the tour on your behalf. If you book on behalf of another party, you represent and warrant to Vodkatrain that you are duly authorised to provide the agreement and consent the other party and you agree to indemnify Vodkatrain for any breach of warranty in this regard.

14. YOUR FINANCIAL SECURITY (UK & EU CLIENTS ONLY)

To ensure your tour booking is fully protected in accordance with EU regulations all monies received as payment for tours booked with Vodkatrain will be immediately deposited into a Client Trust Account and will remain there until the tour has been completed or the services which make up your tour are paid in full by Vodkatrain.

15. FULL PARTICIPATION Luggage: On all journeys, you will be required to carry your own luggage on or off the trains, through stations and between vehicles and hotels. Please only bring what you can carry. Do not bring oversize suitcases or bags. Walking: To fully participate in our journeys it is expected that you should be able to complete the day’s activities as outlined by your Honcho. This will include walking for much of the sightseeing and includes steps, stairs and uneven surfaces. Meals: Due to the destinations and available facilities, specific personal dietary preferences will need to be managed by the individual traveller, and any extra expense paid locally by the traveller. Individual dietary preferences have not been taken into consideration in the planning and operation of these journeys. Tolerance and Consideration: When joining our journeys, you will be expected to accept the diverse personalities, physical abilities and travel expectations of other group members, and will be required to accommodate these differences, as well as any cultural sensitivities of the places visited, and conduct yourself in a manner conducive to good group dynamics. You acknowledge that you act on behalf of all travellers included on this booking and that you have informed them of their obligations under these conditions.

16. OTHER

By paying your deposit, you acknowledge and agree that you have read, understood and agree to all related ‘booking conditions’. You also confirm that you have advised Vodkatrain of any disability or condition which may prohibit your full participation. These conditions cannot be varied or altered or waived by any servant, agent or representative of Vodkatrain or any other person providing services on the tour. Any contract between you and Vodkatrain is deemed to have been made in the State of Victoria, Australia, shall be governed by the laws of the State of Victoria and any disputes shall be dealt with by a court with the appropriate jurisdiction in Victoria. These booking conditions do not affect any rights you have as a consumer under Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010(Cth). Sundowners Travel (Europe) Limited is incorporated in England & Wales with limited liability. Registered Office: c/o 90 Lincoln Road, Peterborough, PE1 2SP. Company Registration number: 05176448 Sundowners Travel Centre Pty Limited (A.C.N. 005 066 348) is a limited liability company registered in Australia with offices located at Level 1, 51 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 and is the operator for the journeys contained in this brochure.


vodkatraintravel @vodkatrain #vodkatrain

vodkatrain.com


CONTACT US CLIENT ENQUIRIES & RESERVATIONS AUSTRALIA: 1300 559 830 NEW ZEALAND: 0800 770 155 UK: 020 8877 7656 EUROPE: +44 20 8877 7656 WORLDWIDE +61 3 9672 5382 18to35@vodkatrain.com

TRAVEL AGENT ENQUIRIES & RESERVATIONS AUSTRALIA: 1300 780 043 NEW ZEALAND: 0800 174 073 UK: 020 8877 7650 EUROPE: +44 20 8877 7650 WORLDWIDE: +61 3 9672 5380 agentsales@vodkatrain.com

Head Office Level 1, 51 Queen Street Melbourne VIC 3000 +61 3 9672 5300 All journeys contained within are operated by Sundowners Travel Centre Pty Ltd, trading as Sundowners Overland. ABN 11 005 066 348

Connect with us online vodkatraintravel @vodkatrain #vodkatrain

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Vodkatrain 2018-19 brochure  

Overland adventures for 18-35s across the Trans Siberian Railway and Silk Road. Choose one of our small group tours or make your own advent...