Page 1


UNIQUE JOURNEYS TO AnCIENT LA FINLAND Helsinki Tallinn

ESTONIA LATVIA

LITHUANIA

St. Petersburg

RUSSIA Riga

Vilnius

Warsaw

Minsk

Omsk

Kazan

BELARUS

Astana Kiev

KAZAKHSTAN

UKRAINE Caspian Sea

GEORGIA Black Sea Sochi Safranbolu Sinop

Istanbul

TURKEY

Olgii

Lake Balkhash

Budapest Bucharest

Information contained in this brochure and on the Sundowners Overland website is correct at the time of publication. Published prices are based on the prevailing exchange rates at that time (August 2016). Our prices may change due to exchange rates and other costs however, the prices were correct at the time of publishing. Sundowners Overland 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 Sundowners Overland. For the most up-to-date information on pricing please see Krasnoyarsk our website.

TUVA

Batumi Trabzon

ARMENIA

Aral Sea

Tbilisi Yerevan

Baku

Bishkek

UZBEKISTAN

KYRGYZSTAN

Tashkent

TURKMENISTAN Ashgabat

Tabriz

Merv Bukhara

Tehran

Osh

Samarkand

IRAN

Isfahan

Shimla Delhi

Jaipur Bandar Abbas Sharjah

Dubai

UAE Nizwa

Muscat Ras Al-Jinz

OMAN

Agra Udaipur Nagpur Mumbai

Aurangabad Hampi

Goa

Manzhouli iii) Cancellations received less than 35 days prior to departure – 100% of total tour price.

Terelj National Park iv) For journeys, cancellations received 60 days or less prior to Ulaanbaatar departure or “No Show” – 100% of total tour price.

Sundowners Overland 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. Komsomolsk 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, Sundowners Overland shall not be liable or responsible in respect of either personal injury or Khabarovsk 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 Harbin that the booking is made with a foreign company, corporation or person. You understand, and accept that when joining a Sundowners Vladivostok

Overland 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 their discretion. The contract, including all matters arising from it, is Shenyang 8. Cancellation - by Sundowners Overland expect at home, or in more traditional holiday destinations. subject to Victorian Law (Australia) and the exclusive jurisdiction of Beijing Sundowners Overland reserves the right to cancel any tour (before the Victorian Courts. No employee of Sundowners Overland other tour commencement), including guaranteed departures, due to force You acknowledge that this can increase your personal risk, and than Turpan a director has the authority to vary or omit any of these terms or Dunhuang majeure, health concerns, war, or threat of war, civil unrest, acts of you accept Donghae this risk. Sundowners Overland shall not be liable for promise any discount or refund. terrorism, strikes, industrial disputes or any other reason outsideSeoul any loss or damage arising out of a matter over which it has no Sakai 2a. Deposits the control of Sundowners Overland that Sundowners Overland in control including, without limitation, war orTokyo threat of war, riots, civil A deposit equivalent to 10% of the tour cost or a minimum of AUD Minato its absolute discretion may determine. In such circumstances, a full unrest, terrorist activity, natural disaster, weather conditions, fire, $200, NZD $200, USD $200, CAD $200, GBP £100 or EUR €150 Lanzhou refund ofXian the tour price paid will be made and this will be the full flood, industrial disputes, government action or the reasonable per person (of your chosen currency) whichever is the greater extent of Sundowners Overland’s liability. If a guaranteed departure apprehension of any of the foregoing. and is payable at the time of booking. For Tailor-Made Journeys Kyoto is cancelled for reasons other than force majeure, a full refund of a quote deposit may apply; this amount will be charged at the 13. Deemed consent monies paid will be made. In addition Sundowners Overland will offer discretion of our Travel Advisor at the time and will be removed By commencing your tour you are deemed to have agreed and to you a 25% reduction in the price of an alternative tour. Sundowners from the total price of your journey when booked. Deposit consented to all terms in these Booking Conditions and in any other Overland otherwise disclaims any liability to you for the costs of amounts for Luxury Train Journeys vary depending on the cabin documents provided to you by Sundowners Overland or any other Shanghai airfares, visas or any other expenses incurred by you as a result of any type selected. Deposits start from USD$1500. Please contact Chengdu person who may have booked the tour on your behalf. If you book on tour cancellation. Lhasa Sundowners Overland for the correct deposit required for the train behalf of another party, you represent and warrant to Sundowners journey of your choice. 9. Photographs and recordings Overland that you are duly authorised to provide the agreement and When on tour, employees, agents and/or other travellers of consent the other party and you agree to indemnify Sundowners Kathmandu 2b. Final Payment Sundowners Overland may from time to time take photographs Overland for any breach of warranty in this regard. Final payment of the balance is due 75 days before the departure Darjeeling or make recordings of you and tour activities that may identify date of your journey with us and your booking may be cancelled 14. Your financial security (UK & EU clients only) Dali you. Sundowners Overland reserves the right to use any and all if full payment is not received by the due date, in which case your To ensure your tour booking is fully protected in accordance with photographs and/or recordings made on tour for promotional deposit will be forfeited. If we receive your booking less than 75 EU regulations all monies received as payment for tours booked reasons in printed materials,Guangzhou on the Internet or other media. In using tour departure date, it must be paid in full at time Varanasi days prior to theMandalay with Sundowners Overland will be immediately deposited into a such images, Sundowners Overland undertakes not to reveal your of booking. Kunming Guilin Client Trust Account and will remain there until the tour has been name, contact details or other personal information. You consent completed or the services which make up your tour are paid in full by 3. RefundKolkata to the use of such images or recordings by Sundowners Overland Sundowners Overland. No refunds will be made for any tours, meals, accommodation, Hong Kong and you acknowledge that you will not be entitled to payment or Hanoi sightseeing, transfers, or any other services included in the tour other compensation for the giving of consent or for the use of such 15. Full participation (Fully Escorted Tours or Experience Tours) cost, which you did not utilise, if you choose voluntarily not to use images or recordings. Sundowners Overland may keep such images Luggage: On all journeys (except Luxury Train Journeys) you will Mai the service, if you decide to leave the tour early or ifChiang Sundowners or recordings of you on record. If you do not wish for images or be required to carry your own luggage on or off the trains, through Overland is unable to provide the service for reasons beyond its recordings of you to be collected, stored or used you must advise Yangon stations and between vehicles and hotels. Please only bring what you control. Any refund due for any service booked and paid for, but not Sundowners Overland to that effect at the time of booking. can carry. Do not bring oversized suitcases or bags. provided, will be made by Sundowners Overland after the completion Walking: To fully participate in our journeys it is expected that you 10. Your responsibility of your Sundowners Overland travel services. should be able to complete the day’s activities as outlined in this 10a. Reasonable Behaviour brochure and the relevant Journey Itinerary. This will include 4. Passports, visas and vaccinations Travelling in a group may require some compromise to walking for much of the sightseeing, and includes steps, stairs and You will require a valid passport and visas for your journey. It is accommodate the different desires and abilities of group Bangkok uneven surfaces. solely your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the members. When joining a Fully Escorted Tour or Experience Tour necessary documentation to comply with the laws and regulations you undertake to conduct yourself in a manner conducive to good Meals: Due to the destinations and available facilities, specific of the countries to be visited. It is your sole responsibility to obtain group dynamics. If you act in a manner that threatens or disrupts personal dietary preferences will need to be managed by the vaccinations and preventative medicines as may be required for the the safety or enjoyment of others on the tour, the Tour Leader may individual traveller, and any extra expense paid locally by the duration of the tour. Information about these matters is given in good in his or her absolute discretion require that you leave the tour. If traveller. Individual dietary preferences have not been taken into faith but without responsibility on the part of Sundowners Overland. Ho MinhtoCity you Chi are required leave a tour in such circumstances, no refund consideration in the planning and operation of these journeys. (Saigon) will be made for any unused services. Tolerance and consideration: When joining our journeys you will be 5. Insurance expected to accept the diverse personalities, physical abilities and 10b. Your Health & Fitness Travel insurance is not included in the tour cost. Sundowners travel expectations of other group members, and will be required to It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a suitable level of Overland will not be responsible or liable for any injury or damages accommodate these differences, as well as any cultural sensitivities health and fitness to undertake the journey of your choice and suffered or incurred in any way arising from or occurring during of the places visited, and conduct yourself in a manner conducive to that you have received required vaccinations. Fitness guidelines your journey. Comprehensive travel insurance (including medical good group dynamics. You acknowledge that you act on behalf of all are provided in the Journey Itineraries and Pre Departure Kits. and repatriation cover) is compulsory for Fully Escorted Tours or travellers included on this booking and that you have informed them You should also seek the advice of your doctor or travel health Experience Tours and Sundowners Overland reserves the right to of their obligations under these conditions. specialist regarding the specific health recommendations for travel require you to leave the tour in the event that you have not secured

NEPAL

Jodhpur

Wahiba Sands

ii) Cancellations Ulan Udereceived between 35 days and 74 days prior to departure – 50% of the tour price.

12. Responsibility

CHINA

Yazd Shiraz

i) Cancellations received 75 days or more prior to departure Chita – Loss of deposit

such activities may be inherently risky and Sundowners Overland will not be responsible to you for any loss, damage, injury or accident that may occur as a result of your participation therein.

SOUTH KOREA

Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj) Amritsar

Once your booking has been confirmed, Sundowners Overland will Bamovskaya only accept cancellations in writing. In the event of cancellation the following charges will apply: Lake Baikal

JAPAN

Kashgar

TAJIKISTAN

Mashhad

MONGOLIA

7. Cancellation - by traveller

To confirm your booking Sundowners Overland requires a fully completed Client Information Form (provided to Sundowners Note: These cancellation fees apply to tour services only. Different Overland or submitted online via our website). A booking is accepted Kharkhorin cancellation charges will apply to airline tickets. Depending on the on the date when Sundowners Overland has confirmed acceptance (Erdene Zuu)reason for your cancellation, some of these cancellation charges may in writing and issued an invoice. It is at this point that a contract be recoverable under your travel insurance policy. No refunds will be between Sundowners Overland and the Client comes into existence. made should you choose to leave your tour early or choose not to Before your booking is confirmed and a contract comes into force, utilise any of the included services. Urumqi Sundowners Overland reserves the right to decline any booking at

Almaty

Khiva

AZERBAIJAN

2. Making a booking

arrangements, you must bring it to the attention of the Tour Leader or our local representative at the time. If the problem is not solved to your satisfaction you must forward your complaint in writing to Sundowners Overland no later than 28 days after completion of the tour addressed to Level 1, 51 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia; ph +613 96725300 or travel@sundownersoverland. 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) Tommot related to travel to the countries and regions visited on your Sundowners Overland otherwise disclaims any liability to you tour. Health advice is available from travel health specialists and for the costs of airfares, visas or any other expenses incurred by Aldan international bodies such as the World Health Organisation. you as a result of any amendment or change to the tour itinerary. Sundowners Overland will not be responsible for advising you of If, during the operation of the tour and for reasons beyond the such travel advisories or of any changes that occur to such travel control of Sundowners Overland, it becomes advisable to change, advisories prior to departure of the tour. amend or alter an itinerary, including the start or finish city ofNeryungri the tour, Sundowners Overland may do so in its absolute discretion 11. Optional activities and any additional costs incurred in these changes will be the on tour, you may be offered the opportunity to engage in Tynda When Severobaikalsk responsibility of the traveller. optional or non-itinerary activities. You acknowledge and agree that

1. Brochure validity & surcharges

1a. Rail ticket price surcharges Seasonal, currency exchange or fuel surcharges may be applied to Tayshet some rail ticket prices by the national rail monopolies that control ticketing prices in many of the countries Sundowners Overland travels through. Such price increases are outside our control and we reserve the right to pass on such surcharges. Any price Irkutsk Abakan surcharge required due to rail ticket price increases will be advised at least 60 days prior to the commencement your Sundowners Overland travel arrangements and payment will be required by Kyzyl way of a local payment in the city in which you commence your Sundowners Overland travel arrangements.

Yekaterinburg

Sundowners Overland reserves the right to amend any tour itinerary due to force majeure, changes in local conditions, or any other reason that Sundowners Overland in its absolute discretion may determine. If an amendment to the tour itinerary is necessary, Sundowners Overland will provide similar tour inclusions. Where Yakutsk such amendments are major (25% or more ofNizhny the tour content is Bestyakh 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 Sundowners Overland for the tour.

It is important that you read the following Booking Conditions and the information on page 68 of this brochure before you book. These conditions are relevant for all Sundowners Overland journeys in 2017. Sundowners Travel Centre Pty. Limited (A.C.N 005 066 348) and Sundowners Travel (Europe) Limited (both referred to as “Sundowners Overland” in these booking conditions), accept bookings subject to the following conditions:

Novosibirsk

Moscow

POLAND

2017 Booking Conditions

Chennai Bangalore Mysore Kochi

INDIA

MYANMAR

VIETNAM

THAILAND

MALAYSIA

Kuala Lumpur

the appropriate cover (see Journey Itineraries for further details of appropriate cover). Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly Singapore recommended for Independent Journeys and Tailor-Made Journeys.

to the countries and regions visited on your tour. You must inform Sundowners Overland of any medical condition that may prevent your full participation in the tour.

6. Amendments to bookings

Should Sundowners Overland or your Tour Leader 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.

If you wish to change your booking in any way, Sundowners Overland will make every reasonable effort to accommodate changes and additional requests. However, the following fees will apply: i) If you wish to transfer your booking from one tour to another and there is 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.

Moscow and St. Petersburg

Irkutsk and Lake Baikal

The ‘Stans’

Nomadic Mongolia

Lose yourself in the splendour and grandeur of two of the world’s most fascinating and exciting cities.

Respectively known as the ‘Paris’ and ‘Pearl’ of Siberia, beauty and wonder can be found in abundance.

Diverse architecture, cultures, landscapes and people warmly greet all those who venture to this rewarding region.

With stunning landscapes and generous hospitality, you’ll be hard pressed not to fall in love with this charming country.

ii) 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 apply. iii) 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.

Sundowners Overland 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, Sundowners Overland 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 Sundowners Overland without any further recourse. When joining a Fully Escorted Tour or Experience Tour you accept the authority of the Tour Leader. 10c. Complaints Should you have a complaint about any aspect of the travel

16. Other

By paying your deposit you acknowledge and agree that you have read, understood and agree to these Booking Conditions. You also confirm that you have advised Sundowners Overland of any disability or condition which may prohibit your full participation. These conditions cannot be varied, altered or waived by any servant, agent or representative of Sundowners Overland or any other person providing services on the tour. The contract between you and Sundowners Overland 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.

17. Privacy

Sundowners Overland collects, stores and uses personal information.

83


ANDS

“Ours are not ordinary holidays, but rather extraordinary journeys. Once in a lifetime travel experiences across Asia Overland following the ancient trade routesYakutsk of the trader Nizhny Bestyakh and conquest, in the adventurous footsteps of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane and Marco Polo.� Tommot Aldan Neryungri

Krasnoyarsk

vosibirsk

Tynda

Severobaikalsk Bamovskaya

Tayshet Lake Baikal

TUVA

Chita

Irkutsk

Abakan

Komsomolsk

Ulan Ude

Kyzyl

Manzhouli Terelj National Park Ulaanbaatar

Olgii

MONGOLIA

Khabarovsk

Harbin

Kharkhorin (Erdene Zuu)

Vladivostok

Urumqi Beijing Turpan

Shenyang

Dunhuang

Donghae Sakai SOUTH Minato

Seoul

Lanzhou

KOREA

Xian

CHINA

PAL

Kathmandu Darjeeling

Varanasi

NDIA

Tokyo

Kyoto

Shanghai

Chengdu

Lhasa

JAPAN

Dali

Mandalay

Kunming

Kolkata

Guilin

Hong Kong

Hanoi

MYANMAR Yangon

Chiang Mai

Guangzhou

VIETNAM

THAILAND Bangkok

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

MALAYSIA Kuala Lumpur Singapore

Ancient Persia

China

From ancient relics to the modern-day hustle and bustle of this sophisticated country, Iran is keen to show travellers true hospitality.

China is a country of epic proportions. Its treasures, cuisine and landscapes have attracted travellers throughout its history.

The Caucasus

Discover a unique combination of Christian and Islamic history, set against the stunning backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains.

Discover Myanmar There is truly no place in the world more colourful and alive than this spectacular country. Immerse 3 yourself and find out. 83 www.sundownersoverland.com


Our Story Began Over 50 Years Ago... What’s Inside 04 Our Story 06 Discover the Sundowners Overland Experience 08 Our People 10 Travelstyles and Journey Grading Later, we opened a shop in London to cater for the growing demand for Asia Overland and Europe journeys. In the seventies, we pushed the frontiers by developing overland journeys behind the ‘Iron Curtain’, before introducing Trans Siberian Railway journeys using steam-powered locomotives from Nakhodka to St Petersburg in 1976. Those were the days when the Soviet Union’s eastern naval port of Vladivostok – the true terminus of the railway - was firmly closed to foreign visitors, and using a branch line to Nakhodka was necessary. Much has changed since those heady days - standards of transport have improved, new railway lines have opened, international borders have altered, and political regimes have come and gone. But, throughout one constant remains - the quest to keep on discovering the paths less travelled which still lives on in the hearts of adventurous travellers the world over.

Our journey as an independent specialist tour operator began in 1964 when two ‘combie vans’ and a handful of adventurous travellers set off in convoy with our driver-guides to travel the roads less frequented from Australia through Asia and the Middle East and on via Europe to London. We are sure that you’ll agree that was some journey!

4

Sharing Asia Overland. Differently.

12 Tailor-Made Journeys 14 Private Group Tours 16 Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian Railways 20 Grand Trans Siberian Railway — 30 Day 22 The Trans Siberian Railway with Mongolia and China — 29 Days 24 The Trans Siberian Railway with China and Mongolia — 28 Days 26 Trans Mongolian Explorer — 26 Days 28 Trans Mongolian Discovery — 21 Days 30 Trans Mongolian Express — 21 Days 32 Mongolia and Beyond — 19 Days 34 Classic Trans Mongolian — 16 Days

Through it all, we are pleased to say that Sundowners Overland has kept the faith, moved with the times and set the trends to firmly establish itself as the world’s leading Trans Siberian Railway and Silk Road tour operator. From serving travellers in Australia and the United Kingdom, we have expanded to also cater to New Zealanders, Americans, Canadians, as well as Europeans.

36 Classic Trans Siberian — 14 Days

We invite you to join us as we travel across Asia Overland following the ancient routes of trade and conquest in the adventurous footsteps of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane and Marco Polo.

46 Festivals and Special Departures

Our Passion: Sharing Asia Overland - Differently

54 Gobi Desert Explorer — 16 Days

Maintaining our position as the market leader is never taken for granted. At Sundowners Overland we have always strived to do things differently and better. In many cases we have been the first to develop programs to take advantage of newly opened border crossings, access roads and rail lines. Our directors and planners are constantly on the road, seeking out new opportunities, developing itineraries, and discussing the finer details with our team and Local Partners stationed across the expanses of Asia to ensure that our travellers are supported along the way. Today, we are proud to offer the most extensive choice of Asia Overland routes and travel styles in the market to cater to the widest range of standards and activity levels. We invite you to compare the breadth of our product offering to those of our competitors – most of whom are travel generalists rather than Asian specialists. We believe that you will agree that Sundowners Overland is passionate about the region and this brochure and our website are testimony that we are committed to Sharing Asia Overland – Differently.

38 Customising Your Journey 40 Tsar’s Gold Luxury Private Train 43 Golden Eagle Luxury Private Train

48 Naadam Adventure — 10 Days 50 Trans Mongolian with Naadam — 24 Days 52 Wild Mongolia and the Golden Eagle Festival — 16 Days 56 Christmas Trans Mongolian — 24 Days 58 The Caucasus 60 Mountains and Monasteries — 21 Days 62 Highlights of the Caucasus — 12 Days 64 Persian Caravan — 26 Days 66 The Silk Road and Central Asia 70 Tamerlane’s Empire — 12 Days 72 Silk Road Adventure — 22 Days 74 Great Rail Explorer — 34 Days 76 Silk Road Railway — 30 Days 78 Grand Asian Caravan — 41 Days 80 Myanmar and Yunnan Explorer — 23 Days 82 Planning Your Journey 83 Bookings Conditions

www.sundownersoverland.com

5


Discover the Sundowners Overland experience

Unique personal approach We believe that the true joy of travelling is derived from both the destinations we experience and the people we meet along the way. From the mode of transport to sightseeing activities, every itinerary created by Sundowners Overland is designed to provide you with opportunities to interact with local people and enrich your understanding of the area and its culture. These opportunities are priceless, and make your Sundowners Overland journey a rewarding and unique personal experience.

Our Tour Leaders, City Ambassadors and Specialist Local Guides We believe that excellent local support is of prime importance to smooth the way and ensure that your journey is as enjoyable and uneventful as possible. You will be reassured to know that our extensive network of tour leaders who travel with you (on Fully Escorted journeys), local guides who conduct sightseeing at particular places of interest, and local partners who work with us to take care of the overall arrangements; are there to assist you to make the most out of your time in the destinations you visit. Recently, we have added city ambassadors to our team. This new innovation ensures that informal advice and companionship is even available to help you find your way during free time in cities. Our unique combination of people on the ground is unsurpassed. Their sheer enthusiasm, energy and spirit are your guarantee of an unforgettable travel experience.

Peace of Mind We understand the importance of handling your travel arrangements with care. Our team of specialist Travel Advisors are on hand to assist to plan your journey and offer assistance with visa requirements for the destinations you wish to visit, arrange pre and post journey travel options and provide general destination information and advice. While you are on the road, we also provide 24/7 support through our Melbourne-based head office where the operations department is in constant contact with our overseas partners.

Riding The Rails With Us If there is a more relaxing, enjoyable and rewarding way of crossing Asia Overland than aboard the incredible rail network that spans the entire continent, we’re yet to discover it. From Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing or Vladivostok to Moscow, St Petersburg or London - by way of Mongolia and the Gobi Desert or the great Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara this vast rail system brings access to some of Asia’s most remote and little visited regions. While we use other transportation as required in regional areas, the majority of travel with Sundowners Overland is in 2 or 4-berth compartments on regular public rail services that are comfortable, reliable and offer great opportunities to make new friends and interact with local people. Generally speaking, our Traveller and Classic series of unescorted journeys use 4 berth cabins (with options to upgrade to 2 berth cabins), while our Premium series is fully escorted, uses 2 berth cabins, and includes porterage, inclusive sightseeing and local 4 star hotels in cities along the way. Very often, travellers consider our Premium series as an economic and authentic alternative to private train tours. (See page 10)

For over 50 years Sundowners Overland has been supporting travellers to achieve their dreams. Our planning expertise and local assistance at every step of the way gives peace of mind while travelling in some of the world’s most remote areas.

6

Onboard there is plenty of room for luggage and making yourself comfortable. Clean linen is provided on each rail sector and carriage attendants are on hand to ensure you have an enjoyable journey. Basic but adequate toilet and washing facilities are located at each end of your carriage, and are standard on public rail services. The dining car is always a focal point of life on board offering meals, snacks, drinks and a place to relax during the day. A limited number of private trains offer quite luxurious rail services on some lines. We use these services for our Luxury Train Journeys where travellers require tour managers, cabins with private facilities, bar cars and restaurant cars offering a range of culinary experiences. While these features are prized by some travellers, it is worth noting that these high standard trains cater exclusively to tourist groups, and the interesting experience of meeting Russian travellers is lost.

Characteristic, Comfortable Accommodation While you will usually spend some nights on a train, most journeys also include accommodation at hotels and guesthouses in major cities. (The precise details are noted on each journey throughout the brochure). Our accommodation is carefully selected and affords our travellers a warm welcome. We base our evaluations on comfort, convenience of location and guest facilities. As you will appreciate, accommodation in remote areas is hard to equate to western rating systems, but as a general guide most would be of a 3-star standard. All rooms have private facilities. Exceptions to this general rule: The Trans Siberian with China & Mongolia journey (p.24), Trans Siberian with Mongolia and China (page 22), Mountains and Monasteries (page 60) and The Christmas Trans Mongolian (p. 56) use accommodation similar to 4 star with private facilities. Our Luxury Train Journeys (pgs. 40-45) offer a 5 star equivalent with private facilities. Further afield, we use guesthouses and gers and yurts – the traditional home of nomads across Central Asia – to provide our travellers with unique and comfortable accommodation with friendly hosts, to ensure an authentic and memorable experience. (This accommodation is on a multi-share, mixed gender basis and frequently the best available in the area).

Good News for Solo Travellers Single travellers are welcome on all our journeys. The good news is that single travellers on our Fully Escorted journeys do not need to pay single supplements if they are prepared to share twin rooms with group members of the same gender in hotels, guesthouses and home stays. On trains and in the Mongolian gers multi-share on a mixed gender basis is the norm. Solo travellers on independent arrangements will need to pay single supplements. Similarly travellers who request single room accommodation on small group journeys can be catered for on selected journeys, and where this applies one supplementary payment covering all hotels on the journey may be made.

The type of journey and Travelstyle you choose All Sundowners Overland journeys are designed to provide travellers with opportunities to experience a number of unique sights and activities that will enrich their understanding of the destinations and regional cultures. The ballet at the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, a cooking lesson in Beijing, camel riding in western China or a traditional Mongolian throat singing concert in Ulaanbaatar are among experiences which often become memorable journey highlights. The type of journey and Travelstyle you choose will determine the amount of sightseeing and number of activities that are included in your particular journey. Free time within our itineraries is designed to give travellers ample opportunity to enjoy additional activities which are not included in the itinerary.

Choosing Your Journey Checking out the index of this brochure to discover the vast range of journeys available is the easy part. The hard part will be deciding exactly which journey will suit you best. Naturally the places visited will be a major decider – but care should be taken to consider the Travelstyle which suits you best, and the Level of Activity involved and our Journey Grading system. We talk more about these important points on page 10, and note them on each itinerary for your convenience. Our Travel Advisors are ready to offer further advice in needed.

7


Our People Our extensive network of Local Partners, Local Guides, City Ambassadors, Tour Leaders and Travel Advisors really sets Sundowners Overland apart. From the first time you get in touch with us our specialist staff are with you every step of the way, guiding you through the whole process to ensure the smooth running of your journey and helping you get the most out of your time in the destinations you visit. Here are some of the team that we have on hand to make sure that you have an unforgettable travel experience.

Travel Advisors

8

Tour Leaders

“Creating epic journeys and getting clients excited for their adventure is easy when we visit such amazing places. Each new enquiry lets me re-live my own memories of discovering these destinations; its barely work at all! Travel Advisor - Luke Walker”

“Sharing the excitement and passion of our travellers is truly amazing. Each new person brings their own unique insights and observations about a destination so whether I am there for the 1st or the fiftieth time it is like I am discovering it anew.”

Travel Advisor - Luke Walker

Tour Leader - Will Boadle-

From the first time that you get in touch with us our experienced team of Travel Advisors are committed to providing specialist advice and planning to make sure your great adventure runs smoothly, and that you get the most out of your time in the destinations you visit.

Every Sundowners Overland Fully Escorted Tour and Private Group Tour is accompanied by a Tour Leader, chosen for their experience, personal qualities and passion for our style of travel. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds and are sure to make your journey more interesting.

They possess a wealth of personal experience from travelling through the regions in which we operate and thrive on the opportunity to share Asia Overland, differently with our travellers.

Our Tour Leaders possess a real interest in the regions we travel through and their people, as well as a desire to share their experiences and to help you to discover these areas.

From destination and travel planning advice, to visa support, organising the logistics of your journey and even giving you tips on what to pack, our Travel Advisors are there to help you choose and prepare for your journey of a lifetime.

Supported by our Operations Team and our Local Partners, they take care of all the transport, accommodation and paperwork necessary to ensure a smooth running trip. They are not a tour guide but rather the combination of an organiser, negotiator and bureaucracy battler who will be with you throughout your journey.

City Ambassadors

“I try to take clients to places less touristy to let them have a chance to interact with locals.” City Ambassador - Surat Eshkuvatov

To ensure you have the very best experience on your Independent Journey or Tailor-Made Journey, we offer a City Ambassador service in a number of cities along the Trans Siberian/Mongolian Railways and the Silk Road. Our City Ambassadors are there to facilitate your stay and to ensure that you see, do and experience as much of their city as possible. City Ambassadors live in and love the city you are visiting. They know its history and landmarks, but also many lesser known but equally fascinating places and are the key that will unlock the city and allow you to enjoy all it has to offer with greater freedom and understanding. Our City Ambassador service is included on any Independent Journeys with a Classic Service Level. For those who have booked a Traveller level journey, City Ambassadors can be booked on a half or full-day basis to suit your personal preferences.

Local Guides and Partners

“An open mind, tolerance, sense of humour, taste for adventure and for knowledge are all you really need to enjoy your journey.” Local Guide - Polina Zivert

Sundowners Overland’s extensive network of Local Partners and Guides ensure that independent and group travellers alike receive the service and support they need when exploring our destinations. Local Guides are waiting for you in each city to complement scheduled sightseeing with expert knowledge from someone who is native to the country or city that you are exploring. Local Guides are there to provide you with a unique insight into their country, life and customs. Local Partners operate behind the scenes in each of our destinations to help ensure the smooth running of your journey. They’re there to make sure that no matter where you are in the regions we travel to, you will always have access to any on-ground support that you may need. We have been working with many of our Local Partners for over ten years and their support of our travellers is key to the success of any journey.

9


Travelstyles – It’s All About Choice

FULLY ESCORTED TOURS

These are our benchmark itineraries. They provide a level of activity and standard of accommodation to suit most travellers. The itineraries are designed to offer a careful balance of included sightseeing and free time to experience local life. Our tour leader is on hand to ensure you see the sights and venture behind the scenes to explore bazaars and tea-houses to meet the local people that they have come to know and value along the way. Group Size & Leaders: Most tours have a maximum of 15 travellers. However, some special departures may have up to 24 travellers – these are noted on the applicable tour pages and in Journey Itineraries. Each tour is accompanied by a Sundowners Overland tour leader, local city guides conduct sightseeing tours, and City Ambassadors are also available in some cities. Accommodation: 3 star (equivalent) hotels & comfortable guest houses with private facilities; gers and yurts with shared facilities. Some Fully Escorted Tours offer 4 star (equivalent) accommodation – e.g. The Trans Siberian Railway with China & Mongolia on pgs. 24-25; Christmas Trans Mongolian on pgs. 56-57 Transport: Comfortable 2 or 4 berth compartments on public trains – depending on tour and upgrades requested. Other transport as required. Sightseeing & Inclusions: Most transfers. Airport transfers are not included for passengers joining or leaving tours. However, these may be organised on request and additional payment. Sightseeing with specialist guides & some meals (as indicated on Journey Itineraries).

EXPERIENCE TOURS

These tours are designed for travellers who enjoy the freedom and flexibility of independent travel but like to take advantage of the benefits of travelling with a group. Each journey is constructed to ensure flexibility and a comfortable level of activity with time to explore, relax, and enjoy the regions visited. These tours are not fully escorted, but include knowledgeable local guides in each city to show you around. City Ambassadors are also available in some cities. Group Size & Leaders: Up to 15 travellers. Local city guides conduct sightseeing tours, City Ambassadors are also available on Classic journeys in some cities. Accommodation: 3 star (equivalent) hotels & comfortable guest houses with private facilities; gers and yurts with shared facilities. Transport: Comfortable 4 berth compartments on public trains. 2 berth upgrades are available on most journeys. Other transport as required. Sightseeing & Inclusions: Most transfers. Airport transfers are not included for passengers joining or leaving tours. However, these may be organised on request and additional payment. Sightseeing with specialist guides & some meals (as indicated on Journey Itineraries).

INDEPENDENT JOURNEYS

Sundowners Overland is the world’s leading Trans Siberian Railway and Silk Road tour operator. And, with over 50 years’ experience in overland travel our expertise opens up more exciting places throughout China, Mongolia, Russia and Central Asia than any other tour operator. Our Travelstyles ensure that you have the freedom of choice to select the style of travel that suits you best. After all, it’s your holiday of a lifetime, and we want to give you as many choices as possible to make your experience one to remember always.

10

Travelling on your own or with a select group of your friends brings freedom and flexibility. Using one of our carefully structured journeys featured in this brochure enables you to travel on a pre-planned itinerary which is tried and tested, without joining a tour with other passengers or a tour leader. Group Size & Leaders: The number of passengers will depend on the size of your party. There are no tour leaders or local guides. However, journeys denoted as Classic Service Level on the itinerary pages do include the services of our City Ambassadors in selected cities. (Passengers on journeys denoted by other service levels may purchase the services of a City Ambassador in selected cities, as required) Accommodation: Most levels of accommodation may be used to suit your requirements. Transport: Comfortable 4 berth compartments on public trains. 2 berth upgrades are available on most journeys when two people are travelling together. Other transport as required. Sightseeing & Inclusions: No meals, sightseeing or airport transfers are included. You are free to make your arrangements locally at your own cost. We shall be pleased to make additional arrangements for you as requested, at additional cost. We provide an inspired list of suggestions for all itineraries.

JOURNEY GRADING

We understand the importance of choosing the program that best suits your requirements and fitness, so we have created journeys with differing service and activity levels to offer choices. Service Levels All Sundowners Overland journeys offer high quality, value for money travelling experiences. Please remember that we specialise in overland experiences through fairly remote areas. Often, due to distances between places of significant interest, travelling days may be long and sometimes challenging. The accommodation we select is clean and comfortable, with local flavour, and never luxurious or sophisticated. Where we refer to a particular accommodation category it is based on an official local grading or our own view where there is no such grading. Premium These journeys are group departures accompanied by a tour leader. They are our most inclusive journeys with more comprehensive sightseeing and meals, arrival and departure transfers (after joining the tour, excluding departure transfer on last day), 2 berth train compartments (the highest level available on public trains), porterage, 4-star (local equivalent) hotels in central locations, and higher standard guesthouses with private facilities. Where gers or yurts are mentioned these will always be multi-share accommodation with shared bathrooms. Classic Independent travellers enjoy centrally located 3-star (local equivalent), comprehensive sightseeing, and the services of a City Ambassador for a full day to show them around in selected cities, most arrival and departure transfers (after joining the tour, excluding departure transfer on last day), 4-berth train compartments (upgradable to 2–berth at supplementary cost). No meals are included. (The majority of our fully escorted tours and all Experience Tours provide this level of service as standard). Traveller This is our most economic range which is designed for independent travellers who like certain arrangements to be made in advance, including 3-star hotels with private facilities; but prefer to be as flexible as possible when it comes to sightseeing, transfers and meals which are excluded at this level. Rail travel includes 4-berth compartments (upgradable to 2-berth at supplementary cost). (This level is only available as an option for Independent Journeys, Tailor-Made Journeys and Private Group Tours).

ACTIVITY LEVELS

Although all of our journeys are suitable to almost everyone who is reasonably fit and active, and age is rarely a factor, we have graded our journeys according to pace and content, as these are usually major determiners. Please read the descriptions carefully. Travellers who are less agile, require general assistance, or who don’t wish to carry their own baggage may prefer the additional services exclusively available with our Premium series of escorted tours. Please remember that our journeys are not your average resort holiday or coach tour – and our travellers would not have it any other way. Journeys at this level of activity will take you to the sights at a comfortable pace and appeal to most people. These journeys may be shorter in duration, travel at a more relaxed pace, or spend a little more time at each destination. Well suited for anyone who is in good health, enjoys the outdoors and an active lifestyle, these journeys offer full and rewarding days of activity, so when you put your feet up at the end of the day you will have a real sense of accomplishment. Journeys at this level may entail longer or more frequent periods on the move, be it taking in the different sights or travelling on to the next destination. Designed for those with a pronounced spirit of adventure, who really enjoy life on the road just as much as the destinations; these journeys have you on the move a lot more often, or for a longer total duration. The physical requirement of being able to carry your own luggage, engage in longer periods of sightseeing, and undertake long drives or train journeys is more pertinent, but often more richly rewarding.

11


tailor-made journeys

A Tailor-Made holiday is a unique travel experience designed to suit your own personal requirements. Sundowners Overland’s destination specialists are on hand to guide you in building your itinerary, style of accommodation, mode of transport and any special arrangements you might want to add to make your trip perfect. While our travel heritage is overland journeys along the extensive road and railway networks of Asia, Sundowners Overland’s destinations are also ideal for active adventures. We are able to offer fully supported hiking & walking tours amongst some of the world’s most beautiful mountain scenery in the Pamir, Tien Shan, Altai and Caucasus mountain ranges.

Imagine creating your own personal journey along the Silk Road or Trans Siberian Railway, selecting your own unique blend of travel ‘ingredients’ – and adding as much spice as you like! Starting from scratch, you can build your perfect itinerary based on where you want to go, what you want to do, and how long you want to do it – all with the help of our dedicated team of destination specialists. You might choose one of our published itineraries as a starting point, and make some small adjustments to better suit your travel desires - or perhaps just let your imagination run wild…

12

The Road Less Travelled Tailor-Made Journeys are only limited by your imagination, and there are some incredible experiences to be discovered throughout our unique destinations;

Embark on a camel and horse trek through the Altai or Pamir mountains following old Silk Road trails and living the life of a nomad – with the nomads.

Let us create a personalised overland jeep safari through the ‘Stans from Samarkand, Bukhara and the Fergana Valley through the high passes of the Tien Shan mountains to fabled Kashgar. Or beyond Ulaanbaatar, across the Gobi and ger-dotted plains of western Mongolia, to Tuva and the vast steppe of Siberia beyond.

Celebrate with a week of 5* hotels, fine dining and personal guided tours of Moscow and St Petersburg for a special anniversary or honeymoon (and tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre of course).

Our People Make The Difference Working with you or your travel agent, our specialist Travel Advisors will help you create a unique and personal travel experience that you will be able to value and savour for years to come. In all our destinations we have the very best Local Partners who will take great care to ensure your journey exceeds your expectations, while our Local Guides and City Ambassadors will share their city sights and highlights with you to discover the best of each city from a local perspective, and make recommendations and reservations for restaurants and local cultural shows and events. Throughout your travels our Operations Team in St Petersburg and Client Support Team in Melbourne are contactable at any time to assist with any questions you may have. So, contact Sundowners Overland or your Travel Agent today to start the adventure of your unique Tailor-Made journey.

13


Private Group Tours

Every year we use our specialist knowledge and experience to plan journeys especially for groups of travellers. Be it groups comprising family or friends who would like to travel on one of our existing journeys by themselves, to the exclusion of others. Or as is very often the case, a group of like-minded people – perhaps members of a social or sporting club, a society with common interests wishing to attend a special event, business people attending a conference, or a church group with a focus on certain aspects of a region. And, perhaps it’s not surprising – given that many of our standard itineraries include travel by rail - we also attract groups of railway enthusiasts wanting to ride the rails; even though, almost all of those steam trains have long since been replaced.

Imagine one of our experienced tour leaders taking care of details along the way and catering to special interests exclusively for you and your party. Yes, we are speaking about the ultimate dream journey - going where you want to go, hand-picking the sights that you want to see, and travelling with a style and pace to keep everybody happy. Is this too good to be true? Read on ….

Importantly, we are here to turn your dreams into reality. Regardless of the number of likely participants, we shall be pleased to advise you on the best ways to handle all the arrangements. While many of our current range of journeys feature rail, it may be more practical to fly in and uses coaches, 4WD’s, or shorter rail sectors on some itineraries. Naturally every itinerary will be different and as such the logistics and operations will require specialised, close attention. Research and detailed planning is all part of the process in arriving at the most suitable itinerary. As things progress, we take care of detailed predeparture information, itineraries and tickets, invitation letters, and advise on visa guidelines, to ensure the group is fully supported. But, let’s not get bogged down in the detail as that’s what we do behind the scenes. The destinations are enticing – and you’ll find lots of inspiration in this brochure to start you thinking. Whether you know exactly where you want to go, or whether you are searching for new ideas, we are here to guide and work with you every step of the way. Certainly, the possibilities for private group travel are almost endless!

Let’s look at some of the groups we have handled in the past "Celebrating a special birthday with friends is the perfect opportunity to plan a Trans Monogolian adventure. Taking one of our standard itineraries this group added in a couple of extra stops and made a journey that was uniquely theirs" A group of friends with an interest in hiking and climbing, wanting to do an in-depth tour of Kyrgyzstan. This mountainous country is spectacular and boasts peaks over 7,000 metres, thousands of glaciers, alpine valleys and ice-blue lakes. The tour included excursions to Ala-Archa Nature Park, Cholpon-Ata , Issyk Kul Lake before time in Bishkek – the national capital.

Where To From Here? Talk to us or your Travel Agent about what you have in mind in broad detail, and think about the likely number of participants. One of our specialist Travel Advisors will be pleased to talk with you and assist to refine the requirements. From there we involve our operations and planning people, including local partners in the destinations concerned, to come up with an itinerary and a cost indication. We will include our suggestions to enhance the experience including sightseeing and activities tailored to suit a theme. Naturally, we will work with you to make any alterations necessary, before presenting the finished product.

Keep in mind, that we are experienced in catering to groups of any size – perhaps two or three couples, five members of a family, or maybe 30 or 40 people on a special interest tour.

14

15


trans siberiAn and trans mongolian railways

History of the railways A vision of Tsar Alexander III, construction was carried out under the direction of his son Tsar Nicholas II, who laid the foundation stone at Vladivostok in 1890. The line was constructed to provide better access from Moscow and St Petersburg, to the largely untapped resources of Siberia and the eastern port of Vladivostok – Russia’s only year round, ice-free port and a strategic naval base. Construction took place between 1891 and 1916 using soldiers and prisoners, with a tremendous loss of life. While the Trans Siberian is the most famous line, and there are certainly travellers who wish to take the original route between Moscow and Vladivostok; these days many chose to travel the line from Moscow to Irkutsk in the Lake Baikal region, before joining the Trans Mongolian, southward to Ulaanbaatar (to see the Mongolian steppe and the Gobi Desert), and on to Beijing, (to experience the Chinese capital and the Great Wall). Other variations of the route include the Trans Manchurian Railway which leaves the Trans Siberian line at Chita and travels through northern China to Harbin and then south to Beijing; and the Baikal –Amur Mainline (BAM), which leaves the Trans Siberian at Tayshet and traverses the northern shore of Lake Baikal at Severobaikalsk before rejoining the mainline at Khabarovsk, some 4,324 kilometres later. Whichever route you chose, Sundowners Overland recommends stopovers en route to enable you to experience the countries. On the pages which follow you’ll find a wide selection of rail journeys packaged with sightseeing inclusions to suit most tastes - these may be taken on a group, or independent basis.

Year Round Journeys Trains operate all year round. They are heated in the colder months and, air-conditioned in warmer months. Temperatures are regulated by the train attendants. Small windows in the corridors also provide some fresh air. Trains generally travel at moderate speeds which enable passengers to gaze out of the windows to survey the passing countryside, although some dust and grim on the exterior is to be expected. The best time to travel is a matter of personal preference although May – September is usually most popular. The seasons are similar to those in other temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, with each bringing its own special magic. Winter offers deep snow that extends across the steppe to create an unsurpassed wonderland. Temperatures drop below zero for much of this time. Spring arrives in April, when the land thaws, flowers bloom and the birds and animals rouse. Summer is marked by an 18-hour arc of the sun in July when the days are usually warmest. Autumn offers russet colours and falling leaves in October, and shortly after winter arrives.

Food All trains have restaurant cars which provide a small selection of meals at additional cost, as well as soft and alcoholic beverages. Within Russia meals will be mainly Russian cuisine, and similarly Chinese trains will offer Chinese cuisine. Sometimes, Mongolian trains are used on shorter services and these feature locally-based dishes which consist mainly of mutton and rice. Many travellers also bring their own food on board, and use the plentiful hot water from the samovars in each carriage to make beverages, soups and noodles. Other supplies may be purchased at stations where trains stop en route. Depending on the time of year, vendors sell fresh fruit, salted fish (an acquired taste), and other items including breads and biscuits. While public train travel is no gourmet experience, you certainly won’t starve!

Border Crossings Trains stop at border crossings to complete formalities when travellers need to produce the correct documentation. As Chinese railways use a different gauge to that of Russia and Mongolia, trains stop at Erlian on the Chinese-Mongolian border while each carriage is hoisted by huge cranes, and bogies are individually exchanged. The process takes up to four hours, and passengers may either stay on board, or spend time in the station.

What To Expect The Trans Siberian Railway may be the world’s most famous train journey. It is certainly the longest, covering a mammoth 9,289 kilometres from Moscow’s Yaroslavsky station all the way to Vladivostok on the shores of the Sea of Japan. Along the way it crosses sixteen major rivers and seven time zones in seven days. And, the best part is that travellers will experience the splendour of Russia’s landscapes, and the cultures of the people that inhabit this fascinating region on their journey, regardless of the season they chose to travel. 16

Most of our programs use public rail services which provide an excellent opportunity to get to know the local people. The majority of our journeys are based on four-berth accommodation with upper and lower berths. Supplements are usually available for travellers who wish to upgrade to two berth compartments. All compartments are mixed-gender. During the day, lower berths become seats and at night they are converted for sleeping. The majority of public rail services do not offer private facilities however there are washrooms (no showers), and toilet facilities at either end of the carriage which are well-maintained by the train attendants. Most travellers find this quite adequate.

soldiers of the Monument dedicated to of 1904 to 1905, Russian-Japanese war Vladivostok.

17


ing a about arrang er d ea L r ou T in Kyoto. Ask your a ceremony te e es n pa Ja traditional

Interesting Places To See En Route Once foreign travellers were unable to break their Trans Siberian Railway journeys, as many of the cities en route were considered too strategically sensitive to allow visitors – although the official line was usually that insufficient accommodation existed. Now that officialdom has changed visitors may travel wherever they please. We shall be pleased to assist with reservations for these stopover recommendations and places of your choice on request.

St. Petersburg Formerly known as Stalingrad and Leningrad, before reverting to its former name of St Petersburg, this city offers graceful 18th century architecture which is zealously protected from modern redevelopment. There is much to commend it to visitors with the river Neva flowing through its heart, and picturesque canals lined with former tsarist palaces and other stately buildings. The skyline is dominated by the beautifully restored golden dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral, while the fine golden spire of the St Peter and Paul Fortress is a landmark in the south. The stunning green, white and gold façade of the Winter Palace dominates Palace Square which witnessed both the 1905 and 1917 revolutions to overthrow tsarist rule, while its Alexander Column commemorates victory over Napoleon in 1812. No visit to the city is complete without seeing the Hermitage Museum - one of the world’s great galleries housed in a former palace.

Moscow At its centre lies the Red Square, dominated by the Kremlin. Tucked into its walls there’s the entrance to Lenin’s tomb, where his embalmed body lies in state. Opposite stands the GUM, an elegant collection of exclusive stores with a layout which remains faithful to the Grand Bazaar where Muscovites once purchased exotic goods that arrived on camels from central Asia. There’s a hint of the orient in places, and the city’s numerous massive stations stand as testimony to the fact that railways from far flung corners of this multi-ethnic nation converge on the capital bringing Russians from diverse European and Asian backgrounds with them. The new Cathedral of Christ the Saviour stands beside the Moscow River, with its stark white walls capped

18

by golden arches. Golden cupolas rise at each corner, while a grand dome extends from the centre to dominate the Moscow skyline. The vibrant, pulsating city sprawls in all directions, with concentric thoroughfares radiating out from the centre. Adverse winter weather, and year round traffic congestion prompts locals to use the Metro – Moscow’s famous and extensive underground rail system - where some of the older stations feature chandeliers and murals on their tiled walls and ceilings. Above or below ground, this is a city not to be missed.

were exiles who went on to have profound cultural influences. Their wooden homes are still evident, complete with ornately hand -carved decorations. During the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1922), the city was a battleground for clashes between residents loyal to the White Russians (tsarists) and those who favoured the Bolshevik Reds. Local museums, Russian Orthodox monasteries and churches, and the old icebreaker Angara, which once plied the Angara River to Lake Baikal are of interest.

Kazan

Lake Baikal

Kazan is one those remarkably atmospheric places, sited near where the former Mongol empire met the expanding Russian empire. Russia soon absorbed much of Tatarstan province, including its capital Kazan. The Tatars’ Islamic faith and language survived to co-exist with Russian Orthodox Christianity and the Russian language. Today, this fusion is evident in Kazan’s architecture where ornate Russian Orthodox bell towers and onion-shaped domes pierce the city skyline alongside the slender minarets and turquoise-coloured domes of mosques. Over the past twenty years much of the city centre has been renovated and its prominent Kremlin rebuilt; but with an eye to the future and a nod to the almost equal number of ethnic Russians and Tatars now present, all public signage is displayed in Russian, Tatar and English.

One of Russia’s most scenic natural wonders, Lake Baikal’s crystal clear fresh waters are surrounded by mountains – sometimes craggy and at other times covered by green forest. Little woodcabin settlements that dot the shoreline are popular with Russian tourists. The lake at 636 km in length is the world’s seventh largest, but with a depth of up to 1,637m it takes the prize as the world’s deepest. As the vast body of water is seldom warmer than 15C, there are few swimmers other than the local seals and fish. The waters begin to freeze in December, and reach a thickness of around two metres before thawing in spring.

Nizhny Novgorod Surrounded by marshlands and forests, and dominated by its Kremlin perched high on a hill, Nizhny Novogorod is an attractive city situated at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. In the dark days of the Soviet Union, it was off-limits to foreigners due to the presence of strategic armament factories. Today, it’s a popular starting point for visitors wishing to visit the Golden Ring where some of the country’s most beautiful churches, monasteries and traditional villages wait to be admired.

Yekaterinburg & the Romanovs This elegant city was a fur trading port and a gateway to the wild lands of Siberia. It later found notoriety as the place where the Russian royal family met its brutal end at Ipatiev House at the hands of a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918. The house was demolished in 1977, to prevent it becoming a rallying point for monarchists. Details of the family’s burial were hidden, although the remains of the Tsar, Tsarina and three princesses – Olga, Tatyana and Anastasia - were eventually found in 1991. The remains of Crown Prince Alexei and Princess Maria were discovered in 2007. A great gold and white church, with the cumbersome name, ‘Church of the Spilt Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land’ marks the execution site. Log churches and a monastery have grown up around the mine site where most of the family were buried. (The Tsar was given a state funeral in 1998. His body was later interred with family members in the Fortress of St Peter and St Paul, in St Petersburg).

Irkutsk Irkutsk’s interesting history has contributed to its lively cosmopolitan feel. Initially a fur trading centre and a garrison town for Cossack troops sent to quell local Buryats in the 1650’s, the city soon attracted traders from Mongolia and China who brought Asian influences, tea and silk. Its character was transformed in 1825, when Decembrist revolutionaries who had participated in a failed revolt against the Tsar were exiled here. By 1830, around 30% of the inhabitants

Ulan Ude Founded in the 17th century, and protected by a Cossack garrison, Ulan Ude developed as a trading post on the tea route from Irkutsk to China. Largely closed to foreigners due to its close proximity to the Mongolian border, the city square’s monumental centrepiece is an unbelievably large head of Lenin. Soviet-style architecture dominates although there are oriental features. Historically, the indigenous Buryats won major concessions from the Russians to practice their Tibetan-Buddhist religion, which has led to Ulan Ude becoming the centre of Buddhism in Russia. Visitors find its temples and monasteries of interest, along with the open-air Ethnographical Museum with its excellent depiction of indigenous and early Russian life.

Vladivostok Vladivostok was sealed from foreign eyes for over 50 years being the home port for the Russian Pacific Fleet. But those days are long gone and visitors are welcome. There’s a museum dedicated to the Pacific fleet and an old World War II submarine for those who are interested. The port is a hive of activity and naval vessels are almost always present among cruise and cargo ships from around the world. The bustling city centre is pleasant with a mixture of classic building styles largely from the 19th century, and a main square with imposing statues. Vladivostok’s central station with its evocative façade and ceiling frescoes brings a grand sense of occasion, as does the old railway engine and a commemorative obelisk to mark the end of the line from Moscow. Onward trains take passengers to other Russian cities, and an express train operates to Harbin in northern China. Year round ferry services operate to South Korea and Japan.

skills including horse riding, wrestling and archery contests. Afterwards there’s a national costume parade featuring colourful outfits worn by the traditional tribes’ people. Most visitors are drawn to the surrounding semi-desert and the opportunity to experience something of the life of a nomadic herder by staying in a ger for a night or two in a national park. The last of the remaining breed of wild horse which the fierce Mongol warriors once used, and the remnants of the ancient capital of the Mongols are also of interest.

Beijing Many of our programs start or end here as there is a lot to see, and excellent connections to other parts of China. Naturally, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square will be high on the list of sightseeing attractions; but walking through the hutongs provides a glimpse at a lifestyle which is rapidly disappearing. In these narrow lanes you’ll enjoy peering into courtyards which lead to small dwellings with typical upturned eaves, and observing how the community lives. On a larger scale Wangfujing Street is the city’s oldest and biggest shopping centre and is said to attract around 10,000 shoppers daily. A trip to the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs situated in the mountains to the north takes most of the day due to heavy traffic in and around the city. Sundowners Overland excursions usually visit one of the less touristy sections of the wall. When you are finished with the city’s star attractions try visiting one of the old pagodas, taking a cruise on an ornamental lake, or savouring the atmosphere of a traditional teahouse.

Ulaanbaatar A visit to Mongolia should not be missed. The point of entry is its modern capital Ulaanbaatar where roughly half of the country’s population now live in either modern apartments or traditional ger settlements. Architecturally the city is of 20th century Soviet design, with its grand railway station and government buildings; while the city square is dominated by statues of Sükhbaatar – the 1921 revolutionary hero - and Genghis Khan with his sons and military generals. Tibetan Buddhism is very evident and the Gandan Khiid Monastery is a focal point for believers with around 500 monks in residence. The National Museum of Mongolia is possibly the best of many in the city. The Naadam Festival in July is an excellent opportunity to witness ancient Mongol

19


Grand Trans Siberian Railway

Fully Escorted Tour

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

30 Days

Optional 2 Berth Rail AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$12,050 $12,655 $9,640 $12,050 £6,870 €8,075

$2,030 $2,135 $1,625 $2,030 £1,160 €1,360

This extraordinary rail journey spans a third of the globe. Experience traditional Japan and remote Mongolia, and ride the grand Trans Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to the old Tartar capital of Kazan, en route to Moscow. Graceful imperial St Petersburg is the perfect climax to this historic journey.

ESSENTIALS

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Direction Westbound Tokyo to St. Petersburg

Countries Japan + Russia + Mongolia 11,263 km

Travelstyle

Once a top-secret naval base, Vladivostok and its 19th century buildings are now revitalised. Visit the Fortress and the Local History museums for a wider perception, before entering the historic railway terminus to board the Trans Siberian Railway as travellers have done for over a century. There’s a feeling of excitement as our Trans Siberian journey begins. During our first three days on board, you’ll get to know fellow passengers before leaving the train in the Buryat city of Ulan Ude, located in the middle of the vast Siberian steppe. Culturally important for local Buddhists, we visit an open-air museum to learn about the lives and traditions of native Siberians. The Trans Mongolian Railway takes us south, across the border to Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar.

The start of the Trans Siberian Railway, where construction began, in the once top-secret port of Vladivostok.

Tokyo Tokyo to Takayama Takayama to Kanazawa Kanazawa to Kyoto via Nara Kyoto Kyoto to Sakai Minato Ferry Vladivostok Vladivostok to Ulan Ude Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Ulan Ude Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 16 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 17 Ulaanbaatar 18 Trans Mongolian Railway 19 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal 20 Lake Baikal 21 Irkutsk 22 Trans Siberian Railway 23 Trans Siberian Railway 24 Kazan 25 Kazan and to Moscow 26 Moscow 27 Moscow 28 Moscow to St. Petersburg 29 St. Petersburg 30 St. Petersburg

Aboard the Trans Siberian for Kazan and Moscow Passing through the taiga, we pause briefly at Novosibirsk, Omsk and Ekaterinburg stations en route to Kazan - capital of the Tatarstan Republic within Russia. The fusion of Islamic and Russian architecture conveys an exotic feel. We visit the Kazan Kremlin, before boarding an overnight train for Moscow. In this amazing city we visit Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral, and venture behind the Kremlin walls to see the Armoury Chamber with its lavish collection of tsarist treasures. Lastly, we take a morning train to St Petersburg with its canals, graceful parks and statues, and an array of magnificent 18th century buildings. The highlight is a visit to the Heritage Museum, with one of the finest art collections in the world. It’s the perfect end to an amazing journey spanning two continents and a distance a third of the way around the world.

Admire the elaborate interior of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg.

INFORMATION

Explore beautiful Lake Baikal from our traditional Siberian guesthouse in the lakeside village of Listvyanka.

Exploring the city’s monuments and museums we observe the strong Buddhist culture, years of Soviet alliance, and newer western influences. Across the grasslands and in to Mongolia, we find the pristine wilderness of the Terelj National Park, in the shadow of surrounding mountains. We stay in gers – the traditional home of Mongolian nomads, before boarding our northbound train for Siberia, and heading west along the southern shore of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. From Irkutsk, we enjoy a few restful days at the nearby lakeside village of Listvyanka with its traditional houses and beautiful wooden church. This will be our last stop before we travel west through the vast Russian interior to cross the Urals, Russia’s great dividing range.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

20

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 12 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Ferry - 2 night (8-berth) Train - 10 night Japanese Inn - 1 night Ger - 2 nights

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your itinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

PRICES

Russia’s Far East

Busy Tokyo with its bright neon lights and towering skyscrapers is the start of our adventure. We’ll visit the Meijii Shrine and Asakusa Kannon Temple, before a bullet train takes us on a swift smooth ride to Nagoya. Our destination is Takayama – or Little Kyoto as it known with its wooden houses. We stay overnight in a ryokan - a traditional Japanese inn. Later, we board a train for Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen, one of the three great gardens of Japan, and once the outer garden of the city’s castle. In Nara, the country’s first permanent capital we visit Todaiji Temple – reputedly the world’s oldest wooden building, housing the Great Buddha Kyoto. In Kyoto, we visit the Golden Temple, the Geisha district of Gion and Kiyomizudera Temple set on a hillside overlooking the city, before boarding a ferry at Sakai Minato for the voyage to Vladivostok.

Finish

18 Jun - 17 Jul 08 Oct - 06 Nov

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

ITINERARY

Japanese Adventure

Start

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20) and some lunches (4) and dinners (8) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Activity Level

The Journey

Discover both the historic and modern treasures of Japan at the start of your journey through this fascinating country.

2018 Finish

Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

Distance

Classic Twin

Optional Season 2 Berth Rail

AUD AUD

$11,060 $2,030 $11,635

Low High

NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

$11,615 $12,215 $8,850 $9,305 $11,060 $11,635 £6,305 £6,630 €7,410 €7,795

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

Low season: High season:

$2,135 $1,625 $2,030 £1,160 €1,360

15 September to 15 April 16 April to 14 September

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

2

2017 Start

12 Jun - 11 Jul 02 Oct - 31 Oct

Code - ITSGJ Operates fortnightly on Mondays on even dates. Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A

ESSENTIALS

1

DATES

Tokyo to St. Petersburg - Code TSGJ Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Accommodation Hotels - 12 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Ferry - 2 night (8-berth) Train - 10 night Japanese Inn- 1 night Ger - 2 nights Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20). All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

21


Fully Escorted Tour

The Trans Siberian Railway with Mongolia and China

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. As one of our Premium journeys, this itinerary is of a more inclusive nature than most other journeys in this brochure (with the exception of Luxury Train Journeys), devoting more time to each city’s sights, history and culture. See page 10 for more details.

PRICES

29 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$13,080 $13,735 $10,465 $13,080 £7,455 €8,765

*If you would prefer to end your journey in Beijing, ask one our Travel Advisors for details.

DATES

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Eastbound St. Petersburg to Hong Kong

Countries ESSENTIALS

Russia + Mongolia + China

Distance 12,054km

Activity Level Travelstyle

The Journey St. Petersburg and Moscow Begin your epic journey in St. Petersburg with its reminders of the halcyon days of the tsars. Visit The Peter and Paul Fortress, the Summer Place of the Petrodvorets, Palace Square and the unequalled collections of the Hermitage. Beyond the city, marvel at summer palaces of the tsars at Catherine Palace and Petrodvorets (Peterhof). An overnight train to Moscow brings new perspectives. Visit the Red Square, see the twirled cupolas of St Basil’s Cathedral, and go beyond the red brick walls of the Kremlin to inspect the Armoury Chamber and see its treasures including over 50 Faberge eggs. Beneath the city we ride the famous Metro. Later, we board our train to ride the famous Trans Siberian Railway.

Across the Ural Mountains for Yekaterinburg Sharing the journey with Russian travellers is half the fun. You’ll appreciate this remarkable century-old feat of engineering as the train clatters over countless steel bridges straddling vast rivers, and crosses the Ural Mountains dividing Europe from Asia. Our first stop is Yekaterinburg, some 40 kilometres inside Asia. Infamous as the site of the brutal murders of the Romanovs, there is a brighter side with fine monuments, museums and theatres.

Siberia, Lake Baikal & the Trans Mongolian Railway await Gaze at the endless silver and greens of Siberia’s Taiga forests as the train rolls across the Great Eurasian Plateau, and crosses the mighty Ob River at Novosibirsk en route for Irkutsk in the heart of Siberia. Irkutsk is interesting with its roots in the ancient tea

ITINERARY trade, and its timeworn wooden mansions bedecked with wooden lacework once the home of the Decembrists – revolutionists exiled for trying to overthrow Tsar Nicholas I. Nearby, we find Lake Baikal the world’s largest freshwater lake where we relax in the lakeshore holiday village of Listvyanka. Afterwards, we board the Trans Mongolian Railway.

The Lands of Genghis Khan Imagine waking to the stunning visual of the south Gobi, where horses and gers mark the camps of nomadic herdsmen, on the steppe which seems to stretch forever. Ulaanbaatar is the modern capital of Mongolia, where we visit the Gandan Khiid Monastery to see Buddhist monks and Zaisan Memorial for panoramic views. Beyond, we explore the ancient centre of Genghis Khan’s power and stay in gers in the Terelj National Park while basking in the stunning mountainous views. Travel in style with 2-berth rail cabin upgrade, 4-star hotels and comprehensive sightseeing included on all departures.

From the Gobi Desert to the South China Sea Refreshed, we reboard the Trans Mongolian Railway and head south for Beijing. Sightseeing in the Chinese capital includes the magnificent Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, and a walk through the traditional Hutong neighbourhoods. Outside the city we visit the Ming Tombs and walk on the Great Wall of China. Farewell fellow travellers who have elected to finish their journey here, before boarding a train for Xian, gateway to the Silk Road and home to the entombed Terracotta Warriors. See more of southern China, as our train moves on to Guangzhou to wander through the unique Qing Ping Market, and to Hong Kong where our journey ends.

1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Admire the vibrant red and golden coils in Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong.

St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg to Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow to Yekaterinburg Yekaterinburg Yekaterinburg Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk and Trans Mongolian RW

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

15 Trans Mongolian RW 16 Ulaanbaatar 17 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 18 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 19 Terelj National Park & return to Ulaanbaatar 20 Trans Mongolian RW 21 Beijing 22 Beijing 23 Beijing 24 Beijing to Xian 25 Xian 26 Xian 27 Xian to Guangzhou 28 Guangzhou 29 Guangzhou to Hong Kong

11 Aug 15 Sep

- 08 Sep - 13 Oct

Group size Maximum 24 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 16 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (2-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20), lunches (11) are included as well as dinners (11) As are all arrival transfers once you have joined the group. Download the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing This journey offers more comprehensive scheduled sightseeing than most of the other journeys in this brochure. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor the itinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

AUD AUD

Classic Season Twin $10,440 Low $11,285 High

NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

$10,285 $10765 $7,835 $8,200 $9,795 $10,250 £5,580 £5,845 €6,560 €6,870

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

Experience the life of a nomad in a traditional Mongolian ger in Terelj National Park.

ESSENTIALS 22

24 Jun - 22 Jul 23 Jun - 21 Jul St. Petersburg to Hong Kong - Code TMCS 2017 2018 Start Finish Start Finish

Independent Journey

DATES

Admire the spectacular palaces and gardens of Petrodvorets (Peterhof), the ‘Russian Versailles’.

St. Petersburg to Hong Kong - Code TMCS Naadam Festival 2017 2018 Start Finish Start Finish

17 Jun - 15 Jul 05 Aug - 02 Sep 09 Sep - 07 Oct

Direction

INFORMATION

Join us on Sundowners Overland’s original and most comprehensive tour. Ride the rails of the Trans Mongolian railway from St Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, to Hong Kong on the South China Sea. On the way visit grand imperial cities that shaped history as well as vast expanses of nature that have untouched by modernity.

PRICES

1 2

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Code - ITMCS Operates weekly on Saturdays. Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 16 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (2-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20). All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

23


Fully Escorted Tour

The Trans Siberian Railway with China and Mongolia

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. As one of our Premium journeys, this itinerary is of a more inclusive nature than most other journeys in this brochure (with the exception of Luxury Train Journeys), devoting more time to each city’s sights, history and culture. See page 10 for more details. AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

PRICES

28 Days

*If you would prefer to start your journey in Beijing, ask one of our Travel Advisors for alternative dates.

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Hong Kong to St. Petersburg - Code TMCH 2018 2017 Start Finish Start Finish

DATES

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Imagine a 12,000 kilometre journey from Hong Kong to St Petersburg retracing the original and most comprehensive Sundowners Overland journey aboard the famous Trans Mongolian and Trans Siberian railways.

03 Jul 11 Sep

Direction Westbound Hong Kong to St. Petersburg

Countries China + Mongolia + Russia

Distance 12,054km

Activity Level Travelstyle

Across the Yangtze to Xian & Beijing There’s an air of excitement in the bustling city of Hong Kong as you join the tour and board our first train to Guangzhou. See more of China from the train en route to Xian, where the Terracotta Warriors await your inspection. In Beijing, our sightseeing includes the magnificent Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and a visit to the almost timeless lanes and family courtyards of the Hutong area. The overnight express waits to take us north to Mongolia.

Trans Mongolian Railway to Lake Baikal Arriving in the modern capital of Ulaanbaatar you’ll visit the Gandan Khiid Monastery, the focal point of the Buddhist faith and Zaisan Memorial for panoramic views. In the countryside, we see the remains of Genghis Khan’s seat of power and spend time in our rural

retreat in the Terelj National Park. Enjoy the stunning mountain views, go horse or yak riding and learn of traditional Mongolian culture while staying in a ger camp. Then, it’s all aboard the Trans Mongolian Railway northwards across the vast Gobi Desert to the Russian frontier, and Irkutsk in the heart of Siberia. A visit to Irkutsk is always a highlight with its rich cultural heritage including the architectural influences of exiled aristocrats from the west, and the Asiatic influences introduced by ancient traders from Mongolia and China. The nearby resort town of Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, is perfect for a break in our journey, before joining the Trans Siberian Railway at Irkutsk, bound for Yekaterinburg.

There’s plenty of time to enjoy the company of Russian travellers on board, as we head towards Europe, crossing the great Ob River at Novosibirsk, and passing through Omsk. We break our journey in Yekaterinburg, and visit Romanov’s Monastery, the initial burial site of the last tsar and his family, who were brutally murdered here in 1918. There’s also time to have your photo taken at the obelisk marking the spot where Asia and Europe meet. Reboarding our train we leave Asia, cross the Ural Mountains and enter Europe.

Moscow & St. Petersburg – Russia’s Most Impressive Cities

Armoury Chamber with its lavish collection of tsarist treasures. The following day we venture outside the capital to visit Sergiev Posad, a pilgrimage site for Russian Orthodox adherents, and home to the famous Matryoshka dolls. You’ll enjoy an introduction to the Metro before some free time. A day train takes us to St Petersburg where you’ll enjoy the 18th century architecture which abounds throughout the city and visits to The Peter and Paul Fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral, Palace Square, and the Hermitage with its awe-inspiring art collection. On our final night together we enjoy an excursion to Peterhof and a cultural performance.

We’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing in Moscow including Red Square with St Basil’s Cathedral and a visit inside the Kremlin walls to see the

Travel in comfort with a 2-berth rail upgrade between Beijing and St. Petersburg.

16 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal to Irkutsk 17 Trans Siberian RW 18 Trans Siberian RW 19 Yekaterinburg 20 Yekaterinburg 21 Yekaterinburg to Moscow 22 Moscow 23 Moscow 24 Moscow 25 Moscow to St. Petersburg 26 St. Petersburg 27 St. Petersburg 28 St. Petersburg

15 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal The Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad is a spectacular site and a fine working example of 14th to 18th century Russian architecture.

ESSENTIALS

INFORMATION 24

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

05 Jun - 02 Jul 03 Jul - 30 Jul 07 Sep - 04 Oct

Independent Journey

DATES

Immerse yourself in the romance of the rich imperial past of Russia filled with painters, matroyshka dolls, musicians and souvenirs, don't miss the eclectic Arbat Street in Moscow.

Yekaterinburg & Across the Urals

1 Hong Kong 2 Hong Kong to Xian via Guangzhou 3 Xian 4 Xian 5 Xian and to Beijing 6 Beijing 7 Beijing 8 Beijing 9 Trans Mongolian RW 10 Ulaanbaatar 11 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 12 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 13 Ulaanbaatar and Trans Mongolian RW 14 Trans Mongolian RW

PRICES

ITINERARY

The Journey

- 30 Jul - 08 Oct

Group size Maximum 24 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 16 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 1 night (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (2-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20), lunches (11) and dinner (11). As are all arrival transfers once you have joined the group. Download the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing This journey offers more comprehensive scheduled sightseeing than most of the other journeys in this brochure. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. 2-Berth rail upgrade As this is a Premium level journey a 2-berth upgrade is included for all rail sectors between Beijing and St. Petersburg.

ESSENTIALS

1 2

$13,080 $13,735 $10,465 $13,080 £7,455 €8,765

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your itinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details. Classic Season Twin AUD $10,425 Low AUD $11,265 High NZD $10,945 Low NZD $11,830 High USD $8,340 Low USD $9,015 High CAD $10,425 Low CAD $11,265 High GBP £5,940 Low GBP £6,420 High EUR €6,985 Low EUR €7,550 High Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request. Code - ITMCH Operates weekly on odd dates. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 16 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 1 night (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (2-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20). All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for 25 you in advance separately.


Fully Escorted Tour

Trans Mongolian Explorer

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about about customising your journey.

PRICES

26 Days

DATES

2

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$8,700 $9,135 $6,960 $8,700 £4,960 €5,830

$1,845 $1,935 $1,475 $1,845 £1,050 €1,235

Beijing to St.Petersburg- Code TMEB

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Enjoy fascinating interludes in Mongolia, Siberia, and the Golden Ring on this exciting overland journey using iconic rail services between Beijing, Moscow and St. Petersburg

Direction

Westbound Beijing to St. Petersburg

ESSENTIALS

1

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Optional 2 Berth Rail

Countries China + Mongolia + Russia

Distance 9,062 km

Activity Level

2017 Start 17 May 28 May 10 Jun 05 Aug 23 Sep

2018 Finish

-

11 Jun 22 Jun 05 Jul 30 Aug 18 Oct

Start 19 May 27 May 13 Jun 08 Aug 26 Sep

Finish -

13 Jun 21 Jun 08 Jul 02 Sep 21 Oct

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation - Westbound Hotels - 14 nights (twin share) Guesthouse - 2 night (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (18) and a lunch (1) and dinners (2) are included, as are all arrival transfers once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travelstyle

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

The Journey See Siberia and Lake Baikal

Join us in Beijing for visits to The Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall of China beyond the city; then it’s all aboard the Ulaanbaatar Express for an overnight journey across the Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, where modern life seems to co-exist with traditional culture. Experience the wild desolate countryside on our visit the Hustai National Park to see the last remaining breed of wild horse and Karakorum, the site of the ancient Mongol Empire capital. Enjoy aspects of Mongolian nomadic life when we stay in traditional gers. Returning to the capital, there’s time to visit Gandan Khiid Monastery and the Zaisan Memorial prior to boarding the Trans Mongolian Railway for Siberia.

Ulan Ude is located on the vast Siberian steppe and is reminiscent of Old Siberia. Siberian, European and Buddhist cultures are evident. We see Buddhist monks going about their lives at the Ivolginsk Monastery and visit the local open-air Ethnographic Museum to learn more about native Siberians, before joining the Trans Siberian Railway for our journey deeper into Siberia and the city of Irkutsk, once a stop on the old caravan route from China. The homes of the Decembrists, the St. Petersburg radicals who were dispatched here in 1825 are of interest on our walking tour. We travel to Lake Baikal, reputedly the world’s deepest lake, where you will be amazed by its vastness – being over 600 kms long and almost 80 kms wide. A stay at the local holiday village of Listvyanka, is an ideal way to relax by the lakeshore and take in the local museums; before reboarding the Trans Siberian Railway. Explore the little visited town of Ulan Ude on the eastern shores of Lake Baikal, the fascinating centre of Buddhism in Russia.

En route to Yekaterinburg, we find life on board is a great social occasion for our Russian hosts and we’ll have opportunity to share our experiences with them on the way to Yekaterinburg, the city founded by Peter the Great in 1723, which is situated outside Siberia, and some 40 kilometres on the Asian side of the Ural Mountains. It is infamous as the brutal murder site of the Romanov family, which brought tsarist rule to an end, and ushered in the Communist era in 1918. We pay our respects at the church recently built on the site, and see the obelisk which marks the spot where Europe and Asia meet.

The Golden Ring, Moscow and St. Petersburg Beyond the Urals our train heads for Nizhny Novgorod, situated at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers, and affectionately known as ‘Nizhny’. This picturesque former trading post has an impressive cliff-top Kremlin. Later, we take a train trip to the Golden Ring cities of Vladimir and Suzdal - two of the oldest settlements in Russia. Expect to be overawed by the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius, Suzdal’s Kremlin and the Archbishop’s Chambers. In Moscow we visit Red Square, St. Basil’s and the Kremlin. Later, we board our final overnight train for St. Petersburg, a luxurious city of opulent palaces, museums and gardens, and a fitting end to your great overland journey.

ITINERARY 1 2 3 4 5 6

7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Get a glimpse into the rich history, architecture and cultures of Russia’s Golden Ring with a visit to Suzdal and Vladimir.

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian RW Ulaanbaatar Khustai National Park and Ger Camp Kkarkhorin and Ger Camp Ulaanbaatar and Trans Siberian RW Ulan Ude Trans Siberian RW Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk and Trans Siberian RW

14 Trans Siberian RW 15 Yekaterinburg 16 Yekaterinburg 17 Yekaterinburg to Nizhny Novgorod 18 Nizhny Novgorod 19 Nizhny Novgorod to Suzdal via Vladimir 20 Suzdal to Moscow 21 Moscow 22 Moscow 23 Moscow to St. Petersburg 24 St. Petersburg 25 St. Petersburg 26 St. Petersburg

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your itinerary to better suit your travel plans. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

ESSENTIALS

INFORMATION 26

Optional Season 2 Berth Rail

AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD

$6,675 $7,115 $7,005 $7,470 $5,340 $5,690

$1,845

CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

$6,675 $7,115 £3,805 £4,055 €4,470 €4,765

$1,845

$1,935 $1,475

£1,050 €1,235

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

15 September to 15 April 16 April to 14 September

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

Discover the defining events in Russia’s history in the cities of Yekaterinburg, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Classic Twin

Low season: High season:

DATES

Mingle with the local monks at the Gandan Khiid monastery in Ulaanbaatar.

The Trans Siberian Railway and Yekaterinburg

PRICES

Beijing and Mongolia

Code - ITMEB Operates weekly on Wednesdays until late May 2017 and then Saturdays from early June onwards. Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 14 nights (twin share) Guesthouse - 2 night (twin share) Mongolian Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (18), all arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

27


Fully Escorted Tour

Trans Mongolian Discovery

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

21 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$5,845 $6,135 $4,675 $5,845 £3,330 €3,915

Optional 2-Berth Rail $1,560 $1,640 $1,250 $1,560 £890 €1,045

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Now, here’s an incredible journey. Begin by walking the Great Wall of China. Then ride the rails through northern China, far across the vast expanses of the Gobi Desert and the Siberian steppe. Still farther on, we find an historic city where Islamic and Orthodox architecture stands side by side. And in the distance, we discover Russia’s two grandest cities.

Direction Westbound Beijing to St. Petersburg

Countries

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

Beijing to St. Petersburg - Code TMDB

China + Mongolia + Russia

Distance 8,514km

Activity Level Travelstyles

The Journey We find Irkutsk after our train trip north. It’s a charming city with a history dating from the fur and tea trading days when it began as an isolated Cossack outpost. Aristocratic exiles from the west brought a touch of elegance with their ornately decorated wooden houses, while Asian traders from Mongolia and China introduced a touch of the Orient. Nearby, the small traditional village of Listvyanka by the shores of Lake Baikal is typically rural Russia and a perfect spot to relax. Joining the Trans Siberian Railway at Irkutsk, we head west, pausing briefly at stations - Novosibirsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg among them - en route for Kazan, the capital city in the Tatarstan Republic within Russia, where Orthodox and Islamic cultures meet. We visit the Kazan Kremlin prior to boarding the overnight train to Moscow.

Cruise the canals of St. Petersburg drifting past some of the finest examples of classical architecture in Europe.

1 2 3 4 5 6

It’s time to discover Red Square, visit quaint St Basil’s Cathedral, and go behind the walls of the Kremlin to visit the Armoury Chamber with its vast array of treasures. St Petersburg is only an overnight train trip away, and it’s well worth the wait. Marvel at St Isaac’s Cathedral, and the restored 18th century buildings which are protected by law on the city tour as you get your bearings. And to round off our journey, we include a visit to the Hermitage to view one of the world’s finest collections of European art.

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Climb the rewarding walk to the top of Zaisan Memorial for a bird's eye view of Ulaanbaatar.

INFORMATION

Walk in the footsteps of emperors and explore Beijing historical highlights.

ITINERARY

Moscow and St. Petersburg – Cities of Contrast

28

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar and depart on Trans Mongolian Railway Trans Mongolian Railway Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Kazan Kazan Moscow Moscow St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Start Finish 2018 28 Apr - 18 May 05 May - 25 May 19 May - 08 Jun 13 Jun - 03 Jul 11 Jul - 31 Jul 01 Aug - 21 Aug 15 Aug - 04 Sep 05 Sep - 25 Sep 12 Sep - 02 Oct 03 Oct - 23 Oct

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 9 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 1 night (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (12) and a lunch (1) and dinners (2) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. 2-Berth Rail Upgrade (Optional) Available on most rail sectors when two people book and travel together. See page 13 for more details.

Independent Journey

PRICES

Lake Baikal & Siberia

The scenery as we approach Ulaanbaatar is impressive. The train winds around tight bends to provide excellent photo opportunities. Finally the capital appears, set amid the endless grassy steppes. You’ll visit the main attractions including Gandan Khiid – the country’s largest Buddhist monastery, and the Zaisan Memorial commemorating the Soviet Union’s soldiers killed during World War II. The wide open spaces beckon and we answer the call by driving into the spectacular Terelj National Park to spend two nights in a traditional ger – faithful in design to those still used by the country’s nomadic herdsmen. The air is fresh and surrounding mountain scenery glorious.

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details. Classic Optional Season Twin 2 Berth Rail AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

$4,985 $5,350 $5,235 $5,620 $3990 $4,280 $4,985 $5,350 £2,840 £3,050 €3,340 €3,585

$1,560 $1,640 $1,250 $1,560 £890 €1,045

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

Magical Mongolia

The adventure begins in Beijing where our first impressions are of Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. Beyond the city we take an unforgettable walk on the Great Wall of China before boarding the Trans Mongolian Railway to observe the villages and fields of northern China slip away as we head north. As the sun sets we’ll cross the Gobi Desert bound for the Mongolian border, and its quirky yet friendly capital of Ulaanbaatar.

ESSENTIALS

Beijing and the Gobi Desert

Start Finish 2017 26 Apr - 16 May 03 May - 23 May 17 May - 06 Jun 17 Jun - 07 Jul 15 Jul - 04 Aug 05 Aug - 25 Aug 19 Aug - 08 Sep 09 Sep - 29 Sep 16 Sep - 06 Oct 07 Oct - 27 Oct

Beijing to St. Petersburg - Code ITMDU/ITMDL Operates weekly on Sundays aswell as Wednesdays until late May 2017 and then Saturdays from early June onwards. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 9 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 1 night (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (12) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately. 29


Fully Escorted Tour

Trans Mongolian Express

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

21 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$5,960 $6,260 $4,770 $5,960 £3,395 €3,995

Optional 2-Berth Rail $1,595 $1,675 $1,275 $1,595 £910 €1,070

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

This is an amazing adventure for aspiring travellers seeking a great experience in a short time. Take in the highlights: Russia’s greatest cities, remote Siberia, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert; and Beijing. Travel the rails with the Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian railways.

Direction

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

St. Petersburg to Beijing - Code TMES

Eastbound St. Petersburg to Beijing

Countries Russia + Mongolia + China

Distance 8,514 km

Activity Level Travelstyles

The Journey Our adventure begins in St. Petersburg where you’ll be amazed how well the city fathers have preserved the 18th century architecture. It’s a city of canals, standing resplendent on the Neva River. We’ll include a city tour and a visit to the Hermitage – one of the world’s greatest art galleries, along with some free time; before we take an overnight train to Moscow. These days the national capital is fairly buzzing with activity, but Red Square is much more sedate, with the colourful onion-shaped domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Kremlin watching over it. We’ll ride the city’s Metro together and see its chandeliers and artworks. Perhaps you’ll use this vast underground rail network to see other parts of the city in your free time.

Trans Siberian Railway to Siberia

A Taste of Mongolia

Board the Trans Siberian Railway in Moscow and travel east via the Ural Mountains, which divide Europe from Asia, and cross the Irysh and Ob rivers en route to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal deep in Siberia. During your time on board there’s a great opportunity to pass the time getting to know some of the Russian passengers. In Irkutsk, you’ll enjoy our walking tour of this interesting city with a history dating from the old fur and tea trading days, and ornate houses which once belonged to exiled aristocracy from Russia’s west. A two-night interlude at nearby Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake, is a great way to relax and take in the museums prior to joining the Trans Mongolian Railway south for Ulaan Baator.

Bounded by Lake Baikal in the north, and stretching south to the Great Wall of China, lies the Mongolian Plateau and Gobi Desert, which we pass through en route to the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baator. The city displays ancient Buddhist origins, echoes of its days as a Soviet satellite nation, and modern development with shiny new apartment blocks where the more affluent citizens life. Recent arrivals from the countryside opt for the cheaper and traditional gers which abound in some areas. We’ll spend most of the day exploring the city, including visits to the Zaisan Memorial where Soviet soldiers are honoured, and Gandan Khiid Monastery to see its monks and the massive 25 metre statue of Megid Janraisig – the lord who sees in every direction.

ITINERARY

We’ll travel out over the grasslands to the Terelj National Park to spend a night in a traditional ger and get a taste of the life of Mongolia’s nomads. Later, we rejoin the Trans Mongolian Railway southbound for Beijing.

1 St. Petersburg 2 St. Petersburg 3 St. Petersburg 4 Moscow 5 Moscow 6 Moscow 7 Trans Siberian Railway 8 Trans Siberian Railway 9 Trans Siberian Railway 10 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal 11 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal 12 Irkutsk and Trans Mongolian

Across the Gobi Desert to Beijing You’ll enjoy your three days in the Chinese capital where our included sightseeing features Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and more, before venturing out into the countryside to walk on the Great Wall, which stretches its way for around 5,000 kilometres across the distant hills – a perfect way to end your journey!

Railway

13 Trans Mongolian Railway 14 Ulaanbaatar 15 Terelj National Park and Ger Camp and Ulaanbaatar

INFORMATION

17 Trans Mongolian Railway 18 Beijing 19 Beijing 20 Beijing 21 Beijing

30

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

08 May 05 Jun 10 Jul 14 Aug 18 Sep

Finish -

28 May 25 Jun 30 Jul 03 Sep 08 Oct

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 9 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 1 night (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (13) and a lunch (1) and dinner (1) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. 2-Berth Rail Upgrade (Optional) Available on most rail sectors when two people book and travel together. See page

AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

Classic Twin

Optional 2 Berth Rail

Season

$4,460 $4,685 $4,680 $4,920 $3,565 $3,750 $4,460 $4,685 £2,540 £2,670 €2,985 €3,140

$1,595

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

$1,675 $1,275 $1,595 £910 €1,070

15 September to 15 April 16 April to 14 September

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

16 Terelj National Park and

Discover the incredible collections in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum.

St. Petersburg to Beijing - Code ITMES

DATES

Feast on dumplings and the best of Beijing's street food in Dong Hua Men Night Market.

29 May 26 Jun 31 Jul 04 Sep 09 Oct

Low season: High season:

ESSENTIALS

Marvel at the museums and dramatic architecture of the Kremlin.

-

Start

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

Ger Camp

Cross the Gobi Desert and vast Mongolian steppe to the Great Wall and beyond.

09 May 06 Jun 11 Jul 15 Aug 19 Sep

2018 Finish

Independent Journey

PRICES

St. Petersburg and Moscow – Great Contrasts

2017 Start

Operates weekly on Tuesdays. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 9 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 1 night (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (13) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

31


Experience Tour

Mongolia and Beyond

Experience Tours offer you an alternative to conventional touring, including Local Guides in each city, rather than a Tour Leader for the whole journey. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

19 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$5,150 $5,410 $4,120 $5,150 £2,935 €3,450

Optional 2-Berth Rail $1,560 $1,640 $1,250 $1,560 £890 €1,045

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Experiences take on an exciting, different and sometimes quirky feel on this interesting journey along the famous Trans Mongolian railway. Once you have shared a traditional Russian banya, learned about the building of a traditional Mongolian ger and seen the ancient wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine Life back home may never be the same again …

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

Beijing to St. Petersburg - Code MBBS

Direction Westbound Beijing to St Petersburg

Countries China + Mongolia + Russia

Distance 8,514km

Activity Level Travelstyles

After two nights, we arrive in the Mongolian capital ready to explore this interesting city. Take in the views from the Zaisan Memorial, built to honour Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. We visit the Gandan Khiid Monastery to mingle with monks as they go about their daily prayers. Although 40% of Mongolia’s population live in the capital, a great many Mongolians cling to

Trans Siberian Railway to Siberia

After 4 nights on the train we wake in a city reborn with stores overflowing with imported consumer goods, a far cry from the dowdy days of the Soviet era. We have time to take in the sights, and Red Square, with the coloured onion-like domes of St Basil’s, and the red brick façade of the Kremlin are top of the list. We visit a Matryoshka factory (traditional Russian nesting dolls), where you can try your hand at

Our first stop in Russia is the Siberian capital Irkutsk, an important tea trading hub. Nearby we find the picturesque village of Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal, the largest fresh water lake in the world. This a lovely place to relax, wander the lakeshore (the water temperature is too cold for most to think of swimming), and take in its museums before returning to Irkutsk

Visit the many museums of St. Petersburg including the renowned Hermitage Museum and Peter the Great's Kunstkamera (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography).

St Petersburg and Moscow – Russia’s Greatest Cities

Stay in a lake-side guest house in Lake Baikal and enjoy the picturesque views.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Meet with local nomadic families and learn the culture of the Mongolian people.

Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Ulaanbaatar Trans Mongolian Railway Trans Mongolian Railway Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk and Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Moscow Moscow St. Petersburg St. Petersburg

PRICES

to board the famous Trans Siberian Railway for our journey across the Ural Mountains which divide Europe and Asia, passing vast taiga forests bound for bound for the modern heart of Russia.

INFORMATION 32

-

22 May 13 Jul 14 Sep 05 Oct

Start 06 May 28 Jun 19 Jul 30 Aug 20 Sep

Finish -

24 May 16 Jul 06 Aug 17 Sep 08 Oct

Group size This is an Experience Tour and does not have a tour leader. Maximum of 15 travellers. Accommodation Hotels -6 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger -2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (11) and some dinners (3) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

ITINERARY

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

Classic Twin

Optional Season 2 Berth Rail

$4,385 $4,730 $4,605 $4,965 $3,510 $3,785 $4,385 $4,730 £2,500 £2,695 €2,940 €3,170

$1,560

Low season: High season:

$1,640 $1,250 $1,560 £890 €1,045

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

15 September to 15 April 16 April to 14 September

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

ESSENTIALS

Enjoy a cruise down the lake of Bei Hai park in Beijing.

their traditional nomadic ways, grazing cattle and living on the steppes. We travel across the grasslands to understand more about their lifestyle and spend a night in a traditional ger set among rock formations and wild rolling hills. Later we re-join the train to head north in to Russia’s vast Siberian wilderness.

making them, before enjoying a tasting at a vodka museum. For a different perspective, we remember the heady days of the space race by visiting the Cosmonautics Museum housed within a soaring 100 metre high titanium obelisk to see artefacts and memorabilia. Our last train takes us to St Petersburg where we get acquainted with this beautiful city on a sightseeing tour. A special feature is a wonderful evening including dinner with a renowned local cultural figure. We also visit the interesting Russian Museum of Ethnography where half a million exhibits and photographs of the native peoples of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union are housed in a building which was part of Old Michael Palace. Later we cleanse the mind and body with a Russian banya (sauna).

DATES

Your journey begins in Beijing where we have an interesting couple of days prepared. Visit a colourful local market, take a lesson in kite making, and a Tai Chi class in addition to some of the city’s sights. As we leave the big cities behind we reach the Mongolian border where rail enthusiasts won’t want to miss the changing of the bogies.

04 May 25 Jun 27 Aug 17 Sep

2018 Finish

Independent Journey

The Journey Mongolia and China

2017 Start

Code - IMBBS Operates weekly on Thursday until late May 2017 and Sundays from early June onwards. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels - 6 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger -2 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (11) are included. All arrival tranfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

33


Fully Escorted Tour

Classic Trans Mongolian PRICES

16 Days

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey. Optional 2-Berth Rail AUD $4,470 $1,855 NZD $4,695 $1,950 USD $3,575 $1,485 CAD $4,470 $1,855 GBP £2,550 £1,060 EUR €2,995 €1,245

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

This brief journey captures the highlights perfectly. You’ll visit a collection of the world’s most fascinating cities: St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing – each as diverse as they are iconic. And you’ll experience two of the world’s most famous railways, before walking along the Great Wall of China. Put it all together and it’s an amazing experience.

Direction Eastbound St. Petersburg to Beijing

Countries

2018 Finish

10 Jun - 25 Jun 12 Aug - 27 Aug 09 Sep - 24 Sep

Distance 7,865 km

Activity Level Travelstyle

Trans Siberian Railway and Surprising Kazan

St Petersburg with its beautiful canals, manicured parks, and graceful 18th century architecture is a beautiful city to begin our journey. We’ll take a look at the Hermitage Museum with its magnificent art collection before an overnight train brings us to Moscow. You’ll soon see that Moscow is a vibrant, dynamic city, and the new Christ the Saviour Cathedral built after the collapse of the Soviet Union is sure to take your breath away. Nearby we find Red Square, and St Basil’s Cathedral, which is ornately decorated with colourful onion-shaped domes, and gaze up at the Kremlin walls, before entering the grounds to visit the Armoury Chamber with its lavish jewellery collection.

Kazan is the first stop on our Trans Siberian journey. It’s an impressive city where the domes of Orthodox churches and the minarets of Islamic mosques vie for attention in the skyline. It comes as no surprise to learn that it’s the largest Muslim city in Russia, as well as being the capital of Tatarstan. We visit the Kazan Kremlin before recommencing our train journey and passing over the Ural Mountains to find Yekaterinburg where Europe and Asia meet. There’s time to get acquainted with the Russian travellers on the train as we cross the Irtysh and Orb rivers, and head out over the vast Siberian silver and green taiga. The train skirts the shores of Lake Baikal which despite being the world’s largest freshwater lake, freezes in winter when the ice is over two metres thick.

Visit Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and worship like the Emperors of old.

Trans Mongolian Railway to Beijing

19 May 09 Jun 14 Jul 11 Aug 08 Sep

Finish -

03 Jun 24 Jun 29 Jul 26 Aug 23 Sep

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels/Guest house - 7 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger- 2 nights (shared) Trains - 6 nights (4-berth)

As day breaks we see classic scenes of traditional nomadic life as the train rolls over the Mongolian steppe and down through a valley to Ulaanbaatar. We visit Gandan Khiid, the city’s largest and most important Buddhist monastery and Zaisan Memorial, built by the Soviet Union in memory of its soldiers who died in World War II. We admire the views over the city from this vantage point, before heading into the open grasslands for the Terelj National Park with its spectacular rock formations and mountain scenery. We spend two nights in a Mongolian ger, a traditional felt and wood frame house used by nomadic herdsmen for centuries. Spend time exploring the traditional Mongolian way of life as you get to know local families.

The Beijing Express departs in the morning, and we admire the steppe and later the expanses of the Gobi Desert from the train window. There’s a pause at the Chinese border while the train has its bogies changed to suit the narrower Chinese rail gauge. It’s a smooth operation, and train buffs tend to stay aboard to see it firsthand. Arriving in Beijing in the morning, there’s time to appreciate the city, visiting Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and walking through the Hutong area to see a vanishing world. An unforgettable excursion into the countryside to walk along the Great Wall of China is a great way to end this journey of a lifetime.

Marvel at the treasures of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Independent Journey

ITINERARY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Explore the unusual and alluring capital of Tatarstan, Kazan.

St. Petersburg St. Petersburg to Moscow Moscow Moscow to Kazan Kazan Kazan to Ulaanbaatar via Yekaterinburg Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Terelj National Park and Ger Camp Ulaanbaatar Trans Mongolian Railway Beijing Beijing Beijing

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

INFORMATION

ESSENTIALS

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

Classic Twin

Optional Season 2 Berth Rail

$4,205 $4,330 $4,415 $4,550 $3,365 $3,465 $4,205 $4,330 £2,395 £2,470 €2,815 €2,900

$1,855 $1,950 $1,485 $1,855 £1,060 €1,245

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

Live the life of a nomad and stay in a ger at the spectacular Terelj National Park.

Ulaanbaatar and the Mongolian steppe

PRICES

St. Petersburg and Moscow – Superb Beginning

Start

Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Some meals are included dinner (3), breakfast (9). Some arrival transfers (AT) are included. See the itinerary below or the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. 2-Berth rail Upgrade (Optional) Available on most rail sectors when two people book and travel together. See page 13 for more details.

Russia + Mongolia + China

The Journey

34

2017 Start

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

St.Petersburg to Beijing - Code CTMB

St.Petersburg to Beijing - Code ICTMB Operates weekly on Saturdays. Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels/Guest house - 7 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger- 2 nights (shared) Trains - 6 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Some meals are included breakfast (9). All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

35


Experience Tour

Classic Trans Siberian

Experience Tours offer you an alternative to conventional touring, including Local Guides in each city, rather than a Tour Leader for the whole journey. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

14 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Optional 2-Berth Rail $1,290 $1,355 $1,035 $1,290 £735 €865

$4,110 $4,315 $3,290 $4,110 £2,345 €2,755

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

2017 Start

2018 Finish

Start

03 May - 16 May 21 Jul - 03 Aug 11 Sep - 24 Sep

03 May 15 Jun 21 Jul 15 Aug 11 Sep

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Experience the complete Trans Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. Travel across two continents, seven time zones and 9,288 kilometres of track. Discover remote Siberia and see Buryat culture first hand beside the shores of Lake Baikal – the world’s largest freshwater lake.

Direction

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

Moscow to Vladivostok - Code CTSM

Eastbound Moscow to Vladivostok

Countries Russia

Distance 9,288 km

Finish -

16 May 28 Jun 03Aug 28 Aug 24 Sep

Group size This is an Experience Tour and does not have a tour leader. Maximum of 15 travellers. Accommodation Hotels/Guest house - 4 nights (twin share) Siberian Guest house - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

Activity Level

Meals and Transfers Some meals are included breakfast (6). Some arrival transfers (AT) are included. See the itinerary below or the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travelstyles

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

The Journey As Moscow is the western terminus for the famous Trans Siberian Railway it’s a fitting place to begin our journey. But first, we walk across the cobblestones of Red Square to see St Basil’s Cathedral and the stout red brick walls of the Kremlin. Later, we’ll try our hand at making traditional Matroyshka dolls and enjoy tea tasting with a Russian family. Finally, we head to the historic Neo Russian Revival Yaroslavsky station which has been the starting point for the Trans Siberian since 1862. Over four nights we travel east over the Urals, into Asia, and across the vast Siberian steppe to Irkutsk. En route there’s plenty of time to get to know your fellow travellers. The dining car is the perfect social hub where you can chat with locals and other adventurers as the silvers and greens of the birch forests slide by.

At Irkutsk, we pause to take an excursion to the shores of Lake Baikal where we spend two nights at the typical Russian village of Listvyanka – a popular summer resort for locals. We soon find that the world’s largest freshwater lake is too cold for swimming for most, so we content ourselves with walking along the shoreline, visiting the local museums or tasting some of the local delicacies. We take a glimpse into the world of the local Buryats (who have much in common with the Mongolians farther south), and witness a Shaman experience with traditional music and dance. Before reboarding the Trans Siberian at Irkutsk, there is time to look around this interesting city which was once a Cossack -guarded outpost for

Discover Moscow’s historic centre: Red Square, The Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral.

fur and tea traders who made the long journey from Mongolia and China. Later, exiles known as Decembrists, who led a failed attempt to overthrow Tsar Nicholas I, were exiled here. See their former ornately decorated wooden homes on a walking tour. As our train pulls out, we settle back to gaze at Russia as it rushes past our windows.

Vladivostok – Journey’s End Finally we are bound for Vladivostok, once a bawdy frontier outpost, later a genteel city with graceful 19th century buildings, and more recently a top-secret naval base which was sealed off from the world for over 30 years; being the home to the Soviet Union’s Pacific fleet. As the train draws into the eastern terminus of the Trans Siberian Railway, at the imaginatively named Vladivostok Station, you’ll

Enjoy a different perspective on this maritime city with a boat tour on Golden Horn Bay in Vladivostok.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

be pleased to know that the city now welcomes visitors who are impressed by its commanding views over Golden Horn Bay, and its bustling cosmopolitan atmosphere. We enjoy a boat trip on the busy harbour and visit the Vladivostok Fortress Museum and the Local History Museum to put things into perspective. Given its strategic eastern location, Vladivostok is a melting pot of Russian, Slavic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean and it is a fitting example of how this epic railway has connected cultures, countries and people for centuries. All good things come to an end, and so does our Trans Siberian journey some 9,288 kilometres from where it all began at Moscow’s Yaroslavsky station.

Moscow Moscow Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Irkutsk Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Trans Siberian Railway Vladivostok Vladivostok

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

Explore Moscow's UNESCO World Heritage sites: The Kremlin, Red Square, and Novodevichy Convent.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

ESSENTIALS

INFORMATION 36

AUD AUD NZD NZD USD USD CAD CAD GBP GBP EUR EUR

Classic Twin

Optional 2 Berth Rail

Season

$2,670 $2,880 $2,800 $3,025 $2,135 $2,305 $2,670 $2,880 £1,520 £1,640 €1,790 €1,930

$1,290

Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High

$1,355 $1,035 $1,290 £735 €865

Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

Enjoy your time aboard the legendary Trans Siberian Railway from Europe to the heart of Asia.

Siberia and the Buryat Republic Firsthand

PRICES

Moscow - Our Journey Begins

ITINERARY

Moscow to Vladivostok - Code ICTSM Operates every second day on odd dates. Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels/Guest house - 4 nights (twin share) Siberian Guest house - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Some meals are included breakfast (6). All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

37


Customising Your Journey

Choose to Upgrade on Trains The good news is that many of our journeys may be modified in several ways. The choice of accommodation on trains is a great example, where compartments on public trains may be upgraded from the standard share 4-berth to a share 2-berth to allow more space and privacy. Sometimes it’s even possible to upgrade to sole use of a 4-berth compartment. Everything comes at a price of course. As an example, an upgrade to a 2-berth compartment on our 21 day Trans Mongolian Explorer is approx AUD $1,845 Russian Railways has also recently developed a number of special train services to better appeal to domestic and international business and leisure travellers. At present, these are limited to – ‘The Tatarstan’ between Moscow and Kazan, and ‘The Capital Express’ between Moscow and Kiev. There are also choices on services between Moscow and St. Petersburg, where conventional trains take around eight hours and travel at around 110 kph, while the Sapsan high speed train does the journey in four hours at speeds of up to 250 kph. Mind you, if you happen to be travelling during daylight hours the conventional trains will afford you views of the countryside, while passengers on the Sapsan will be treated to a very blurred vision due to the high speed. Visit our website to access more information, or contact us for personal attention.

Choose To Upgrade in Cities & Towns Flexible options are available with our Independent Journeys, Private Group Tours, and Tailor-Made Journeys where travellers may choose the level of accommodation that best suits their budget and lifestyle. Selections are made from categories of comfortable hotels, guesthouses, home stays, and even traditional Mongolian gers and even traditional Mongolian Gers.

Choose To Add Extra Days While our journeys are well planned and paced to suit the majority of travellers, sometimes passengers prefer to add extra days at the beginning or end to indulge a special interest or simply to relax and enjoy the exciting cities which are featured as starting and finishing points. After all, there is so much more to see and do in places like Beijing and St Petersburg for example. Whatever the reason, we shall be pleased to offer suggestions and make all the necessary arrangements.

Some independent travellers find that our Fully Escorted Tours, Experience Tours or Independent Journeys are very close to the adventure they imagine; but want to tweak the duration or inclusions just a little to make it fit perfectly. And that’s fine with us, as we understand that one size doesn’t always fit all. Customising journeys is part of our DNA - and all that you need to do is ask ….

38

Please note: These requests need to be made well in advance of travel, and not during the course of a journey. Please see our Tailoring Your Journeys pages 12 & 13, should you wish to amend the content of a journey in some other manner, for example including extra days at other points on Independent Tours. We are unable to add additional time within Fully Escorted Tours or Experience Tours as these are group departures, however we shall be pleased to use these itineraries as a basis to customise an Independent Journey especially for you.

Choose Additional Activities Perhaps you want to be sure of tickets for a performance at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, the famous Moscow Circus, or Ulaanbaatar’s Mongolian throat singers. Or, maybe it’s a rickshaw - ride through Beijing’s Hutong area, or a tour to the Gallipoli battlefields from Istanbul that you have always wanted to do. The mind boggles at the number of options available, but the point is please let us know well in advance and we will do or best to make it happen.

Choose To Indulge There’s nothing better than indulging yourself at the end of a long journey by choosing to extend your stay in a luxurious hotel – after all, you’ve earned it. Maybe you’ll choose an atmospheric hotel with loads of character and local charm, or perhaps you’ll select a stylish, state of the art property with all the glitz and glamour. We know of many special options like the Hotel 1913 AUD $250 per night in St Petersburg which started out as the 19th century home for a local merchant.

Choose Pre & Post Accommodation, Transfers & Sightseeing Many of our itineraries begin or end in great cities, and it would be a pity if you didn’t take the opportunity to spend more time to explore them further. Or maybe, you would like to rest before or after a long journey. Even more practically, if you are about to embark on a long rail journey, it may be a good idea to spend time stocking up on some snacks and personal items to take with you. Ask us about options for accommodation, sightseeing, or even airport transfers for cities including – Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Vladivostok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Istanbul, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Perhaps the journey which you have selected to do with us is in the middle of longer itinerary which you are planning. For example, you may intend travelling from London to Melbourne, and you want to participate in one of our journeys between St Petersburg and Beijing on the way. Well, this is no problem and we will be pleased to assist with arrangements to get you from London to St. Petersburg to join the tour, and on conclusion in Beijing, to make arrangements for your onward travel, perhaps from Beijing to Guangzhou and on to Hong Kong by train together with some arrangements while you’re there, ahead of flying on to Australia. 39


Tsar’s Gold Trans Siberian

LUXURY PRIVATE TRAINS – THE TSAR’S GOLD

Operating on the Trans Siberian journey The Tsar’s Gold offers a range of cabin options. Highlights of the train include: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Travel on this private train designed for international tourists Dine in lovingly designed restaurant wagons and enjoy fine local cuisine and drinks served by courteous waiters Enjoy entertaining lectures on local culture, history and everyday life Professional threefold tour guide-system: Knowledgeable and dedicated tour director, a competent group guide (max. 26 guests per group guide) as well as local guides, all equipped with expert knowledge of the region Luggage service at all train stations Evening bar service 6 choices in cabin grades (some with private facilities) Air-conditioned when in motion. English-speaking tour director on board Doctor on board (from Moscow to the Chinese border) Showers on board Caviar and vodka tasting on board Arrival and departure airport transfers for most flights

Which type of cabin will suit you? Contact our Travel Advisors for information on additional cabin choices. Nostalgic Comfort

These new 4 sq m cabins are furnished in the Soviet ruling class-style era and sleep two persons in bunk berths (185x 80cm). A simple shared bathroom comprising a hand shower and wash basin is situated between two cabins. Each car comprises eight cabins which share toilet and washing facilities at both ends of each car.

Superior

Newly refurbished with a nostalgic look, these cabins sleep two persons with lower beds (187 x 67cm). Each car comprises nine cabins which share toilet and washing facilities at both ends of the car. Depending on the train configuration a shower facility is shared by guests from two to four cars.

Classic

These cabins sleep with lower beds (190 x 70cm). Each car comprises nine cabins which share toilet and washing facilities at both ends of the car. There are shower facilities in every second car.

Kalif Compartment

40

Tsar’s Gold Superior Compartment

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Direction

(see page 42 for itinerary)

China + Mongolia + Russia

• Private train experiences especially designed for international tourists • Restaurant car serving freshly prepared regional a la carte meals • Evening bar service on Orient Silk Road Express. Persian Explorer offers non-alcoholic bar service (to comply with Iranian requirements) • Vodka and wine tasting aboard Orient Silk Road Express • 4 choices in cabin grades (some with private facilities) • Air-conditioned when in motion. • English-speaking tour director on board • Experienced local guides (max. 26 guests per group guide) • Doctor on board • Arrival and departure airport transfers for most flights

Which type of cabin will suit you? Contact our Travel Advisors for information on additional cabin choices. Kalif Cabin This category offers the highest level of comfort on board. Each cabin sleeps two persons, with an upper berth (174 x 80 cm) and a wide lower berth (184cm x 112 cm). There is a cupboard, safe and an en-suite bathroom with toilet, washbasin and shower.

Aladdin Cabin Each cabin sleeps two persons with two lower beds (175 x 64 cm), a small table and storage space. One bathrobe per cabin is provided. Each car comprises ten cabins which share one shower facility at the end of the car. A toilet and washing facilities are located at both ends of each car.

Ali Baba Cabin Each cabin has two lower beds (180 x 60 cm). There is a table below the window and various options to stow belongings. Each car comprises ten cabins which share toilet and washing facilities at both ends of each car.

Westbound Beijing to Moscow Eastbound Moscow to Beijing

Countries Distance 7,865km

Activity Level Travelstyle

Your private train tour along the Trans Mongolian and Trans Siberian railways transports you from Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia and Siberia on one of the world’s great journeys.

The Journey Beijing & the Great Wall of China Our journey begins in Beijing. We enjoy a welcome dinner and spend two days exploring on tour visiting the sights. We enjoy a Peking Duck dinner, a local delicacy, before boarding our chartered train this evening for the northbound journey across the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian border to Ulaanbaatar. (Comfort & Bolshoi class cars are not available for this one night).

See Remote Mongolia & Siberia

Dine on delicious local cuisine in the Tsar’s Gold restaurant carriage.

After crossing the border at Erlian, we board the Tsar’s Gold which we use for the remainder of the journey. In Ulaanbaatar, we visit the Choijin -Lama Temple and the Gandan Monastery – the city’s most important where some 500 Buddhist monks reside, before heading into the scenic steppe. At Lake Baikal in the heart of Siberia we visit a traditional village, enjoy a picnic and take a boat trip on the world’s largest freshwater lake. There’s time to visit the major cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, to learn about life in Siberia and visit an outdoor museum en route to Novosibirsk where we are welcomed with traditional bread and salt and a tour of this Soviet-style city which developed as a direct result of the railway being built over a century ago.

ITINERARY

PRICES

The Orient Silk Road Express & Persian Explorer Trains Operating along the Silk Road these trains offer the following:

Moscow to Beijing - 16 Days Code TGMB

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Westbound - Code TGBM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Ulan Ude Lake Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian Railway Novosibirsk Yekaterinburg Kazan Moscow Moscow

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Moscow Moscow Kazan Yekaterinburg Novosibirsk Trans Siberian Railway Irkutsk Lake Baikal Ulan Ude Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Trans Mongolian Railway Beijing Beijing Beijing Beijing

Eastbound - Code TGMB

From Asian to European Russia

The following day we arrive in Yekaterinburg to visit the Church of the Ascension which is infamous for the brutal murders of the Romanovs in 1918. Back on board we enjoy views of the Ural Mountains as the train passes from Asia into Europe bound for Kazan; an interesting city on the Volga River where ornate Russian Orthodox churches share the skyline with the minarets of mosques. We visit the city’s Kremlin before our train departs. After our arrival in Moscow we explore this vibrant city before taking a ride on the city’s famous metro where many of the stations are decorated with chandeliers, and colourful mosaics glorifying Socialist workers. We enjoy an overnight in a hotel before the tour reaches its conclusion.

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Classic Twin $10,660 $11,195 $8,530 $10,660 £6,0745 €7,145

Superior Nostalgic Plus Comfort $11,895 $14,910 $12,490 $15,655 $9,515 $11,930 $11,895 $14,910 £6,780 £8,500 €7,970 €9,990

Beijing to Moscow - 15 Days Code TGBM AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

DATES

(see page 41 for itinerary)

1 2

Luxury train journeys bring an unprecendented level of luxury to some of the world's greatest railway journeys for the discerning traveller. As far as possible these journeys are all-inclusive.

$10,465 $10,990 $8,370 $10,465 £5,965 €7,010

$11,715 $12,300 $9,370 $11,715 £6,675 €7,850

$14,750 $15,490 $11,800 $14,750 £8,410 €9,885

Beijing to Moscow - Code TGBM 2017 Start Finish 14 May 28 May 11 Jun 25 Jun 07 Jul 21 Jul 30 Jul 13 Aug 25 Aug 8 Sep 17 Sep 01 Oct Moscow to Beijing - Code TGMB Start 06 May 03 Jun 29 Jun 22 Jul 17 Aug 09 Sep

ESSENTIALS

THE TSAR’S GOLD TRAIN

Luxury Train Journeys

INFORMATION

Travel aboard the well-known private train The Tsar’s Gold and journey across the Trans Siberian Railway in style. With a comprehensive choice of six cabin grades, complimentary transfers and a sophisticated on board programme this offers an opportunity to discover routes and destinations off the beaten track.

15 or 16 Days

-

Finish 21 May 18 Jun 14 Jul 06 Aug 01 Sep 24 Sep

Accommodation - Westbound Chinese chartered train – 1 night, Tsar’s Gold Private Train – 8 nights, Hotels – 5 nights Accommodation - Eastbound Chinese chartered train – 1 night, Tsar’s Gold Private Train – 8 nights, Hotels – 6 nights Meals and Transfers More than 40 meals incl. water and juice, Airport transfers included at certain times and dates. Sightseeing More than 20 excursions and tours included as well as entrance fees Please note – a doctor is on board from the Chinese border to Moscow and v.v.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

41


Legendary Silk Road

LUXURY PRIVATE TRAINS THE GOLDEN EAGLE

16 Days

Luxury Train Journeys Luxury train journeys bring an unprecendented level of luxury to some of the world's greatest railway journeys for the discerning traveller. As far as possible these journeys are all-inclusive.

1

PRICES

2

Tashkent to Tehran - 16 Days Code TGTT Ali Baba Aladdin Kalif Cabin Cabin Cabin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$11,000 $11,550 $8,800 $11,000 £6,270 €7,370

$11,965 $12,565 $9,570 $11,965 £6,820 €8,015

$22,105 $23,215 $17,685 $22,105 £12,600 €14,810

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Direction Tashkent to Tehran

Countries Turkmenistan + Uzbekistan + Iran

Distance

ESSENTIALS

DATES

4,295km Start 16 Sep

2017 -

Finish 01 Oct

Accommodation 6 nights on board trains 9 nights in first class hotels Meals and Transfers All meals, except no meals on day 1 & 16 All transfers – included airport transfers on arrival & departure. Sightseeing Comprehensive sightseeing included.

Activity Level Travelstyle

INFORMATION

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Arrive Tashkent Tashkent Samarkand Samarkand Bukhara Merv Ashgabat Mashhad Mashhad –Yazd Yazd Isfahan Isfahan Shiraz Pasargadae & Persepolis Tehran Depart Tehran

The Journey We tour Tashkent, before boarding the Orient Silk Road Express for Samarkand, the most remarkable city on the Silk Road. During our two-day stay, we visit the Shah-i- Zinda, a necropolis which dates from the 9th century, the excavation sites of Afrosib, the observatory of Ulug Beg, the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum, and Registan Square – a superb collection of Islamic architecture.

42

ITINERARY

Deep in central Asia, we use two private trains to discover five UNESCO World Heritage sites in exotic cities and remote deserts along the ancient Silk Road.

Bound for Samarkand & Bukhara

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

The Golden Eagle is your luxurious hotel-on-wheels. Settle into your well appointed and comfortable en-suite cabin as you begin this voyage of a lifetime. Cabin attendants are available at all times to look after your needs. Enjoy first-class customer service, fine dining and elegant surroundings as our romantic exploration offers a room with a view that constantly changes.

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Bukhara offers countless ancient monuments, including the Kalin Minaret, the Labi-Hauz Ensemble, the Samanid Mausoleum, and the Ark fortress. Overnight, our train travels to Merv, where we marvel at the remnants of one of the ancient world’s largest and most magnificent cities. In Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, we discover new found oil riches in this oasis and beyond, the ancient Parthian city of Nisa. We take a bus across the Iranian border for Mashhad to visit the mausoleum of Emam Reza, the eighth grandson of Mohammed – one of the Islamic world’s great architectural wonders. Boarding the Persian Explorer – the second private train - for Yazd, we discover wind towers and domes, and the site of the Zoroastrian fire

temples and towers of silence, where the dead were buried according to Zarathustra rites; while the Yazd Water Museum reveals the Qanat system of supplying water. Later, we lunch on board as the train heads for Isfahan.

Beautiful Isfahan and Archaeological Treasures

Two days in beautiful Isfahan with its magnificent city square is a delight. We visit Ali-qapu Palace and walk through the old Armenian quarter. There’s time to explore the gold bazaar before an oriental dinner In Shiraz, we see the Persian Paradise Gardens, admire the mosques with their striking bud-shaped architecture and wander the Old Town bazaar. We visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pasargadae – a sprawling archaeological site built by Cyrus the Great; and Persepolis - where we see the palace of King Darius. Leaving our train in Tehran we visit Golestan Palace - a monument to the glorious excesses of the Qajar emperors; the Archaeological Museum, and the Glass and Ceramics Museum. Our farewell dinner will be in the Milad Tower – the world’s sixth tallest communication tower.

THE GOLDEN EAGLE TRAIN

Which type of cabin will suit you?

(see page 44 & 45 for itineraries)

Contact our Travel Advisors for information on additional cabin choices.

Operating on the Trans Siberian journey The Golden Eagle offers a range of luxury cabin options. Highlights of the train include:

The Golden Eagle, with three categories of cabins, each featuring en-suite facilities and state-of-the-art amenities, is the only private train of its kind operating in these regions.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Imperial Suites:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily - including in-cabin breakfast option to start the day Generous drinks allowance, including international wine, with lunch and dinner Gala Caviar Dinner on board Afternoon tea and cakes on board En-suite dining option for Imperial Suite guests Inclusive drinks packages for Gold Class and Imperial Suite guests Tea, coffee, bottled water, soft drinks and local beer in the Bar Lounge Car Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled water in-cabin 24 hrs a day Robes, slippers and Natura Siberica toiletries in-cabin Complimentary bottle of vodka in-cabin Stimulating on board talks Resident pianist in Bar Lounge Car On board Russian language lessons Live musical performances Experienced Tour Manager On board Doctor - English speaking Luggage porterage - from the time you are met at the airport until your departure No tipping policy Arrival and departure transfers Fully guided off-train excursions program Authentic dining experiences in local restaurants with a generous drinks allowance including international wines

The most spacious cabins onboard the Golden Eagle measure 11.1 sq metres. They have a large and luxurious double bed, (sleeps 2 persons), as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked mini bar; safe; small library and two large picture windows. Exemplary service starts with a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on boarding. Imperial Suite guests will also benefit from the option of a private guide and car service in most of the places we visit along the route, the inclusion of drinks from the standard and premium bar list in the Bar Lounge Car, a laundry service and room upgrades to the next available category at hotels featured in the itinerary.

Gold Class Cabins: At 7 sq metres, these cabins are extremely well-proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed, (sleeps 2 persons). Gold Class guests receive complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.

Silver Class Cabins: More compact at 5.5 sq metres, these cabins feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed (sleeps 2 persons), as well as DVD/ CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window as well as private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.

Gourmet meals are prepared daily by on board chefs.

Vladivostok Railway Station - the historic eastern terminus of the Trans Siberian Railway.

Enjoy a drink with an ever-changing view in the Bar Lounge car.

43


Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express

Golden Eagle The Caspian Odyssey 16 Days

15 Days

Luxury Train Journeys

Luxury Train Journeys

Luxury train journeys bring an unprecendented level of luxury to some of the world's greatest railway journeys for the discerning traveller. As far as possible these journeys are all-inclusive.

1 2

Upgrades

Base Prices

Per Person, Twin Share Gold Class Cabin

USD $1,5895 $23,495 $3,700 USD $16,995 $24,995 $3,600

Imperial Suite

Season

$15,100 Low $17,000 High

Direction

Direction

Eastbound Yerevan to Almaty

Westbound Vladivostok to Moscow

Countries

Eastbound Moscow to Vladivostok Russia + Mongolia

DATES

Vladivostok to Moscow - Code GETSVM Start 19 May 17 Jun 05 Aug 02 Sep

2017 -

Finish 02 Jun 01 Jul 19 Aug 16 Sep

Westbound - Code GETSVM

Eastbound - Code GETSVM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

ESSENTIALS

2017 -

Finish 20 May 18 Jun 06 Aug 03 Sep

Accommodation Hotels – 2 nights (twin share) Golden Eagle Train – 12 nights Meals and Transfers All meals (incl. wine, beer & soft drinks) and transfers (incl. airport transfers) are included. Sightseeing Wide-ranging sightseeing schedule is included. There a number of Freedom of Choice Touring options included to enable you to tailor sightseeing to best suit your interests.

Experience the greatest luxury private train available in Russia today, as you travel on one of the world’s most famous railway journeys from Moscow to Vladivostok.

INFORMATION 44

Moscow Moscow Kazan Yekaterinburg Novosibirsk Trans Siberian RW Irkutsk Lake Baikal Ulan Ude Ulaanbaatar Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Vladivostok Vladivostok

The Journey Moscow and Kazan You’ll be pampered all the way as Golden Eagle traverses Russia from Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east. We start our tour in Moscow, enjoy a champagne reception, welcome dinner, and five-star accommodation at the downtown Ritz Carlton Hotel. En route we visit Kazan on the banks of the Volga River with its array of ornate Russian Orthodox churches and beautiful mosques. After crossing the Ural Mountains we call at Yekaterinburg and visit the poignant site where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his Romanov family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918; and drive to the obelisk marking the place where Europe and Asia meet.

Siberia

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Vladivostok Vladivostok Khabarovsk Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Ulaanbaatar Ulan Ude Lake Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian RW Novosibirsk Yekaterinburg Kazan Moscow Moscow

Beyond Novosibirsk, we visit Irkutsk to see the sights and visit the Volkonsky House Museum, dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled here after the failed Decembrists uprising of 1825. Later, we pause to admire Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world. We include a delicious barbecue prepared by our chefs, featuring freshly smoked omul fish, in a dining area on the lakeshore to complete the day.

ITINERARY

7,865km

11,024km

Moscow to Vladivostok - Code GETSMV Start 06 May 04 Jun 23 Jul 20 Aug

Distance

ITINERARY

Activity Level Travelstyle

Twin Share

Solo Traveller

Upgrades

Per Person, Twin Share Gold Class Cabin

USD $2,1495 $31,295 $5,700

Imperial Suite

$22,300

Armenia + Georgia + Azerbaijan + Turkmenistan + Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Countries Distance

Per Person, Silver Class

PRICES

Solo Traveller

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Activity Level Travelstyle

This luxury private train tour visits six diverse countries on the eastern and western shores of the Caspian Sea. You will surprised by the hidden treasures in store in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Yerevan Yerevan Lake Sevan & Dilijan Tbilisi Tbilisi & Telavi Gori, Uplistsikhe & Mtskheta Baku Baku Ashgabat Darvaza Gas Crater Khiva Bukhara Samarkand Tashkent Almaty Almaty

DATES

Twin Share

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

ESSENTIALS

Per Person, Silver Class

1 2

Luxury train journeys bring an unprecendented level of luxury to some of the world's greatest railway journeys for the discerning traveller. As far as possible these journeys are all-inclusive.

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Yerevan to Almaty - Code GECOYA 2017 Start Finish 17 Oct 01 Nov

Accommodation - Westbound 1 night Yerevan, 12 nights Aboard Golden Eagle, 1 night Almaty Meals and Transfers All meals (incl. wine, beer & soft drinks) and transfers (incl. airport transfers) are included. Sightseeing Wide-ranging sightseeing schedule is included. There a number of Freedom of Choice Touring options included to enable you to tailor sightseeing to best suit your interests.

The Journey

Onwards we find the cultural and ethnic diversity of Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. At the Old Believers’ Village we learn about the culture and history of these religious people and see a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.

Mongolia and Vladivostok

Our adventure takes us into Mongolia to explore its capital, Ulaanbaatar. We visit the Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important Buddhist monasteries, and tour the city. Afterwards, we drive to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery, visit a traditional ger and meet a nomadic family, or try our hand at horse-riding; an intrinsic part of Mongolian life. We include a traditional Mongolian throat singing performance and marvel at the contortionists. Returning to Russia we make our way to Vladivostok, the home to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Due to its military importance, the city was closed to foreigners between 1930 and 1992. We tour the city before our farewell dinner. Our overnight hotel in Vladivostok, is the four-star Hotel Hyunda.

The Caucasus Nations In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, we stay overnight and visit the medieval Geghard Monastery cut into rock, and the pagan temple of Garni, before visiting the Cascade giant stairway and the Casfejian Museum of Modern Art. Boarding The Golden Eagle we take the scenic route around stunning Lake Sevan, before visiting the Haghpat Monastery, and sipping Armenian cognac while admiring glorious views of the Caucasus Mountains. In Georgia, we walk through old Tbilisi with its atmospheric winding streets. We visit the 13th century Metekhi church, the 5th century Sioni Cathedral and Trinity Cathedral, one of the world’s largest Orthodox churches. In the beautiful Kakheti region, at the heart of the Georgian wine industry, we tour the Tsinandali estate. At Gori, we find the birthplace and a museum dedicated to Joseph Stalin, before proceeding to Uplistsikhe for a private performance of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing, and a tour of the amazing cave city of Uplistsikhe from the 6th century BC. Travelling via Mtskheta, Georgia’s old capital we enter Azerbaijan, and head for Baku with its picturesque old town on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

Across The Caspian Sea

Our empty train is loaded onto a ferry for the Caspian Sea crossing to Turkmenistan, as we fly to Ashgabat, a modern desert capital with extravagant fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings. Rejoining our train, we stop to see Darvaza’s famous gas crater which has been burning for over 40 years. In Uzbekistan, we find Khiva, an impressive 2,500 year old walled city on the Silk Road which rises out of the desert and offers ancient mosques and bazaars. Bukhara is equally as impressive and in Samarkand, we visit the awe-inspiring Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque and the Ulag Beg Observatory. We tour Tashkent in Uzbekistan, where we walk through the Old Town to view one of Islam’s most sacred relics – the world’s oldest Koran. Our train passes through the scenic Tien Shan Mountains to Almaty in Kazakhstan where we visit Zenkov Cathedral, a 19th century Orthodox church made entirely of wood. INFORMATION

PRICES

Base Prices

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

45


Festivals & Special Departures

Harbin International Festival 21 December 2016 – 05 Feb 2017 – Harbin, China

This is the world’s largest and most famous ice festival featuring spectacular sculptures of ice and snow, some large enough to walk through. The festival opens with a grand ceremony and fireworks display. Visit Harbin on a Trans Manchurian Railway journey.

Holi Festival 14 March 2017 - all over India

People shower almost anyone they see on the streets with brightly coloured powders during the Festival of Colours, which announces the arrival of spring in the Hindu religion. Although the official day for Holi is 13 March, the festive activity happens on 14 March until 1 pm.

Winter Festive of the North 24 March 2017, Murmansk, Russia

This 10-day festival is an annual sports event with over 20 winter sports including reindeer racing, skiing, biathlon and ice swimming. It is one of the few times Saami people venture into the city to show off their reindeer and celebrate their cultural heritage.

Russian Victory Day 9 May, all over Russia

The most significant national holiday in Russia celebrates the end of the Great Patriotic War (WWII). While parades and commemorative events are held throughout the country, the grandest parade of military hardware is held in Moscow’s Red Square and attended by the president and senior officials. St. Petersburg also has a large parade.

Stars of the White Nights Festival May to July, St. Petersburg, Russia

Sundowners Overland has journeys to some of the most vibrant places on earth where diverse, colourful traditions and rituals live on. Celebrations of great cultural or religious significance, commemorative events of immense national pride, or seasonal festivities where local people simply come together to enjoy themselves offer unique experiences for travellers. Wherever possible these are featured in scheduled journeys or highlighted on special departures. Perhaps you’ll consider one of these interesting options to enrich your travel experience:

46

Days are long and nights are short in St. Petersburg at this time of year. Celebrations include general merrymaking, staying out late, and a dance festival. Expect spectacular fireworks, concerts, and a mock battle among pirates in boats on the Neva River.

Golden Eagle Festival 1 & 2 October, Bayan Ulgil, Mongolia

This annual festival celebrates the golden eagle and the traditional Kazakh culture of hunting with them. See traditional games, dancing, and spectacular displays of hunting skills in one of Mongolia’s most beautiful wilderness areas. (See page 50 for our special journey).

Visit our website or contact us to find out more about the festivals in this region and our journeys which give you the chance to experience them. Remember, if we don’t have a journey which fits with the festival you wish to include, please ask us about a Tailor-Made Journey to take you there. (See p. 12-13)

Christmas & Winter Departures China, Mongolia and Russia offer wonderful winter experiences when their landscapes are frozen and covered by thick blankets of snow. Experience unforgettable winter activities including dog sledding, snowmobiling, troika rides in Siberia (horse-drawn sleighs), ice skating in Moscow’s Red Square, or even ice diving or ice fishing on Lake Baikal. With fewer tourists about, there is more chance to truly experience the destination. And remember, this region is fully prepared for the weather conditions with the extensive use of central heating often creating almost sub-tropical indoor temperatures. Trains are very often the cosiest places of all, especially the passenger compartments.

Celebrate Russian Orthodox Christmas 7 January, all over Russia

With the Soviet era now a distant memory, Christianity is openly practised again in Russia although New Year is possibly a more universal celebration. The Russian Orthodox Church is part of the Eastern Orthodox tradition and uses the Julian calendar; while Western Christianity uses the Georgian calendar which accounts for a difference of 14 days between recognised dates for observing events. (Armenians observe Christmas Day as 6 January).

Naadam Festival 11-13 July, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The Naadam Festival is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating events of its kind in the world. It’s a summer festival which has existed in one form or another for centuries. It centres on the three major traditional sports – horseracing, archery and wrestling. It’s a time of year, when the best participants who have won their way through regional trials arrive in the capital to appear in the ultimate contest to decide the annual national champions. For visitors the most spectacular event is when hundreds of horsemen dressed in colourful national costume ride their compact Mongolian horses into the main stadium in the capital. Horse races are held out on the grasslands when riders and horses contest events at ferocious paces over distances of up to 30 kilometres. There are even races reserved especially for young riders from around three years of age. In other events balletic athletes seem to wrestle giants, and some of the world’s best archers line up almost impossible targets. You may be sure that there is a lot of traditional singing and dancing from locals in bright costumes as well. Be sure to bring your camera! Naadam has become a celebration of the nation’s identity and to experience it is to catch a glimpse of an extraordinary culture and a courageous national spirit that has never been stronger. Sundowners Overland offers a number of journeys, covered within this brochure, that feature the Naadam Festival: • • • •

Naadam Adventure – 10 days (page 48) Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express with Naadam Festival – 13 days (page 44/45) Trans Mongolian with Naadam Festival – 24 days (page 50/51) Trans Siberian Railway with China & Mongolia – 29 days (pages 24/25) 47


Naadam Adventure

Fully Escorted Tour Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

10 Days

2

$2,280 $2,395 $1,825 $2,280 £1,300 €1,530

Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar - Code NSUU

DATES

1

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

2017 Start 09 Jul

2018 Finish

- 18 Jul

Start 09 Jul

Finish - 18 Jul

Celebrate the Naadam Festival with the locals as remote Mongolia relives its finest traditions dating from the days of Genghis Khan and his ferocious nomadic warriors. Witness skilful displays of archery and wrestling, and colourful horseracing events during the nation’s most important festival.

ESSENTIALS

Group size

Directions Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar

Country Mongolia

The adventure begins in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s political, commercial and cultural capital since 1649. Much of the modern city is dominated by Soviet architecture from the 20th century but traditional culture is still alive and well amongst the cities population. In the lead up to the Naadam Festival you will get to see some of this with a wonderful display of traditional arts, music and song featuring unforgettable ‘throat singing’. Our half day sightseeing tour including a visit to the National History Museum provides an excellent introduction prior to enjoying time to explore more of this interesting city on your own.

Naadam Festival The highlight of our visit is the official opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival at the

48

Hotels - 5 nights (twin share) Gers - 4 nights (shared) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

870km

Meals and Transfers

Activity Level

Many breakfasts (9) and some lunches (2) are dinners (4) included. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travelstyle

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. The Naadam Festival is the main attraction of this journey and we will enjoy not only the opening ceremony but also the archery competition. The horse racing is on the second day and is held some 30 km beyond the city limits and is a wonderful day with a market-like atmosphere.

National Sports Stadium. ‘Eriin gurvan naadam’ or ‘The Three Games Of Men’ is the pinnacle of nomadic Mongolian culture. Imagine the fanfare of an Olympic opening ceremony, the national pride of an independence day and the athletic spectacle of the commonwealth games all rolled in to one. On taking our place for the procession we see not only the athletes, but monks, officials and local celebrities – it seems that everyone makes their way here. The procession presents a magnificent sight with hundreds of horses with riders dressed in colourful national costumes on parade. We are entertained by wrestling and archery. The third sport being horseracing is held the following day, out of town on the steppe. Of special interest are the races with children as jockeys. We join the crowds who are often as entertaining as the competitors in cheering the winners and serenading the losers

in song. As the festival draws to a close, we travel out west to the ancient capital of Kharkhorin.

Mongolia’s Ancient Capital After the excitement of the first few days, we head for the Bayangobi, Mongolia’s famous desert to enjoy the serenity prior to venturing out to the site of Mongolia’s 13th century capital from the days of Genghis Khan. Little remains of over 100 temples with many destroyed during the Soviet era. However, Erdene Zuu monastery, built in 1586, the largest and first Buddhist centre in the country is what we have come to visit. Most remarkably, it retains much of its former glory and treasures. We proceed to the Hustai National Park where Przewalski horses, known locally as ‘Takhi’, were reintroduced after previously becoming almost extinct in their

Enjoy watching the three ‘manly’ sports of Naadam; wrestling, archery and horse racing.

Stay in a traditional Mongolian ger and learn about life and family of Mongolia’s nomadic people.

native land. We stay in a ger – the traditional Mongolian felt tents, with plenty of time to relax and learn more about the lifestyle of Mongolia’s nomadic peoples.

Tereji National Park Departing the desert the glorious scenery takes on an alpine feel as we relocate To Mongolia’s largest National Park; Terelj. Here we have the opportunity to visit a local family to see their lifestyle firsthand. During our stay there is ample opportunity for hiking, or simply relaxing and enjoying the magnificent scenery. Later, we return to Ulaanbaatar as life slowly returns to normal after the most important festivities of the year.

ITINERARY 1 2 3 4 5

Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Naadam Festival and to Bayongobi 6 Bayongobi and to Kharkhorin 7 Kharkhorin and to Khustai National Park 8 Khustai and to Terelj National Park 9 Return to Ulaanbaatar 10 Ulaanbaatar

Erdene Zuu Monastery

INFORMATION

Visit the site of Genghis Khan’s former capital at Kharkhorin and the monastery of Erdene Zuu.

Accommodation - Westbound

Distance

The Journey Ulaanbaatar

Maximum 24 travellers, plus the Tour Leader.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

49


Trans Mongolian with Naadam Festival

Fully Escorted Tour Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

24 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$6,660 $6,995 $5,330 $6,660 £3,795 €4,460

$1,595 $1,675 $1,275 $1,595 £910 €1,070

Beijing to St. Petersburg - Code TMNB

DATES

1 2

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Optional 2-Berth Rail

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

2017 Start 02 Jul

2018 Finish

- 25 Jul

Start 04 Jul

Finish - 27 Jul

St. Petersburg to Beijing - Code TMNS 2017 Start

Westbound Beijing to St. Petersburg Eastbound St. Petersburg to Beijing China + Mongolia + Russia

Distance 8,514km

Activity Level

Accommotion - Westbound Hotels - 10 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 3 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth)

Wild Mongolia

Mongolia’s unique Naadam Festival

Lake Baikal & the Trans Siberian Railway to Moscow & St Petersburg

We join in the excitement and mix with the crowds at the opening ceremony of the

After crossing the Russian border our train heads west skirting the southern shore of Lake

Naadam Festival which is held annually in the National Sports Stadium. A unique spectacle showcasing traditional Mongolian sports and culture, the Naadam Festival is a point of national pride. We enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of horses ridden by riders in colourful national costumes, as well as serious archery and wrestling contests. The following day we head out of town to the grassy steppes to witness the horseracing which features events for horse and riders of all ages – including children’s races. At the conclusion, we board an evening train north to Siberia.

Baikal – the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake – to find Irkutsk, in the heart of Siberia. There’s time to see its fine 18th century churches and historic homes before spending two nights in the lakeside village of Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal. We join the Trans Siberian Railway and travel via the Ural Mountains, to the far side of the Volga en route to Moscow where a walk through Red Square is a highlight There’s time to ride the Metro and check out the eclectic mix of buildings including palaces and massive Soviet-style tower blocks which dot the city. Our final train journey brings us to St Petersburg the next morning. This classic city is not to be missed with grand 18th century buildings, even grander palaces, and the greatest art collection of all, at the Hermitage.

ITINERARY

Westbound - Code TMNB

Eastbound - Code TMNS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2

8 9 10 11 12

15 Practice your archery with a Mongol bow in Terelj National Park.

Witness the pageantry and colour of the Naadam Festival, Mongolia’s national celebration.

Marvel at the wrestlers of Mongolia

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian RW Ulaanbaatar Kharkhorin Kharkhorin to Khustai National Park Khustai to Terelj National Park Return to Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Naadam and depart Ulaanbaatar Trans Siberian RW Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk and Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Moscow Moscow to St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

St. Petersburg St. Petersburg to Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Trans Siberian RW Irkutsk Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Listvyanka - Lake Baikal Irkutsk and Trans Mongolian RW Trans Mongolian RW Ulaanbaatar and to Kharkhorin Kharkhorin to Bayongobi Bayongobi to Khutsai Return to Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Festival Trans Mongolian RW Beijing Beijing Beijing Beijing

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (15) and some lunches (3) and dinners (3) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

INFORMATION

of this remote nation we journey to Kharkhorin; the ancient capital of Genghis Khan’s empire. While there we will visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, the spiritual home of Mongolian Buddhism. From here we will travel to the isolated haven of the Bayangobi where we will see Przewalski horses, desert sand dunes and petrified forests. As we make our way back to the capital for the Naadam Festival we divert to explore the Terelj National Park surrounded by majestic mountains. Staying in traditional gers – as used by nomadic herdsmen for centuries - we have time to observe curious rock formations and countless species of bird.

13 14

50

Group size Maximum of 24 travellers, plus the Tour Leader.

Accommodation - Eastbound Hotels - 10 nights (twin share) Siberian Guesthouse - 2 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 3 nights (shared) Trains - 8 nights (4-berth)

The Chinese capital is a great place to start our journey with visits to Tainanmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and in the countryside nearby a walk on the Great Wall of China. This bustling city has much more to offer than just Imperial history. In your free time you can indulge in China’s modern art scene, observe every day life lived out in the many parks or, sample Beijing’s famous imperial cuisine such as Peking duck. After all of this the Trans Mongolian Railway is waiting to take us across northern China and the Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital.

Be entertained by the spectacular opening ceremony at the Naadam festival.

Finish

27 Jun - 20 Jul

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (16) and some lunches (2) and dinners (3) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

The Journey

After travelling over the vast Mongolian steppe we arrive in Ulaanbaatar. For our first real taste

Start

Countries

Travelstyle

Beijing and the Great Wall

2018 Finish

24 Jun - 17 Jul

ESSENTIALS

Walk along the Great Wall, celebrate Mongolia’s greatest and most colourful festival, traverse the mighty Siberian landscape, and explore Russia’s most exciting cities on this grand adventure.

Direction

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

51


Wild Mongolia and the Golden Eagle Festival

Fully Escorted Tour Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

16 Days

Plane

Direction Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar

ESSENTIALS

Revel in Mongolia’s beautiful mountainous regions, traverse the steppe and desert to discover ancient archaeological sites, stay with a nomadic family and witness the vibrant Golden Eagle Festival.

Country Mongolia

Distance 2,360 km

Activity Level

Stunning Natural Beauty Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nurr National Park offers Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (or the Great White Lake), famous for birdlife and several extinct volcanoes, while rare species of flora and fauna dot spectacular basalt-covered valleys. At Telmen Lake, we discover a salt lake at 1789 metres above sea level spanning 194 square kilometres, and a perfect area for hiking or relaxing. Moving west across sand dunes, Khyargas Lake, is located in the Great Depression a globally significant wetland for migratory birds. Later Mongolia’s largest lake, Uvs is home to 220 species of birds. Mountains, lakes and rivers provide dramatic scenery en route to Olgii, capital of Mongolia’s most westerly province, famous for its untouched snow capped mountains and the rich, unique culture of the Kazakh people. We visit the museum, and learn about hunting with an eagle from an expert.

A true highlight of this journey is experiencing the unique Golden Eagle Festival.

Nomadic Culture A quarter of Mongolians still lead traditional nomadic lifestyles, living in traditional felt tents, or Gers, and moving their herds of Bactrian camels, horses, yaks, goats and sheep between pastures as the seasons change. They are welcoming to all travellers and we will have a unique insight into how these hardy herders survive the harsh winters and remote conditions and witness their daily life during our stay with a nomadic family. Their simple lives and deep connection with nature and the environment is a humbling and inspiring experience.

52

28 Sep - 13 Oct

Start

Finish

27 Sep - 12 Oct

Group size Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 6 nights (twin share) Mongolian Ger - 9 nights (shared) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

Spend time with the local nomads and gain an insight into their hardy lives.

ITINERARY

Golden Eagle Festival Excitement mounts for the festival when Kazakh hunters come from near and far with their prized eagles to enter competitions based on skill, speed and accuracy. Traditional costume, displays of horsemanship, dance performances and traditional games celebrate Kazakh heritage. Afterwards, we drive to Tsambagarav Mountain for more hiking in this multi-ethnic region famous for the art of throat singing, before flying back to Ulaanbaatar. The tour uses some hotels, while much of the accommodation in rural areas will be in gers – the traditional dwellings of nomadic herders.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Ulaanbaatar Kharkhorin Tsenkher Hot Spring/Ger Camp Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park/Ger Camp Telmen lake Khyargas Lake Ulaangom & Uvs Lake Uureg Lake Olgii Eagle Festival Eagle Festival Tavan Bogd National Park Tavan Bogd National Park Olgii and flight to Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar

Witness the unbreakable bond between the Kazakh hunters and their cherished eagles.

INFORMATION

Soak in the serenity of Mongolia’s remote wilderness.

2018 Finish

Sighseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

The Journey Ulaanbaatar offers the Gandan Khiid Monastery with its 25 metre gold plated Buddha, the impressive National History Museum and an amazing performance by traditional throat singers. In Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of the Great Mongolian Empire we visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, from 1586 with beautiful white walls and 108 stupas; and an extraordinary collection of Buddhist paintings, priceless religious objects, traditional costumes for religious dances and superb Buddhist iconography in typical Mongolian and Tibetan styles.

2017 Start

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (15) and some lunches (13) and dinners (14) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travelstyle

Modern and Ancient Capitals

$5,860 $6,155 $4,690 $5,860 £3,340 €3,925

Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar - Code WMUU

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

DATES

1 2

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

53


Gobi Desert Explorer

Fully Escorted Tours Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

16 Days

1 2

$3,940 $4,135 $3,150 $3,940 £2,245 €2,640

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar - Code GDUU

DATES

Plane

Mongolia is the world’s most sparsely populated country with just 3 million people inhabiting the 1.5 million square kilometres of pristine desert, steppe and mountain. Almost half the population live in its frenetic capital Ulaanbaatar; a fascinating mix of nomads and urban executives, new high-rise development and Ger (traditional nomadic tents) suburbs. We will visit the Gandan Monastery, with its huge gold Buddha, the spiritual home of the Mongolian people, the National Museum of Mongolian History, Zaisan Memorial and Bogd Khan Palace museum. Beyond the city one million Mongolian’s still live a traditional nomadic or semi nomadic life and the horse is central to their existence. We travel to the Khutsai National Park where wild horses, known as Takhi or Przewalski horses, are bred and reintroduced into the wild. Once close to

Mongolia

Distance 1,750 km

Activity Level

26 Aug - 10 Sep

Start

Finish

25 Aug - 09 Sep

extinction, Takhi are the world’s only true wild horse. Our journey continues to the site of Genghis Khan’s former capital, Kharkhorin and the extensive monastery complex of Erdene Zuu, built in 1586, it is the oldest remaining monastery in Mongolia, and despite some damage during the Soviet era retains much of its former glory.

The Great Gobi Desert Before leaving the steppe we visit Orhon waterfall and Tuvkhun Monastery, set in a beautiful location in the Khangai mountains. Established by Zanabazar, the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia, as a place of solitude it soon grew as an important monastery and place of pilgrimage after his death. Gradually the steppe gives way to the fringes of the Great Gobi Desert and we enjoy two nights at the Gobi camel camp, a chance to explore the area and learn more about the traditional nomadic

Wander the grounds of the beautiful monastic complex of Erdene Zuu.

Group size Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotel - 4 nights Camping - 4 nights Mongolian Ger - 7 nights Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey.

Travelstyle

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (14) and some lunches (11) and dinners (12) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

lifestyle of the Mongolians. Time also to climb Ih Bogd mountain (3957m) the highest peak of the Gobi-Altai mountain range and visit White Cave where evidence of early Stone Age habitation has been found. We continue into one of the most remote areas of the Gobi Desert where we will explore the spectacular canyon formations of Kherman Tsav. Carved out over many thousands of years the colourful canyon walls and rock formations provide a beautiful setting for an evening walk into the canyon. Dinosaur skeletons are to be found in the area as well as the unique flora and fauna of the Gobi Desert. Ibex and snow leopard are native to the region, while gazelles and wild asses can be seen on the nearby plains.

ITINERARY

Flaming Cliffs and Frozen Rivers The vast sand dunes of Khongoriin Els, some up to 200 metres high, stretch for 180 kilometres; known as the ‘singing dunes’ due to the melodic sound the shifting sands make as the wind passes over their crest. From the ‘singing dunes’ our evening arrival at the ‘Flaming Cliffs’ ensures they live up to their description. It was near here in the 1920s that the first fossilised dinosaur eggs and skeletons were found in Mongolia.

1 Ulaanbaatar 2 To Bayangobi Ger Camp 3 Kharkhorin Ger Camp and Erdene Zuu Monastery 4 Orkhon Valley

We continue through the Gobi Desert, encountering occasional ger encampments of nomadic families, reaching the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park and the remarkable Yol Valley where even in the middle of a Gobi summer, the river remains frozen. We leave the remote and beautiful landscapes of the Gobi Desert, returning by air to Ulaanbaatar.

Search for dinosaur fossils at the Flaming Cliffs.

Sighseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

5 Tuvkhun Temple & Orhon Waterfall 6 To Bayanhongor 7 To Gobi Camel Ger Camp 8 Ih Bogd Mountain (3957m) and Ger Camp 9 To Kherman Tsav 10 To Toson Bumbin Mountains 11 To Khongoriin Els & Ger Camp 12 To Bayanzag & Flaming Cliffs overnight at Ger camp 13 Yoliin Am & Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, overnight at Ger Camp. 14 Return to Ulaanbaatar 15 Ulaanbaatar 16 Ulaanbaatar

Enjoy sleeping under a star-spangled sky staying in our traditional Mongolian ger camps.

INFORMATION

Experience the vibrant colour and culture of Mongolia.

2018 Finish

Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar

Countries

The Journey Ulaanbaatar and Kharkhorin

2017 Start

Direction

ESSENTIALS

Discover the very best of Mongolia from the bustling capital Ulaanbaatar we journey across the Steppe to the site of Genghis Khan’s former capital of Kharkhorin. We will encounter ancient Buddhist monasteries and the remarkable diversity of the Gobi Desert; sacred mountains, dinosaur ‘cemeteries’, flaming cliffs, singing sand dunes, spectacular canyons and a unique landscape that is home to ibex and snow leopards. Join us for this journey into another world.

54

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

55


Fully Escorted Tour

Christmas Trans Mongolian

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. As one of our Premium journeys, this itinerary is of a more inclusive nature than most other journeys in this brochure (with the exception of Luxury Train Journeys), devoting more time to each city’s sights, history and culture. See page 10 for more details.

24 Days

PRICES

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Direction Countries

We’ll be counting down to Christmas in Beijing at the start of the tour. Visit Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, Lama Temple, and the Hutongs all without the maddening crowds. Head out to see the Ming Tombs, and see the great wall in a whole new light as you climb its snow capped turrets. Our cosy train waits to take us north across the Gobi Desert, to Ulaanbaator – Mongolia’s capital.

Mongolian Winter We head for the countryside to spend time in warm traditional gers, set among spectacular rock formations and wild rolling snow-covered hills in the Terelj. In 13th Century national park we will warm ourselves by the pot belly stoves as we learn about the fascinating nomadic culture, before returning to the capital to rejoin

56

2017 Start

2018 Finish

16 Dec - 08 Jan

Start

Finish

16 Dec - 08 Jan

China + Mongolia + Russia 8,514 km

Activity Level Travelstyle

the Trans Mongolian Railway bound for Siberia.

Christmas in Siberia The picturesque village of Listvyanka right in the heart of a Siberian winter wonderland is waiting to welcome us. Here, beside the shores of the vast Lake Baikal which is probably frozen thick to almost two metres by this time, we prepare to celebrate Christmas with traditional Russian dishes, a shot or two of vodka to warm the cockles of the heart, and a traditional troika ride (horse sleigh). On Boxing Day, we bid farewell and travel to Irkutsk to see its historic buildings and time-worn mansions from the days when Russian and Polish exiles were banished here, far from Moscow.

Trans Siberian route to Moscow We board the Trans Siberian Railway where our

Experience a taste of Mongolian life with a stay in a ger in Terelj National Park.

Group size Maximum of 24 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 13 nights (twin share) Gers - 2 nights (shared) Guesthouse -1 night (twin share) Trains - 7 nights (2-berth upgrade included) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (15), some lunches (3) and a dinners (3) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

train compartments are as warm as toast, and windows offer magical views of a frozen terrain for as far as the eye can see. Through the Ural Mountains and on to Europe the train travels, until it reaches the end of the line in Moscow. At this time of year Moscow is like a page from a fairytale, as we’ll see on tour with the famous Red Square ablaze with bright festive lights and the splendid twirled cupolas of St Basil’s Cathedral dusted in snow, while the imposing face of the Kremlin looks on. Inside the Kremlin walls we will see the Armoury Chamber and two beautiful cathedrals. We’ll be in Red Square as the Kremlin clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. This is sure to be a New Year celebration to remember for a long time to come. After more sightseeing, we’ll board an overnight train for St Petersburg, where clear winter days reveal pastel palaces, and frozen canals convey a

Enjoy traditional winter activities and a troika (sleigh) ride.

special charm with their white frosting. We visit St Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress and the magnificent Peterhof, not forgetting the Hermitage Museum; and Catherine’s Palace and Park on our Pushkin tour. Our journey concludes with a gala dinner and show. What a way to celebrate Christmas and New Year!After more sightseeing, we’ll board an overnight train for St Petersburg, where clear winter days reveal pastel palaces, and frozen canals convey a special charm with their white frosting. We visit St Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress and the magnificent Peterhof, not forgetting the Hermitage Museum; and Catherine’s Palace and Park on our Pushkin tour. Our journey concludes with a gala dinner and show. What a way to celebrate Christmas and New Year!

See in the New Year and join in the festivities in Moscow's Red Square.

ITINERARY

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Terelj National Park and Ger Camp 7 13th Century National Park and Ger Camp 8 Ulaanbaatar and Trans Mongolian Railway 9 Trans Mongolian Railway 10 Listvyanka - Lake Baikal 11 Irkutsk 12 Trans Siberian Railway 13 Trans Siberian Railway 14 Trans Siberian Railway 15 Moscow 16 Moscow 17 Moscow 18 Moscow 19 Moscow to St. Petersburg 20 St. Petersburg 21 St. Petersburg 22 St. Petersburg 23 St. Petersburg 24 St. Petersburg INFORMATION

St Issacs Cathedral

$8,905 $9,350 $7,125 $8,905 £5,075 €5,965

Distance

The Journey Beijing and the Great Wall

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Beijing to St. Petersburg- Code TMXB

Westbound Beijing to St. Petersburg

DATES

It’s doubtful that this is the ‘White Christmas’ that Bing Crosby sang about, but this one’s guaranteed to be just as perennial. Imagine Christmas dinner in a tiny Siberian village. Outside, we’ll take a troika ride with sleigh bells ringing in the snow. Then, across the Siberian winter wonderland we’ll go, dreaming of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Moscow’s Red Square.

ESSENTIALS

1 2

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

57


the caucasus

Armenia Armenians proudly boast that their state was the first in the world to adopt Christianity as the official religion back in 301 AD. Armenian history is complex with periods of domination and occupation by Byzantine, Persian, Mongol and Ottoman invaders interspersed by sporadic bursts of independence, the last being from 1918 to 1920 when the Soviet Russians invaded. Armenia declared its independence from the USSR in 1990. Today, Armenia is a scenic mountainous country, quite rural in nature with traditional villages. The nation’s strong Christian faith is everywhere with ancient stone churches and monasteries seemingly set on the most dramatic and precarious of mountain tops, which causes onlookers to gaze in wonder at how these stout buildings came to be built in such difficult terrain. In full view of the national capital Yerevan, is Mt Ararat where Noah’s Ark is popularly claimed to rest. In the shadow of the mountain lies the Noravank Monastery. Beyond, is the Selim Pass and its caravanserai – the best preserved of any in the country with solid basalt walls and accommodation for travellers and their animals. Savour the fresh air, and the panoramic views of snow capped mountains, and lush green valleys, before descending to visit one of the oldest settlements in Armenia, at Noratus where the cemetery has unique ‘kachkars’ – ornately carved headstones featuring a cross, and elaborate patterns. Near Yerevan, Etchmiadzin the world’s oldest cathedral has become a pilgrimage site and is the most revered place of worship for the Armenian Apostolic Church - one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. In this picturesque setting we see Armenian architectural styles from various periods, while the nearby Treasury holds precious religious relics including the spear which many believe was used to wound Christ at his crucifixion. Farther still there is Geghard, a monastery carved out of the surrounding mountain and well known to Silk Road travellers - now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby, the restored Temple of Garni from about 77 AD, is an interesting pagan site of unknown origin, although somewhat Greco-Roman in appearance. Karahunj offers an archaeological site of curious stone circles which is said to pre-date England’s Stonehenge by 3,000 years. Its origins have archaeologists baffled, although there is no shortage of theories.

Somewhere among the jagged, craggy mountain peaks near the very edge of Europe lie timeless lands where ideology, custom and language have been shaped by passing caravans of Silk Road traders, missions of religious disciples of one creed or another, and armies of fierce soldiers who have passed this way from the farthest and most mysterious lands of Asia, the ancient influential realms of Turkey and Persia, and the imperialist domains of once-tsarist Russia. Welcome to the Caucasus -an area roughly twice the size of Tasmania bounded by the snow-capped high Caucasus Mountains to the north, the Black Sea to the west, the Caspian Sea to the east, and fringed by the political borders of Turkey and Iran to the south. Within, lies three independent nations – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia - each quite culturally distinct from the other, but equally as proud.Largely hidden from the outside world, these tiny nations became mysterious before reappearing almost unscathed, after a century as far-flung and oft-forgotten fragments of the former Soviet Union. Now, the mystery is over. The welcome mat is out, and their legendary hospitality isready to flow. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for curious travellers: 58

In the north, we find a series of monasteries from the 12th to 14th centuries. But history and scenery apart, you are sure to remember Armenia for its wines, and brandies. In fact no lesser a connoisseur than Sir Winston Churchill spoke very fondly of Armenian brandies. And, after acquiring a taste for them during the Yalta Conference in 1945, it is believed that cases were sent to him every year thereafter.

Azerbaijan Early civilisation is coloured by tales of ancient Zoroastrian fire worship prior to the Arab invasion in the 7th century. The country’s history is peppered by invasions including Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, Romans, Seljuks, Mongols, Persians, Russians, Ottomans and finally the Soviets after the briefest period of independence from 1918 to 1920. After the Russians went home in 1991, the Azerbaijani authorities emphasised a return to cultural values. The Muslim faith, previously banned from being taught in schools, is now back on the curriculum, traditional Azerbaijani folk music and customs are encouraged and on show for visitors, and the written language has now reverted to the Latin script, rather than the Sovietfavoured Cyrillic. Baku is the progressive capital, of a modern, secular nation where 98% of the population is Muslim. Prosperity derived from the country’s vast oil and natural gas reserves is never far away. Elegant early 20th century buildings and modern skyscrapers contrast with traditional mosques and ancient fortifications, including a charming medieval walled city enclosing the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a royal retreat dating from the 15th century, and the centuries-old stone Maiden Tower, which pierces the city skyline. There is even a caravanserai to remind visitors that Baku was once a stop along the Silk Road.

In the countryside, there are thermal areas including the largest collection of mud volcanoes anywhere in the world, and a fire mountain known as Yanar Dag where a flame burns continuously from vents in sandstone formations and rises some ten metres in the air. It’s no miracle – but a curious feature of the gas fields. A UNESCO World Heritage site at Gobustan, on the shores of the Caspian Sea contains thousands of rock paintings and carvings dating from the Stone Age as well as graffiti left by Alexander the Great’s soldiers and Roman legionnaires. Elsewhere, there is a fire temple built in the 18th century which was once used by Zoroastrian fire worshippers from Persia and Hindus from India during the days of the caravan traders. Nearby, there is a series of coastal fortifications built by local rulers to protect the area from Russian pirates during the 14th century. History tells us that they may have been more effective than attempts to deter Russian invasions in later times.

GEORgia In its early days Georgia was a series of independent kingdoms, largely Christian by faith, although these were overrun by powerful invaders including Mongols, Ottomans, and Iranians. Later, part of the country was annexed by Russia and after a brief interlude of independence Georgia came under Russian control from 1921, until it regained independence in 1991. Tbilisi is the modern capital, but the ancient capital of Mtskheta, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world is nearby where the Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral are reminders that the Christian faith has been practised here for centuries. Throughout the land visitors are treated to traditional hospitality. This cultural nicety is particularly evident in the Kakheti region. Here guests and locals toast each other during meals, and celebrate the area’s delicious local foods and wines. A year-round mild climate has always favoured viticulture in this region, one of the world’s oldest wine producing areas dating back some 8,000 years. Nearby, Sighnaghi is an interesting, restored fortified town from the 18th century with excellent mountain views. Gori is remembered as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and has an interesting museum. Uplistsikthe is an ancient rock-hewn town with structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. It has rock carving styles from Anatolia and Iran and a mixture of pagan and Christian architecture. Near the Armenian border, the cave town of Vardzia from the 12th century offers other perspectives stretching over 500 metres along a riverbank, over 19 tiers. It once contained some 3,000 caves, some with frescoes and includes living quarters, churches, rectories, a pharmacy and wine cellars. In the north-west of Georgia, high in the Caucasus Mountains sits Svaneti where ancient watchtowers built in the 9th - 12th centuries stand guard over traditional stone villages and Georgian Orthodox churches. Here among snowy mountains and glistening glaciers, live an ethnic people who speak an unwritten language, and frequently settle feuds with blood – as they have for centuries. Travelling higher still by 4WD, the village of Ushguli, the highest permanent village in all of Europe, comes into view. And, if the weather permits Mt Shkhara – Georgia’s highest mountain may be visible to complete the Georgian experience.

www.sundownersoverland.com

59


Experience Tour

Mountains and Monasteries

Experience Tours offer you an alternative to conventional touring, including Local Guides in each city, rather than a Tour Leader for the whole journey. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey. As one of our Premium journeys, this itinerary is of a more inclusive nature than most other journeys in this brochure (with the exception of Luxury Train Journeys), devoting more time to each city’s sights, history and culture. See page 10 for more details.

21 Days

2 1

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

DATES

Retrace old caravan routes, discover ancient pagan temples lost in time, see monasteries carved into solid rock, and marvel at a collection of mysterious stones 3,000 years older than Stonehenge. You’ll find them all in the stunning high Caucasus Mountains.

Direction Westbound Baku to Tbilisi

Spared by the Mongols, Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku has a walled city where narrow streets lead to Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower, while the Caravanserai is a reminder that Silk Road caravans once called here. In the countryside, we find a Zoroastrian fire temple formerly used by traders from Persia and India, while the Yanar Dag Fire Mountain is an interesting geological occurrence. The rock engravings and paintings at Gobustan date from the Stone Age, but also bear graffiti made by Greek and Roman soldiers centuries ago.

Beautiful Historic and Scenic Georgia

An overnight train brings us to the charming Georgian capital of Tbilisi, with its 5th century origins. We visit the Metekhi Church, Sioni Cathedral and the synagogue, before strolling into the new town for Freedom Square and the National Museum of History.

60

2017 Start

2018 Finish

22 Jun - 12 Jul 31 Aug - 20 Sep

Start

Finish

21 Jun - 11 Jul 30 Aug - 19 Sep

Contact us for specific dates or visit www.sundownersoverland.com

Azerbaijan + Armenia + Georgia

Distance 2,065 km

Activity Level Travelstyle

ITINERARY We find delicious food, excellent wines and stunning mountain views in the Kakheti region. At Mtskheta we learn that this is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities and the centre of the Georgian Orthodox church. We visit the Jvari church and the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – both UNESCO World Heritage sites, prior to travelling to Kezbegi where we set out on a challenging and rewarding 2-3 hour walk to Gergeti Trinity Church (at 2,170 m), high in the Caucasus Mountains.

High Caucasus and Svaneti

At Gori, we visit Stalin’s birthplace and a museum dedicated the father of Soviet Union, but there’s no mention of his purges which cost millions their lives. Beyond, we find the rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe once an important centre along the old Silk Road.

Enjoy the excellent food, wine and scenery in the Kakheti wine region.

Driving on to Kutaisi, we visit the UNESCO listed Gelati Monastery where Georgia’s most revered king, David the Builder is buried. Deeper in the Caucasus Mountains at Svaneti we see unique stone watchtowers which provided nearby stone villages with protection from would-be invaders. The tactic evidently worked as the Svan became isolated. Today Upper Svaneti is a UNESCO Heritage site, where the locals retain their old unwritten language and are known to practice blood-feuds from time to time. Svan offers some of the best views in Europe across the surrounding peaks and glaciers of the High Caucasus, and if the weather conditions are right, we’ll have the opportunity to see them.

Witness the incredible view of the Caucasus mountains from the Russo -Georgian Friendship monument.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Armenia – Majestic Monasteries and Pagan Temples

In Armenia, we come to Echmiadzin, the site of the nation’s first church and the world’s oldest cathedral – a masterpiece of Armenian architecture. Later we realise that we are following the trails of the old caravans as we locate a stone caravanserai high in the hills. Arriving in the capital of Yerevan we explore a delightful city with beautiful tree-lined streets and vistas of snow-capped Mount Ararat where some believe that Noah’s Ark lies. Beyond, we find a pagan temple at Garni of indeterminate origin, and farther on a monastery carved into solid rock at Geghard. We observe the stone constructions at Karahunj and marvel at the fact that this site predates Stonehenge by 3,000 years. Naturally being Armenia, we’ll taste some of its fine brandy before the journey comes to an end.

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Explore forgotten monasteries in the hills of Armenia.

INFORMATION

Explore the lively city of Yerevan, Armenia

$6,510 $6,835 $5,210 $6,510 £3,710 €4,360

Operates weekly.

Countries

The Journey Exploring Medieval Baku

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Baku to Tbilisi - Code MOBT

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

ESSENTIALS

1 2

PRICES

2

Baku Baku Baku Baku to Tbilisi Tbilisi Tbilisi to Sighnaghi Sighnaghi to Gudauri (via Mtskheta) Gudauri Gudauri and to Kutaisi (via Gori) Kutaisi and to Mestia (Svaneti Region) (via Zugdihi) Mestia (Svaneti Region) Mestia and to Kutaisi (via Tskaitubo) Kutaisi to Akhaltsikhe Akhaltsikhe to Gyumri Gyumri and to Yerevan Yerevan Yerevan Yerevan and to Goris Goris and to Tsaghkadzor Tsaghkadzor to Tbilisi Tbilisi

Group size This is an Experience Tour and does not have a tour leader. Maximum of 15 travellers. Accommodation - Westbound Hotels - 19 nights (twin share) Trains - 1 night Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (19) and some lunches (6) and dinners (11) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

61


Fully Escorted Tour

Highlights of the Caucasus

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

12 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$2,970 $3,120 $2,375 $2,970 £1,695 €1,990

Direction Southbound Tbilisi to Yerevan

Countries Georgia + Armenia

2018

1,590 km

Activity Level

ITINERARY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Arrive Tbilisi Tbilisi & Mtskheta Ananuri-Kazbegi/Gudauri To Telavi Sighnaghi-Telavi Uplistsikhe-Gori-Akhaltsikhe Vardzia (border) Yerevan Echmiadzin-Zvartnots-Geghard Khor Virap-Noravank-Goris Tatev Monastery Selim Pass & CaravanseraiNoratus-Lake Sevan-Yerevan 12 Yerevan

Vineyards and Cave Cities We descend from the mountains to the province of Kakheti, it was here that winemaking was invented around 8,000 years ago and the traditional Georgian wine production methods are recognized by UNESCO. We visit a traditional wine maker to learn about the traditions of Georgian winemaking, sample some of the local varieties and enjoy the renowned Georgian hospitality amongst the local vineyards. Here too the rich history of the region is discovered in the old town of Gremi, Alaverdi Monastery and the beautiful hill-top town of Sighnaghi. A small but thriving carpet and wine centre, Sighnaghi captures the spirit of the Georgian nation.

Ottomans, Persian and Mongols vied for control of this strategic region over many centuries, and the defenders were driven underground for protection. Uplistsikhe cave town was an important centre during the time of prosperous Silk Road trade, while Vardzia grew as an underground monastery-city over many centuries of Ottoman invasion to house over 40,000 people at is zenith. Today it is one of Georgia’s most significant historic sites.

Mountain monasteries and caravanserai As the first state to adopt Christianity in 303, Armenia has some of the most ancient and beautifully sited churches and monasteries in the Caucasus; many are fortified and in strategic locations serving as both religious and military installations. Many have UNESCO recognition for significant historical and cultural value and help tell the story of this unique land.

The UNESCO heritage sites of Echmiadzin, seat of the Armenian Church, Geghard Monastery and the archaeological site of Zvartnots are not to be missed, while the famous Ararat Brandy factory offers some reward for the long day sightseeing. From the tree lined boulevards and cafes of Yerevan we travel south enjoying magnificent views of Mt Ararat at Khor Virap, and on through the Areni wine region to the gravity-defying monastery at Tatev. Reached by the world’s longest cableway, the 5.7 kilometre journey carries us across a deep valley offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Ancient stone formations and petroglyphs, Silk Road caravanserai and the khachkhar field of Noratus are but a few of the fascinating relics we discover of the long and rich history still present in modern Armenia.

INFORMATION

The Journey Explore Georgia’s charming capital, Tbilisi, its historic and colourful Old Town clings precariously to the cliffs above the Mtkavari River. We will visit Narikala Fortress, Metekh Cathedral and Sioni Church in the old town, these historic sites and diverse architecture reflect Tbilisi’s location at the crossroads of east and west. Enjoy a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue to the excellent Georgian National Museum, which presents the fascinating history of this beguiling capital. Time too, of course, to enjoy the famous cuisine and hospitality for which Georgians are world renowned. Beyond the city are the UNESCO sites of the ancient capital, Mtskheta, and the architectural complex of Ananuri – gateway to the high Caucasus Mountains. Amongst the soaring, snow-capped peaks we enjoy a walk to the beautiful hilltop church, Gergeti Trinity (2170m) and enjoy panoramic views of the Caucasus mountain range.

Finish

28 May - 08 Jun 06 Aug - 17 Aug

Group size Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels - 11 nights (twin share) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.

Travelstyle

Tbilisi and the High Caucasus

Start

Finish

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (11), some lunches (4) and some dinners (4) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Distance

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

PRICES

Prepare to be amazed, arriving in Georgia and Armenia is like stepping through the looking glass into a completely unexpected travel destination; beautiful, welcoming and with a wild and intriguing history – add great food and wine, incredible UNESCO heritage sites and stunning scenery and you have the perfect mix for an incredible journey of discovery.

ESSENTIALS

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Witness the colours of Armenia.

2017 Start

29 May - 09 Jun 07 Aug - 18 Aug

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Classic Twin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$3,710 $3,895 $2,970 $3,710 €2,115 €2,485

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

2

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Tbilisi to Yerevan- Code IHCTY Operates daily. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size

Discover Tbilisi Old town in Sololaki.

Christian heritage of Armenia

Explore forgotten monasteries in the hills of Georgia.

ESSENTIALS

1

DATES

Tbilisi to Yerevan- Code HCTY

N/A Accommodation - Westbound Hotels - 11 nights (twin share) Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request. Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (11) are included.All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

62

63


Persian Caravan

Fully Escorted Tour

26 Days

PRICES

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey. AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$8,915 $9,360 $7,130 $8,915 £5,080 €5,975

1 2

DATES

Muscat to Tbilisi - Code PCMT Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

2018 Finish

06 May - 31 May 02 Sep - 27 Sep

Start

Finish

05 May - 30 May 01 Sep - 26 Sep

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

From the sands of the Arabian Peninsula, through glorious Persia, and on to the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains of Georgia we follow in the footsteps of ancient traders, calling at myriad settlements once domains of vanished civilisations to uncover priceless archaeological treasures.

ESSENTIALS

Ferry

Direction Northbound Muscat to Tbilisi

Countries Oman + United Arab Emirates + Iran + Armenia + Georgia 4,967 km

Travelstyle

Following the coast, past inviting wadi oases which offer a welcome break from the inhospitable terrain, we veer inland for Wahida Sands, a seemingly impenetrable mountain range of sand dunes to locate a Bedouin camp. Farther on, there are mountain villages around Nizwa and Jebel Akhdar where life goes on much as it has for centuries. Afterwards, we travel through the desert to Dubai, with its

From Dubai we sail across the Persian Gulf for Iran, and travel to Yazd, one of the world’s oldest cities. Once important for the Zoroastrian faith, the old town retains much of its original character, and is noted for its fine confectionery and woven silks. Striking mountain scenery leads to the ruins of the 6th century city of Pasargadae, which are later surpassed by Persepolis – originally constructed by Darius the Great and destroyed by Alexander the Great. Its ruins still tell the story of the glory and power of the Achaemenid Empire. Our road leads on to Shiraz – the city of poets, before we feast our eyes on the glittering domes, astonishing mosaics and intricate bridges in the magical city of Isfahan. In Tehran, we discover a bustling Wander the backstreet's of Tbilisi's old town and discover its historical architecture.

Unforgettable Caucasus Nations Across the Armenian border we are treated to magnificent mountain views. At Goris we inspect troglodyte dwellings in the surrounding peaks. Later we seek out ancient cliff top monasteries and quaint villages before discovering a stout stone caravanserai which once sheltered silk traders and their livestock as they traversed the high mountain passes. Winding through the Ararat Valley to Yerevan, the national capital, there’s time to try ‘dolma’ – Armenia’s famous dish of stuffed vine leaves. A visit to Echmiadzin – Armenia’s first church and cathedral - reminds us that this is the first country in the world to embrace Christianity as its official religion. Stroll through the vibrant Iranian markets filled with spices, sweets and extravagant carpets.

1 Muscat 2 Muscat 3 Muscat to Wahiba Sands Camp via Wadi 4 Wahiba Sands to Nizwa 5 Nizwa to Dubai via Jebel Shams 6 Dubai to Bandar-e-Abbas 7 Bandar-e-Abbas to Yazd 8 Yazd 9 Yazd to Shiraz via Pasargadae 10 Shiraz and Persepolis 11 Shiraz to Isfahan 12 Isfahan 13 Isfahan 14 Isfahan to Tehran 15 Tehran to Tabriz 16 Tabriz 17 Tabriz and depart to Goris 18 Goris and to Yeghegnadzor 19 Yeghegnadzor to Yerevan 20 Yerevan and Aragats 21 Yerevan to Tbilisi 22 Tbilisi 23 Tbilisi to Gudauri via Kazbegi 24 Gudauri to Sighnaghi (via Gori/Uplistsikhe) 25 Sighnaghi to Tbilisi 26 Tbilisi

In Georgia, we find Mtskheta its ancient capital and the site of the first Georgian Orthodox church. By contrast we visit Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, the revered or feared former head of the Soviet Union – depending on your outlook. Uplistsikhe offers a splendid rock-hewn settlement well known to travellers on the Silk Road, while the fortified city of Sighnaghi, now the country’s wine centre, has been restored to its original glory, and offers panoramic views of the Caucasus Mountains. Back in the elegant, atmospheric capital of Tbilisi we choose one of its finest restaurants for dinner and a traditional folk show to bring together the unique cuisines, amazing culture, and fascinating history of this amazing country on our final night. Note: Please see our Journey Itinerary for important information on dress standards for female travellers. Iranian law, enforced at border crossings requires all female travellers to comply with minimum standards during their stay. Admire the incredible stain-glassed Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran.

INFORMATION

Palace of the Sultan Qaboos in Muscat.

Across the Persian Gulf for Persia’s Ancient Cities

modern metropolis and excellent museums. Near Tabriz, we see the remarkable bee-hive type dwellings and unique handicrafts of Kandovan village.

Sharing Asia Overland. Differently.

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details. Please contact one of our Travel Advisors for a price should you wish to travel independently on this journey. Muscat to Tbilisi - Code IPCMT

DATES

From the moment this journey unfolds in Muscat, capital of the Sultanate of Oman we know that we are in for a treat. The sultanate occupies a desert region on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula at the confluence of Arabic, Asian and African trade routes. In the capital we find ancient watchtowers guarding the bustling port where dhows go about their business, and in the bazaar the distinctive aroma of frankincense conjures up images of slave markets and exotic spice trading from long ago.

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

ITINERARY futuristic towers of silver and glass glistening in the bright sunlight.

Accommodation Hotels - 21 nights (twin share) Ferry - 1 night Desert camp - 1 night Train - 2 nights

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (22) and some lunches (2) and dinners (6) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Activity Level

ESSENTIALS

Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman

Group size Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader.

Single Supplement (Optional) Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

Distance

The Journey

64

2017 Start

Operates Tuesdays,Thursdays and Saturdays on even dates. Contact us for specific dates.

Accommodation Hotels - 21 nights (twin share) Ferry - 1 night Desert camp - 1 night Train - 2 nights Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (22) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

65


Silk Road and Central Asia

In the following pages you’ll find a variety of journeys which retrace the Silk Road. But to avoid confusion, it’s worthwhile noting that there was never a definitive route. It’s believed that the term ‘Silk Road’ was created by Prussian geographer, Ferdinand von Richthofen – a cousin to the famous German flying ace the ‘Red Baron’ - sometime in the late 19th century. But on reflection, ‘Silk Routes’ may have been a more accurate way to describe a network of rough tracks used by ancient camel caravans to transport goods from Europe through Asia to China or vice versa. It’s impossible to know when the concept of trading between Europe and China began, or who the first traders may have been, although some Chinese records mention contact with descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers who had settled in the Fergana Valley as early as 1 BC. There are also records of Turkic settlements at Kashgar, Turpan and other places in far western China around 600 AD, and numerous struggles between Turkic and Arab invaders and the Chinese Han Dynasty for control. Early Christians followed. Much later, Marco Polo was the first European to document a journey made by his father and uncle from Constantinople in 1168. According to the book apparently dictated by him to an acquaintance, he joined his father and uncle on their next journey in 1271, travelled through Asia, and met Kublai Khan, a Mongol ruler and founder of the Yuan Dynasty, in what is now Beijing; before returning to Venice as a wealthy man some 24 years later. However, some doubt the authenticity of the book as the descriptions of China lack reference to previously unknown local customs or how and where he spent his time. Whatever the true story, we know that traders of many nationalities were using camel caravans to cross vast tracts of land, to carry goods which were in turn traded and on forwarded by other caravans to their final destinations. These caravans sought resting places and protection at caravanserais which developed to cater to their needs. Settlements along the Silk Route grew into wealthy trading centres, and many like Samarkand developed into wealthy civilised cities, religious centres and places of learning. Ironically, today most travellers are enticed to central Asia to see remote cities or ancient ruins with exotic names like Isfahan, Merv, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent or Kashgar. Whereas in centuries past, these cities were at the very heart of the region in terms of population, wealth and power, and all roads led to them.

Tamerlane Perhaps the greatest of the marauders turned rulers was Tamerlane (also known as Timur the Lame – due to a deformity), who claimed descent from Genghis Khan’s Mongols. He proved very capable of ruthlessly destroying cities and torturing, raping, enslaving or brutally slaying the inhabitants. But having subjugated survivors there are numerous examples of him rebuilding cities in central Asia, establishing order and leaving trusted generals in control to organise local defences and the collection of taxes which were forwarded to him. There is no finer example of this rebuilding than Samarkand, which he made his capital. After Tamerlane’s death in 1405 his empire fragmented into local khanates, while Persians and Ottomans recaptured parts of their empires which had previously fallen to Tamerlane. Later, the Russian empire pushed south to negate the Mongol -Turkic influence while the Chinese empire expanded westward with similar motives. Despite past efforts to minimise their influence, the descendants of those Turkic peoples now lead the independent nations of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, following almost a century of Russian rule, first by the tsarists and more recently and effectively by the Soviets who went on to absorb them, along with Tajikistan; as republics within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Similarly the Turkic Uyghurs are still evident in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China, although it’s hard to determine to what extent the region is autonomous from the central government in Beijing.

Warriors and Marauding Armies There was far more to the Silk Road than camel caravans carrying exotic goods like tea, spices and silk westwards, and European manufactured goods eastwards. Of far greater importance was the spread of religion, knowledge and invention which would profoundly influence not only the inhabitants of the Silk Road, but the world at large. Today, the Silk Road is considered of such great significance that UNESCO determined parts of the route as World Heritage sites in 2014.

66

Generally speaking, the nomadic tribes of the northern steppes were skilled as fine horsemen and archers, with the stamina to travel long distances. They were largely uncivilised, easily rallied by warlords, and enticed to participate in journeys by a bloodthirsty sense of adventure and promises of a share of the spoils. Slow moving caravans which followed established routes were prime targets for raids. Wealthy cities were even more lucrative for marauding armies seeking fabulous riches and control over vast territories. While cities were usually prepared to defend their communities, most were no match in strength, purpose or number for the marauding horsemen led by ruthless warriors – many of whom were effective tacticians. The Hun, Turkic and Mongol were among the most brutal ‘strike and run’ invaders. While the Hun petered out after Attila’s death in 453, the Turkic rose to prominence between the 5th and 10th centuries. Mongols gained strength and eventually consolidated their position by entering into an alliance with the Turkic tribes in the 1200’s. The Mongol empire became the greatest of any in recorded history which was at its zenith in the 13th and 14th centuries – although it was constantly marred by in fighting which usually led to coveting other Mongols’ territories.

67


Tashkent

Isfahan The Persian empire came into its own once the Mongols and Ottoman Turks were ousted towards the end of the 1500’s by the first rulers of the Safavid dynasty. At the time Isfahan was transformed into a beautiful city with some of the best architecture seen anywhere in the Islamic world. It is said that the sea of blue tiles used on many of the buildings, and the city’s fine bridges are the perfect contrast to the harsh dry deserts which surround it. However, every building in the city pales into insignificance before the Masjed-e Eman with its 54 metre dome, twin minarets, and magnificent 30 metre high entrance portal, also from this period. While Isfahan is undoubtedly a Moslem city, there has always been a small Armenian quarter and the Vank cathedral is its focal point. Dating from the mid 1660’s its interior reflects a mixture of Islamic Persian and European Christian styles.

Mashhad This small Iranian city apparently draws up to 12 million Shi’ite pilgrims a year who come to pray at the tomb of Emam Reza, the eighth grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was poisoned and died here in 817. The tomb has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, but left untouched by respective Uzbek and Afghan invasions in the 17th centuries.

Ashgabat This comparatively young city with a tumultuous past is the present day capital of Turkmenistan. It was founded in 1881 near the site of Konjikala, a Silk Road city from Persian times which was sacked by the Mongols and rebuilt only to be destroyed by an earthquake. It is situated between the Karakum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. It passed from Persian to Russian control, and was subsequently developed in a European style.

Merv Merv’s origins may be traced back some three thousand years before Christ. Settlements on the site have borne many names and numerous ruling dynasties have held sway including Greek, Arab, Persian and Turk. In 1221, a son of Genghis Khan arrived and in typical Mongol fashion, butchered the inhabitants, and refugees who had arrived ahead of the invasion to take refuge. The death toll was put at around one million. Although the city was subsequently rebuilt it was never the same. Christian, Uzbek and Persian rulers came and went until the town was finally raised to the ground in 1788 by the Emirate of Bukhara, and the population deported to Bukhara. 68

The ruins are still being excavated and studied to learn more about this city which was once the second most important in central Asia – after Baghdad. During its time it was an important seat for Buddhist learning with monasteries and stupas, which co-existed with the official Sassanid Zoroastrianism faith, before being replaced by Islam.

Bukhara Founded in the 6th century BC, the city was originally part of Persia and later passed through many hands including Alexander the Great, Hellenistic rulers, and the Kushan empire. During this time, the city became very prosperous through regular trade fairs and its position on the lucrative Silk Road. After passing into the hands of Mongol tribes which originated from China, the city declined in importance. Under fragmented rulers, religions other than Islam were tolerated including Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Eventually the Arabs took control and after failed attempts to convert followers of other faiths, Islam gradually took root. In 850 AD the city became the capital of the Samanid empire, and Iranian language and culture was revived. Later, the city became the intellectual centre of the Islamic world, and rivalled Baghdad in importance. After being toppled by a Turkic dynasty, the city incurred the wrath of Genghis Khan who destroyed it in 1220. The city went on to become a feudal state known as the Emir of Bukhara from 1785 to 1920 when Russia took control. Now a part of Uzbekistan, the city is highly regarded for its fine Islamic architecture.

Samarkand This Uzbekistan city appears to have been settled in the 5th century BC, and was in the hands of the Persian prior to Alexander the Great taking it in 329 BC. This was followed by periods of Iranian, Persian and Turkish rulers until Mongol ruler, Genghis Khan conquered the city in 1220. During the 14th century, it became a centre for Islamic study and the capital of Tamerlane’s Timurid empire from 1370. Tamerlane is credited with giving the city its grandest monuments and the extensive use of blue and gold tiles. He invited craftsmen and artisans from other cities to assist in the construction. He appears to have been a perfectionist who ordered new buildings to be pulled down and rebuilt if he found fault. The Registan and the Bibi-Khanym Mosque are among the most prominent buildings, along with his beautifully decorated mausoleum (the Gur-e Amir). The glorious days were over when the Uzbeks took control of the city in 1500 and the capital was later moved to Bukhara. Samarkand was taken by force by the Russians in 1868. The city’s population are primarily a mixture of Persian-speaking Tajiks, and Uzbeks.

The Uzbekistan capital has Persian and Turkic origins, and like its neighbours was captured by Genghis Khan in 1219, and well into decline only to be revived during the Timurid period when it became a centre of learning and commerce, benefitting from the Silk Road. In 1809, the city was considered one of the wealthiest in central Asia and annexed to the Khanate of Kokand. In 1865, the walled city fell to the tsarist Russians. The new overlords built a new city close to the old city, and encouraged Russian settlers and merchants to move in. Later, under the Soviets factories were relocated from the war torn USSR which further changed the city. The city was largely rebuilt in a Soviet style after a massive earthquake in 1966. Today, old tsarist style Orthodox churches, and wooden homes compete with Soviet-style pre-fabricated housing blocks, and new skyscrapers in the newer parts of the city, while Turkic-style architecture brings reminders of a more exotic past.

Fergana Valley This fertile valley is 300 kilometres long and up to 70 kilometres wide. Parts of it were settled around 500 BC by Persians, and captured by Alexander the Great in 327 BC. There is a possibility that expeditions from here went to Kashgar and Urumqi around 220 BC. However, we know with certainty that Yuezhis – from western China - invaded the valley around 155 BC. This is the first recorded contact between Indo-European language speakers and the Chinese which could have led to the opening of the Silk Road in 1 BC. Rivalry between Chinese and Muslim forces broke out in the 8th century which resulted in victory for Muslim forces and disengagement of the Chinese from central Asia. The Mongols rode in during 1219, but Turkic rulers regained control soon after. Eventually in the 14th century Tamerlane added a collection of small states in the valley to his domain and ruled from Samarkand. In 1709, an Uzbek declared independence, set up the Khanate of Kokand, and ruled a territory which covered what is now eastern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan and all of Kyrgyzstan. Later, fractional fighting broke out with the Russian when they

formed the province of Russian Turkestan and absorbed most of the territory. The valley was divided between three republics of the USSR, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union some disagreements remain among ethnic groups as to where the national borders should lie.

Kashgar Far out in western China, the oasis city of Kashgar sits near the borders of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It was well known to travellers along the Silk Road. In its 2,000 year history it has been ruled by Chinese, Turkic, Mongol and Tibetan empires and been involved in numerous battles. Now known to the Chinese, as Kashi, it was a centre for Zoroastrianism and Buddhism prior to coming under the influence of Islam in the 10th century. Nestorian Christians are believed to have arrived around the 1200’s. In 1389, Tamerlane ravaged the city and nearby Andijan. Over the following centuries a complicated power struggle existed between the Chinese and Turks with power changes and unrest common. Despite this there were many inter-racial marriages in contravention of Islamic laws. Kashgar was later absorbed into the People’s Republic of China when the communists came to power in 1949. While Islamic practises are still observed in Kashgar, there are moves by the central qovernment to relocate industry and Han Chinese from eastern China to Kashgar.

Turpan Turpan lies in the desert, in the eastern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It lies in the second lowest depression in the world, and is the hottest area in China in summer. It was founded in the 2nd century BC, but there is evident to suggest human habitation some 6,000 years ago. Around 500 BC, Turkic tribes had arrived in the area and were ruling the original Chinese inhabitants. The Chinese Tang dynasty reconquered the area around the 7th century AD. Later, Tibetans, Chinese and Turks fought for control. Records show that it was a well known settlement on the Silk Road by the 7th century AD. Interaction between people of Persian, Turkic and Chinese was quite common. Religious tolerance seems evident as well with the discovery of ancient Christian writings and Buddhist temples, while others practised Manichaean and Zoroastrianism. In 803, the Uyghurs seized Turpan from the Tibetans. Later, the settlement came under the influence of the Mongols, and Islam was adopted. Like Kashgar, the region was absorbed into People’s Republic of China.

Dunhuang This important stop on the Silk Road is situated in an oasis at the crossroads of the Southern Silk Route and the road leading from India, via Lhasa and on to Mongolia and southern Siberia. It also commands the western entrance to the Hexi Corridor which led north to Xian. The settlement was important to the Han Dynasty and the Great Wall was extended to include the town, before a string of beacons stretched out into the desert beyond. Buddhist monks arrived here in the 1st Century AD and a sizable Buddhist community grew. Monks carved out the Mogao Caves, in the mountains 25 kilometres south east of the city.

Xian Formerly known as Chang’an, Xian in north-west China is one of the oldest of four ancient capitals. Excavations indicate that there was human settlement in the area six to seven thousand years ago. It is considered to be the starting point of the Silk Road. The original city was destroyed at the end of the Tang dynasty. The walls of the city were rebuilt in the Ming dynasty in 1370 and are the ones we see today. Nationalist and Communist forces called a truce in Xian during 1936, to combine forces to fight the Japanese invasion of China. After the war, Communist forces captured the city from the Nationalists in 1949. The city hit the international headlines in 1974, when the Terracotta Warriors were discovered by farmers digging a well east of the city.

69


Experience Tour

Tamerlane's Empire

Experience Tours offer you an alternative to conventional touring, including Local Guides in each city, rather than a Tour Leader for the whole journey. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

12 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$2,460 $2,585 $1,970 $2,460 £1,400 €1,650

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

Take a deeper look into Uzbekistan as we transport you from the lively capital of Tashkent to hidden villages in a remote valley, before focusing on those magical places which have besotted travellers for centuries – Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

Direction Eastbound Tashkent to Tashkent

Countries

Finish

27 Jun - 08 Jul 12 Sep - 23 Sep

This is an Experience Tour and does not have a tour leader. Maximum of 15 travellers. Accommodation Hotels - 10 nights (twin share) Train - 1 night

Meals and Transfers

Uzbekistan

Many breakfasts (10) and a dinner (1) are included. All arrival transfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Distance 2,778 km

Sightseeing

Activity Level

Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

Travelstyle

Independent Journey

Crown Jewels: Samarkand and Bukhara It’s impossible to speak of Samarkand without crediting Tamerlane – popularly known as Timur

The madrassas of Registan Square and the mausoleum of Tamerlane and his family – Gūr-e Amīr – are sure to be highlights of your journey. Onwards by road to Bukhara, we are treated to Central Asia’s most complete medieval city and revel in its beautiful traditional architecture as we walk through its history. The Kalyan minaret which once served as beacon for caravans negotiating the desert at night is the only

Be met with incredible hospitality by the local Uzbek people.

Cross the Kyzyl Kum desert and explore the historic walled city of Khiva.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Ancient Khiva Across the vast open plains of the Kyzyl Kum Desert we find Khiva one of the finest examples of a Khanate fortified city and a living museum with mosques, madrassas and a caravanserai crowded within its walls. Kunya Ark – a former residence of the Khan, the beautiful Kalta Minar minaret and the extraordinary Tash Khauli or ‘Stone Palace’ are among the prominent attractions. Returning by overnight train to Tashkent, there’s chance to explore the old town and Chorsu Bazaar before this incredible journey ends where it began.

Whirling like tops and with traditional Uzbekistan costume, enjoy the local performances.

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

ITINERARY

surviving structure from 1220 when Genghis Khan laid the city to waste.

Tashkent Tashkent to Fergana Andijan and Fergana Margilan and Rishton Kokand and Tashkent Tashkent to Samarkand Samarkand Samarkand to Bukhara Bukhara Bukhara to Khiva Khiva to Tashkent Tashkent

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Admire the sparkling turquoise tiles and towering minarets in Bukhara.

PRICES

While Andijan, one of the Silk Road’s earliest and most important centres, seems more industrial. The great Moghul emperor Babur was born here in 1483. Being a direct descendent of Tamerlane on his paternal side and of Genghis Khan on his maternal side, he had excellent credentials to go on to establish Moghul rule in India.

– who was once dragged here as a prisoner by an invading Mongol army. When his fortunes improved, he returned and made Samarkand the capital of his Temurid realm in 1370, and systematically went about making his city grand. He and successive 14th and 15th century rulers shaped the city we see today.

Classic Twin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$2,020 $2,125 $1,620 $2,020 £1,155 €1,355

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

watch. Margilan has the most interesting bazaars. Rishton specialises in pottery. Kokand has impressive palaces, mosques and madrassas.

Tashkent to Tashkent - Code ITETT Operates daily. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size

ESSENTIALS

Follow the 'Golden Road to Samarkand' and marvel at the

28 Jun - 09 Jul 13 Sep - 24 Sep

Start

Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

INFORMATION

Tashkent is the dynamic national capital, busily shaking off its Soviet past, despite 20% of its citizens being Russian. But street-side shashlik and pilau vendors don’t differentiate between the newer city or the old town which remains distinctly Turkic. However, our interest lies beyond in the little-visited Fergana Valley where rural communities are divided between old village agriculture and industrialisation – a Soviet legacy. In some, residents seem to prefer traditional garb over conventional westernstyles. Whitewashed houses, lanes of plane trees, mulberry hedges and beautiful mosques are omnipresent. In the distance the snowcovered mountains of the Pamir range keep

2018 Finish

Single Supplement (Optional)

The Journey Tashkent and the Fergana Valley

2017 Start

Group size

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

Tashkent to Tashkent - Code TETT

N/A Accommodation Hotels - 10 nights (twin share) Train - 1 night Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (10) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

70

71


Fully Escorted Tour

Silk Road Adventure

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

22 Days

1

1

1 3

Plane

Designed especially for travellers who seek high adventure among the peaks and mountain passes of the Tien Shan Mountains, this journey traverses some of the least travelled routes of the Silk Road. Your adventurous spirit will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery in unspoilt wilderness and some of the most welcoming the Silk Road has to offer.

1 3 3

Direction Eastbound Tashkent to Tashkent

Countries Uzbekistan + China + Kyrgyzstan

High Passes of the Tien Shan Mountains The roads leading to the Chinese Frontier carry little traffic. Apart from a few small towns in river valleys, the terrain is alluringly barren and rugged. We steadily climb through the Tien Shan Mountains to the newly opened Irkeshtam Pass (3,005 m.), bound for Kashgar, now the

Finish -

11 Jun 09 Jul 27 Aug 17 Sep

Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels/Guesthouse - 17 nights (twin share) Homestay - 1 night Yurts - 2 nights Train - 1 night

Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

ITINERARY

Explore Lake Issyk Kul, the glimmering jewel of Kyrgyzstan, while staying with a local family.

21 May 18 Jun 06 Aug 27 Sep

Sightseeing

1,600 m, this lake never freezes. Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek is justly famous for its parks and intriguing Soviet-style buildings. After an excursion to the breathtaking Ala Archa National Park, and a scenic flight, we return to Tashkent by air, in time for our train journey to Urgench in Uzbekistan’s ancient west.

Ancient settlements of Uzbekistan We head for a remote region bordering Karakalpakstan to explore the ancient forts of Ayaz Qala, before spending a night in a traditional yurt under some of the world’s most astonishing skies. Khiva is a highlight; being one of the best preserved examples of a walled Khanate city with foundations dating from the 10th century. Beyond, Bukhara brings history alive with some of the world’s oldest

Discover a land of fable and legend in the backstreets of old Bukhara.

monuments, and a covered bazaar where trade in silks, rugs, and spices goes on in much the same manner as it did in the days of Marco Polo. A spectacular drive through the Zerafshan Mountains takes us to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. Beside the ruined entrance towers of his Ak-Serai Palace, the pretty market town offers a relaxed atmosphere with traditional homes, tea houses and mosques.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Golden Samarkand Later, we arrive in Samarkand – the most evocative city of the Silk Road, often referred to as ‘Golden Samarkand’, after the romantic poem ‘The Golden Road to Samarkand’ by English poet, James Elroy Flecker, who strangely never visited the area. Still that’s a minor detail when we consider that the city’s Registan is the most spectacular architectural ensemble in Central Asia, with its inspiring square comprised of three madrassas (places of learning), and a mosque. There is much to see elsewhere in the city as well, before returning to Tashkent. Marvel at the Cholpon-Ata petroglyphs, Kyrgyzstan.

Tashkent Tashkent to Fergana Valley Fergana Valley to Osh Osh to Sary Tash Irkeshtam Pass to Kashgar Kashgar Kashgar Tash Rabat via Tourugat Pass Tash Rabat to Cholpon Ata To Bishkek Bishkek and fly to Tashkent Tashkent Urgench to Ayaz Qala To Khiva Khiva to Bukhara Bukhara Bukhara Bukhara to Samarkand Samarkand Samarkand Samarkand to Tashkent Tashkent

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

PRICES

Later, we see Lake Issyk Kul, (Warm Lake), a pearl amid the snow-capped peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains. Despite an altitude of

Classic Twin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$5,945 $6,240 $4,755 $5,945 £3,390 €3,985

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request. Tashkent to Tashkent - Code ISATT Operates weekly on Mondays. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size

INFORMATION

Step back in time and picture yourself amongst the bustling trade of the Silk Road at the region’s markets; a chaotic but incredible experience.

12 Jun 10 Jul 28 Aug 18 Sep

Many breakfasts (20), lunches (3) and dinners (2) are included. All tranfers are also included once you have joined the group. See the itinerary below or the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travelstyle

Travelling north through barren mountains, we pass Muslim shrines and traditional homes of Central Asia’s nomads (known as yurts), en route to the Torugart Pass (3,752 m), and the Kyrgyzstan border. Set within a beautiful valley, near Tash Rabat we find and stay in one of the few remaining Silk Road caravanserais with its large impressive stone walls dating from the 10th century. Farther north, the road to Cholpon Alta cuts through the rugged Kyrgyz steppe and offers spectacular mountain views.

-

Start

Meals and Transfers

Activity Level

most westerly city in China. Located between the massive mountain ranges of the Tien Shan to the north, the Pamir to the west, the Karakoram to the south, and Asia’s largest desert, the Taklamakan, to the east; Kashgar remains a strategically important trading centre. Its old city once regarded as one of the best preserved examples of a traditional Islamic city anywhere in Central Asia, is now sadly reduced in size.

22 May 19 Jun 07 Aug 28 Aug

2018 Finish

Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

3,780 km

DATES

We begin in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital by exploring the old city and the Chorsu Bazaar. Later, we travel by road to the Fergana Valley to visit the potters’ town of Rishton; and the silk producing town of Margilan where tourists are seldom seen, and locals dress in traditional wear. The local bazaar with its seductive sights, sounds and aromas is one of the most interesting in the valley. To the valley’s east we find Osh, strategically positioned along the old Silk Road, where it prospered as a major silk producing centre, and was generally regarded as a midway point between China and Europe.

2017 Start

Single Supplement (Optional)

Distance

The Journey Tashkent and the Fergana Valley

$6,290 $6,605 $5,030 $6,290 £3,585 €4,215

Group size

ESSENTIALS

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

Tashkent to Tashkent - Code SATT

DATES

1

1

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

ESSENTIALS

1 2

1

3 1

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

PRICES

1

N/A Accommodation Hotels/Guesthouse - 17 nights (twin share) Homestay - 1 night Yurts - 2 nights Train - 1 night Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

72

73


Fully Escorted Tour

Great Rail Explorer PRICES

34 Days

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey. Optional 2-Berth Rail AUD $10,950 $2,120 NZD $11,500 $2,225 USD $8,760 $1,695 CAD $10,950 $2,120 GBP £6,240 £1,210 EUR €7,335 €1,420

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

2017 Start

2018 Finish

02 Jul - 04 Aug 06 Aug - 08 Sep 10 Sep - 13 Oct

Start

Finish

08 Jul - 10 Aug 12 Aug - 14 Sep 16 Sep - 19 Oct

Group size

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

From Beijing it’s just over 12,000 kilometres to St Petersburg. Along the way, walk on the China’s Great Wall, enjoy Almaty in the shadow of the mighty Tien Shan Mountains and follow the great Silk Road to the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.

ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES

Beijing to St Petersburg - Code GRBS

Direction Westbound Beijing to St. Petersburg

Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader. Accommodation Hotels/Guesthouses - 19 nights (twin share) Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 12 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers

Countries

Many breakfasts (21) are included. Some arrival transfers (AT) are included. See the itinerary below or the Journey Itinerary for more details.

China + Mongolia + Russia + Kazakhstan + Uzbekistan

Sightseeing

Distance

Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

12,070km

Activity Level Travelstyle

Independent Journey

Admire the dramatic architecture in Moscow and St. Petersburg

74

Discover the great mosques, covered bazaars and ancient monuments of the Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.

for attention with the Islamic-inspired Kok Tobe communications tower, and the majestic snow covered Tien Shan Mountains in the background. An overnight train brings us to Tashkent.

Uzbekistan’s magical Samarkand and Bukhara While Tashkent may well be Uzbekistan’s thriving capital, its Samarkand and Bukhara that overland travellers want to see above almost anything else. The beautiful Turkic-style architecture in Samarkand’s Registan Square is unsurpassed, but other magnificent turquoisedomed mosques and holy places are serious contenders. Bukhara adds even more mosques, and a delightful old town so typical of both cities. And, the Kalyan minaret has a few interesting stories to tell as well. Later, we travel back to Tashkent to change trains for Moscow.

Enter the realm of Genghis Khan and sample nomadic life in Mongolia.

Across Russia – Moscow and St. Petersburg Await It’s 3,800 kilometres across the Kazak steppe past vast cotton crops, deserts and grasslands to Moscow’s Kazan station. Moscow is an exciting city, which has shed its dour, secretive and suspicious past. Today, stores with expensive designer-label goods and prestige cars are everywhere. Take time to see Red Square with St Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM department store and the Kremlin just steps away. An overnight train is a convenient way to reach St Petersburg, resplendent with wide boulevards and attractive canals. Be sure to see St Isaac’s Cathedral, lavishly decorated palaces from opulent tsarist times and wonderful museums – allow plenty of time for the Hermitage. It’s a perfect end to a journey of a lifetime.

Marvel at the iconic monuments and cathedrals in St. Petersburg.

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Low season: 15 September to 15 April High season: 16 April to 14 September Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

Our train continues to Irkutsk. This city has a colourful history dating from early times as a frontier outpost where Mongolian and Chinese traders bartered with local Buryats, and Russians over tea and furs. Later Russians and Poles were exiled here and did much to refine the city. We join the Trans Siberian Railway and skirt massive Lake Baikal en route to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia and junction for the Trans Siberian and Turkestan Siberia railway lines. After time in Novosibirsk, travel via the Turkestan Siberia Railway through the spectacular mountains and the Dzungarian Gate, into Kazakhstan for Almaty, situated on the plains at the crossroads of Central Asia. Today modern skyscrapers, glitzy shopping malls, mosques, Soviet-style official buildings and traditional Russian Orthodox churches vie

ESSENTIALS

Siberia and the Kazakh steppe

In Beijing you can use your free time to walk through the hutongs to see a traditional life style which is fast disappearing. There’s Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven; as well as the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall beyond the capital which we will visit on your first full day. Board the Trans Mongolian Express, after views of northern China, the train changes bogies at Erlian to cater for the wider rail gauge used in Mongolia and Russia. We travel through vast expanses of the Gobi Desert and visit Kharkorin National park with its majestic Buddhist temple Erdene Zuu before venturing to Ulaanbaatar. Observe nomadic herdsmen tend their animals in much the same way that their forefathers did in the days of Genghis Khan. In Ulaanbaatar, see its Buddhist Monastery, and admire the views from the Zaisan Memorial.

Beijing Beijing Beijing Trans Mongolian Railway Ulaanbaatar Kharkhorin Khustai Trans Mongolian Railway Trans Mongolian Railway Irkutsk Irkutsk Novosibirsk Novosibirsk Turkestan-Siberian Railway Almaty Turkestan-Siberian Railway Tashkent Samarkand Samarkand Samarkand Bukhara Bukhara Bukhara Bukhara Tashkent Tashkent Silk Road Railway Silk Road Railway Moscow Moscow Moscow St. Petersburg St. Petersburg St. Petersburg

Beijing to St Petersburg - Code IGRBS Operates even dates (Sundays, plus Wednesdays until late May 2017 then Saturdays from early June) Contact us for specific dates. Group size N/A Accommodation - Westbound Hotels/Guesthouses - 19 nights (twin share) Ger - 2 nights (shared) Trains - 12 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (21) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

INFORMATION

Beijing, Gobi Desert and Mongolia

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

PRICES

ITINERARY

The Journey

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details. Classic Optional Season Twin 2 Berth Rail AUD $7,385 $2,120 Low AUD $7,760 High NZD $7,755 $2,225 Low NZD $8,145 High USD $5,910 $1,695 Low USD $6,205 High CAD $7,385 $2,120 Low CAD $7,760 High GBP £4,210 £1,210 Low GBP £4,420 High EUR €4,950 €1,420 Low EUR €5,200 High

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

75


Fully Escorted Tour

Silk Road Railway

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Can you imagine how those early Silk Road traders felt as they set off from Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), on their long journeys to the distant empire they knew as Cathay? Today, the journey is easier but just as incredible and the sights you’ll experience will be equally amazing.

ESSENTIALS ESSENTIALS

1 2

DATES DATES

PRICES

30 Days

Direction Eastbound Istanbul to Beijing

Countries Turkey + Iran + Turkmenistan + Uzbekistan + Kazakhstan + China

Distance Activity Level

From Tashkent we cross the border to Kazakhstan where our train journey takes us to Almaty, passing the occasional now-derelict Silk Road town. Nestled in the foothills of the mighty Tien Shan Mountains, Almaty offers an enjoyable change from the desert landscapes of Central Asia. The long-delayed Sino-Soviet Peace Railway was finally completed a couple of years ago and we take full advantage of it to cross through the Dzungarian Gate bound for China’s Xinjiang Province home to Chinas Muslim Uighur population. Snow-capped peaks may be seen for most of the year at the border post of Druzhba (meaning Peace), prior to the downhill run into Urumqi. We pause to explore the oasis town of Turpan, which still reflects life as it was along this part of the Silk Road. Early travellers reported that it was once two towns – the

Discover the marbled city of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Journey across the Kopet Dag Mountains to the historic cities of Merv, Bukhara and Samarkand.

smaller of Chinese inhabitants, the larger of Turks. These days, the faces in the bazaar recall the four corners of Asia. A train takes the tour across the vast Taklamakan Desert for Xian.

Xian to Bejing Once called Chang’an, this was the glittering capital of Cathay. Old pagodas, city walls and watchtowers remain, but the major attraction now is the famed Terra Cotta Warriors. Our final overnight train carries us from the most easterly gate of the Silk Road to Beijing. The Chinese capital brings different perspectives and aromas most evident in the hutongs (back street lanes) of the old town with their food stalls and street vendors. Our incredible journey is capped with sightseeing including the Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall.

Explore the incredible Grand Bazaar and wondrous monuments of Istanbul.

INFORMATION

Admire the bounty of treasures in the ancient Silk Road capital of Xian.

Kazakh Steppe and Uighur Heartland

76

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey itinerary and view pictures from the journey.

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

PRICES

1 Istanbul 2 Istanbul 3 Istanbul to Tehran 4 On board bus 5 Tehran 6 Tehran 7 Tehran to Isfahan 8 Isfahan 9 Isfahan to Mashhad 10 Mashhad 11 Mashhad to Ashgabat 12 Ashgabat 13 Ashgabat to Mary 14 Mary to Bukhara 15 Bukhara 16 Bukhara 17 Bukhara to Samarkand 18 Samarkand 19 Samarkand to Tashkent 20 Tashkent to Almaty 21 Almaty 22 Almaty and Silk Road Railway 23 Silk Road Railway 24 Turpan 25 Turpan 26 Turpan to Xian 27 Xian 28 Xian to Beijing 29 Beijing 30 Beijing

Classic Twin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$8,780 $9,215 $7,020 $8,780 £5,005 €5,880

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

Across the Kopet Dag Mountains we find Ashgabat – Turkmenistan’s capital, a city badly damaged by an earthquake in 1948, and rebuild

Hotels/Guesthouse - 21 nights (twin share) Bus - 1 night Meals and Transfers Train - 7 nights Many breakfasts (21) as well as dinner (1) are Single Supplement (Optional) included. Some arrival transfers (AT) are included. for Seehotel the itinerary or the Available stays on below this journey. Journey Itinerary for more Prices available on request. details.

Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities.activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more. advance separately.

Istanbul to Beijing - Code ISRIB Operates weekly on Mondays. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size

ESSENTIALS

Bukhara, Samarkand and the Taklamakan Desert

Accommodation Group size Hotels/Guesthouses - 21 nights (twin share) Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the Bus -Leader. 1 night Tour Trains - 7 nights (4-berth) Accommodation

Sightseeing

The Journey First call is Ankara – the Turkish capital – before crossing Turkey for Tehran – capital of Iran. Tehran is a busy, crowded metropolis and the country’s most cosmopolitan city. Isfahan is next with its wondrous blue-tiled buildings and the stunning Masjed-e-Emam Mosque – one of Iran’s greatest. There’s time to take in the Grand Bazaar, and some of the city’s atmospheric tea-houses before boarding the train for Mashhad, famous for the shrine of Emam Reza – the eighth grandson of the prophet Mohammed which is one of the Islamic world’s greatest architectural wonders.

Istanbul to Beijing - Code SRIB Istanbul to Beijing - Code SRIB 2017 2018 2017 2018 Start Finish Start Finish Start Finish Start Finish 15 May - 13 Jun 14 May - 12 Jun 15 May - 13 Jun 14 May - 12 Jun 21 Aug - 19 Sep 20 Aug - 18 Sep 21 Aug - 19 Sep 20 Aug - 18 Sep 04 Sep - 03 Oct 03 Sep - 02 Oct 04 Sep - 03 Oct 03 Sep - 02 Oct

included, as areYou all arrival transfers oncethis you Not included. are free to arrange have joined the group. See this the Journey locally or we can arrange for you in Itinerary more details. advancefor separately.

Travelstyle

in Soviet style. We see the ruins of Merv once the second city in the Islamic world. We cross the Kara Kum Desert for Uzbekistan’s Bukhara, a city of grand mosques, the Ark Fortress, Samanid Mausoleum and the Kalyan minaret, the only building to survive Genghis Khan’s destruction in 1220. The old town is well worth exploring, and the chailkanas (tea-houses) inviting. Beyond the Kyzyl Kum Desert lies Samarkand - another gem of the Silk Road. Once, the ruler Tamerlane’s capital, with its centrepiece the famed Registan – a collection of ornately carved and turquoise-domed buildings - three madrassas and a mosque - guaranteed to leave even the most jaded traveller gazing in awe. Onwards to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent where we have a brief opportunity to enjoy the splendour of this old Soviet city.

$8,840 $9,280 $7,070 $8,840 £5,040 €5,925

Meals and Transfers Sightseeing Many breakfasts (21) and a dinner (1) are

11,974km

ITINERARY

Istanbul to Ashgabat in 10 days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

N/A Accommodation Hotels/Guesthouse - 21 nights (twin share) Bus - 1 night Train - 7 nights Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (21) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

77


Fully Escorted Tour

Grand Asian Caravan

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

GEORGIA 5 nights staying in Georgia - Tbilisi (2), Gudauri (1) and Borjomi (1)

PRICES

41 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$12,700 $13,335 $10,160 $12,700 £7,240 €8,510

1 2

DATES

Beijing to Istanbul - Code ACBI

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

ARMENIA 5 nights staying in Armenia - Goris (1), Yerevan (3), Dilijan (1)

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Amazing and diverse sightseeing experiences in some the world’s remotest corners bring rich rewards on this unique, challenging journey. Come with us along the Silk Road, to the beautiful Caucasus and retrace ancient routes of trade and conquest.

Finish

04 May - 13 Jun 08 Jun - 18 Jul 07 Sep - 17 Oct

Accommodation - Westbound Hotels/Guesthouses - 32 nights (twin share) Homestay - 1 night (twin share) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth)

Direction Westbound Beijing to Istanbul

Single Supplement (Optional)

Countries

Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

China + Kyrgyzstan + Uzbekistan + Turkmenistan + Iran + Armenia + Georgia + Turkey

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (33) and some lunches (2) and dinners (5) are included, as are all arrival transfers once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Distance 12,332 km

Activity Level

Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

Travelstyle

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage ancient city of Merv which is thought to be founded around the 6th century.

New Dimensions in Armenia and Georgia The Caucasus region was at the crossroads of trade and conquest. It is famed for its hospitality, fine wines, spas, and refreshing mountain scenery; and there is time to enjoy them all. Armenia has early Christian monuments and hidden monasteries to discover. Georgia’s lively but ancient capital of Tbilisi offers a charming old town centre. Leaving the mountains, we visit Gori – the birthplace of Stalin. Later, Vardzia becomes a journey highlight, where a monastery of 3,000 caves runs along a mountain cliff for some 500 metres and stretches over 19 tiers. Entering Turkey, we board a train to Ankara, and onwards to Istanbul, where our last morning is well spent exploring the charming Sultanahmet district. Discover early Christian monasteries and villages with the picturesque backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and Armenia.

On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details. Please contact one of our Travel Advisors for a price should you wish to travel independently on this journey.

DATES

We follow the Irkeshtam Pass through the Tien Shan Mountains, to Kyrgyzstan for Sary Tash, to stay in local homes. We visit Osh - one of Central Asia’s oldest cities dating back over 2,500 years - where the aroma of shashliks sizzling on street side grills fills the air. Entering Uzbekistan, we find rarely-visited Fergana Valley villages famed for silk weaving and pottery prior to arriving in Tashkent.

In Samarkand, we marvel at the Registan Central Asia’s most spectacular architectural ensemble with its azure topped domes and minarets - before crossing the Kyzyl Kum Desert to find the mud brick monuments of the ancient holy city of Bukhara, some of the oldest on the Silk Road. We cross the Kara Kum Desert in Kazakhstan to the oasis city of Mary and the ruins of Merv – one of the greatest of all Silk Road cities. Traditional red Turkmen carpets draw the eye in Ashgabat’s Tolkuchka Bazaar, before the Kopet Dag Mountains lead to Iran, and its most holy city of Mashhad where the incredible shrine complex of Emam Reza, is one of the wonders of the Islamic world. Isfahan’s distinctive blue-tiled buildings, covered bazaar, and atmospheric tea-houses are next. Northwards, we spend time in the bustling

Independent Journey

Code - IACBI Operates weekly on Fridays. Contact us for specific dates.

Group size

ESSENTIALS

Across the Tien Shan Mountains

14 days in Samarkand, Bukhara and Iran region

capital of Tehran; and at Tabriz -at the crossroads of Persia and the Caucasus - we enjoy the carpet bazaar, the 15th century Blue Mosque and the rock-hewn village of Kandovan.

1 Beijing 2 Beijing to Xian 3 Xian 4 Xian to Dunhuang 5 Dunhuang 6 Dunhuang to Turpan 7 Turpan 8 Turpan to Kashgar 9 Kashgar 10 Kashgar 11 Sary Tash via Irkeshtam Pass 12 Osh 13 Fergana Valley 14 Fergana Valley to Tashkent 15 Tashkent to Samarkand 16 Samarkand 17 Samarkand to Bukhara 18 Bukhara 19 Bukhara 20 Bukhara to Mary 21 Mary to Ashgabat 22 Ashgabat to Mashhad 23 Mashhad to Isfahan 24 Isfahan 25 Isfahan 26 Isfahan to Tehran 27 Tehran to Tabriz 28 Tabriz 29 Tabriz to Goris 30 Goris to Yerevan 31 Yerevan 32 Yerevan 33 Yerevan to Dilijan 34 Dilijan to Tbilisi 35 Tbilisi 36 Tbilisi to Gudauri 37 Gudauri to Borjomi 38 Borjomi to Kars 39 Kars to Ankara 40 Ankara to Istanbul 41 Istanbul

N/A Accommodation - Westbound Hotels/Guesthouses - 32 nights (twin share) Homestay - 1 night (twin share) Trains - 7 nights (4-berth) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (33) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

INFORMATION

important Silk Road cities - we learn of ‘Great Game’ intrigue when disguised spies from British India were sent to closely monitor Muslim sentiments, and Russian intentions; both perceived threats to their Indian empire. Today, Kashgar’s Sunday markets fascinate travellers with incredible characters, riotous colours and myriad stalls.

Explore the bustline bazaars, teahouses and marketplaces of Mashhad and Isfahan.

78

05 May - 14 Jun 09 Jun - 19 Jul 08 Sep - 18 Oct

Start

Maximum 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader.

The Journey From Beijing, we travel into the countryside to walk along the Great Wall. An overnight train transfers attention to the ancient city of Xian, where we see the famous Terracotta Warriors, old city walls, towers and pagodas. For over 400 years, massive caravans left the safety of Xian through its West Gate, and began epic trading journeys along the Silk Road to Central Asia and beyond. Our journey follows those camel routes. At Dunhuang, an oasis edging the Taklamakan Desert, formerly a resting stop for traders, and a point where Islam, Christianity and Buddhism entered China, we visit the incredible Magao Caves (‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’). Through the desert, Muslim influences are strong. At Turpan, we visit a fascinating bazaar, the ancient cliff top city of Jiaohe, and learn about ancient irrigation. Farther west, in Kashgar – one of the most

2018 Finish

Group size

ITINERARY

8 Amazing Days in China

2017 Start

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

79


Fully Escorted Tour

Myanmar and Yunnan Explorer

Fully Escorted Tours are our benchmark journeys and are accompanied by a Sundowners Overland Tour Leader. The itineraries allow for plenty of time to experience local life and enjoy the sights each city has to offer. See page 38 to find out about customising your journey.

PRICES

23 Days

AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$7,440 $7,810 $5,950 $7,440 £4,240 €4,985

Railway Road Train nights Hotel nights

2017 Start

2018 Finish

18 Mar - 09 Apr 09 Sep - 01 Oct 07 Oct - 29 Oct

Start

Finish

03 Feb - 25 Feb 08 Sep - 30 Sep 06 Oct - 28 Oct

(inc. hotel, ger, guesthouse)

Group size

Plane

Maximum of 15 travellers, plus the Tour Leader.

Direction Northbound Yangon to Kunming

ITINERARY

Countries

1 Yangon 2 Yangon to Inle Lake via flight to Heho 3 Inle Lake 4 Inle Lake to Nyuang - U (Bagan) 5 Nyaung -U (Bagan) 6 Nyaung -U (Bagan) to Mandalay 7 To Mandalay 8 Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin 9 Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw 10 Hsipaw 11 Fly Mandalay to Kunming 12 Arrive Dali 13 Dali 14 Dali to Lijiang 15 Tiger Leaping Gorge 16 To Lijiang 17 Lijiang to Kunming 18 Kunming 19 Kunming to Shilin 20 Shilin to Yuanyang 21 Yuanyang 22 Yuanyang to Kunming 23 Kunming

Myanmar (Burma) + China

Distance 2,785 km

Activity Level Travelstyle

Old Burma – The Land That Time Forgot Our magical journey begins in Yangon. Perhaps better known by its former name of Rangoon, this former colonial outpost of Britain’s Indian Empire fascinates travellers from its shiny golden stupa at the centre of the Shwedagon Paya - the nation’s most holy Buddhist pagoda visible from all over the city - to its busy markets housed in former colonial buildings now long past their former glory.

Central Burma – Of Lakes and Buddhist Pagodas At Inle Lake where the Intha people make their living from fishing, and growing vegetables and fruit in gardens which float on the lake’s surface, we observe fishermen using leg-driven oars to propel their small boats. At Nuang-U (Bagan) we discover some of the country’s most intriguing pagodas lining the banks of the Wander the cobbled streets of the old town Lijiang in Yunnan.

Irrawaddy River. Even more remarkably, we find around 2,000 more dotting the nearby plains some dating from the 11th century when Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire. From Bagan we cruise up the mighty Irrawaddy to Mandalay with its royal palace housed within its own city walls, and little-visited monasteries, pagodas, collections of old churches from colonial times, and traditional craft workshops.

The New Frontier and Ethnic Peoples Northward in to Myanmars Shan State and the colonial hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin. After wandering through perfectly manicured English gardens we make our way to Hsipaw on an exhilarating rail journey that climbs steep hills and traverses breathtaking gorges, a true feet of british engineering. A short flight takes us to Kunming, we enter China’s Yunnan province to discover a land set in the southern foothills of Admire the glittering royal barge in Yangon.

the Himalayan range, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, that is home to some 27 diverse ethnic groups which frequently transcend the political borders of Burma’s Shan state and beyond. In Dali, we uncover a photographer’s paradise with ancient Chinese city gates and towers with upturned eaves to deter dragons, and cobbled streets edged by houses with decorative shutters. In the bustling produce markets we see Bai women in traditional dress, and enjoy panoramic views of the jagged Cangshan Mountains. Traditional Chinese arched bridges across Erhai Lake complete the picture.

Tiger Leaping Gorge and Picturesque Rice Terraces Onwards we come to Lijiang with another equally charming old town, with access to Tiger

Be in awe of the plains of Bagan, Myanmar.

Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest in the world, and one of Asia’s finest geological wonders. We spent two days walking in the area, admiring the stunning scenery of rice terraces, riverside villages, dramatic gorges and canyons, and the occasional mountain goat. South of Kunming, we explore the Stone Forest of Shilin, an incredible gallery of stone sculptures dating back 270 million years. At Yuanyang we are amazed by the ingenious rice terraces where members of the Hani and Yi ethnic minorities still wear vibrantly-coloured traditional clothes and practice agricultural styles little changed over centuries. And finally, in Kunming we are delighted to see a graceful old quarter where weeping willows gently caress the lake, and traditional Chinese temples abound. It’s the perfect place to relax and reflect on our incredible journey.

Meet the locals in Yunnan.

INFORMATION

The Journey

Hotels 20 nights (twin share) Trains -2 nights (4-berth) Single Supplement (Optional)

Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20) are included, as are all arrival transfers once you have joined the group. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Comprehensive scheduled sightseeing is included in all cities on this journey. In addition to the scheduled sightseeing you can also tailor your journey with optional activities. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

Independent Journey On this Independent Journey you have the option to tailor your intinerary to better suit your travel needs. See page 12-13 or contact Sundowners Overland for more details.

Visit www.sundownersoverland.com to find out more information about this journey. Here you will be able to download the Journey Itinerary, view pictures from the journey and check guaranteed departures.

Admire the spectacular Burmese temple architecture in Yangon.

Accommodation

Available for hotel stays on this journey. Prices available on request.

PRICES

Long-closed borders have until quite recently made this journey through some of the most ethically diverse parts of Asia almost impossible. But now due to a more relaxed political climate, travellers are welcome in Myanmar where roads lead north to the Chinese frontier and its beautiful Yunnan province set in the southern foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

ESSENTIALS

Ferry

Classic Twin AUD NZD USD CAD GBP EUR

$8,055 $8460 $6,445 $8,055 £4,590 €5,395

Prices are per person and based on twin share hotels and 4-berth rail. Single prices available on request.

DATES

1 2

DATES

Yangon to Kunming - Code MYYK

Code - IMYYK Operates daily. Contact us for specific dates.

ESSENTIALS

Group size N/A Accommodation Hotels 20 nights (twin share) Trains - 2 nights (4-berth upgrade included) Meals and Transfers Many breakfasts (20) are included. All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey Itinerary for more details. Sightseeing Not included. You are free to arrange this locally or we can arrange this for you in advance separately.

80

81


Planning Your Journey Things you should know before you go What’s not included in any journey

• Flights and taxes (unless specified in the itinerary)

• Travel insurance • Visa fees • Vaccinations • Tipping • Porterage (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) • Meals (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) • Items of a personal nature (laundry, drinks, shopping etc)

Travel insurance Travel insurance that provides adequate cover for the loss of personal items and potential medical expenses is compulsory for all Fully Escorted Tours, Experience Tours and Luxury Train Journeys and travellers will not be permitted to join the group until their Tour Leader has seen evidence of coverage. For your peace of mind we also strongly recommend travel insurance for all other Travelstyles.

Passports and Visas Most countries require you to have a passport with at least six month’s validity from the date of completion of your planned arrangements, together with any necessary current visas for the country concerned, and for the country you plan to visit immediately afterwards where appropriate. It is safe to assume that you will require a visa for most countries which are featured in this brochure and it is your responsibility to obtain them in advance of travel. We will provide guidelines, letters of introduction, and assist you through the process. You should ensure that you have plenty of time to obtain documentation as most countries will require your passport and time to process applications.

Health Many of our journeys travel through remote areas where western medical assistance may not be readily available. We suggest that you consult your medical practitioner well in advance of travel to ensure that you have any recommended vaccinations, and that you have adequate supplies of any prescribed medications you may be taking. We also suggest that you carry a first aid kit to meet any unexpected needs. Similarly, we recommend that you see your dentist to ensure that your teeth are in good shape. There’s no need to be paranoid, but some preparation on your part, may assist you to avoid unexpected issues which could cause discomfort or loss of enjoyment during your journey.

Responsible travel Sundowners Overland is committed to making a positive contribution within our local communities and to minimising our impact on our shared environment. Our commitment is to deliver overland journeys that are environmentally conscious and socially respectful and we welcome and encourage the contribution of our travellers in achieving this goal. We make extensive use of locally owned restaurants and cafes, hotels and guesthouses and use the rail and public transport system in preference to flights and coach transport whenever practical. Our ‘Rising Stars’ programme has also assisted Local Guides to acquire the skills and training to work as full-time Tour Leaders. Visit our website for more information.

Share your memories Sundowners Overland is always looking for new and interesting photos of the people and landscapes in the destinations that our travellers visit. If you would like to contribute some of your own or simply share some memories with us, contact us with using the details on the back of this brochure. This is not a competition so feel free to send us whatever you think other travellers might like to see on our website or in future brochures. Everyday scenes are sometimes the best. You can also tag Sundowners Overland in the photos you put on Facebook so that other travellers can share your experiences on our journeys.

5% discount with Sundowners Overland We pride ourselves on offering once in a lifetime-style journeys at genuinely fair prices. We value your support and are pleased to offer a 5% discount in the following instances:

Loyalty Rewards We are sure that you will enjoy your Asia Overland journey with us, and will want to return to explore more of our exciting destinations in the future. When you do, we will be pleased to offer you a 5% discount on second or subsequent journeys to show our appreciation for your ongoing loyalty.

Group Rewards We appreciate group bookings and offer groups of friends or families a 5% discount when 5 or more people travel together on the same journey.

More Information?

1. Visit www.sundownersoverland.com If you’ve seen a journey or anything else of interest and you want to find out more detail, simply visit our website and you will be able to i) Research our destinations and Travelstyles If this brochure has whetted your appetite but you are unsure whether or how you wish to travel, you will find more information, images and videos showcasing our destinations in more detail. You can also find out more about our Travelstyles and Journey Grading to assist you to decide the type of journey which will suit you best. ii) Download and read Journey Itineraries and Regional Inspiration Guides We want you to have as much information as you need and our Journey Itineraries have a plethora of relevant information on the journey that you are considering including more detail on key aspects, day to day itineraries, suggested amounts for spending money, optional activities, recommended background reading, luggage etc. Our Regional Inspiration Guides contain added background information. Both may be downloaded from our website. iii) Check latest prices, availability, and search for guaranteed departures Our website has the most up to date information. Guaranteed departures give you the confidence to arrange flights, travel insurance, and onward travel, safe in the knowledge that your Sundowners Overland journey is secured. iv)Chat online with a Sundowners Overland travel advisor If you have any questions while you are visiting our website you may chat online using our Live Chat feature. Please note this facility is usually operating during Australian EST business hours. If you need information outside these hours kindly email us, and we’ll respond as soon as possible. 2. Subscribe to our communications Past passengers and potential future travellers are welcome to stay in touch with us. We invite you to visit our website and sign up to our communications to ensure that you don’t miss out on future offers, news and special events. 3. Visit our online community Join us on Facebook or visit us on Twitter and be inspired by images and reviews from past travellers. 4. Call one of our Travel Advisors

Images and Feedback Thank you to all of our travellers who have supplied images and feedback for us to use in this brochure. If you have been on a journey and would like to share your images please email – myjourney@sundownersoverland.com

82

Our Travel Advisors are specialists and would love to have a chat about your travel ideas. You’ll find that their experience and passion for our destinations is sure to be contagious. Our contact details are on the back cover, or alternatively use Live Chat via our website. 5. Visit your travel agent Local travel agents can assist you with advice on our journeys and will be pleased to create your ideal journey including flights and other arrangements that you may require.


Your Travel Agent:

 isit the Sundowners Overland website, contact V us or get in touch with your travel agent to check the availability of your chosen departure date. The Sundowners Overland website is where you will find the most up to date information on availability, guaranteed departures and detailed Journey Itineraries.

2. Booking Conditions Please carefully review our booking conditions found on page 82. Booking with Sundowners Overland means that you have read and accept these conditions.

3. Booking & Deposit

 e believe that your journey with Sundowners Overland W starts from your first contact with us. From then on our specialist Travel Advisors will ensure that you are looked after all the way through planning to departure and then on your return.

4. Traveller Information

 efore we can confirm your booking we need a fully B completed Client Information Form for all of those travelling with us, provided to us or submitted online via our website, so that we can start to make reservations for your journey and prepare your personalised documentation. These details will be requested at the time of booking.

5. Travel Insurance

T ravel insurance is compulsory on all Small Group Journeys and for your personal benefit and peace of mind we strongly recommend it for all of your travels.

6. Final Payment

 inal payment of the balance is due 75 days before your F journey departure. Bookings made less than 75 days prior to departure require full payment at time of booking.

 nce you have paid your deposit Sundowners O Overland will provide you with all of your relevant pre-departure information and visa guidelines. Final documentation will be provided after receipt of full payment and around 45 days before your journey’s departure.

8. Start Your Journey  Meet others travelling on the same departure through the ‘Meet Other Travellers’ section of our Facebook page and share the excitement and anticipation of your journey of a lifetime!

Get in Touch Client Enquiries & Reservations Australia 1300 559 860 New Zealand 0800 770 156 UK 0208 877 7657 Europe +44 208 877 7657 Russia +7 (812) 310 32 18 Worldwide +61 3 9672 5386 Email travel@sundownersoverland.com

Travel Agent Enquiries & Reservations Australia 1300 133 457 New Zealand 0800 174 073 UK 0208 877 7660 Europe +44 208 877 7660 Russia +7 (812) 310 32 18 Worldwide +61 3 9672 5385 Email agentsales@sundownersoverland.com

Group & Special Interest Tours Worldwide +61 3 9672 5388 Email groups@sundownersoverland.com

Head Office

THE COMPLETE GUIDE www.sundownersoverland.com

www.facebook.com/sundownersoverland

2017 - 2018

< FULLY ESCORTED TOURS

< INDEPENDENT JOURNEYS

< EXPERIENCE TOURS < PRIVATE GROUP TOURS

< TAILOR-MADE JOURNEYS < LUXURY TRAIN JOURNEYS

E R L A ND OV .D

ERENTLY

18-35 Check out Vodkatrain and travel with young, likeminded people. It’s group travel as individual as you! www.vodkatrain.com

All journeys contained within are operated by Sundowners Travel Centre Pty Ltd, trading as Sundowners Overland.

A

IFF

Sundowners Overland Level 1, 51 Queen Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia +61 3 9672 5300

This brochure is 100% recyclable, so if you don’t want to pass it on to a friend, please dispose of it responsibly.

Trans Siberian Railway Mongolia, the Silk Road and the Caucasus SI

R I NG A

1. Check Availability

7. Documents

SHA

Booking with Sundowners Overland

Sundowners Overland 2017-18  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you