One of these handy trip extensions may be just the way to cap off your GeoEx rail or overland journey in Russia or Mongolia. If you have something else in mind—perhaps a sojourn in Beijing or Saint Petersburg—just let us know.
In addition to extending with our Exploring Lake Baikal (10 days), these Siberia jaunts make for great add-ons:
Olkhon Island (5 days): After spending a night in Irkutsk, one of Russia's most beautiful cities, you'll drive to Olkhon Island, whose stunning coastline offers spectacular views of Lake Baikal. You'll visit Shaman Rock and Khuzhir village, then explore Hoboy Cape and Uzuri, before one last night in Irkutsk.
Barguzin Valley (8 days): Bookended by nights in Ulan Ude, this journey delves into the jaw-droppingly beautiful Barguzin Valley and includes three nights at family homestays. You'll visit Saxon Castles, the prayer-inspiring Bukhe-Shuloon stone, and the mysterious Ininsky rock garden. There's hiking in Alla Gorge, dallying in Arshan's hot springs, and a shaman ceremony. And there's time to explore the Holy Nose Peninsula and Chivyrkuyski Bay.
Tunka Valley (11 days): This active trip travels southwest of Lake Baikal to Tunka Valley, featuring day hikes and a two-day trek. You’ll ramble in Baikalsky Biosphere Reserve, soak in Arshan, ramble up Kyngarga Gorge, trek to Shumak Springs, and wrap up in Irkutsk. Shorter versions of this extension can also be arranged.
Gobi Desert (7 days): After looking around Ulaanbaatar, fly into the great desert's ethereal landscapes to feast your eyes on Bayanzag (the Flaming Cliffs) and Khongoriin Els (Singing Sand Dunes), where you'll spend time with a nomad family and ride camels. Before jetting back to Ulaanbaatar, you’ll roam through the wonderful Yol Valley.
Lake Khovsgol (8 days): Spend a couple days exploring Ulaanbaatar, then wing your way to Lake Khovsgol, set in a wilderness of clear lakes, lush meadows, and wooded mountains. You'll hike, ride horses, and perhaps meet local reindeer herders. Once back in the Mongolia’s capital, take a day to explore Gorkhi Terelj National Park’s softly rolling, forest-draped hills and huge open skies.
Karakorum (5 days): Take a gander at Ulaanbaatar, then venture to the center of Mongolia to bask in archaeological and natural treasures, and comfortable ger camps. You’ll explore Khustain Nuruu National Park, home to Mongolian gazelle and marmots; visit Karakorum, capital of the Mongol empire in the 13th century; marvel at the ancient Buddhist Erdene Zuu Monastery; and linger among Khogno Khan’s picturesque landscapes.