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Lyuba Tours 2007 Privacy Policy
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Available tour dates:
11-26 February 2024 (available)
Join us for a winter adventure across the tundra, taiga and grasslands of Siberia and Mongolia!
It will be cold outside, but all lodgings and transports are warm. Winter allows us to venture on frozen terrain beyond the rather limited road network, and go on frozen lakes and rivers - normally impassable during the other seasons.
We start in Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha Republic of Russia. Yakutsk is the coldest city on our planet. It's a fascinating place, coldest and cleanest of all Siberian cities. Everything here is pure white in winter. We will appreciate and learn how local people endure the cold. We will venture on the frozen Lena River to the Lena Pillars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From the mining town of Neryungri we catch the Baikal-Amur railway (BAM) as it crosses some of Siberia's harshest and most rugged landscapes. The BAM, built in the 70s and 80s, is far more dramatic and remote than the Trans-Siberian railway.
We get off north of lake Baikal to spend a night in an indigenous Evenki farm, at one of the last reindeer camps in Siberia. We enjoy quaint old Siberian villages, and socialist heritage to the north of Baikal - the last unspoilt part of this Great Lake, which holds a fifth of all of Earth's fresh water. We cross the lake by hovercraft, and explore Ulan Ude, capital of Buryatia. Then we hop on the Trans-Mongolian (a spur of the Trans-Siberian) across to Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital,
is a bustling, growing city - quite a contrast with Siberia, and the rest of Mongolia! We appreciate some fascinating heritage and culture in Ulaanbaatar, and visit the city's growing ger district - where half of Ulaanbaatar's inhabitants live in yurts.
Then we set for the remote western aimags, or regions of Mongolia. Western Mongolia has the most dramatic and memorable landscapes and culture of all of Mongolia: steppe, desert and mountains meet; Muslim Kazakhs, Buddhist Mongols and shamanistic Tuvans co-exist. We end the tour in the beautiful and clean Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, not far from Ulaanbaatar.
16 days, 15 nights

YAKUTSK/2 nights - NERYUNGRI /2 night - BAM train to NOVY UOYAN/1 night - EVENKI CAMP/1 night - SEVEROBAIKALSK/2 nights - UST BARGUZIN/1 night - Night train to ULAANBAATAR/1 night - ULAANBAATAR/2 nights - ULGII/2 nights - KHOVD/1 night - GORKHI TERELJ/1 night
DAY 1, Sunday
Land in Yakutsk early morning - flight S7 or Aeroflot from Moscow. Transfer to hotel Azimut Polar Star, and some free time to rest and take breakfast. At 11 am we will meet to walk to the nearby central square and Lenin statue, and then see the Yakutsk fish market. We will take our welcome lunch in a good local restaurant, and then head to see the oldest surviving part of Yakutsk, and how they dig ships from the frozen Lena river to repair them. Back to the hotel for some free time, and then we will go out for dinner, on the way stopping for a good city panorama, and the Permafrost kingdom - the chief tourist attraction of Yakutsk, a park with ice sculptures built inside an old permafrost food storage tunnel. Dinner at Chuchur Muran, the most famous Yakutian restaurant.

Overnight in Yakutsk, Azimut Polar Star, two nights. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 2, Monday
After breakfast we are heading west, along the Lena River. We will pass the industrial town of Pokrovsk, before heading on an ice road on top of the frozen Lena. We will see the Lena Pillars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the way back we will have a homemade lunch in a very interesting Yakutian village, on an island in the Lena river. We will drive back to Yakutsk in time for dinner, in a Georgian restaurant.

Overnight at Yakutsk, Azimut Polar Star. Breakfast, lunch.
Day 3, Tuesday
After breakfast we will drive to Yakutsk airport for a short, 45 minute flight to Neryungri, a modern town in southern Yakutia. If a flight is not scheduled for next year (the timetable may shift), we will take a train from the newly built Nizhny Bestyah railway station - on the opposite side of the Lena River from Yakutsk. In Neryungri we will have a tour of the local coal mine, one of the largest coal mines in the world. We will have lunch and dinner in the lovely Chocolate cafe. A walk in Neryungri, a very typical Siberian mining town. Overnight in a comfortable and very typical Siberian hotel, housed inside a large Soviet residential building.

Overnight in Neryungri, one night. Breakfast.
Day 4, Wednesday
A light breakfast, and we are off riding the "Small BAM", the new railway that connects Yakutia to the main Baikal-Amur and Transsiberian rail corridor - and which may, one day, connect Eurasia with North America. We will have a proper breakfast and tea, as well as lunch and dinner, onboard the train. At lunch we will be in Tynda, where the train spends two hours. Let's go out for a walk. Then we continue along the BAM - with some of the prettiest Siberian landscapes, and very interesting railway stations and towns along the line.

Overnight onboard Baikal-Amur Mainline train, in two bed private compartments. Breakfast and lunch.
Day 5, Thursday
At the time when you wake up, notice how much the scenery has changed! We are now surrounded by mountains. We will enjoy breakfast, and then prepare to get off at Novy Uoyan station. We will have a quick look around the station, which is really interesting for its Baltic architecture, and then jump on a vakhtovka, or a large 6x6 truck that workers use to reach remote gas, oil and coal fields in Siberia. This monster can drive on any terrain! We will drive on a zimnik, or ice road that only exists in winter - in summer these are swamps. It will take us around 4 hours, or 50 miles, to reach the start of our trail, which will lead us to one of the last Evenki reindeer herder camps north of Baikal. Before the BAM line was built, there were no Russians anywhere. All villages were Evenki. After BAM in the 1970s, the Evenki became minority, and their lifestyles changed dramatically. There is much alcoholism in the Evenki camps, save for this one - here they keep old traditions alive. Let's have a look. We will ride for about ten miles on snow scooters and sleds to the camp. One third of the road will on top of a frozen lake, where the Evenki fish. Coming there is an adventure. There are glorious mountains all around. We will arrive around sunset, at the time when the Evenki prepare to release the reindeer for the night. We will sleep altogether in one log cabin, on military-style beds, but with brand new bedding and pillows (which we will donate afterwards to the Evenki). There will be a Russian-style bath, with plenty of hot and cold water for you to wash. Dinner at the camp - local fish and reindeer stews, which is what the Evenki eat mostly. No vodka or any other alcohol allowed at the camp.

Overnight in the Evenki camp north of Novy Uoyan, one night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 6, Friday
We will get up early, brush our teeth, and help our hosts prepare breakfast for us: porridge and tea (there will be no coffee, unless one of us brings). The reindeer will return to camp, and we are welcome to greet them. Then we head back to where the vakhtovka left us. We will then drive to Severobaikalsk (150 miles, of which one third on an ice road). We will ride along the Baikal-Amur mainline, stopping to see a couple of the interesting train stations, and not least, the northernmost point of Lake Baikal. This will be at sunset, and the light should be utterly gorgeous. Baikal lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It holds approximately one fifth of all freshwater reserves on the planet, and is home to an incredibly diverse and unique flora and fauna. Mountain peaks on all sides, and stunning silence. In Severobaikalsk we are staying at a small resort/guesthouse close to the lake. We will check in, have some time to rest, and then go to the town for dinner in a surprisingly good bar and dinner place.

Overnight in Severobaikalsk, Golden Fish hotel, two nights. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 7, Saturday
After breakfast at our resort we are off to the nearby village of Baikalskoe. This is one of the prettiest old villages in Russia, and the prettiest one on the shores of lake Baikal. We will have a little walk along the lake shore, with some beautiful cliffs and ice formations. Then have a stroll in the village, and have a home-cooked dinner in the village. In the afternoon we will head back to Severobaikalsk. Some free time. Before dinner, around sunset, we will have a stroll in the interesting dacha district of Severobailaksk, learning more about the Siberian dacha culture. Dinner at our bar and dinner in Severobaikalsk. For those who are interesting in locally made pottery and gifts - Severobaikalsk has a surprising number of artists and craftsmen who produce a lot of interesting and unusual souvenirs. There will be a chance to visit a studio or two and buy unique souvenirs you won't find elsewhere in Russia.

Overnight in Severobaikalsk, Golden Fish hotel, second night. Breakfast, lunch.
Day 8, Sunday
After an early breakfast we hop on a hovercraft which will take us across frozen Lake Baikal. This is an amazing ride, slow but scenic. We will stop to explore some beautiful ice formations on the way. There will be mountains on all sides as we travel to the south-east shore of the lake, the Barguzin National Park. We will have a picnic lunch on the lake. In the afternoon the hovercraft will leave us near Ust Barguzin. Vehicles will pick us up, and drive us across the National Park to the main road. We will drive to the village of Gremyachinsk, where we will stay the night at the comfortable Baikal Riviera resort. Dinner at the lodge.

Overnight in Gremyachinsk, Baikal Riviera, one night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 9, Monday
Those who want to wake up at sunrise, and have a walk to Baikal lake - please do! After breakfast we are off, south, and will wave goodbye to the lake. In about two hours drive we are in Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia. We will drive a little bit longer to see the interesting Buddhist Ivolgin Datsan monastery, before heading to Ulan Ude's centre. We will have a little walk to see some interesting constructivist architecture, and the giant head of Lenin. We will have lunch in a good local cafe, before hopping on the Trans-Mongolian night train to Mongolia. As we ride south, please notice how much the landscape has changed! The taiga is gone, the grasslands of Mongolia have arrived. We will have dinner onboard the train. In the late evening we will cross the border. Get some sleep afterwards.

Overnight onboard the Trans-Mongolian train, one night. Breakfast, lunch.
Day 10, Tuesday
We will arrive early in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's modern capital. We will first go to the interesting Zaisan monument, with a gorgeous view of town. Then we will head to check in at our comfortable, plush Shangri-La hotel in central Ulaanbaatar. Some time to rest and grab breakfast in the hotel. We will go out for an orientation walk of Ulaanbaatar: and point out things you can do in your free time in the afternoon, including the Choijin Lama temple, the National Museum of Mongolia, and the Fine Arts Zanabazar museum, and restaurants where you can grab lunch. For those who want, we will meet for dinner in the evening.

Overnight in Ulaanbaatar, Shangri-La, two nights. Breakfast.
Day 11, Wednesday
After breakfast we will visit the Gandantegchinlen monastery, the only Buddhist monastery that remained open during communist Mongolia. After this we will have a tour of the ger (yurt) district, Ulaanbaatar's most interesting and rapidly expanding area. We will take lunch in a local Hazara-Indian restaurant, and then visit one of Mongolia's three remaining bow and arrow makers in his large, communist-era prefabricated apartment building. He makes composite bows - made of wood, skin and bone. And he has hundreds of them in that small apartment. . Back at the hotel for some rest. Dinner on your own - the hotel has some good options, and there are nice restaurants around, too.

Overnight in Ulaanbaatar, Shangri-La, second night. Breakfast, lunch.
Day 12, Thursday
Breakfast at the hotel. Then we are off to Ulaanbaatar airport for a short flight to Ulgii, remote western Mongolia. Ulgii's population comprises mostly of ethnic Kazakhs. We will transfer to our hotel, have some time for refreshments, and head out for lunch in a good local cafe. In the afternoon we will have a stroll in the bazaar, one of the liveliest and most interesting markets in Mongolia and Central Asia. We will have a walk around the city, and visit the local aimag history museum. We will go to the Kazakh cultural centre for a performance tonight. Dinner in the Pamukkale Turkish restaurant in town.

Overnight in Ulgii, local hotel, two nights. Breakfast.
Day 13, Friday
After breakfast, we will drive to Tsengel, the westernmost settlement in Mongolia, home to a diverse population of Muslim Kazakhs, shamanist Tuvans and Buddhist Mongols. We will visit the home of a Tuvan throat singer, and have a Tuvan home-cooked lunch. Then we will visit a family of eagle hunters, before heading back to Ulgii, on a different scenic road. This is the heart of the beautiful and dry Altai mountains of Central Asia - shared between Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and Russia. In the evening we will arrive back in Ulgii. Dinner at our well-known cafe.

Overnight in Ulgii, local hotel, two nights. Breakfast, lunch.
Day 14, Saturday
After breakfast we will head south, on the newly built, smooth road to Khovd. This is Mongolia's most amazing scenery - let's enjoy the ride along lakes and rivers and mountains. We will arrive at lunch in Khovd. Check in at our hotel newly built and comfortable Steppe hotel, and lunch. In the afternoon we will go out to explore the interesting town of Khovd. Perhaps we can meet with a shaman today. Dinner in town.

Overnight in Khovd, Steppe hotel, one night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 15, Sunday
In the morning, transfer to Khovd airport for a short flight to Ulaanbaatar. This time, though, we will not drive to downtown UB City. We will drive east, to the large, recently built statue of Chinggis Khan - the largest equestrian statue in the world. We will have lunch at the statue complex, and then head to the nearby Gorkhi Terelj National Park. We will spend the night at the lovely Terelj Lodge. Farewell dinner at the lodge.

Overnight in Gorkhi Terelj, Terelj lodge, one night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 16, Monday
Day 16, Monday Breakfast, and then transfers to the airport for your flights out, or to downtown Ulaanbaatar if you choose to stay longer in the city. End of the tour.

€5735 per person, sharing double or twin room, €860 single supplement.
Maximum number of travelers is 8.
Price includes
  • Accommodation in Mongolia and Siberia's best lodgings: from a Shangri-La, to cosy country lodges.
  • Transport with a new, comfortable minibus where the roads are paved, and 4WDs for the bumpy side roads. And not least, good drivers!
  • Drivers and guides lodging and food.
  • Baikal-Amur Mainline train from Neryungri to Novy Uoyan, and Trans-Mongolian from Ulan Ude to Ulaanbaatar in private twin compartments (single is not available).
  • Flights Yakutsk-Neryungri; Ulaanbaatar-Ulgii; Khovd-Ulaanbaatar.
  • All meals according to programme;.
  • Border permit to the western Altai region.
  • All taxes and fees.
  • Bottled water, refreshments and sweet treats while on the bus and while exploring sights.
  • A comprehensive information pack with maps, literature, useful knowledge and gifts.
  • Tips for pretty much everyone but guide and driver.
  • All activities according to the program: musicians, throat singers, eagle hunters, visits to homes, and more.
  • Entry tickets to all sights that are ticketed.
  • Visa invitation letter for Russia, if required.
  • And much, much more.
Price does not include
  • International air fares.
  • Medical and travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, laundry, internet, drinks apart from those included.
  • Visa fees for Russia.
Important information and booking conditions
Reservations and payment

Please fill in the Reservation Form with all details needed and send it to or A deposit, upon booking, at the amount of €500 per person is required to assure your place. The final payment is to be made no later than three months prior to the start of the tour.

Extra nights in Yakutsk and/or Ulaanbaatar and transfers

If you want to spend a night or two prior or after the tour, we can make a reservation for you or you can make a direct arrangement with the tour hotel or another hotel. We can also recommend a nearby hotel which is cheaper. Please note that we have included transfers in the price - advice us of your arrival and departure times. Which brings us to...

... flights

We love arranging flights, but in this case, we won't. You are responsible for booking your flight ticket. We can always help you with an advice.

Tour information

Once we get your deposit, us folks at Lyuba Tours will immediately send a confirmation of space by e-mail. We will also send reading materials, music and more information about the country: what to bring, what to expect, money, weather, food and other wise. We will send all this by snail mail or email.

About a month before the tour, we will send you hotel and rooming lists, emergency numbers and any last-minute notes. We will be happy if you meet payment and document submittal deadlines to insure we have time to post your materials. Upon arrival in Russia, you will find even more stuff awaiting you: maps, phrasebooks, postcards, and more.

Customs and entry requirements

For this trip you require a passport with validity six months beyond the last day of the tour. That passport should have two blank pages for stamps.

No visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Mongolia for up to 90 days. A visa is required to enter Russia. We are happy to provide you with a visa invitation letters. American citizens are normally granted 10 year multiple entry visas for Russia. You will have to apply with your passport and visa invitation letter at the nearest Russian consulate, or alternatively, use a visa agent to apply on your behalf. If you don't happen to be a U.S. citizen, please make sure you have whatever documents are necessary to enter (and exit) Mongolia and Russia. We can help with this as well. Regulations are subject to change, and we will try to inform you of the latest changes.

Travel insurance

We strongly advise you to have a travel insurance for the trip. Situations may arise, voluntarily or involuntarily, in which the traveler cancels. We can recommend a comprehensive travel insurance plan, if you don't have one already. Insurance should cover trip cancellation, lost or damaged baggage, medical needs, and certain travel-related accidents. We highly recommend trip-cancellation insurance. Although please do read the insurance company's fine print, especially the section on 'pre-existing conditions'.

Ground transportation

We will travel across Russia and Mongolia in comfortable, air-conditioned private minibuses. For some sections we will use 4WD and 6WD vehicles and trains. Smoking is NOT permitted on any of the vehicles.

Health regulations

You are adviced to get a Hepatitis A and B vaccines. Please see the CDC's website for recommendations: We suggest you check with your doctor for medical advice regarding the trip and your health. It is also suggested you discuss updating your tetanus and diphtheria booster.

Health considerations

To get the most out of a tour, a traveler should be in good physical and mental health, able and willing to walk, climb steps, and participate in group events. This trip requires moderate walking, sometimes over uneven streets or paths. If assistance is needed, a participant should travel with a companion. You must also be able to carry your own hand luggage, so please go light! Any physical or mental disability requiring special help or assistance must be noted in writing on the reservation form.

Opportunities for adventure

This tour is designed for those interested in learning everything about Mongolia and Siberia. We will present you with all sorts of perspectives, and you will see many shades of the region.

Also, this is a moderately active program ('soft' adventure). Since some of the travel will be in remote areas, travel participants need to be flexible concerning time schedules, food and weather. Roads may be bumpy. No! Roads will be bumpy. Don't expect to find things exactly as they are at home! If that were the case, why travel? Occasionally, we may experience delays, alterations in the plans, some discomforts and inconveniences. But we will also experience a different culture and our minds and souls will be expanded! A spirit of adventure and tolerance is absolutely fundamental to participation in any of our tours.

Wandering Policy

We encourage everyone to partake in all the sightseeing and special activities. We've spent months researching and preparing a full and exciting program. However, if you would like to venture out on your own, or take personal time for rest or shopping, you may do so. This is your trip! We only ask that you alert our group leader and guide when you will be separating and rejoining the group. Please take extra security precautions with your belongings and yourself.

Changes in itinerary

Every effort will be made to operate this tour in accordance with the itinerary shown, including all activities as advertised. Museums and features are subject to scheduling. Occasionally, changes are made to improve an itinerary or enhance a certain feature. Unforeseen local conditions beyond our control may prevent the completion of an itinerary or require alterations in an itinerary. These local conditions can include inclement weather, seasonal variations in climate, changes in airline schedules and equipment, government appropriation of hotel space, and other events beyond our control that would jeopardize the traveler's comfort, safety, health, or enjoyment. In these cases, the right is reserved to substitute hotels, and to alter the itinerary for the comfort and safety of the travelers. The right is also reserved to cancel the tour prior to departure.

Cancellations and refunds

Should Lyuba Tours cancel a departure for the reason of insufficient number of participants to operate the tour with no increase in cost, a full refund of all monies paid will be made.

On the participant's part, cancellation or change of date will result in a per person cancellation fee of €500, irrespective of reason up to 60 days before the tour. Cancellation made 59 days and less days before the tour, the cancellation fee will be at the amount of the tour. Should your cancellation cause the number of participants to fall below the required number to operate the trip, and a replacement member cannot be found, the full portion of the trip will be forfeited. If a person requests a room share to avoid the single supplement and then cancels after final payment is made and a roommate has been assigned, then the person canceling forfeits the single supplement if a share cannot be found.

Should a person cancel a trip voluntarily, and if payment was made by a bank wire, the amount of bank wire expense charged to Lyuba Tours will be deducted from the refund amount. Once the tour begins, no refund may be claimed for all or any part of the tour fee. Unused or changed hotel accommodations, transportation, or other services or features of the tour are neither refundable nor exchangeable.

Cancellations will only be accepted via e-mail, at or
Questions and answers
Why a winter tour? Why not a summer or spring or fall tour?
Siberia in summer feels like any other part of central and northern Eurasia: green and warm. It is hard to believe the temperature rises to over 36-37 degrees celsius, that's over 100 F! In addition, we don't like the ticks and clouds of mosquitoes, which make travel challenging. We don't like the fact many roads become impassable. In winter we can reach even far flung, isolated communities, and we can cross quickly lake Baikal on a hovercraft. There are far less tourists, and we can appreciate the resilience of indigenous communities in the face of severe cold. In Mongolia, we will see hunters with eagles in the height of their hunting season. Eagles are dormant in summer. They are dormant even in October, when the Ulgii eagle festival is held.

How cold will it be?
Winters are getting warmer, by Siberian standards, so it hard to predict. We expect temperatures of -30 to -40 Celsius (-20 to -40 F) in Yakutsk; -10 to -20 Celsius (14 to -4 F) near lake Baikal and in Mongolia. This is dry cold. When sunny, especially in Mongolia, it will feel warmer.
All vehicles are prepared for the cold. All hotels are very warm - to the point sometimes you will need to open a window to cool down your room. This is part of the culture of Siberia. We will make sure you are warm!

What clothes do I require for this trip?
Good, warm winter gear is a must. We will send you a list with all items you need as a very least. You will be able to borrow gear from us (including mittens, hat, jacket and pants for extreme cold). The coldest temperatures we will experience are in Yakutsk and the Lena Pillars, on days 1 and 2 of the trip. As we then go south, temperatures will rise. There will be emergency clothes to borrow in Yakutsk, in the Evenki camp near lake Baikal, and out in the Mongolian Altay mountains. There will be places to buy equipment in all the major towns on the road, including Yakutsk, Neryungri, Severobaikalsk, Ulan-Ude, Ulaanbaatar and Ulgii. Prices are comparable to prices in the US: you can find cheap and warm gear, or some very high-tech expensive gear. We will make sure you are warm!
Meet your guide
Yuri is Lyuba's son. Travel is in his blood. He's been on the road since 28 days old. Ever since, he's visited 130 countries on all continents. He is enormously passionate about the world, about art, architecture and history. He is eager to show you some of the Caucasus' and Central Asia's most splendid and least known corners, which he has explored for years. Yuri has a PhD in History.