The Trans-Siberian rail stretches right across Asia, from Moscow, across the steppes of Mongolia, through the Gobi Desert and the Ural Mountains all the way to Beijing. Then there’s Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest body of fresh water. At around 30 million years old and with an average depth of over 700 metres, Lake Baikal is a geographical wonder well worth exploring.
Travelling the Trans-Siberian offers unique opportunities for adventure at all times of the year, with festivals like the Naadam Festival in Mongolia during the summer. But although things get rather chilly in the winter months, there are all sorts of other things to keep you busy when you stop over in Yekaterinburg or Lake Baikal on your Asian rail adventure. Here are some winter highlights from both regions:
While staying in Listvyanka, take a tour of the city and then head out on a cross-country skiing expedition on the shores on Lake Baikal. Then enjoy a picnic lunch and a traditional Russian banya (sauna).
After having a driving lesson, test your skills with a snow-mobile ride to a small village not far from Listvyanka.
During the summer months, you’ll take a ferry across the lake to Port Baikal and take a guided walk along the lake shore. During winter, take a guided walk along the shores of the lake before having a picnic and heading back to town for a good hot banya.
Yekaterinburg: Mush! An instructor will show you the ropes before handing the sled over to you. Whizz across the snowy landscape, pulled along by the sled-dogs.
Swap the train for a pair of skis and enjoy a few hours on the slopes of Ezhovaya. This is one of the best places to ski in the Middle Urals, so enjoy the view while you can! There’s ski school nearby for the uninitiated.
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