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Pingliang_2

Central Asian Explorer

Central Asian Explorer

From {{totalPrice}} EUR Extra expenses at the destination
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
What's included?
From 12385 EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
What's included?
Duration
89 days
Starts in
Istanbul
Ends in
Xian
Group size
24
Overlanding started along the Silk Route back in the 60s, the famed Hippy Trail. Our route takes us along the northern Silk Route, across the heart of Central Asia. From the legendary city of Istanbul crossing the wild mountains and lush valleys of the Caucasus, through Georgia and Azerbaijan; both countries renowned for their food, home stays and hospitality. The Caspian Sea is the divide between true Central Asia, the deserts and nomads of Turkmenistan and the infamous city of Ashgabat. In the north of the Karakum deserts, lies the country's most bizarre attraction, the Darvaza Crater. Crossing the Oxus River is the heart of the route, Uzbekistan's fabulous cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Towering above the deserts are the Tian Shan Mountains and the lands of Kyrgyzstan; home to shepherds and horseman; this is our opportunity to really get to grips with the local life. Crossing the Torugart Pass, the lands of Western China open up at Kashgar; ahead lies the vast bowl of the Taklimakan Desert and then it's onto the edge of the Tibet Plateau and the Tibetan town of Xi'ahe. But no trip to China can be complete without a visit to the seminal city of Xi'an, home of the terracotta army.
  • Explore Kashgar's traditional Sunday market and Animal market
  • Cross the Taklamakan Desert
  • Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
  • Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang
  • Camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan
  • Explore the colourful natural phenomenon of the Rainbow Mountains
  • Cross the northern end of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Explore Xiahe - one of Tibets most historic cities
  • See Bingling Si's vast Buddha statue and outstanding cave sculptures
  • Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
  • Guided tour of Xi'an's world famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley in local transport
  • See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Köl Lake
  • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
  • See a demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
  • Learn how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made
  • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge
  • Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
  • Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek
  • Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour
  • Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater
  • Overland in to the Karakum desert
  • Explore the ruined city of Kunye Urgench
  • Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva
  • 3 nights in Bukhara with guided tour of the many unique sites
  • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
  • Guided tour of the historic city of Samarkand and surrounding area
  • Stay in the fascinating city of Tbilisi
  • Visit Vardzia, a cave monastery on the UNESCO World Heritage list
  • Explore Armenia's ancient city of Gyumri, with its great churches and Soviet Era grandeur
  • Explore the Armenia's capital, Yerevan and learn about its extensive history
  • Visit Lake Sevan a high altitude lake known for its beaches
  • Hike to the amazing Gergeti Trinity Church at Stepantsminda
  • Visit Georgian Vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting
  • Explore the 1797 built Palace of the Sheki Khans
  • Explore the old town of Baku
  • Explore the amazing sights of Istanbul
  • Guided tour of Ancient Troy
  • Visit the Galipolli Peninsular and the battlefields
  • Ancient ruins of Ephesus
  • Olympos Beach and Fire mountain
  • Ancient Mountain City of Temossos
  • Take an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia
  • Guided tour of the valley & underground cities of Cappadocia
  • Visit the Black Sea at Batumi
  • Visit the Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
  • This great road journey through Asia, crosses different cultures and religions. It is ideal for lovers of history and culture. A great trip to meet different peoples and for lovers of stunning scenery, from deserts, river valleys.

    Itinerary

    Central Asian Explorer

    Day 1 Istanbul

    Border Information: If joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IATA code: IST).There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip. The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River, Hagia Sophia and the phenomenal Blue Mosque!Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul. * Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details. *

    Day 2 Gallipoli

    This morning following breakfast we will depart Istanbul and begin our journey to the shores of Gallipoli. After lunch we will get an insight into what happened between the ANZAC, Allied and Turkish forces during the first World War and have a guided tour of the Battlefields and Anzac Cove.

    Day 3 Selcuk

    Today we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry and head to Helsik where we will do a short tour of the Troy Ruins. We will then continue onto Selcuk where we will be staying for two nights. In the evening we will have free time to explore the area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching.

    Day 4 Selcuk

    Today we will have a full day to be able to explore the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses.

    Day 5 Pamukkale

    Following breakfast we will drive inland towards the small village of Pamukkale. After lunch we will have free time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse through the travertine pools and terraces.

    Day 6 Olympos

    Today we continue our drive south and aim to reach the popular beach town of Olympos by lunchtime.This evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows

    Day 7 Olympos

    Today we will have time to explore and participate in any optional activities if you wish or simply take a dip in the cool turquoise waters on one of the many beaches.

    Day 8 Egirdir

    After breakfast we will leave the beachside town of Olympos and make our way north. We will have an included visit of Termessos on the way before continuing our journey towards Egirdir where we will find a good spot to bush camp for the night. Depending on the time of year we may also stay in a local guesthouse.

    Day 9 Goreme

    We have an early start this morning to reach the small enchanting town of Goreme in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains. In Goreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are generally used here.

    Day 10 Goreme

    Today will be a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here.. Weather permitting.

    Day 11 Zara

    Today we continue our journey east with a full day's drive towards the Sumela monastery.We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra.

    Day 12 Sumela

    Today we will reach the Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will visit in the afternoon if it is open.We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. Or we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.

    Day 13 Batumi

    Border Information: Exit Turkey at Sarp, enter Georgia at Sarpi.This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Georgia, reaching the port town of Batumi.

    Day 14 Kutaisi

    After a relaxing morning, we leave the port town of Batumi behind us and make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati monastery.

    Day 15 Tbilisi

    Border Information: if joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6.00pm - please meet at the joining hotel reception at this time. Please do not be alarmed if there is no note from your leader on arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the crew and they will not arrive until about 4.00pm. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi. *Important note - Please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

    Day 16 Tbilisi

    Today we will visit the beautfiful old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple.

    Day 17 Lake Sevan

    This morning we will have a short drive to the border and cross into the country of Armenia. Once the formalities are over we will continue on through the beautiful Dilijan National Park stopping for a truck lunch along the way. Tonight we will either stay in the National Park or continue on to Lake Sevan where we will camp for the night

    Day 18 Yerevan

    After breakfast we will leave the sparkling waters of Lake Sevan behind and make our way towards the city of Yerevan. On the way we will visit the World Heritage - listed Geghard Monastery which has been carved out of the rock face of the Azat River Gorge. We will also spend some time exploring the Garni Temple before finally arriving at our destination.

    Day 19 Yerevan

    We have a free day today to explore the stunning city of Yerevan. Simply spend the time relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere or perhaps do a walking tour of the city admiring the soviet architecture.

    Day 20 Armenian Highlands

    Today we leave the city of Yerevan. We will start off with a visit to the Khor Virap Monastery before we begin to make our way north through the beautiful Armenian Highland.Tonight we will wild camp in the Northern Armenian Highlands.

    Day 21 Borjomi-Kharagauli NP

    After packing up camp we continue north and head towards the Georgian border. We aim to arrive after lunch and if time permits have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves. If we arrive too late we will be able to explore the caves tomorrow morning also. Tonight we will find a wild camp in the valley close to the caves.

    Day 22 Mtskheta

    After breakfast we will make our way to Borjome National Park where we will have time to do a small hike through the ancient forest and an optional cable ride up the mountain. We will then continue on to Mtsehketa, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

    Day 23 Stepantsminda

    Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Chruch (the church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains.

    Day 24 Telavi

    This morning we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourselves for 2 days to explore the area.

    Day 25 Telavi

    The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality.

    Day 26 Lagodekhi

    Today we leave the wine region behind us as we make our way towards the Azerbaijan border. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route. We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodekhi National Park close to the Azeri border.

    Day 27 Sheki

    Border information: Exit Georgia at Lagodekhi, enter Azerbaijan at Balakan.Today we cross the border to Azerbaijan and continue to the old town of Sheki, where we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace.

    Day 28 Lahij Village

    This morning we will continue on to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains.

    Day 29 Baku

    We will continue our journey this morning to Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea where we will have a visit to the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volanoes that this area is famous for. This afternoon we will continue on to the Old City of Baku where we will have free time on arrival to explore.

    Day 30 Baku

    Border Information: For everyone that is continuing with us onto Turkmenistan there will be short group meeting at 10.00am to explain the next few days until Ashgabat. Your leader will also collect the kitty for this linking section.Please note the new ferry port has now moved to Alat a town south of Baku. Depending on ferry departures we may need to stay here the night instead of Baku limiting our time to explore the town of Baku. Our itinerary in Baku and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existent) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here!

    Day 31 Caspian Sea

    From Alat/ Baku, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. The boat docks at the city of Turkmenbashi.The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board.Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also very unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Turkmenbashi while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.There will be seats on the ferry overnight. Generally cabins are not available for passengers.

    Day 32 Turkmenbashi

    Border information: Exit Azerbaijan at Baku, enter Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi.Today we hope to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Turkmenistan.We will be either staying at a local hotel in Turkmenbashi or we will start our journey towards Ashgabat and wild camp en route.Turkemenistan Visa Note - as the timing of the Caspian ferry crossing can be very unpredictable, please get your Turkmenistan visa issued with at least 2 'flexible' days before the entry date listed on these notes. Please see the detailed visa notes below.

    Day 33 Ashgabat

    Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local mini buses.

    Day 34 Ashgabat

    Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting.After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

    Day 35 Darvaza

    Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

    Day 36 Kunye Urgench

    Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.

    Day 37 Khiva

    Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva.

    Day 38 Khiva

    After breakfast we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

    Day 39 Bukhara

    Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.

    Day 40 Bukhara

    Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

    Day 41 Bukhara

    Spend the day exploring this incredible historic city and its surroundings further and soaking up the atmosphere.

    Day 42 Kyzylkhum Desert

    Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

    Day 43 Samarkand

    This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

    Day 44 Samarkand

    Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

    Day 45 Samarkand

    We will have a free day today with the chance to wander the streets and delve into this beautiful city and its history further.

    Day 46 Tashkent

    This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

    Day 47 Tashkent

    Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

    Day 48 Tashkent

    Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.The rest of the day is free to explore the Uzbek capital.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent.*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.**Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!*

    Day 49 Fergana Valley

    This morning we travel in local transport over the Kamchik Pass to Kokand, where we will have the opportunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey to Fergana. The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Fergana City.

    Day 50 Arslanbob

    Border information: Exit Uzbekistan at Andijon, enter Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik.This morning we leave Uzbekistan behind and make our way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan! Once we have crossed the border we continue our journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we are delayed at the border we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.

    Day 51 Arslanbob

    Today we have a free day to explore the local area. There will be options to do an all day hike to a big waterfall or alternatively do an optional horseride through the Walnut Forest

    Day 52 Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

    We will spend the next 2 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside. Tonight we will find a wild camp close to Toktugal Lake. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.

    Day 53 Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

    We will have another day of scenic driving as we make our way to our second wild camp at Karakuchi Gorge

    Day 54 Son-Kol Lake

    Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song Köl Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song Köl Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl.

    Day 55 Son-Kol Lake

    We will have free time in Song Kul Lake today to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.

    Day 56 Kochkor

    Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!

    Day 57 Jeti-Oguz Valley

    Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'.The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks) and then move via a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation.

    Day 58 Jeti-Oguz Valley

    Today is a free day where we will have the chance to hike in the incredible scenery around Jeti Oguz, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!

    Day 59 Karakol

    Today we will move on from Jeti Oguz or Altyn Arashan to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free afternoon to explore and relax!

    Day 60 Chong Kemin Valley

    Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Köl and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the beautiful area of Chong Kemin where we will spend 2 nights.In Chong Kemin we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms.

    Day 61 Chong Kemin Valley

    We will spend another night in Chong Kemin today and will have free time to explore and hike in this stunning area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

    Day 62 Bishkek

    Today we have a short drive to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, with the opportunity to visit the Burana Tower en route. We will have free time to relax and explore the city upon arrival.

    Day 63 Bishkek

    For everyone that is continuing with us to China, there will be quick pre-departure meeting at 10:00am in order to explain the next 6 days until Kashgar, and your leader will collect the kitty for this linking section.The remainder of the day is free to explore the relaxed and atmospheric city of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.Hotel for the night: Hotel Asia MountainsHotel Asia Mountains1a Lineinaja StBishkek 720021KyrgyzstanTel: +996 312 694 075

    Day 64 Kochkor

    Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!Please note that if the group has no new people joining in Bishkek, we may choose to stay instead in a guesthouse in the small town of Naryn (a further 2 hour drive beyond Kochkor). This is so that we don't repeat Kochkor unnecessarily and can have more time to explore the area of Tash Rabat the following day.

    Day 65 Tash Rabat

    Today we continue our journey south to Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the Silk Road close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border. During our time here we will visit an ancient caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area.In Tash Rabat we will wild camp. In cold weather (or if simply the group prefers and there is availability), we may choose to stay in local nomadic yurts that are set up for guests near the caravanserai, sleeping 8-10 people per yurt.

    Day 66 Kashgar

    Border information: Exit Kyrgyzstan at Torugart, enter China at Torugart.Today we will have a full day drive over the 3752m Torugart Pass, crossing into China and heading down to the Uighur city of Kashgar.

    Day 67 Kashgar

    Today we will have free time to explore the city of Kashgar and partake in any optional activities whilst we wait for our paperwork and documents to be processed with the border formalities

    Day 68 Kashgar

    Border Information: if joining in Kashgar, you will most likely enter China at Kashgar Airport (IATA code: KHG). Welcome to Kashgar, one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route! If you are joining in Kashgar, you are free to explore the city, and there will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the tour leader and they will often arrive in Kashgar mid-afternoon. Please note that many of the optional activities will only be possible for those with extra time in Kashgar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kashgar.

    Day 69 Kashgar

    Today we will visit the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar. We will also have an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world!

    Day 70 Kashgar

    Today we will have a free day to explore the town, the central Id Kah Mosque and its surrounding square, while your crew finalise the customs procedures for our truck to continue further into China.

    Day 71 Aksu

    Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamakan Desert! Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to stay in local hotels en route.Please note that due to political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province. Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, staying in a local hotel in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

    Day 72 Korle

    We continue our drive through the great Taklamakan Desert.

    Day 73 Urumqi

    Today we will continue on to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. 

    Day 74 Urumqi

    On the secnd day in Urumqi we will have an included visit to Heavenly Lake to enjoy the incredible scenery in the Tian Shan Mountains and walk around the lake.

    Day 75 Turpan

    Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we stay for 2 nights.

    Day 76 Turpan

    On our next day in Turpan there is time for exploring the surrounding sites, including the famous Jiaohe ruins.

    Day 77 Dunhuang

    Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the city of Dunhuang.Please note that due to political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province. Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, staying in a local hotel in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

    Day 78 Dunhuang

    The following day we will have an included visit to the awe-inspiring Mogao Buddha Caves in the morning. We will then have a free afternoon to explore this amazing town and it's surroundings - there are possibilities for camel rides along the sand dunes and bicycle rides out to the nearby White Goose Pagoda!

    Day 79 Jiayuguan

    Today we continue our journey with a drive to Jiayuguan, where we will have an included visit to the Jiayuguan Fort - the most western point of the Great Wall of China. Please note the Great Wall in this area is adobe, unlike the more famous stone sections further to the east.

    Day 80 Zhangye

    Today we will drive to the incredible Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains - we'll spend some time exploring the region before heading off to find a place to camp.

    Day 81 Liujiaxia

    Today we will drive onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan plateau and reach the small city of Liujiaxia. 

    Day 82 Xiahe

    Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 3 nights. We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route.

    Day 83 Xiahe

    The next few days are free to explore this beautiful town and surrounding grasslands. We can take a guided visit to the Labrang Monastery where Tibetan monks can be seen doing their daily rituals and chants. 

    Day 84 Xiahe

    On your second free day there may also be a chance to go trekking, cycling or exploring the surrounding grasslands, visiting Tibetan families and perhaps trying the local Yak butter tea.

    Day 85 Lanzhou

    Today we will leave Xiahe and head to the chaotic capital city of Gansu province, Lanzhou. We will have some free time this evening to explore the city.

    Day 86 Pingliang

    Today we will drive to the town of Pingliang at the base of the Mount Kongtong, one of the holiest mountains in Chinese Taoism.

    Day 87 Pingliang

    The following day we will have an included visit to Mount Kongtong, and will have the full day to explore the temples and walk and explore the pilgrimage routes on the mountain. Please note that if the drive between Turpan and Dunhuang was split over 2 days, there will only be 1 night in Pingliang and a half-day exploration of Mount Kongtong.

    Day 88 Xi'an

    Today we will journey to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free afternoon to fully explore the city, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.

    Day 89 Xi'an

    Border Information: if finishing in Xi'an, you will most likely exit China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour.We will return to Xi'an for the afternoon, where we'll have a free afternoon to further explore this incredible city.Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Xi'an. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities.
    Summary

    What’s included?

    Activities

    Pay your respects to the fallen at Gallipoli on a guided tour through the battlefields Guided tour around the ancient ruins of Troy

    Guided Tour of Ephesus Ruins and the Terraced Houses

    Hike up Chimera Mountain and witness the natural phenomenon of never ending fires emerging from the rocks.

    Stop off for a visit to Termessos the ancient mountain top city

    Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves

    Explore the colossal and awe-inspiring Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi

    Visit the Medieval Geghard Monastery

    Visit the Garni Temple and learn about its fascinating pre-Christian history

    Explore the beautiful Khor Virap Monastery near the Turkish border. On a clear day you will have stunning views of Mt Ararat in the background.

    Visit the impressive Vardzia Cave Monastery

    Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda

    Head out on Telavi's 'Big Day Out' - a tour of the town's monasteries bee-keepers and textile-weavers followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local family-run winery

    Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park

    Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797 Sheki Teze Bazaar Baku Caspian Ferry Ashgabat Sapar Haji Mosque Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city

    See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'

    Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench

    Guided City Tour of Khiva Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva

    Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark

    Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city\'s principal source of water

    Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia

    Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory once the finest observatory in the Islamic world

    See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley at the Yodgorlik Silk Factory

    See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here

    See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor

    See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here

    Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai at Tash Rabat close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border

    Discover the history of the ancient Silk Road at Kashgar\'s Silk Road Museum

    Hike up to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world.

    Enjoy a day to walk around Heavenly Lake, or maybe take a boat trip out on the water.

    Learn about the Karez water system the ingenious method of irrigating the area that was developed by the Han Dynasty and allowed Turpan to flourish as an oasis town

    Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan

    See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang

    Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall

    Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

    See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge

    Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples

    Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife

    Accommodation

    Comfortable Hotel 21 nights
    Multishare Hostel 5 nights
    Camping without facilities 8 nights
    Basic Hotel 26 nights
    Guesthouse 8 nights
    Wild Camp 7 nights
    Homestay 8 nights
    Overnight Boat 1 night
    Yurt Camp 4 nights

    Local transport

    Overland Expedition Vehicle, Private Bus, Overnight Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus, Local Bus, Boat

    Meals

    Breakfasts x 110, Lunches x 34, Dinners x 60

    Central Asian Explorer

    Price from {{totalPrice}} EUR
    Flight tickets are not included. Our travel experts will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together. The price is a from-price and varies with the date. See the exact price when selecting date.
    What's included?

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