Beijing to Istanbul

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Explore Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan as you travel from Beijing to Istanbul.

Get ready for a massive Overland adventure from the metropolitan mammoth of Beijing to Istanbul’s bustling bazaars. Travel through some of Asia’s most remote, wild and unique wildernesses along the legendary Silk Road from China. See Istanbul’s famous blue mosque; cross Iran’s’ remote desert landscapes as you travel to Tehran; pass through Uzbekistan’s soaring mountain vistas; tour Xi’an’s famous Terracotta Warriors; and discover secluded sections of the snaking Great Wall of China. From Beijing to Tehran and beyond, this adventure encompasses the very best of Central Asia and the Middle East. If you're longing for an epic overland odyssey, away from the tourist crowds, Beijing to Istanbul is just for you.

  • Admire the Buddhist art at the Mogao Caves
  • Climb deserted sections of the Great Wall of China
  • Cross the infamous Torugart Pass from Kyrgyzstan to China
  • Discover the romance of the Silk Road in Samarkand
  • Discover the secrets of the Enchanted Valley
  • Explore the temple and pagoda studded Kongtong Mountain
  • Search out delicate silks in Yazd
  • See the dramatic glaciers adorning the Ala Archa Canyon

What's included in this trip

  • Start:

    Beijing, China
  • Finish:

    Istanbul, Turkey
  • Group size:

    Min 4 , Max 21
  • Ages:

    Min 18
  • Meals:

    No meals included
  • Accommodation:

    Bush camp (no facilities) (19 nts), Camping (with facilities) (2 nts), Guesthouse (4 nts), Homestay (2 nts), Hotel (59 nts), Yurt (6 nts)
  • Transport:

    Overland vehicle
  • Included activities:

    Aksu-Zhabagly National Park, Ashgabat - Sunday Market, Beijing - Forbidden City, Bukhara - Guided city tour, Datong - Hanging Monastery, Datong - Yungang Grottoes, Dunhuang - Mogao Caves, Entrance Jiayuguan fort, Esfahan walking tour, Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour, Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis, Imperial City, entrance, Chengde, Jeti-Oghuz - Hiking, Jinshanling - Great Wall, Kashgar - Sunday & Animal Bazaars, Khiva - Guided city tour, Kochkor - Regional Museum, Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op, Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins, Liujiaxia - Bingling Si Caves, Ming Tombs, entrance, Beijing, Pingliang - Kongtong Mountain, Quingdongling Tombs, entrance, Beijing, Samarkand - Guided city tour, Tehran walking tour, Turpan - Jiaohe riuns, Visit to Lake Tuz, Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors guided tour, Xumi Shan Grottoes, entrance, guyuan

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About China , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Turkey , Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan , Iran

Beijing to Istanbul Summary

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Days 1-2 Beijing

Ni hao and welcome to China where a grand adventure awaits! Begin by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing - a place where discovery and intrigue lie around every corner. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.

Day 3 Qing Dongling

Journey into the valley of the Changrui Mountains, where emperors and their concubines lay entombed at Qing Dongling.

Day 4 Huairou

Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Imagine the exhaustive effort of farmers and labourers who toiled for many generations to construct the Wall.

Days 5-6 Chengde

Stroll through the lush Shanzhuang gardens in the footsteps of past Emperors who holidayed here. Take in the rich heritage of Chengde by bicycle or admire the Mongolian and Tibetan influences in local temples and monasteries.

Days 7-8 Datong

Marvel at the Hanging Monastery, delicately perched on a steep cliff face in Golden Dragon Gorge, and explore the World Heritage listed Yungang Grottoes, home to a staggering collection of over 50,000 statues and fascinating ancient rock art.

Days 9-10 Hohhot

Travel to the cultural centre of Hohhot at the gateway to Inner Mongolia. This busy ancient city gives off a laidback vibe making it the perfect place for to reload before embarking on a Mongolian homestay. Yak butter tea, anyone?

Day 11 Yinchuan

After a pit stop at the grand temples of Zhongwei Gao Miao, enjoy fraternising with locals in the friendly city of Yinchuan, amid the ebb and flow of daily life in provincial China.

Day 12 Shapotou

The reward for a morning of travel is letting off steam in Shapotou, where daredevils will delight in the dune sliding madness of this sandy wonderland. And if the stars align, embark on an overnight camel safari on the fringes of the stunning Tengger Desert.

Days 13-14 Gansu Province/Mount Kongtong

Admire the view from atop the temple-studded Kongtong Mountain and enjoy the spoils of Gansu Province, which has a rich and colourful history as one of the important links on the ancient Silk Road.

Days 15-18 Xi'an

Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors and explore significant cultural sites and museums both in and around Xi'an. Enjoy a plate of hand-pulled noodles as you watch the locals dance, eat and practice martial arts in South Park.

Day 19 Pingliang, Gansu Province & Mount Kongtong

Overland through the province of Gansu to Pingliang, which sits at the edge of the beautiful Kongtong Mountain. Peruse the wonderful shops or climb the mountain for rewarding views.

Day 20 Gansu Corridor, Lanzhou

Travel down the fertile Gansu Corridor, a rugged stretch of the famed Silk Route.

Days 21-22 Xiahe

Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.

Day 23 Liujiaxia

At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.

Day 24 Bingling Si/Zhangye Bush Camp

Continue the journey west towards Jiayuguan, where we set up camp en route.

Day 25 Jiayuguan/Great Wall

Arrive in Jiayuguan after a full day of driving, and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.

Days 26-27 Dunhuang

Arrive in Dunhuang and relax in this Gansu oasis trading town. Visit the nearby Mogao Caves and discover their breathtaking Buddhist art.

Day 28 Bush Camp

Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient oasis town of Turpan. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.

Days 29-30 Turpan

Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.

Days 31-32 Urumqi & The Heavenly Lake

Travel towards the Tian Shan mountain range, and arrive at the pristine Heavenly Lake. Located at the top of a mountain and in the middle of a desert, this is a remote spot, perfect for relaxation.

Days 33-34 Bush Camp

Head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travel into seemingly unchartered terrain and begin two days on an overland adventure.

Days 35-37 Kashgar

Arrive in Kashgar, an exotic fusion of Chinese, Uzbek and Kyrgyz cultures. Wander the streets that weave through the old town and discover the markets and bazaars of this diverse city before saying goodbye to this incredible part of the world.

Days 44-45 Chong Kemin Valley

Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River. Or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000m passes.

Day 46 Cholpon Ata / Issyk-Kul Lake

Farewell the Kyrgyzstan mountains and head to Cholpon Ata, nestled on the shores of the vast and beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake.

Day 47 Karakol

Enjoy the remote, picturesque town of Karakol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
    • 96
    • KDOYC
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      USD $2,450
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