Beijing to Istanbul Overview

Travel to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. See the Great Wall of China and Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. Travel to Tehran and Beijing as you tour Iran and China.

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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
  • Climb deserted sections of the Great Wall of China
  • Meet local shepherds on a yurt stay
  • Search out delicate silks in Yazd
  • See the Army of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  • See the dramatic glaciers adorning the Ala Archa Canyon
  • Walk the ancient walls of Khiva

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 48-49 Djety Oguz Valley

Hike through dramatic canyons and sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.

Day 50 Kochkor

Enjoy more traditional Kyrgyz hospitality on a homestay in Kochkor village.

Days 51-52 Song Kul Lake

Spend the night in a yurt and join in a game of ulak-tartysh.

Day 53 Chaek

Hit the road back to Bishkek, stopping to camp in the wilderness overnight.

Day 54 Bishkek

Back in Bishkek, why not stretch the legs with a walk through Oak Park. Or perhaps just kick back in one of the park's open air cafes.

Days 55-56 Zhabagly / Aksu National Park

Make tracks into Kazakhstan and enjoy a night with a local family in Zhabagly. Explore the grasslands of Aksu National Park.

Days 57-58 Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent, the final stop on this tour. Shop for fresh produce at the Chorsu Bazaar and perhaps grab some Soviet paraphernalia from a market.

Days 59-61 Samarkand

Travel to one of Central Asia's most magical cities, Uzbekistan’s Samarkand. Discover the romance of the Silk Road in this perfectly preserved city full of exotic architecture and majestic buildings.

Day 62 Yurt Stay

Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.

Days 63-65 Bukhara

Get to know Central Asia's holiest city, where the combination of buildings spanning a thousand years and a thoroughly lived-in Old Town combine to create an awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Days 66-67 Khiva

Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva and imagine how they once provided sanctuary for weary Silk Road travellers. Explore the historic and perfectly preserved Old Town, beautifully decorated in classic turquoise tiles.

Day 68 Kunye Urgench

Follow a local trading route through harsh desert sands, and meet the nomadic people who call this inhospitable region home.

Day 69 Darwasa

Drive across the Karakum Desert. If time allows, see the amazing Darvaza Gas Crater.

Days 70-72 Ashgabat

Continue your adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat's skyline. Spy the world's largest hand-woven rug or learn about the city's traumatic history at the Earthquake Museum.

Day 73 Shirvan

Make tracks towards the Iranian border today and explore Shirvan, nestled on the banks of Atrak River.

Day 74 Damghan

Take a walk around the ancient city of Damghan, perhaps stopping to visit one of the oldest mosques in the world - Jamrh.

Day 75 Garmeh / Dasht-e Kavir Desert

Travel into the heart of the central Iranian desert and enjoy a homestay in the small village of Garmeh.

Days 76-77 Yazd

Wind through the old city of Yazd - reputedly one of the oldest towns in the world. Sign up for a scrub in a local hamam or sample some tasty Iranian cuisine.

Day 78 Zein-o-din Caravanserai

Keep quiet at the Zoroastrian Tower of Silence before heading to the historical Zein-o-din Caravanserai.

Days 79-80 Shiraz

Explore the magnificent ruins of Persepolis en route to Shiraz. Spend free time in town visiting magnificent mosques and mausoleums or shopping in the fabulous Vakil Bazaar.

Days 81-83 Esfahan

With stately bridges, blue-tiled Islamic buildings and a gargantuan city square, Esfahan provides welcome splashes of lush colour after a few days in the dry countryside. Take in the splendour of this city by visiting ornate mosques and historic palaces.

Days 84-85 Tehran

Discover the capital of Iran, Tehran, a sprawling, fascinating and intoxicating place. Visit the impressive Golestan Palace or get lost in one of the Tehran's museums.

Days 86-87 Bush Camp

Camp in the wilds of this beautiful, mountainous region. Discover the unique rock formations in the enchanting Kandovan region.

Day 88 Dogubayazit

Nestled at the foot of Turkey's highest peak, Dogubayazit has a romantic palace-fortress that is fascinating to explore.

Days 89-90 Bush Camp

Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Explore the Enchanted Valley where cones of soft volcanic rock have been carved to create mystical churches and mysterious dwellings.

Days 91-92 Goreme

Discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities, fairy chimneys and caves. Perhaps also enjoy a traditional Turkish bath or sip tea with locals in the quaint cafes of this fascinating area of Turkey.

Day 93 Tuz Golu

Farewell the fairy chimneys of Goreme and travel to the beautiful salt lake, Tuz Golu.

Days 94-96 Istanbul

Visit Istanbul's Grand Bazaar to hunt for a bargain, admire the Blue Mosque or the imposing Aya Sofya. On the cobblestone streets of this fascinating city is where the Turkic and Persian Splendours adventure comes to an end.
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