Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar Overview

Travel to Mongolia and Uzbekistan, visit Turkey and travel from Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar on this epic journey along the Silk Road. See the Great Wall of China, Tehran and Beijing as you tour Iran and China.

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‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.

See Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan as you travel from Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar

Two massive continents, eight countries and one massive overland adventure - Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar really is the trip of a lifetime. Travel along pathways that were once trodden by some of history’s most influential rulers, from the ancient yet highly sophisticated Persians to Alexander the Great and the fearsome armies of Genghis Khan. Beginning in the spice-scented bazaars of Istanbul, this trip follows the legendary Silk Road through holy lands, remote mountain villages and cultured cities including lively Tehran, futuristic Ashgabat, sacred Samarkand and hedonistic Beijing, before crossing the mysterious Mongolian plains. Perfect for travellers wanting to get under the skin of Central Asia, this is the most extensive, off the beaten track, overland experience you will come across.

  • Climb deserted sections of the Great Wall of China
  • Cross the infamous Torugart Pass from Kyrgyzstan to China
  • Journey through the Gobi Desert in Mongolia
  • See the army of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  • Travel to Tehran and explore the hidden delights of Iran's capital
  • Visit Istanbul and tour the Blue Mosque
  • Visit Kyrgyzstan’s epic Song Kol Lake
  • Walk through Uzbekistan’s historic city of Bukhara

What's included in this trip

  • Start:

    Istanbul, Turkey
  • Finish:

    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Group size:

    Min 4 , Max 19
  • Ages:

    Min 18
  • Meals:

    All meals when camping
  • Accommodation:

    Bush camp (no facilities) (18 nts), Camping (with facilities) (17 nts), Cave house (1 nt), Guesthouse (4 nts), Homestay (2 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Hotel (59 nts), Yurt (11 nts)
  • Transport:

    Overland vehicle
  • Included activities:

    Ali Qapu Palace, Animal market, Ashgabat - Sunday Market, Beijing - Forbidden City, Bukhara - Guided walking tour, Chengde - Bisu Shanzhuang, Chengde - Puning Temple, Chinggis Khan Monument, Datong - Hanging Monastery, Datong - Yungang Grottoes, Entrance Jiayuguan fort, Esfahan walking tour, Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour, Great Wall, Entrance, Jinshanling section, Beijing, Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis, Guided walking tour, Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour, Ishak Pasha Palace, Jameh Mosque, Jeti-Oghuz - Hiking, Karakorum - Erdene Zuu Monastery, Karakorum - Old City ruins, Khiva - Guided city tour, Kochkor - Regional Museum, Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op, Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins, Lijiashan - Black Dragon Temple, Ogii Lake - Kultigen Monument, Ongii Monastery Ruins, Orkhon Valley - Tuvkhon Monastery, Samarkand - Guided city tour, Tehran walking tour, Turkish Museum, Visit Baga Gazryn Chuluu, Visit Bayan Zag, Visit to Lake Tuz, Visit to the Takhi (wild horse) reintroduction project, Visit to waterfalls, Visit to Yolin Am Ice Canyon, Wutai Shan - Taihui Temple Cluster, Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors guided tour, Yan'an - Revolution Museum & CCP Headquarters site

  • Notes:

    1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights. 2. Due to a British government travel warning, from September 2012 this itinerary will no longer be able to visit Iran. It will instead travel from Turkey to Georgia and then through Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. Passengers already booked to travel in 2012 have been notified. The new itinerary for 2013 will be published by November.

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

Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar Summary

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Days 50-51 Song-Kol Lake

Spend the night in a yurt near Song-Kol Lake and join in a game of ulak-tartysh.

Day 52 Bush Camp

Make tracks back to Bishkek, stopping to camp in the wilderness overnight.

Days 53-54 Bishkek

Take time out in Bishek. Why not stroll through the city's markets and haggle for bargains. Alternatively, relaxing in an Oak Park cafe is another good option!

Day 55 Kochkor

Make Kyrgyz friends on an authentic homestay experience in Kochkor.

Day 56 Bush Camp

Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan, past rugged mountains and wild terrain.

Day 57 Kashgar

The striking atmosphere of Kashgar provides a refreshing contrast to the past two days' travel. Soak up the exotic sights, sounds and smells of this unique destination.

Day 58 Karakol

Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting before spending the night in traditional yurts.

Days 59-61 Kashgar

Travel to the westernmost end of China and visit Kashgar, an exotic fusion of Chinese, Uzbek and Kyrgyz. Wander the streets that weave through the old town and discover the markets and bazaars of this diverse city.

Days 62-63 Bush Camp

Leave Kashgar and head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travelling into seemingly unchartered terrain, spend two days on an overland adventure.

Days 64-65 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 66-67 Turpan

Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan. Explore the famous Jiahe ruins, visit the night market or perhaps soak up the lively energy among locals in the town square.

Day 68 Bush Camp

Continue the Overland adventure towards the ancient Silk Road town of Dunhuang. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.

Days 69-70 Dunhuang

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

Days 71-72 Bush Camp/Great Wall

Drive to Jiayuguan and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.

Days 73-74 Liujiaxia

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

Days 75-76 Xiahe

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

Day 77 Lanzhou

Make tracks to Lanzhou and relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.

Day 78 Pingliang

Overland to lovely Pingliang, located at the base of the verdant Kongtong Mountain. If feeling energetic, climb through five lush terraces to the scared site of Mount Kongtong, passing temples and shrines along the way.

Days 79-81 Xi'an

Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xi'an.

Days 82-83 Yan'An

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.

Day 84 Lijiashan

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.

Days 85-86 Pingyao

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

Days 87-88 Wutai Shan

Head to the Five Terrace Mountains, a focus for transnational pilgramage for Chinese, Tibetans, Mongols and Manchus alike. Many magnificent artworks are on show and powerful temples are scattered throughout the wilderness.

Days 89-90 Datong

Marvel at the Hanging Monastery and explore the World Heritage-listed Yungang Grottoes.

Day 91 Jinshanling

Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

Days 92-93 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 Mongolian and Tibetan influences in local temples and monasteries.

Days 94-96 Beijing

End the tour by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.

Day 97 Erlian

Traverse overland through China's north-west on the long journey to the border town of Erlian.

Day 98 Sainshand

Cross over into Mongolia and continue the journey over the tundra to Sainshand.

Day 99 Choir

Visit the friendly Dechinchoinkhorlin Monastery, if time permits, on the long the journey towards Ulaanbaatar. Spend the night camping under Mongolian stars near Choir.
    • 120
    • EDOMC
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      USD $3,480
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    • Overland
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‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.