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Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul Overview
Explore Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan as you travel from Beijing to Istanbul.
Travel along one of the world’s oldest trade routes - the Silk Road. Follow in the footsteps of armies, traders and explorers and traverse some of the world's hottest deserts, highest mountains and wildest tribal lands. Explore the ancient cities and cultures that became incredibly rich and powerful through the silk trade, stay with nomads, eat local delicacies, see modern Soviet history's indelible imprint, and walk along the Great Wall. Experience the invigorating mix of European and Asian cultures in Istanbul, visit the central Anatolian plain, journey into amazing Capadoccian Valleys, and uncover ancient civilisations in Iran, China and Mongolia. Immerse yourself in the ancient tales and culture of this wild and rugged land on the Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul adventure.
What's included in this trip
Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul SummaryAdd to Shortlist
Arrive in Mongolia’s bubbling capital, a great place to begin your overland adventure. Visit Ulaanbaatar’s many museums and learn about the most famous Mongolian - Genghis Khan.
Head into the Gobi Desert, Mongolia’s heartland and of the largest deserts in the world. Camp beneath the Baga Gazryn Chuluu rock formations.
Continue south through the Gobi Desert, admiring the rocky expanses and camping under the stars.
Visit Yolyn Am in the Great Gobi National Park. Take a nature walk to the glacier valley and try to spot some local wildlife before spending the night in a ger camp.
Bask in the orange glow of Bayan Zag, better known as the 'flaming cliffs'. This area gained international attention when a number of dinosaur eggs and fossils were found within the spectacular rock walls.
Head for the spectacular Khongoryn Els, a breathtaking collection of sand dunes that can reach heights of up to 300 metres.
Continue the Overland journey through the heart of the Gobi Desert.
Arrive in Arvaikheer and visit the ancient ruins of the Ongii Monastery.
Spend time in stunning Orkhon Valley and visit nearby waterfalls. Hike to the 17th-century Tuvkhon Monastery for a spectacular view of this verdant valley.
Cross the Khangai Nuruu mountains and be greeted by lush grasses and open valleys. Visit a nomadic family or bathe in the sensual hot springs.
Visit Karakorum, Mongolia’s ancient capital. Wander the ruins of the old city and drop in on Mongolia’s first Buddhist monastery.
Spot birdlife over the waters of Ugii Lake.
Search for wild horses in the Khustain National Park and spend the night in a ger camp.
Enjoy an action-packed stay in this alpine park. Take a scenic hike or get the blood pumping with a rafting trip.
Visit the Chinggis Khan Monument en route to colourful Ulaanbaatar. Spend a free day exploring the sights, temples, monasteries and museums, or sit back in a restaurant and let the electrifying atmosphere of Mongolia's capital capture you.
Say goodbye to Ulaanbaatar and make the long journey across Mongolia's diverse plains towards China. Spend nights camping under a blanket of stars.
Cross the border from Mongolia to China at Erlian.
Beijing has a long and colourful history and this rapidly modernising city is an amazing whirl of ancient sites, modern buildings, bicycles, people, shops and eateries.
Sitting pretty in the mountains, Chengde is a breath of fresh air, especially the enchanting Mountain Resort which is a former royal summer residence.
Jinshanling is a mountainous area with an attractive section of the Great Wall, which zigzags up the steep terrain and straddles peaks like a suspension bridge.
Bordering Inner Mongolia, Datong is a coal rich city that founded in 200BC and is the gateway to the incredible Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery.
Wutai Shan is also called 'Five Plateau Mountain', and is home to the Bodhisattva of wisdom and harbours some of China's most sacred monasteries and temples.
Walking through the beautifully preserved streets of Pingyao is like stepping back into Imperial China with red lanterns lighting streets, imposing city walls and traditional buildings at every turn.
With cave dwellings adorning the hills around Lijiashan, this fascinating town is a definite highlight of any trip to China.
Yan'an was where Mao's Long March ended in 1935, and was the Communist Party's base until 1948 - it's also filled with cultural sites and nature to enjoy.
As the start of the ancient trading route the Silk Road and an imperial centre for 2,000 years, Xi'an has a fascinating history and rich cultural sites to discover.
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.
Travel down the fertile Gansu Corridor, a rugged stretch of the famed Silk Route.
Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.
At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
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