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

Trip Map

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.

  • Admire quaint Karakol
  • Climb deserted sections of the Great Wall of China
  • Cross the infamous Torugart Pass from Kyrgyzstan to China
  • Explore the temple and pagoda studded Kongtong Mountain
  • Search out delicate silks in Yazd
  • Uncover hidden delights in Iran's capital, Tehran
  • Visit Mongolia’s renowned national parks
  • Wander through Beijing’s’ Forbidden City

What's included in this trip

  • Start:

    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Finish:

    Istanbul, Turkey
  • Group size:

    Min 4 , Max 21
  • Ages:

    Min 18
  • Meals:

    All meals when camping
  • Accommodation:

    Bush camp (no facilities) (21 nts), Camping (with facilities) (13 nts), Cave house (1 nt), Guesthouse (4 nts), Homestay (2 nts), Hotel (65 nts), Yurt (11 nts)
  • Transport:

    Overland vehicle
  • Included activities:

    Aksu-Zhabagly National Park, Ashgabat - Sunday Market, Beijing - Forbidden City, Bukhara - Guided city tour, Chengde - Bisu Shanzhuang, Chengde - Puning Temple, Chinggis Khan Monument, Datong - Hanging Monastery, Dunhuang - Mogao Caves, Entrance Jiayuguan fort, Esfahan walking tour, Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour, Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis, Jeti-Oghuz - Hiking, Jinshanling - Great Wall, Karakorum - Erdene Zuu Monastery, Karakorum - Old City ruins, Kashgar - Sunday & Animal Bazaars, Khiva - Guided city tour, Kochkor - Regional Museum, Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op, Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins, Lijiashan - Black Dragon Temple, Liujiaxia - Bingling Si Caves, Ogii Lake - Kultigen Monument, Ongii Monastery Ruins, Orkhon Valley - Tuvkhon Monastery, Pingliang - Kongtong Mountain, Samarkand - Guided city tour, Tehran walking tour, Turkish Museum, Turpan - Jiaohe riuns, 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 Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and then through Georgia to Turkey. 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

Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul Summary

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Days 1-2 Ulaanbaatar

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.

Day 3 Baga Gazryn Chuluu

Head into the Gobi Desert, Mongolia’s heartland and of the largest deserts in the world. Camp beneath the Baga Gazryn Chuluu rock formations.

Day 4 South Gobi

Continue south through the Gobi Desert, admiring the rocky expanses and camping under the stars.

Day 5 Yolin Am (Vulture Canyon)

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.

Day 6 Bayan Zag

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.

Days 7-8 Khongorin Els

Head for the spectacular Khongoryn Els, a breathtaking collection of sand dunes that can reach heights of up to 300 metres.

Day 9 South Gobi

Continue the Overland journey through the heart of the Gobi Desert.

Day 10 Arvaikheer/Bush camp

Arrive in Arvaikheer and visit the ancient ruins of the Ongii Monastery.

Days 11-12 The Orkhon Valley

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.

Days 13-14 Tsenkher Hot Springs

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.

Day 15 Karakorum

Visit Karakorum, Mongolia’s ancient capital. Wander the ruins of the old city and drop in on Mongolia’s first Buddhist monastery.

Day 16 Ugii Lake

Spot birdlife over the waters of Ugii Lake.

Day 17 Khustain National Park

Search for wild horses in the Khustain National Park and spend the night in a ger camp.

Days 18-19 Terelj National Park

Enjoy an action-packed stay in this alpine park. Take a scenic hike or get the blood pumping with a rafting trip.

Days 20-21 Ulaanbaatar

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.

Days 22-23 Choir/Sainshand

Say goodbye to Ulaanbaatar and make the long journey across Mongolia's diverse plains towards China. Spend nights camping under a blanket of stars.

Day 24 Erlian

Cross the border from Mongolia to China at Erlian.

Days 25-26 Beijing

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.

Days 27-28 Chengde

Sitting pretty in the mountains, Chengde is a breath of fresh air, especially the enchanting Mountain Resort which is a former royal summer residence.

Day 29 Jinshanling

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.

Days 30-31 Datong

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.

Days 32-33 Wutai Shan

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.

Days 34-35 Pingyao

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.

Day 36 Lijiashan

With cave dwellings adorning the hills around Lijiashan, this fascinating town is a definite highlight of any trip to China.

Days 37-38 Yan'an

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.

Days 39-42 Xi'an

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.

Day 43 Pingliang/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 44 Gansu Corridor, Lanzhou

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

Days 45-46 Xiahe

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

Day 47 Liujiaxia

At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
    • 120
    • CDONC
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $3,540
    • Contact us Discontinued trips tool tip
    • Overland
    • Basix
Contact us
‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.