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.

  • Be mystified by the ancient Persian relics of Persepolis
  • Explore the historic town of Bukhara
  • Explore the sprawling Palace of Ishak Pasa
  • Meet local shepherds on a yurt stay
  • Search out delicate silks in Yazd
  • See the Army of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  • Spend time with nomad tribes
  • Visit Mongolia’s renowned national parks

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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Day 48 Bingling Si/Zhangye Bush Camp

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

Day 49 Jiayuguan/Great Wall

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

Days 50-51 Dunhuang

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

Day 52 Bush Camp

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

Days 53-54 Turpan

Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.

Days 55-56 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 57-58 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 59-61 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.

Day 62 Karakol

Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting.

Day 63 Kashgar

Hike the lakeside mountains or ride the perimeter of the lake on horseback to wear yourself out before the drive back to Kashgar. Take time out in comfort this evening to relax and recuperate.

Day 64 Bush Camp

Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan.

Day 65 Kochkor

Spend some time getting to know the locals of Kochkor with a traditional Kyrgyz homestay and experience a glimpse of daily life.

Days 66-67 Bishkek

Driving into the capital city, explore the crowded bazaars and vast bustling squares of this modern city.

Days 68-69 Chong Kemin Valley

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

Day 70 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 71 Karakol

Enjoy the remote, picturesque town of Kara-kol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.

Days 72-73 Djety Oguz Valley

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

Day 74 Kochkor

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

Days 75-76 Song Kul Lake

Stay in traditional yurt accommodation and experience nomad life in the lush pastures surrounding the beautiful Song-Kol Lake.

Day 77 Bush Camp

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

Day 78 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 79-80 Zhabagly-Aksu National Park

Make tracks into Kazakhstan and enjoy a night with a local family in Zhabagly, before exploring the grasslands of Asku National Park.

Days 81-82 Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent. Shop for fresh produce at the Chorsu Bazaar and perhaps grab some Soviet paraphernalia from a market.

Days 83-85 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 86 Yurt Stay

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

Days 87-89 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 90-91 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 92 Kunye Urgench

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

Day 93 Darwasa

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

Days 94-96 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.
    • 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.