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Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul Overview
- 2013-01-01 - 2013-12-31
Explore Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as you travel from Ulaanbaatar 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 Georgia, China and Mongolia. Immerse yourself in the ancient tales and culture of this wild and rugged land on the Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul adventure.
Ulaanbaatar to Istanbul SummaryAdd to Shortlist
Formerly known as Ganzhou, Zhangye was an important stop along the Silk Road and is close to the intriguing multi-coloured Danxia landforms.
Home to a 14th-century fort and a well-preserved part of the Great Wall, Jiayuguan is a legendary part of the Silk Road marking the line between China and barbarity.
Once an important stop on the Silk Road and a city of incredible historical and cultural riches, Dunhuang is a spectacular desert oasis.
Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient oasis town of Turpan. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.
Once an important staging post on the Silk Road, Turpan is an attractive town famous for its vineyards, stone fruits, melons and the nearby Flaming Mountains.
With the bluest of blue waters, tiered mountains of green and white, and soft, billowy clouds moving across the sky, no wonder this is called Heavenly Lake.
The Taklamakan Desert covers an immense area of northwest China and while a treacherous part of the Silk Road journey, stunning sunsets and sunrises have long enthralled travellers.
Traditionally an important trading city along the Silk Road, Kashgar is still at the crossroads of trade due to its location in the heart of Central Asia.
Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting.
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.
Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan.
Spend some time getting to know the locals of Kochkor with a traditional Kyrgyz homestay and experience a glimpse of daily life.
Driving into the capital city, explore the crowded bazaars and vast bustling squares of this modern city.
Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River. Or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000 m passes.
Enjoy the remote, picturesque town of Kara-kol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
Hike through dramatic canyons and sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
Enjoy more traditional Kyrgyz hospitality on a homestay in Kochkor village.
Stay in traditional yurt accommodation and experience nomad life in the lush pastures surrounding the beautiful Song-Kol Lake.
Spend a leisurely three days journeying through the stunning mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley.
Make tracks across the Ferghana Valley to Arslanbob.
Enter Uzbekistan and see the palace of the former Khan of Kokand.
Shop for fresh produce at Tashkent's Chorsu Bazaar and perhaps grab some Soviet paraphernalia from a market.
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.
Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
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.
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.
Follow a local trading route through harsh desert sands, and meet the nomadic people who call this inhospitable region home.
Drive across the Karakum Desert. If time allows, see the amazing Darvaza Gas Crater.
Marvel at 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.
Travel to the spectacular Kow Ata underground lake. Take a walk around - and perhaps dip a foot into - the incongruously warm waters before continuing on and making camp for the night.
What's included in this trip