Istanbul to Beijing Itinerary

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    • KDOZC
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      USD $2,840
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      CNY 80 Cycling on City Wall
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Days 1-2 Istanbul

Welcome to incredible Istanbul! Have your fortune told in the Taksim, bargain up a storm in the Grand Bazaar or admire the imposing Blue Mosque in this fascinating city.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2

Day 3 Tuz Golu/Bush Camp

Visit Turkey's salt lake, Tuz Golo, which provides 63% of Turkey's salt. Bush camp in the evening.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 4-5 Goreme

Discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities, fairy chimneys and caves. Perhaps also enjoy a traditional Turkish bath or sip tea with locals in the quaint cafes of this fascinating area of Turkey.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 2

Days 6-7 Bush Camp

Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Camp under skies that have been gazed at for centuries by fellow travellers.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

Day 8 Dogubeyazit

Visit Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubayazit on the Iranian Border. The town of Dogubayazit is at the foot of Mount Ararat, reportedly where Noah's Ark came to rest after The Flood.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 9 Kandovan

Enjoy the first night in Iran at Kandovan, an ancient village of caves built into the volcanic rock - and where locals still live.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 10 Zanjan

Explore Zanjan's delightful bazaar and check out the beautiful handicrafts on sale here - perhaps answer the question: does a handcrafted rug fit in a backpack?
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 11-12 Tehran

Travel to Tehran and be awed by this vibrant city where ancient meets modern. There is plenty of time here to explore the incredible Golestan Palace, the city's many fascinating museums and galleries, and to relax and chat with locals while watching this interesting part of the world go by.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 13-15 Esfahan

Spend three days in this breathtaking city and take time trawling the souqs, bazaars, beautiful squares and blue tiled Mosques of Esfahan.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 16-17 Persepolis/Shiraz

Explore the ancient ruins of Persepolis, Persia, and visit the stunning Islamic Shiraz - discovering its impressive citadel and mosques.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 18 Zein-o-din Caravanserai

Feel transported back in time while staying in a traditional caravanserai in the Dasht-e Lut desert.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 1

Days 19-20 Yazd

Wind through the old city of Yazd - reputedly one of the oldest towns in the world. Sign up for a scrub in a local hamam or sample some tasty Iranian cuisine.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 21 Dasht-e Kavir Desert/Khoor

Travel through the Dasht-e Kavir Desert, which lies in the middle of the Iranian plateau, to the tranquil oasis of Khoor.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 22 Damghan

Explore Iran's oldest surviving mosque - dating back to the 1st century - in Damghan.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 23 Shirvan

Relax by Shirvan's Atrak River, which gives this small town a lush and peaceful feel.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 24-25 Ashgabat

Say goodbye to Iran and travel into Turkmenistan. Conclude the adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 26 Darwasa

Sleep under the stars in the Karakum Desert. See the spectacular fires of the Darvaza Gas Crater.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 27 Bush Camp

ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 28-29 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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 30-32 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 help create the awe-inspiring atmosphere.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 33 Nurata

Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
ACCOM: Yurt - 1

Days 34-36 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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 37-39 Tashkent

End your Samarkand and Tamerlane’s Testament adventure in the most modern of Uzbekistan’s cities. Visit Tashkent’s thriving Chorsu Bazaar to pick up Soviet-style souvenirs and admire the ornately decorated Kukeldash Medressa.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 40-41 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. Kazakhstan's oldest national park is a scenic wonderland full of mountain lakes, rivers and glaciers, plus all sorts of unusual flora and fauna.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 1, Homestay - 1

Day 42 Bishkek

Soak up the relaxed charm of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital. Wander through its wide streets and admire its wealth of handsome houses.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 43-44 Chong Kemin National Park

Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River - or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000m passes.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

Day 45 Cholpon Ata

Head to Cholpon Ata, nestled on the shores of the vast and beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 1

Day 46 Karakol

Discover the remote, picturesque town of Karakol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 47-48 Djety Oguz Valley

Admire the lofty sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 2

Day 49 Kochkor

Mingle with friendly locals and relish Kyrgyz hospitality while enjoying a homestay in Kochkor.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Days 50-51 Song-Kol Lake

Spend the night in a yurt near Song-Kol Lake and join in a game of ulak-tartysh.
ACCOM: Yurt - 2

Day 52 Bush Camp

Make tracks back to Bishkek, stopping to camp in the wilderness overnight.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 53-54 Bishkek

Relax on the final days in Bishek. Why not stroll through the city's markets and haggle for bargains. Alternatively, relaxing in an Oak Park cafe and reflecting on the adventure is another good option!
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 55 Kochkor

Day 56 Bush Camp

ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 57 Kashgar

Day 58 Karakol

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 71-72 Bush Camp/Great Wall

Drive to Jiayuguan and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 2

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

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

Relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.

Day 78 Pingliang

Camp beneath the stars.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 79-81 Xi'an

Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xian.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 82-83 Gansu Province/Mount Kongtong

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 84 Shapotou

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. And if the stars align, embark on an overnight camel safari on the fringes of the stunning Tengger Desert.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 85 Yinchuan

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 86-87 Hohhot

Travel to the cultural centre of Hohhot, the gateway to Inner Mongolia. This busy ancient city gives off a laidback vibe making it the perfect place to reload before embarking on a Mongolian homestay. Yak butter tea, anyone?
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Yurt - 1

Days 88-89 Datong

Marvel at the Hanging Monastery, delicately perched on a steep cliff face in Golden Dragon Gorge, and explore the World Heritage listed Yungang Grottoes, home to a staggering collection of over 50,000 statues and fascinating ancient rock art.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 90-91 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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 92 Huairou

Take a walk along the monumental Great Wall as it snakes its way through rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Imagine the exhaustive effort of farmers and labourers who toiled for many generations to construct the Wall.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 93 Qing Dongling

Perhaps go on a short trek along a stunning section of the Great Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 94-96 Beijing

Journey into the valley of the Changrui Mountains, where emperors and their concubines lay entombed at Qing Dongling. End the tour by joining the buzzing hive that is Beijing - a place where discovery and intrigue lie around every corner. Visit the Forbidden City to admire imperial architecture or the sprawling Summer Palace on the banks of Kunming Lake.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2