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Istanbul to Beijing
See Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan as you travel from Istanbul to Beijing
Get ready for a massive overland adventure from bustling Istanbul to Beijing’s metropolitan core. Travel through some of Asia’s most remote, wild and unique wildernesses along the legendary Silk Road into China. See Istanbul’s famous blue mosque, cross Iran’s remote desert landscapes as you travel to Tehran, pass through Uzbekistan’s soaring mountain vistas, tour Xi’an’s famous Terracotta Warriors and arrive at secluded sections of the snaking Great Wall of China. From Turkey to Turkmenistan and beyond, this adventure encompasses the very best of Central Asia and the Middle East. If you're longing for an epic overland odyssey away from the tourist crowds, Beijing to Istanbul is just for you.
What's included in this trip
Istanbul to Beijing SummaryAdd to Shortlist
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.
Visit Turkey's salt lake, Tuz Golo, which provides 63% of Turkey's salt. Bush camp in the evening.
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.
Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Camp under skies that have been gazed at for centuries by fellow travellers.
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.
Enjoy the first night in Iran at Kandovan, an ancient village of caves built into the volcanic rock - and where locals still live.
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?
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.
Spend three days in this breathtaking city and take time trawling the souqs, bazaars, beautiful squares and blue tiled Mosques of Esfahan.
Explore the ancient ruins of Persepolis, Persia, and visit the stunning Islamic Shiraz - discovering its impressive citadel and mosques.
Feel transported back in time while staying in a traditional caravanserai in the Dasht-e Lut desert.
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.
Travel through the Dasht-e Kavir Desert, which lies in the middle of the Iranian plateau, to the tranquil oasis of Khoor.
Explore Iran's oldest surviving mosque - dating back to the 1st century - in Damghan.
Relax by Shirvan's Atrak River, which gives this small town a lush and peaceful feel.
Say goodbye to Iran and travel into Turkmenistan. Conclude the adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat.
Sleep under the stars in the Karakum Desert. See the spectacular fires of the Darvaza Gas Crater.
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.
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.
Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
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.
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.
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.
Soak up the relaxed charm of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital. Wander through its wide streets and admire its wealth of handsome houses.
Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River - or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000m passes.
Head to Cholpon Ata, nestled on the shores of the vast and beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake.
Discover the remote, picturesque town of Karakol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
Admire the lofty sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
Mingle with friendly locals and relish Kyrgyz hospitality while enjoying a homestay in Kochkor.
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