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Istanbul to Beijing Overview
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
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Spend the night in a yurt near Song-Kol Lake and join in a game of ulak-tartysh.
Make tracks back to Bishkek, stopping to camp in the wilderness overnight.
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!
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.
Leave Kashgar and head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travelling into seemingly unchartered terrain, spend two days on an overland adventure.
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.
Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.
Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient Silk Road town of Dunhuang. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.
Arrive in Dunhuang and relax in this Gansu oasis trading town. Visit the nearby Mogao Caves and discover their breathtaking Buddhist art.
Drive to Jiayuguan and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.
At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.
Relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.
Camp beneath the stars.
Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xian.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps go on a short trek along a stunning section of the Great Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai.
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.
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