Istanbul to Bishkek Overview

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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.

See Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan as you travel from Turkey to Kyrgyzstan.

Get off the beaten track and explore the ancient cultures and modern cities of the Central Asia and the Middle East. Beginning with the bustling bazaars of Istanbul, this Overland quest follows the ancient silk road across desert landscapes, mountain kingdoms and remote valleys. See the Persian splendour of Persepolis, navigate Uzbekistan’s mountain passes and explore futuristic Ashgabat - this remote part of the world is brimming with surprises. From Turkey to Turkmenistan and beyond, this adventure will challenge perceptions and broaden horizons.

  • Visit Istanbul and tour the Blue Mosque
  • Explore the sprawling Ishak Pasa Palace
  • Travel to Tehran and explore hidden delights in Iran's capital
  • Discover the romance of the Silk Road in Samarkand
  • Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva
  • Walk through Uzbekistan’s historic city of Bukhara
  • Visit Kyrgyzstan’s epic Song-Kol Lake

What's included in this trip

  • Start:

    Istanbul, Turkey
  • Finish:

    Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Group size:

    Min 4 , Max 19
  • Ages:

    Min 18
  • Meals:

    All meals when camping
  • Accommodation:

    Bush camp (no facilities) (10 nts), Camping (with facilities) (5 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts), Homestay (2 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Hotel (29 nts), Yurt (3 nts)
  • Transport:

    Overland vehicle
  • Included activities:

    Ali Qapu Palace, Animal market, Ashgabat - Sunday Market, Bukhara - Guided walking tour, Esfahan walking tour, Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour, Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis, Guided walking tour, Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour, Ishak Pasha Palace, Jameh Mosque, Jeti-Oghuz - Hiking, Khiva - Guided city tour, Kochkor - Regional Museum, Kochkor - Women's Felt Co-op, Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins, Samarkand - Guided city tour, Tehran walking tour, Visit to Lake Tuz

  • Carbon emissions offset:

    2337kg pp per trip
  • 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 Turkey to Georgia and then through Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. 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 Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Turkey , Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan , Iran

Istanbul to Bishkek Summary

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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.

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.

Days 4-5 Goreme

Discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities, fairy chimneys and caves.

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.

Day 8 Dogubeyazit

The town of Dogubayazit is at the foot of Mount Ararat, reportedly where Noah's Ark came to rest after The Flood.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Days 16-17 Persepolis/Shiraz

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

Day 18 Zein-o-din Caravanserai

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

Days 19-20 Yazd

Wind through the old city of Yazd - reputedly one of the oldest towns in the world.

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.

Day 22 Damghan

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

Day 23 Shirvan

Relax by Shirvan's Atrak River, which gives this small town a lush and peaceful feel.

Days 24-25 Ashgabat

Say goodbye to Iran and travel into Turkmenistan. Continue the adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat.

Day 26 Darvaza

Sleep under the stars in the Karakum Desert. See the spectacular fires of the Darvaza Gas Crater.

Day 27 Bush Camp

Continue the Overland journey through the Karakum Desert, and take in the parched landscape of Asia's hottest desert.

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.

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.

Day 33 Nurata

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

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.

Days 37-39 Tashkent

Continue to 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.

Days 40-41 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. Kazakhstan's oldest national park is a scenic wonderland full of mountain lakes, rivers and glaciers, plus all sorts of unusual flora and fauna.

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.

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 4000 m passes.

Day 45 Cholpon Ata/Issyk-kul Lake

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

Day 46 Karakol

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

Days 47-48 Djety Oguz Valley

Admire the lofty sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.

Day 49 Kochkor

Mingle with friendly locals and relish Kyrgyz hospitality while enjoying a homestay in Kochkor.
    • 54
    • EDOKC
    • 4.50 out of 5
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $1,740
    • 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.