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.

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Countries
Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan,
Turkey,
Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan,
Iran
Themes
Overland
Code
EDOKC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 19
Carbon offset
2 337kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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

Itinerary

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.
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.
Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Camp under skies that have been gazed at for centuries by fellow travellers.
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.
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.
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. Continue 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.
Continue the Overland journey through the Karakum Desert, and take in the parched landscape of Asia's hottest desert.
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 Kyzylkhum 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.
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.
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 4000 m 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.
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!
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (10 nights), Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (29 nights), Yurt (3 nights)
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

Dates

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Important 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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes