Itinerary

Day 1 Istanbul

Be intrigued by eastern and western influences while exploring the cultures and traditions of the only city in the world that straddles two continents - Istanbul. Perhaps arrive early to delve into history of 2000-year-old this Turkish metropolis, and visit the cobbled Hippodrome, once the site of ancient chariot races, and the exquisite Blue Mosque, Istanbul's most recognisable landmark.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Day 2 Bush Camp

Enjoy a morning to explore more of Istanbul, before heading east in the early afternoon bound for Toz Golu. Set up camp and spend a glorious evening sleeping under the stars.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 3-4 Goreme

Make tracks to Goreme, located in the heart of Cappadocia. Marvel at the profusion of fairy chimneys, castles, columns and cones - soft volcanic rock that has eroded over time to form fantastical shapes. Visit cave churches and rock dwellings, and be enchanted on a guided tour of the magical valleys of Cappadocia.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 2

Day 5 Bush Camp

ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 6 Sumela

After a morning on the road, stretch the legs in Sumela. Visit stunning Sumela Monastery, which clings spectacularly to a sheer cliff-face and is surrounded by evergreen forests, and admire the colourful 18th-century frescoes that adorn the walls and ceilings.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 1

Day 7 Batumi

Cross the border into Georgia and continue to the port town of Batumi. Wedged between the sea and green mist-enshrouded hills, Batumi's location on the Black Sea Coast gives it a resort-town atmosphere. Relax in this idyllic semitropical setting - grab an outdoor table at one of the many cafes and sip Turkish coffee while watching the ships come into port.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 8 Kutaisi

Travel to the historic town of Kutaisi, one of the cradles of Georgian civilisation. Explore medieval Bagrati Cathedral, situated on a high hill overlooking the town, before visiting the Gelati Monastery. Decorated with mosaics, wall paintings and intricate metal work, the monastery was once the academic, scientific and educational centre of ancient Georgia.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 9 Gori

Wander through the famous birthplace of Joseph Stalin - Gori. Learn about Stalinism on a guided tour of the Stalin Museum. View photographs, documents, furniture and gifts that together tell the story of the dictator's past.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 10 Kazbegi

Visit Kazbegi and relax amongst the hospitality of Georgian hosts at a traditional homestay. Rise early for a jaunt on foot through the countryside to visit the Tsminda Sameba Church.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Days 11-12 Tbilisi

Travel to Tbilisi, the jewel in Georgia’s architectural crown. Enjoy a guided walk through the Old Town or spend free time wandering through the Byzantine fortresses and cathedrals.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 13-14 Telavi

Admire the picturesque Alazani Valley en route to Telavi, the centre of Georgia’s wine-growing region Kakheti. With each village producing a different variety of grape, there are wines to suit all tastes. Visit local wineries and witness time-old traditions such as grape harvest, wine-making and the keipi – a banquet feast held in the spring.

Day 15 Lagodekhi

Camp overnight in Lagodekhi, huddled at the base of the breathtaking Greater Caucasus Mountains.

Day 16 Sheki

Cross the border into Azerbaijan and travel to Sheki. Behold the richly decorated Khan's Palace and wander through the Museum of History, located in an architectural masterpiece. Spend the night in a converted caravanserai.

Day 17 Gobustan

After a long drive to Gobustan, check out the incredible rock art and mud volcanoes scattered throughout this ancient region.

Days 18-20 Baku

Sail by ferry across the Caspian Sea and enjoy two days to explore the rapidly changing Azeri capital Baku. Both chaotic and cosmospolitan, the city brims with elegant tree-fringed streets, leafy parks, lovely teahouses, buzzing pubs and World Heritage-listed medieval architecture – all of which make it ideal for exploration on foot.

Day 21 Overnight Ferry

Board an overnight ferry and travel across the Caspian Sea again to reach Turkmenistan.

Day 22 Turkmenbashi

Disembark in Turkmenbashi, named after the infamous dictator Turkmenbashi who renamed the international airport and several streets, schools and hotels in his honour.

Day 23 Geok Tepe

Explore Turkmenbashi before driving to the remarkable Kow Ata – a crystal-clear underground lake with a natural water temperature of 36°C.

Days 24-25 Ashgabat

Discover Turkmenistan’s bizarre modern capital – a strange mix of futuristic and outlandish buildings. Experience an explosion of colour and noise at the famous Ashgabat Sunday markets where merchants sell everything from camels and pigs to cars and ex-Soviet military paraphernalia.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 26 Darvaza

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

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

Visit Tashkent’s thriving Chorsu Bazaar to pick up Soviet-style souvenirs and admire the ornately decorated Kukeldash Medressa.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 40 Kokand/Fergana City

Enter the Fergana Valley and see the palace of the former Khan of Kokand.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 41 Arslanbob

Make tracks across the Ferghana Valley into Kyrgyzstan.

Days 42-44 Kyrgyz Ferghana Valley

Take a leisurely three day journey through the stunning mountains and national parks of Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 3

Days 45-46 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 47 Kochkor

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

Days 48-49 Djety Oguz Valley

Admire the lofty sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

Day 50 Karakol

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

Days 51-52 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.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

Days 53-54 Bishkek

Why not stroll through Bishkek'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

Make Kyrgyz friends on an authentic homestay experience in Kochkor.

Day 56 Bush Camp

Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan, past rugged mountains and wild terrain.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 57 Kashgar

The striking atmosphere of Kashgar provides a refreshing contrast to the past two days' travel. Soak up the exotic sights, sounds and smells of this unique destination.

Day 58 Karakol

Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting before spending the night in traditional yurts.

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 - 3

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.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

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.
ACCOM: Yurt - 2

Days 66-67 Turpan

Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan. Explore the famous Jiahe ruins, visit the night market or perhaps soak up the lively energy among locals in the town square.
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.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

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: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1, 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.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 2

Day 77 Lanzhou

Make tracks to Lanzhou and relax beside the rushing waters of the Yellow River.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 78 Pingliang

Overland to lovely Pingliang, located at the base of the verdant Kongtong Mountain. If feeling energetic, climb through five lush terraces to the scared site of Mount Kongtong, passing temples and shrines along the way.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 79-80 Xi'an

Admire the 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors at the end of this journey from Kashgar to Xi'an.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1