Discover the remarkable landscapes and enigmatic history of China and Kyrgyzstan.

Traverse some of the world’s hottest deserts, highest mountains and wildest tribal lands while retracing the path of ancient traders, armies and explorers along the famed Silk Road. Discover the sublime landscapes of Krygyzstan, ascend the breathtaking Tian Shan mountains, cross the Torugart Pass, and feel the heat of the Taklamakan Desert. Stay with local nomads, hike in spectacular wilderness and recall Silk Road splendour.

Start
Xi'an, China
Finish
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Countries
China,
Kyrgyzstan
Themes
Overland
Code
CDVUC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 21
Carbon offset
1 107kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Explore the temple and pagoda studded Kongtong Mountain
  • Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  • Admire the Buddhist art of the Mogao Caves
  • Cross the infamous Torugart Pass from Kyrgyzstan to China
  • See the dramatic glaciers adorning the Ala Archa Canyon
  • Admire quaint Karakol
  • Meet local shepherds on a yurt stay

Itinerary

Begin this journey from Xi'an to Kashgar by visiting a 2,000-year-old army of Terracotta Warriors, built to protect an emperor.
Overland through the province of Gansu to Pingliang, which sits at the edge of the beautiful Kongtong Mountain. Peruse the wonderful shops or climb the mountain for rewarding views.
Travel down the fertile Gansu Corridor, a rugged stretch of the famed Silk Route.
Travel to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiahe, often described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China.
At the crossroads of Qinghai and Gangsu, arrive at Liujiaxia. Visit the Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes to see intricate cliff-side carvings.
Continue the journey west towards Jiayuguan, where we set up camp en route.
Arrive in Jiayuguan after a full day of driving, and discover deserted sections of the Great Wall.
Arrive in Dunhuang and relax in this Gansu oasis trading town. Visit the nearby Mogao Caves and discover their breathtaking Buddhist art.
Continue the overland adventure towards the ancient oasis town of Turpan. Spend the night wild camping beneath the desert stars.
Escape the desert sands in the laidback town of Turpan.
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.
Head to the outskirts of the enormous Taklamakan Desert. Travel into seemingly unchartered terrain and begin two days on an overland adventure.
Arrive in Kashgar, an exotic fusion of Chinese, Uzbek and Kyrgyz cultures. Wander the streets that weave through the old town and discover the markets and bazaars of this diverse city before saying goodbye to this incredible part of the world.
Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting.
Hike the lakeside mountains to wear yourself out before the drive back to Kashgar. Take time out in comfort this evening to relax and recuperate.
Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan.
Spend some time getting to know the locals of Kochkor with a traditional Kyrgyz homestay and experience a glimpse of daily life.
Driving into the capital city, explore the crowded bazaars and vast bustling squares of this modern city.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (7 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (14 nights), Yurt (2 nights)

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. Combination trip. Please see Trip Notes (Important Notes) for more details.
3. Local Partner: Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.

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