Bishkek to Istanbul Itinerary

Travel to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on a epic adventure along the Silk Road.

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Blue tile roofed traditional architecture, Uzbekistan

Day 1 Bishkek

Soak up the relaxed charm of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital. Wander through its wide streets and admire its wealth of handsome houses.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 2-3 Chong Kemin Valley

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

Day 4 Karakol

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

Days 5-6 Djety Oguz Valley

Hike through dramatic canyons and sandstone cliffs in Djety Oguz Valley.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 2

Day 7 Kochkor

Enjoy more traditional Kyrgyz hospitality on a homestay in Kochkor village.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Days 8-9 Song Kul Lake

Stay in traditional yurt accommodation and experience nomad life in the lush pastures surrounding the beautiful Song-Kol Lake.
ACCOM: Yurt - 2

Days 10-12 Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

Spend a leisurely three days journeying through the stunning mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 3

Day 13 Arslanbob

Make tracks across the Ferghana Valley to Arslanbob.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 1

Day 14 Kokand/Fergana City

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

Days 15-16 Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent, shop for fresh produce at the Chorsu Bazaar and perhaps grab some Soviet paraphernalia from a market.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 17-19 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

Day 20 Yurt Stay

Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
ACCOM: Yurt - 1

Days 21-23 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 combine to create an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 24-25 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

Day 26 Kunye Urgench

Follow a local trading route through harsh desert sands, and meet the nomadic people who call this inhospitable region home.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 27 Darwasa

Drive across the Karakum Desert. If time allows, see the amazing Darvaza Gas Crater.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 28-30 Ashgabat

Marvel at the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat's skyline. Spy the world's largest hand-woven rug or learn about the city's traumatic history at the Earthquake Museum.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 31 Geok Tepe

Travel to the spectacular Kow Ata underground lake. Take a walk around - and perhaps dip a foot into - the incongruously warm waters before continuing on and making camp for the night.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 32 Turkmenbashi

ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 33 Overnight Ferry

Continue the adventure by boarding an overnight freight ferry and travelling across the Caspian sea toward Azerbaijan. Rusty, rugged but full of memorable moments, this intrepid experience is grassroots adventuring at it's finest
ACCOM: Overnight ferry - 1

Days 34-36 Baku

Explore Azerbaijan's rapidly evolving capital. Stroll the Old Town for a hint of the regions medieval past, check out the cosmopolitan cafe culture and be romanced by the leafy parks on the seaside promenade.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 37 Gobustan

Drop by the geologically themed town of Gobustan, known for it's rock art and mud volcanoes.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Day 38 Sheki

Continue to the cobblestone streets and forested hills of Sheki. Explore the exquisite Khan's Palace and the Museum of History for a solid dose of Silk Rd heritage.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 39 Bush Camp

Cross the border into Georgia and get acquainted by the lush surrounds of the Alazani valley.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 40-41 Telavi

Enter into Georgia's famed wine country and spend two days exploring the vineyard clad town of Talavi. Sample unique local drops, and keep an eye out for local traditions such as grape harvests and the keipi (banquet). Then, work off all that wine-tasting by taking a walk to the sixth century Shaumta Monastery, which is beautifully located on an isolated forest hilltop.
ACCOM: Homestay - 2

Days 42-43 Tbilisi

Tsbilisi is one of Europe's most regal, yet largely under appreciated cities. Spend free time perusing the fine architecture, and perhaps climb to the top of Narikala Fortress for a view over the surrounding hills.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 44 Kazbegi

ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 45 Gori

Another day, another glorious set of hillside scenery.With a name meaning 'hill', Gori was the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. History buffs will revel in a chance to visit to the Stalin museum, which houses artefacts that provide an insight into his early life.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 46 Kutaisi

Get a dose of Georgian history in Kutasi - one of the oldest cities in the world. Enjoy a guided walk around the ruins of Bragrati Cathedral before getting an unique insight into Georgian life by spending the night at the home of a local family.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 47 Batumi

Swap the hills for the Black Sea coast and explore the picturesque port town of Batumi. Perhaps settle in at a riverside cafe and sip a Turkish Coffee while watching the ships go by.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 48 Sumela

Cross the border to Turkey and climb into the incredible Sumela Monastry. Nestled high in the cliffs above the evergreen forests and rushing streams of Altindere National Park, this peaceful sanctuary is the perfect place to take some time out and breathe the fresh air of the Turkish countryside.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 1

Day 49 Bush Camp

Continue to Zara and watch the changing landscapes of rural Turkey pass by.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 50-51 Goreme

Admire the otherworldly cone formations of Goreme, a truly unique location in the heart of Cappadocia. Perhaps enjoy a guided tour of the network of honeycombed caves that have formed an underground city, complete with churches and dwellings, or take to the skies on a hot air balloon to see this dramatic landscape from above.
ACCOM: Camping (with facilities) - 2

Day 52 Bush Camp

Head west toward Istanbul, stopping to make camp for the night in the Turkish countryside.
ACCOM: Bush camp (no facilities) - 1

Days 53-54 Istanbul

Arrive in Istanbul, a city that has for centuries been the crossroads of the East and West. Take in the aromatic smells of the thousands of bazaars that line the streets, browse stunning islamic architecture and see why Istanbul is one of the world's most exotic, invigorating cities.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1