Exploratory Trip Warning - this is a new trip for us!
Please note that all or part of this trip is a brand new itinerary, and could be going through completely new areas for Dragoman. This is what we call a New or Exploratory trip, and it means that all the passengers on these trips for the first season are the route's pioneers! However, while we have thoroughly researched all aspects of this new route and put the itinerary together with the best of intentions, please note that your crew will be finding a lot of information out for us on the ground, will be playing a lot of things by ear, and may alter the itinerary slightly in places where it becomes necessary. Most trips will have slight or significant changes made to them after this first season, and frankly we would be very surprised if an Exploratory trip was to run perfectly to the published itinerary. Usually we find that this is rarely a problem but rather an exciting feature, that there are much more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, and these Exploratory trips are a fantastic opportunity to shape the trip as a group. However, the warning is sincere and these trips must be viewed as Exploratory - if this concerns you or you would rather stick to a tried-and-tested itinerary, then we recommend that you wait a year or two until we have this itinerary perfected following operating it many times, or of course to consider one of the more established trips in our extensive portfolio.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Finish
Tehran, Iran
Countries
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
KDOTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 21

Why we love this trip

  • Travel beyond the headlines and discover a world of culture, fascinating Persian ruins and famously welcoming local people.

  • Uzbekistan is covered mostly by the arid Kyzyl Kumdesert in the central regions and by striking mountain ranges in the north. The music in Uzbekistan is similar to Persian classical music, and makes use of lutes, drums and jingles to create poetic love songs. This

  • soundtrack adds to the endless reasons as to why Uzbekistan is an awe-inspiring country to visit.

  • Tehran boasts art galleries and restaurants galore - perfect for trying Iranian specialities such as the national dish, Ghormeh Sabzi, made with curried vegetables and served with Tadik (crunchy rice).

  • Turkmenistan has some of the remotest scenery on Earth. Most of the country is covered by the inhospitable Karakum Desert. The indigenous people are the Turkmen who mainly live outside the urban centres, many of whom still live a nomadic or semi-nomadic way

  • of life. The rural Turkmen are a hospitable people whose culture and way of life has altered little in hundreds of years.

  • One unusual attraction is the famous Darvasa Gas Crater, lying deep in the deserts of Turkmenistan. Initially the result of an industrial accident by Soviet gas prospectors, it is a huge burning crater that has been on fire for decades by being kept alight by the natural gas in the ground. It's a bewildering and mesmerising sight, especially after dark!

Is this trip right for you?

  • Dragoman was founded in 1981, and has had many years of experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose-built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up-close. Your journey will be overland, sometimes across vast distances, so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey, you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip, you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores, etc. Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out! We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our overland journeys, but before we do please make sure you have read these trip notes thoroughly to ensure this is the right trip for you.

Itinerary

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.* 

Hotel for the night: Grand Orzu Hotel
Grand Orzu Hotel
27 Makhmud Tarobi Street
Tashkent
Uzbekistan
Tel - +998 71 120 88 77 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit the delightful traditional farmer's market at the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent's Old Town : Free

See the grand 16th-century Kukeldash Madrassa and the city's principal Juma Mosque in the Old Town : Free

Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran : USD 5 

About Tashkent:
Whilst the historic cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva still retain much of the atmosphere of the ancient Khanates, Tashkent is very definitely a Soviet city, because old Tashkent was largely destroyed by a series of earthquakes and Soviet planners. Having said that, it is still a great place to visit - the city has a clean, modern feel and there is some unusal contemporary architecture here, which makes it an interesting contrast to many other places along the Silk Road.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Samarkand:
A city brimming with history, Samarkand became famous in the 14th Century CE as the birthplace of the warlord Timur and the capital of his Sultanate. Thanks to its cemtral location along the Silk Road, the town originally grew propserous as a crossroads between East and West, creating a melting pot of different cultures and traditions whose influences are still very much apparent today. Samarkand is perhaps the most romantic and evocative of the Silk Road cities, and is crowned by the decorative domes and minarets of the many beautiful buildings here. The must-sees include the iconic Registan Square (the central focus of the city and home to a group of impressively decorated madrassas), Guri Amir and the Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 3 to 4"

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, BibiKhanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

On our second day, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Explore the stunning green city of Shahrisabz, the centre of folk art in Uzbekistan and the birthplace of the medieval warlord Timur : USD 20 

Wander through the markets and carpet vendors of Samarkand, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the local carpet weavers : Free 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world : Included in Kitty

Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur : Included in Kitty

Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia : Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire : Included in Kitty

See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda : Included in Kitty



Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a swim in Lake Ajdar Kul and head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Spend the night in nomadic yurts out in the the Kyzylkum Desert : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Take a short camel ride around the sand dunes of the Kyzylkhum Desert : UZS 5000 

Accommodation
  • Yurt (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will drive to the beautiful city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights. Our drive will take us via the desert town of Nurata, which we will have a brief stop.

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

About Bukhara:
Bukhara is an atmospheric city with an incredible history and a wonderful heritage - exploring the streets, you really get the feeling that this is how Central Asia was before Soviet domination. Bukhara was once a very powerful Khanate, controlling most of Turkmenistan and the surrounding area. Many of the buildings here are spectacular and very well-preserved, particularly the Ark Fortress, Ismail Samanid Mausoleum and the famous Kalyan Minaret (also known as the Death Tower). The government has invested a considerable amount of money into the city in order to preserve the architecture here. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 7 to 8 "

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress. 

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty : Included in Kitty

Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark : Included in Kitty

Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared : Included in Kitty

Visit the magnificent 16th-century architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

See the Indian-style Char Minar Minarets, four towers nestled in a maze of alleyways in downtown Bukhara : Free

Visit the gruesome museum at the old prison of Zindon : UZS 4500 

Watch an entertaining evening puppet show, featuring many local Uzbek and Tajik poems and songs : USD 5 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 9 to 10 "

Today we have a full day drive to the incredible historic town of Khiva.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

On the next day, we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.

In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva : Included in Kitty

Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873 : Included in Kitty 

Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva : Included in Kitty

Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument : Included in Kitty

Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark : Included in Kitty

Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva : Included in Kitty

About Khiva:
The small historic town of Khiva in Uzbekistan was once the capital of the Khwarezmid Empire, one of Central Asia's most powerful states in the 12th Century CE until they were invaded by Genghis Khan in 1220 CE. Khiva once again rose to prominence as the centre of the Khanate of Khia between 1500 CE and 1924, when the area was fully incorporated into the Soviet Union. The city's long history is fascinating, and fortunately much of the magnificent architecture has been incredibly well preserved. The ancient walls that used to provide sanctuary for the travellers on the Silk Road are intact, as is the old town that the walls were built to protect. Many of the buildings are beautifully decorated in classic turquoise tiles. As well as exploring the streets of the old city, you should make sure you visit the Kukhna Ark and Juma Mosque, Pakhlovan Mahmus Mausoleum and Islam Hodja Madrassa. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information: Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot.

This morning we will drive across the border into Turkmenistan, visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, and explore the Kunye Urgench ruins to wards the end of the day.

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Explore the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench, once one of the most splendid cities in Central Asia until it was ransacked by Timur and abandoned : Included in Kitty

About Kunye Urgench:
Kunye Urgench is one of Turkmenistan's most important historic sites, and was once a major city along the Silk Road. Situated on the shores of the Amu Daria River, the area has been settled since the 5th-Century BCE and came to prominence under the rule of the Persian Khwarezem Empire in the 11th Century CE. The city managed to flourish even after Genghis Khan's invasion of 1221, only being finally destroyed and abandoned after an attack by the warlord Timur in 1373. Timur did a very thorough job in demolishing the city, there are still plenty of old ruined buildings from the 11th-14th centuries dotted around, including a mosque, mausoleum and the towering 60-metre-high Kutlug-Timur minaret, the highest in Central Asia.  
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we continue south through the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvasa, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell' : Included in Kitty 

About Darvaza:
Darvaza is a tiny settlement in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan, which is the location of one of the world's more unusual highlights - the flaming Darvasa Gas Crater, sometimes dramatically called 'The Door to Hell'. The crater formed as a result of an industrial accident - Soviet oil prospectors started drilling in 1971 expecting to find oil, and when only gas was found underneath the ground collapsed to form the crater. Worried about the gas released into the air, they deliberately set the crater on fire to burn off the excess, expecting this to only last a few weeks - however the natural gas supply turned out to be much more plentiful, and it's been burning away ever since!

The crater is truly a breathtaking sight, especially at night - it's about the size of a football pitch and ablaze with fire, truly looking like the entrance to the underworld! 
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will complete our drive to the interesting capital of Ashgabat, usually arriving mid-afternoon.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours

About Ashgabat:
Ashgabat is a unique modern city that has been extensively rebuilt since the country gained independence in 1991. Little is left of the original Russian Imperial city as most of it was destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1948, and today the city centre is a bizarre mix of futuristic and outrageous public buildings that are an extraordinary sight - these include many ornate marble buildings and extravagant golden statues of the president. Ashgabat's Sunday Market is famous along the whole Silk Road - this wonderful market stretches for hundreds of acres into the desert. Carpets, camels, clothes, pigs, jewellery, goats, cars, chickens, hats and ex-Soviet military paraphernalia are readily available. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information:
if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using
local minibuses. In the afternoon we will visit the famous Ashgabat Sunday
Market.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan,
so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not
bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or
opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of
Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine,
please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Hotel for the night: Ak-Altyn Hotel
Ak Altyn Hotel
141/1
Magtymguly Avenue
Ashgabat
744000
Turkmenistan
Tel - +9931236 3700

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital
of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city Included in Kitty

Explore, shop and haggle at the vast Tolkuchka
Sunday Market Included in Kitty

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will arrange to obtain our Iran visas at the Iranian Consulate in
Ashgabat for all members of the group - please note that citizens of the UK,
USA and Canada will need to attend the Consulate in person along with your
trip leader so that they can take fingerprints as part of the application.
The rest of the day is free to further explore Ashgabat.

Activity Approximate Cost
Learn about the history and culture of
Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in
Ashgabat USD 10

Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on
the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the
mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first
president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the
Soviet Union Free

See a myriad of incredible and impressive hand-
woven carpets in the Ashgabat Carpet Museum
(if open) USD 10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information:
Exit Turkmenistan at Gaudan, enter Iran at Bajgiran.
Today we will pick up our passports from the Iranian Consulate and head
straight across the border to the small town of Shirvan.

In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here
are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and
does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings,
photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops,
etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road
conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is
essential on any overland trip!).

About Shirvan:
Shirvan is famed for its natural beautym tranquil gardens, small waterfalls and natural springs. Shirvan has a long history - Zoroastrian graves show that it was inhabited long before the Islamic conquest of the 7th Century CE.
Due to its proximity to Iran's northern borders, the town has Turic influences in its local dialect and customs
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Visit the partially-ruined Tarikhuneh
Mosque
which features 18 rear columns dating
from around 760CE, making this one of the
oldest mosques in Iran Included in Kitty

About Damghan:
Damghan was an important city in the Middle Ages, capital of the province of
Qumis. Today it is a sleepy, historic town. It's main attraction is the claim to
have what may be Iran's oldest surviving mosque - the Tarikhaneh Mosque that
was constructed in the 8th Century CE, only 100 years after the arrival of Islam
in Persia.

This morning we will take a walking tour of the ancient town of Damghan,
including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year
760CE.

Following our visit we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor,
where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats
to have dinner.

In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and
see its beautiful palm trees and ruined castle Included in Kitty

Visit the partially-ruined Tarikhuneh
Mosque
which features 18 rear columns dating
from around 760CE, making this one of the
oldest mosques in Iran
Included in Kitty
About Damghan:
Damghan was an important city in the Middle Ages, capital of the province of
Qumis. Today it is a sleepy, historic town. It's main attraction is the claim to
have what may be Iran's oldest surviving mosque - the Tarikhaneh Mosque that
was constructed in the 8th Century CE, only 100 years after the arrival of Islam
in Persia.
This morning we will take a walking tour of the ancient town
of Damghan,
including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year
760CE.
Following our visit we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor,
where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip
into the nearby salt flats
to have dinner.
In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be
able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and
see its beautiful palm trees and ruined castle Included in Kitty

About Khoor:
Khoor is an small village located in the central desert of Iran, (known as Dasht-
e-Kavir in Persian). Close by are the central mountain ranges of Iran,
whichcreate a stunning and isolated landscape. The town’s only water supply
comes from a spring that flows out of the foothills of the mountains quite close to the heart of the village. This is the only source of life for the beautiful gardens and date palm orchards that make this oasis such a special place.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will explore the town of Khoor before driving to the ancient desert
town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main
highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex. In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost
See the stunning ancient Jameh Mosque of Yazd,
built in the 12th century and a fantastic
example of Azari architecture Included in Kitty
Learn all about the intriguing and ingenious
historical methods of getting water to the
desert town of Yazd at the Yazd Water Museum Included in Kitty
Freely explore the huge city square and mosque
at the Amir Chakmaq complex, built in the 15th
century Included in Kitty
Discover the atmospheric
winding streets and
beautiful adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town,
one of the oldest towns in the world Included in Kitty
See the fascinating centuries-old
practice of
Varzesh-e Bastani at the Yazd House of
Strength, a curious blend of strength training,
martial arts and
wrestling, accompanied by
traditional
music IRR 10000

About Yazd:
Yazd is a tranquil and rustic old city, complete with streets paved in sun-baked
tiles, a unique little bazaar and lots of small shops selling interesting trinkets
and souvenirs. The town is the centre of Iran's oldest religion, Zoroastrianism. With the Islamic conquest of Iran in the 7th century CE, Zoroastrianism lost its position as the dominant religion and many remote shrines were abandoned and forgotten. The mountainous region around the city of Yazd became the last remaining stronghold of Zoroastrianism, and today it's one of the few places where these ancient traditions are still practiced.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the
Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence. After this we will take a short drive to
the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse
originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.

In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Stay overnight in the incredible restored
Safavid-era circular caravanserai in the remote
deserts south of Yazd Included in Kitty

See the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence outside
Yazd, used until the 1960s to place bodies of the
deceased so that they did not touch and pollute
the sacred elements of fire or earth Included in Kitty

Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd, where
they keep a sacred fire that has supposedly
been continuously burning since 470CE, the only
Zoroastrian eternal flame of its type outside of
India Included in Kitty

About Zein-o-din:
Zein-o-Din, about 60km south of Yazd, is one of the world's most well-preserved ancient caravanserais - inns set up to accommodate merchants and travellers journeying along the Silk Road. Zein-o-Din is one of 999 caravanserais constructed in the 16th Century CE during the reign of Shah Abbas I. Today it is still open to travellers, and is a fabulous, atmospheric and historical stop on our journey through Iran.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will drive south to the city of Shiraz. En route we will visit the
phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty
Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in
330BCE.

In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Head out on a guided tour of the incredible
historic ruins of the ancient Persian capital of
Persepolis, founded by Cyrus the Great in
550BCE and invaded by Alexander the Great in
330BCE Included in Kitty

Visit the phenomenal site of Naqsht-e Rustam
near Persepolis, the cross-shaped tombs of four
of the great Emperors of Persia chiselled into
the cliff face USD 10

About Persepolis:
Darius I built the city of Persepolis in around 500 BCE as the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and its wealth and opulence soon became legendary. In ancient Persia, Persepolis was called Parsa, meaning "The City of the Persians" (the name Persepolis was given to the city by the ancient Greeks). It was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE, but even today its past splendour is easily appreciated from the ruins that remain, and the incredibly well-preserved marble carvings within.

About Shiraz:
The ancient Iranian city of Shiraz is located in an attractive valley, once well
known for the wine that was produced here. The area has been inhabited since
at least 2000BCE, but rose to prominence during medieval times and became
the capital of the Islamic world during the Zand Dynasty between 1750-1800CE. Shiraz is widely considered to be the intellectual capital of the country and the heart of Persian culture and tradition. The city has been the home of many important Persian poets and there is still a vibrant arts scene here today. Wandering the streets here can be an enjoyable way to discover the city, getting lost in the Bazaar and admiring the impressive architecture, particularly some of the incredible mosques and shady gardens.
The Nasir Ol Molk Mosque has one of the most colourful interiors in the whole of Iran.





Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old
city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the
incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the stunning Shah Cheragh Mosque, a major
pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims Included in Kitty

Explore the 19th century Nasir ol Molk Mosque,
famous for its extensive coloured
glass art Included in Kitty

Visit the Narenjestan Palace in Shiraz, the
former home of the wealthy Qavam family of
merchants Included in Kitty
Visit the tranquil site of the tomb of Hafez, a
famous 14th-century Persian poet whose
collected works are regarded as the pinnacle of
Persian literature IRR 60000

Explore the stunning citadel of the Arg of Karim
Khan in
Shiraz, built by the emperor Karim
during the
Zand Dynasty in the
late 18th century IRR 20000

Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of
Esfahan.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central
highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahanand its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the
beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.

On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more
of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking
Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.
In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central
highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the
beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.
On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more
of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking
Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.
In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the magnificent and colossal city square of
Naqsh-e Jahan, the centrepiece of the Safavid-
era city of Esfahan Included in Kitty

Explore the Shah Mosque, the public mosque of
Esfahan built by Shah Abbas I and a
masterpiece of Persian architecture Included in Kitty

See the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, once a private
mosque for the emperor and his harem and
home to some of the world's most beautiful and
masterful internal tilework Included in Kitty

Explore the grand palace of Ali Qapu and
discover the stunning wall paintings of the
former residence of the Safavid emperors Included in Kitty

Wander the streets of Esfahan's old bazaar,
dating from the 17th century Included in Kitty

Walk around Esfahan's historical centre and visit
the five iconic Safavid-era bridges across the
Zayandeh river Free

Visit the Vank Cathedral, a beautiful
Orthodox church set up by the Armenian diaspora in the
17th century Free

Visit the stunning Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, one
of the oldest mosques in Iran and an
amalgamation of several different styles of
Persian architecture Included in Kitty

See the curious 14th-century
'Shaking Minarets'
in Esfahan, famous for the effect that if one
minaret is shaken, the other will shake as well IRR 5000

About Esfahan:
The friendly and beautiful city of Esfahan is often described as "the Jewel of
Persia". The city rose into prominence when it was made the capital in 1598CE during the Safavid era and the reign of Shah Abbas I. During the 17th-
Century, some of the most beautiful and inspiring architecture in the Islamic
world was constructed in Esfahan. The cool, blue tiles of the buildings contrast
perfectly with the hot dry Iranian countryside around it - and as you wander the
city's streets, get lost in the bazaar and relax in the beautiful municipal
gardens, it won't be long before you find yourself falling in love with this
magical place.

A good place to start your explorations is Imam Square, with the Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace and Chehel Sotun Palace all located nearby. From the Ali Qapu Palace you can get excellent views of the bustling Imam Square and Esfahan's enormous covered bazaar, which
houses over 5kms of narrow winding alleyways. The bazaar is famous for its brass work, miniature paintings, block-printed cloth and, of course, carpets. The nearby Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque has some of the finest interior tilework to be seen in the whole world.

Other sights worth seeking out are the Friday Mosque and the many magnificent river bridges.



Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will have a full day drive to the chaotic Iranian capital of Tehran.
In Tehran.

we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the former royal complex of Golestan
Palace, a huge site built in the 16th century and
Tehran's oldest monument Included in Kitty

Learn all about Iran's rich and fascinating history
at Tehran's National Museum of Iran Included in Kitty

Visit the Iranian Artists' Forum in Tehran, a large
gallery for the country's best young artists to
feature their work Free

Explore the S'ad Abad Museum in the
spectacular mountainside near Tehran, once a
royal summer home during the Pahlavi period USD 4.5

Visit the shocking Ebrat Museum, once the
prison used by the Shah's brutal secret police
before the revolution of 1979 USD 5

See some of Iran's most precious treasures at
the Treasury of National Jewels, including the
182 carat Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light) which is
thought to be the world's largest uncut diamond,
and the phenomenal 34kg Globe of Jewels,
made with over 51,000 precious stones USD 4.5

Visit the Laleh Park in central Tehran, an oasis
of calm and a well-designed green space to
observe local life pass by Free

Visit the viewing tower at the top of the iconic
Milad Tower, one of the world's tallest towers at
a height of 435 metres USD 8

See Tehran's Museum of the Islamic Period and
its interesting collection of artifacts from
various stages of Iran's history (when open) USD 3

See Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower, the inverted Y-
shaped memorial built in 1971 to
commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the
first Persian Empire USD 2.5

About Tehran:
Iran’s massive capital of Tehran is a sprawling city at the foot of the Alborz
mountain range. With a population of approximately 15 million people, it is
the largest city in the Middle East and a cultural melting pot full of interesting
museums, historical palaces, art galleries, cultural centres and lively cafes and restaurants, not to mention some of the most friendly and welcoming people you are ever likely to meet.

You shouldn't miss the Golestan Palace - this extravagant building was historically the royal Qajar complex, the seat of the Shahs of Persia. The many museums here are also well worth a visit if you're interested in learning more about the history and culture of Iran, in particular the National Museum, Carpet Museum of Iran and Niavaran Palace Complex. Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, claimed to be the largest, most dazzling and valuable jewel collection in the world, which includes crowns and thrones, 30 tiaras, jewel-studded swords and shields and a vast number of loose precious gems.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the
fascinating National Museum of Iran.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information: if finishing in Tehran, you will most likely exit Iran
at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tehran. Please note
there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, passengers of the above
nationalities will need to fly out on the same day the trip finishes. All
passengers departing on the final day of the trip will have transfers to the
airport automatically included. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans
are clearly stated on all your visa applications.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle

Accommodation

Hotels, Wild Camps, Yurts, Homestays

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip requires multiple visas. Please ensure you read the visa information carefully and allow sufficient time to apply for all visas.
2. 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.
4. Please note this trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.
5. The routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide
only.
6. We intend to follow the planned route but exact night stops and inclusions cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature, overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, which often have poor infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to 'Western' safety standards.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.