Backroads of Gengis Khan

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

Highlights
  • Hike to the top of Khorgo volcano
  • Explore Armenia's ancient city of Gyumri, with its great churches and Soviet Era grandeur
  • Learn how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made
  • Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
  • Explore Historic Kashgar, home of the Uygur people
  • Olympos Beach and Fire mountain
  • Head out to see Ulaanbaatar's Gandan Monastery and National Museum
  • Explore the Oasis and Jiahoe Ruins in Turpan
  • Visit Lake Sevan a high altitude lake known for its beaches
  • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge
  • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
  • Visit Vardzia, a cave monastery on the UNESCO World Heritage list
  • Explore the ruined city of Kunye Urgench
  • Explore the 1797 built Palace of the Sheki Khans
  • Take an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia
  • See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley
  • Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek
  • Hike around forests and meadows near Khovsgol Lake
  • Overland in to the Karakum desert
  • Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour
  • Explore the old town of Baku
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Kol Lake
  • Wild camp in remote Orkhon Valley
  • Visit Georgian Vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting
  • Guided tour of the historic city of Samarkand and surrounding area
  • Stay in traditional ger encampments in the 'Paradise of the horse herders'
  • Visit ancient Karakoram, capital of the Mongol Empire at Kharkhorin
  • Wild camping in Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
  • 9 nights wildcamping and exploration of Western Mongolia
  • Stay in the fascinating city of Tbilisi
  • Ancient Mountain City of Termessos
  • Visit the Black Sea at Batumi
  • Explore the Armenia's capital, Yerevan and learn about its extensive history
  • Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley in local transport
  • Discover the nomadic lifestyle of local Mongul families
  • Ancient ruins of Ephesus
  • Guided tour of Ancient Troy
  • Explore the amazing sights of Istanbul
  • See a demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
  • Cross the Taklamakan Desert
  • Visit the Chinese-style Buddhist monastery of Amarbayasgalant near the Selenge River
  • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
  • Exploration journey across Western Mongolia and the Gobi Desert
  • 3 days overlanding and wild camping across central-northern Mongolia
  • Cross the Gobi Desert ( Flaming Cliffs, Yol Valley, Khongor Sand Dunes )
  • Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater
  • Guided tour of the valley & underground cities of Cappadocia
  • Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
  • Visit the Gallipoli Peninsular and the battlefields
  • Visit the Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
  • Stay in a local nomadic ger encampment at Ogii Lake
  • Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva
  • Hike to the amazing Gergeti Trinity Church at Stepantsminda
  • Spend a few hours exploring Ulaanbaatar's Mongolian Black Market
  • Horse Riding in Tash Rabat
  • 3 nights in Bukhara with guided tour of the many unique sites
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, Local Crew Member in certain areas
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Private Bus, Overnight Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus
Destinations
  • Europe
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • China
  • Georgia
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Mongolia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Far East
  • Far East
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Cultural
  • Attraction-Based Hikes
  • Camping
  • Eco
  • Food & Culinary
  • Foodie
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Horse Riding
  • Active
  • Hot Air Balloon
  • Jeep & 4WD
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Nightlife
  • Overland truck
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking Tour
  • wine tasting
  • Overland

Location: Istanbul

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> If joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IATA code: IST).<p>There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip. </p><p>The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River, Hagia Sophia and the phenomenal Blue Mosque!</p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul. </p><p><em>* Important note - 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. *</em></p><p> </p></p>

Location: Gallipoli

<p>This morning following breakfast we will depart Istanbul and begin our journey to the shores of Gallipoli. <p>After lunch we will get an insight into what happened between the ANZAC, Allied and Turkish forces during the first World War and have a guided tour of the Battlefields and Anzac Cove.</p></p>

Location: Selcuk

<p>Today we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry and head to Helsik where we will do a short tour of the Troy Ruins. <p>We will then continue onto Selcuk where we will be staying for two nights. In the evening we will have free time to explore the area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching. </p></p>

Location: Selcuk

<p>Today we will have a full day to be able to explore the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses.</p>

Location: Pamukkale

<p>Following breakfast we will drive inland towards the small village of Pamukkale. <p>After lunch we will have free time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse through the travertine pools and terraces.</p></p>

Location: Olympos

<p>Today we continue our drive south and aim to reach the popular beach town of Olympos by lunchtime.<p>This evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows</p></p>

Location: Olympos

<p>Today we will have time to explore and participate in any optional activities if you wish or simply take a dip in the cool turquoise waters on one of the many beaches. </p>

Location: Egirdir

<p>After breakfast we will leave the beachside town of Olympos and make our way north. <p>We will have an included visit of Termessos on the way before continuing our journey towards Egirdir where we will find a good spot to bush camp for the night. Depending on the time of year we may also stay in a local guesthouse.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Goreme

<p>We have an early start this morning to reach the small enchanting town of Goreme in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains. <p>In Goreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are generally used here. </p><p><br/></p><p> </p></p>

Location: Goreme

<p>Today will be a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here.. Weather permitting.</p>

Location: Zara

<p>Today we continue our journey east with a full day's drive towards the Sumela monastery.<p>We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra.</p></p>

Location: Sumela

<p>Today we will reach the Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will visit in the afternoon if it is open.<p>We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. Or we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Batumi

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> Exit Turkey at Sarp, enter Georgia at Sarpi.<p>This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Georgia, reaching the port town of Batumi.</p></p>

Location: Kutaisi

<p>After a relaxing morning, we leave the port town of Batumi behind us and make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati monastery.</p>

Location: Tbilisi

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).<p>There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6.00pm - please meet at the joining hotel reception at this time. Please do not be alarmed if there is no note from your leader on arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the crew and they will not arrive until about 4.00pm. </p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi. </p><p><em>*Important note - 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.*</em></p></p>

Location: Tbilisi

<p>Today we will visit the beautfiful old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple. </p>

Location: Lake Sevan

<p>This morning we will have a short drive to the border and cross into the country of Armenia. Once the formalities are over we will continue on through the beautiful Dilijan National Park stopping for a truck lunch along the way. <p>Tonight we will either stay in the National Park or continue on to Lake Sevan where we will camp for the night</p></p>

Location: Yerevan

<p>After breakfast we will leave the sparkling waters of Lake Sevan behind and make our way towards the city of Yerevan. On the way we will visit the World Heritage - listed Geghard Monastery which has been carved out of the rock face of the Azat River Gorge. We will also spend some time exploring the Garni Temple before finally arriving at our destination.</p>

Location: Yerevan

<p>We have a free day today to explore the stunning city of Yerevan. Simply spend the time relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere or perhaps do a walking tour of the city admiring the soviet architecture. </p>

Location: Armenian Highlands

<p>Today we leave the city of Yerevan. We will start off with a visit to the Khor Virap Monastery before we begin to make our way north through the beautiful Armenian Highland.<p>Tonight we will wild camp in the Northern Armenian Highlands. </p></p>

Location: Borjomi-Kharagauli NP

<p>After packing up camp we continue north and head towards the Georgian border. We aim to arrive after lunch and if time permits have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves. If we arrive too late we will be able to explore the caves tomorrow morning also. <p>Tonight we will find a wild camp in the valley close to the caves.</p></p>

Location: Mtskheta

<p>After breakfast we will make our way to Borjome National Park where we will have time to do a small hike through the ancient forest and an optional cable ride up the mountain. <p>We will then continue on to Mtsehketa, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. </p></p>

Location: Stepantsminda

<p>Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). <p>Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Chruch (the church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains. </p></p>

Location: Telavi

<p>This morning we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourselves for 2 days to explore the area.</p>

Location: Telavi

<p>The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality. <p><br/></p></p>

Location: Lagodekhi

<p>Today we leave the wine region behind us as we make our way towards the Azerbaijan border. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route. <p>We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodekhi National Park close to the Azeri border. </p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Sheki

<p>Border information: Exit Georgia at Lagodekhi, enter Azerbaijan at Balakan.<p>Today we cross the border to Azerbaijan and continue to the old town of Sheki, where we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace. </p></p>

Location: Lahij Village

<p>This morning we will continue on to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains. </p>

Location: Baku

<p>We will continue our journey this morning to Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea where we will have a visit to the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volanoes that this area is famous for. <p>This afternoon we will continue on to the Old City of Baku where we will have free time on arrival to explore. </p></p>

Location: Baku

<p><strong>Border Information: </strong><p>For everyone that is continuing with us onto Turkmenistan there will be short group meeting at 10.00am to explain the next few days until Ashgabat. Your leader will also collect the kitty for this linking section.</p><p>Please note the new ferry port has now moved to Alat a town south of Baku. Depending on ferry departures we may need to stay here the night instead of Baku limiting our time to explore the town of Baku. <br/><br/></p><p>Our itinerary in Baku and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existent) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here! </p></p>

Location: Caspian Sea

<p>From Alat/ Baku, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. The boat docks at the city of Turkmenbashi.<p>The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board.</p><p>Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also very unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Turkmenbashi while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.</p><p>There will be seats on the ferry overnight. Generally cabins are not available for passengers. </p></p>

Location: Turkmenbashi

<p><strong>Border information: </strong>Exit Azerbaijan at Baku, enter Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi.<p>Today we hope to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Turkmenistan.</p><p>We will be either staying at a local hotel in Turkmenbashi or we will start our journey towards Ashgabat and wild camp en route.</p><p><strong>Turkemenistan Visa Note</strong> - as the timing of the Caspian ferry crossing can be very unpredictable, please get your Turkmenistan visa issued with at least 2 'flexible' days before the entry date listed on these notes. Please see the detailed visa notes below.</p></p>

Location: Ashgabat

<p>Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local mini buses. </p>

Location: Ashgabat

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).<p>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.</p><p>After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.</p><p>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. </p><p><em>*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.*</em></p></p>

Location: Darvaza

<p>Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).<p>We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Kunye Urgench

<p>Today we will continue our overland journey north across the Karakum. We will visit the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day.<p><br/></p></p>

Location: Khiva

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.<p>This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva. </p></p>

Location: Khiva

<p>After breakfast we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town.</p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>Today we will have a full day's drive to the fascinating city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights.</p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>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.</p>

Location: Bukhara

<p>Spend the day exploring this incredible historic city and its surroundings further and soaking up the atmosphere. </p>

Location: Kyzylkhum Desert

<p>Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!<p>In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.</p></p>

Location: Samarkand

<p>This morning we will spend some time exploring the Nurata Hills with the option of taking a dip in Lake Ajdar Kul. After lunch we will drive to Samarkand where we will stay for the next 3 nights.</p>

Location: Samarkand

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

Location: Samarkand

We will have a free day today with the chance to wander the streets and delve into this beautiful city and its history further.

Location: Tashkent

<p>This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.</p>

Location: Tashkent

<p>Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.</p>

Location: Tashkent

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).<p>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.</p><p>The rest of the day is free to explore the Uzbek capital.</p><p>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.</p><p><em>*Important note - 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.*</em></p><p><em>*Another important note - please be aware that all itineraries in Kyrgyzstan are highly weather-dependent. The itinerary described in these notes are a statement of best intention, but we must approach each trip in Kyrgyzstan with a large degree of flexibility, as our leaders and local guides will have to 'play things by ear' according to the local conditions and weather. In low season certain routes become impossible and it may become far too cold to camp - in all cases there are fantastic and well-tried alternatives in place which means we can always run an excellent and comprehensive trip here, but please do not treat the exact details of the itinerary listed here as gospel - thanks for your understanding!*</em></p></p>

Location: Fergana Valley

<p>This morning we travel in local transport over the Kamchik Pass to Kokand, where we will have the opportunity to visit the Khudayar Khan's Palace and the nearby Margilan Silk Factory before completing the journey to Fergana. <p>The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Fergana City.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Arslanbob

<p><strong>Border information:</strong> Exit Uzbekistan at Andijon, enter Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik.<p>This morning we leave Uzbekistan behind and make our way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan! </p><p>Once we have crossed the border we continue our journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we are delayed at the border we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.</p></p>

Location: Arslanbob

Today we have a free day to explore the local area. There will be options to do an all day hike to a big waterfall or alternatively do an optional horseride through the Walnut Forest

Location: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

<p>We will spend the next 2 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside. Tonight we will find a wild camp close to Toktugal Lake. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.</p>

Location: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

We will have another day of scenic driving as we make our way to our second wild camp at Karakuchi Gorge

Location: Son-Kol Lake

<p>Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song K&#246;l Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.<p>We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.</p><p><em>Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song K&#246;l Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk K&#246;l.</em></p></p>

Location: Son-Kol Lake

<p>We will have free time in Song Kul Lake today to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and&nbsp;horse-riding.</p>

Location: Kochkor

<p>Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!<p>Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!</p></p>

Location: Jeti-Oguz Valley

<p>Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk K&#246;l and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'.<p>The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!</p><p><em>Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks) and then move via a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation.</em></p></p>

Location: Jeti-Oguz Valley

<p>Today is a free day where we will have the chance to hike in the incredible scenery around Jeti Oguz, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!</p>

Location: Karakol

<p>Today we will move on from Jeti Oguz or Altyn Arashan to the Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free afternoon to explore and relax!</p>

Location: Chong Kemin Valley

<p>Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk K&#246;l and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata. We will then continue to the beautiful area of Chong Kemin where we will spend 2 nights.<p>In Chong Kemin we will wild camp. If it is too cold or simply preferred by the group, we may choose to camp in the grounds of a guesthouse in Ashu, a village in the Chong Kemin valley, where there could be the possibility to upgrade to rooms.</p></p>

Location: Chong Kemin Valley

We will spend another night in Chong Kemin today and will have free time to explore and hike in this stunning area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!</p>

Location: Bishkek

<p>Today we have a short drive to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, with the opportunity to visit the Burana Tower en route. We will have free time to relax and explore the city upon arrival.</p>

Location: Bishkek

<p><strong>Border Information: </strong>If joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport ( IATA code: FRU ).<p>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 as well. </p><p>The remainder of the day is free to explore the relaxed and atmospheric city of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. </p><p>Please note many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Bishkek before the start of your trip with us - please contact your sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Bishkek. </p><p><em>*Important note - 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.*</em></p></p>

Location: Tash Rabat

<p>Today we will have a full day's journey south to Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the Silk Road close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border. During our time here we will visit an ancient caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area. <p>In Tash Rabat we will wild camp. In cold weather ( or if simply the group prefers or there is no availability ), we may choose to stay in local nomadic yurts that are set up for guests near the caravanserai, sleeping 8 - 10 people per yurt. </p></p>

Location: Kashgar

<p><strong>Border Information: </strong>Exit Kyrgyzstan at Torugart, enter China at Torugart. <p>Today we will drive over the 3752m Torugart Pass, crossing into China and heading down to the Uighur city of Kashgar. </p><p><br/></p></p>

Location: Kashgar

<p>This morning we will have an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world! <p>In the afternoon we will have free time to explore the town, the central Id Kah Mosque and its surrounding square, while your crew finalise the customs procedures for our truck to continue further into China.</p></p>

Location: Kashgar

<p>We will have another free day in Kashgar today as we wait for the paperwork to be finalised for the truck. </p>

Location: Aksu

<p>Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamkan Desert!&nbsp; Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2nights and we will plan to stay in local hotels along the way. Our first night we will plan to spend in Aksu

Location: Korle

<p>Another full drive day through the desert and onto the small town of Bayanbulak</p>

Location: Turpan

<p>Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we will have time to explore the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins. </p>

Location: Takeshikenzhen

<p>Today is mostly a travel day as we make our way closer to the Chinese/ Mongolian Border.<p>We will either wild camp tonight if possible or stay in a local hotel. </p></p>

Location: Hovdiin Bulgan

<p><strong>Border Information: </strong>Exit China at Takeshiken, enter Mongolia at Hovdiin Bulgan.<p>This morning we will complete the drive to the border and cross into Mongolia. We will stop in the small town of Bulgan to stock up on supplies for the next few days before we find a place to camp for the night in this remote area of Western Mongolia. </p></p>

Location: Altai Tavn Bogd NP

<p>Over the next 3 days we will be driving mostly offroad making our way&nbsp;further west towards Altai Tavn National Park wild camping along the way. Today we will drive through Bodnach Canyon and then onto Tal&nbsp;Lake. On the way we will visit one of the biggest deer stone sites in Western Mongolia.</p>

Location: Altai Tavn Bogd NP

We will have an early start today as we continue our journey on to Khoton and Khurgan Lakes where we will have 2 nights camping next to the beautiful lake in the National Park.

Location: Altai Tavn Bogd NP

Today we will have the day to spend relaxing by the lake or stretch your legs and opt to do a full day hike to Turken Waterfalls.

Location: Olgii

<p>This morning we will leave the national park and continue on to the town of Ulgii.<p>In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the local museum to understand more about Ulgii and the surrounding areas. We will also head to the local markets to explore and stock up on supplies again.</p></p>

Location: Tsambagarav NP

<p>Today we drive out of the town of Ulgii and do a full day's drive off road onto Tsambagarav National Park.<p>We hope to arrive early afternoon where there will be free time to explore this beautiful national park and admire the view of Tsambagarav which is one of the highest mountains in Mongolia sitting at 4195 metres.</p><p>Tonight we will wild camp in the National Park</p></p>

Location: Tsenkher Caves

<p>We have an early start this morning to begin our drive to Tsenhker Caves. <p>Once we arrive and have set up camp we will have a chance to stretch our legs and walk to the caves to see the rock paintings which have been there for thousands of years. </p><p>Tonight we will wild camp near the caves</p></p>

Location: Altai

<p>Over the next 2 days we will continue our journey east, edging closer to the famous Gobi Desert.</p> <p>We will bush camp tonight near&nbsp;the Antaishir Mountain range

Location: Taats Lake

Another full drive today ahead of us in the afternoon we hope to reach Taats Lake which has a beautiful sandy beach giving us the opportunity to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings in this area.

Location: Gobi Desert

<p>Leaving Taats lake we will drive to Khongor Sand Dunes.&nbsp;</p> <p>Late this&nbsp;afternoon we will hike to Duut Mankhan which is the highest point of the dunes to see the stunning sunset over the dunes.&nbsp;</p>

Location: Gobi Desert

With another full day in Khongor we have a chance to enjoy and take in the incredible landscapes with an opportunity for Camel Riding as well.

Location: Bayanzag

<p>This morning we will leave the sand dunes behind and drive to Bayanzag known as the site of the Flaming Cliffs. Late in the afternoon we will see them change colours with the sun direction and enjoy another stunning sunset. <p>We continue on through the Gobi Desert taking in the vast open lands in all directions taking in another beautiful sunset as we reach our camp for the night. </p></p>

Location: Yolyn Am

<p>Today we will continue through the Gobi and Yol Valley, we will eventually start to head north to Tsagaan Suvraga which is translated to White Stupa. This sediment structure is over 60 metres high with steep slopes which&nbsp;appear to be the ruins of an ancient city.&nbsp;</p><p>Tonight we will wild camp</p>

Location: Baga Gazryn Chuluu

<p>Today we will drive to Baga Gazrynn Chuluu. When we arrive we will get a chance to explore the impressive rock formations rising from the desert steppe.&nbsp;</p><p>Tonight we will spend our last night wild camping before we reach Ulaanbaatar.&nbsp;</p>

Location: Ulaanbaatar

<p>This morning we will leave the desert behind and make our&nbsp;way to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.&nbsp;</p><p>In the afternoon we will have free time to explore the city.</p><p>Tonight we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.&nbsp;</p>

Location: Ulaanbaatar

<p><strong>Border information:</strong> If you are joining in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely enter Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (IATA code: ULN).<p>There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting, but please do not be alarmed if the note is not there as this is often a travel day for the tour leader and they may arrive in the afternoon. If you arrive early, the rest of the day will be free to explore the Mongolian capital!</p><p>Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ulaanbaatar 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 Ulaanbaatar.</p></p>

Location: Ulaanbaatar

<p>This morning we head out on a guided tour to see some of Ulaanbaatar's best and most treasured sights, including the Gandan Monastery and the National Museum.<p>This afternoon we will spend a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian may need, so a trip here will certainly give visitors a fascinating insight into people's lives, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers.</p></p>

Location: Ogii Lake

<p>Today we drive out of the city and into the vast plains of Mongolia. We hope to arrive at Khar Bukh Balgas ruins in the early afternoon.<p>Khar Bukh Balgas was built during the Kitan period in about 1000CE, and was part of a chain of fortresses that were used to govern and control the northern region and borders of the Kitan state. Upon arrival at the site, we will explore the ruins and learn about the various kingdoms that dominated Mongolia during that era.</p><p>After our visit to the ruins we will drive to &Ouml;gii Lake where many nomadic families spend their summer. The lake is famed for it's great bird watching opportunities where it is not uncommon to spot at Swan Goose, White Spoonbill and Dalmatian Pelicans.</p><p><em>Please note that we cannot give any accurate drive time estimations for our Mongolia trip as the journey times are heavily dependent on the state of roads, which is in turn heavily dependent on the weather. The roads in Mongolia are mostly dirt tracks in very poor condition, which means that an even greater degree of flexibility is needed for this trip in all regards.</em></p></p>

Location: Kharkhorin

<p>Today we have an early start as we head to Mongolia's earliest capital, Kharkhorin (otherwise known as Karakoram).<p>Our first stop on the way to Kharkhorin will be at the Kultigen Monument. This massive stone tomb was built in honour of a Turkic prince and warrior killed in a nearby battle. We then continue on a fairly short drive to Kharkhorin.</p><p>Kharkhorin was famed throughout Asia at the capital of the Mongol Empire. We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery, and other historical monuments in the area.</p></p>

Location: Orkhon Valley

<p>Today we head south</p>

Location: Orkhon Valley

Today we will continue our journey through the Orkhon Valley to the Tuvkhon Monastery, which we can embark on a two and a half hour trek to visit (the first hour will be uphill!). This monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia's most respected religious leaders. The monastery's wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests.

Location: Tsenkher

<p>Today our trip heads north, crossing the Khangai Nuruu Mountains through a series of passes until we reach an area that Mongolians call 'The Paradise of the Horse Herders' due to its lush grasses and open valleys.<p>We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at 82&#176;C, and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak.</p></p>

Location: Tsenkher

This morning we will take a short, easy walk to meet one of the many nomadic families that spend their summers in the region. The afternoon is free to explore the valley and surrounding hills either by foot or by horseback.

Location: Tamir River

<p>This morning we drive to Tsetserleg, the provincial capital, where we will make a short visit to the local market. If time permits, we will also visit the provincial museum.</p><p>We will then continue our journey north past the Tamir river, and will wild camp tonight.</p>

Location: Khorgo Volcano

<p>Today we continue noth past Taikhar Chuluu (a massive rock which is connected to local mythology) and the Chluulut Canyon to arrive at our ger camp near the Khorgo volcano.</p><p>In Chuulut Canyon&nbsp;we will stay at a nearby ger camp.</p>

Location: Khorgo Volcano

<p>This morning we will take a hike to the top of the Khorgo Volcano and take in the incredible views over its perfect crater. From the top of the volcano we continue our hike though fields studded with pine trees, stopping off en route at the Yellow Dog Cave, an interesting volcanic phenomenon.</p><p>We will then return to the truck and continue our journey north. We will aim wild camp tonight in the remote plains north of Khorgo.</p>

Location: Moron

<p>Over the next few days we continue driving north on one of Mongolia&#39;s most beautiful routes, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks! We will pass by the beautiful alpine Lake Zuun en route.&nbsp;</p><p>We hope to arrive at M&ouml;r&ouml;n, the provincial capital, the following afternoon. We will visit the local market, Danzadarjaa Monastery and the local museum. If we don&#39;t have time on this section of the trip, then we can visit the town after coming back from Kh&ouml;vsg&ouml;l Lake.</p><p>We will aim to wild camp near Zuun Lake and near the town of M&ouml;r&ouml;n.</p>

Location: Moron

We hope to arrive at Mörön, the provincial capital, this afternoon. We will visit the local market, Danzadarjaa Monastery and the local museum. If we don't have time on this section of the trip, then we can visit the town after coming back from Khövsgöl Lake.

Location: Khovsgol Lake

<p>This morning we will drive out to an ancient burial site featuring Mongolia's mysterious deer stones, these are memorial stones representing important leaders and warriors, carved with deer motifs. After visiting the site, we continue our trip northward to one of the world's biggest fresh water sources, the stunning Kh&#246;vsg&#246;l Lake.<p>Kh&#246;vsg&#246;l Lake and its amazing surroundings are home to several of Mongolia's ethnic minorities as well as a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife. One of the most interesting ethnic groups living near the lake is the Tsaatan, also known as 'The Reindeer People'. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with its herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, meat and transportation. As there are very few Tsaatan left and this is a mobile population, we may meet them but there are no guarantees - however, the scenery of the area is well worth the exploration.</p></p>

Location: Khovsgol Lake

Today we will take a hike around the forests and meadows near the lake. Lying at about 1650m above sea level, surrounded by mountains rising above 3100m, the waters of Khovsgol are deep and spectacularly clear and pure. We will hike through thick pine forests carpeted with flowers and explore the setting of Mongolia's 'Blue Pearl'.

Location: Moron

<p>We will spend the next 3 days crossing central-northern Mongolia on our way back towards the capital of Ulaanbaatar. We will aim to wildcamp in the plains east Moron tonight.

Location: Selenge River

Today's drive offers diversified landscapes from vast, open steppes to beautiful sand dunes. At the end of a long drive day we will cam near the Selenge River

Location: Bulgan

After packing up camping this morning we will continue on our journey and aim to reach the town of Bulgan where we will find a wildcamp on the outskirts of the town.

Location: Amarbayasgalant Monastery

<p>This morning we will try to visit the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. Built between 1727 and 1736 by the Manchu Emperor Enkh Amgalan, Amarbayasgalant is among the largest monasteries in Mongolia to have survived the purges of the 1930s. With about 60 monks living and studying here, the monastery functions today as one of Mongolia's central religious institutions, and consists of 29 different temples, all built in the classic Tibetan style.</p>

Location: Ulaanbaatar

<p>Today we have a full day drive from northern Mongolia back to the city of Ulaanbaatar. This evening is free to relax and explore, and to have a well-earned final meal and drinks in one of the city's many restaurants!</p>

Location: Ulaanbaatar

<p><strong>Border information:</strong> If you are leaving in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely exit Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (IATA code: ULN).<p>Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ulaanbaatar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your sales agent if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.</p></p>

Dates Price Single Availability
15-Mar-2022
106 Nights
Standard Room View live deal View live deal

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

106 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal View live deal 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:Istanbul
Finish:Ulaanbaatar
Group size:0 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 23 nights. Multishare Hostel 5 nights. Camping without facilities 15 nights. Basic Hotel 17 nights. Guesthouse 5 nights. Wild Camp 17 nights. Homestay 7 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night. Yurt Camp 16 nights
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:Breakfasts x 166, Lunches x 76, Dinners x 116
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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