Caucasus & the Silk Road

74 nights from £9220

Start:Tbilisi
Finish:Xi'an
Duration:74 Nights
Group size:1 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 20 nights. Camping without facilities 5 nights. Wild Camp 7 nights. Guesthouse 7 nights. Homestay 8 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night. Basic Hotel 22 nights. Yurt Camp 4 nights
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:Breakfasts x 94, Lunches x 28, Dinners x 48
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English

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Overview

This 75 day overland tour journeys from Tbilisi to Xi'an through Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China
Highlights
  • Stay in the fascinating city of Tbilisi
  • Visit Vardzia, a cave monastery on the UNESCO World Heritage list
  • Explore Armenia's ancient city of Gyumri, with its great churches and Soviet Era grandeur
  • Visit Lake Sevan a high altitude lake known for its beaches
  • Hike to the amazing Gergeti Trinity Church at Stepantsminda
  • Visit Georgian Vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting
  • Explore the 1797 built Palace of the Sheki Khans
  • Explore the old town of Baku
  • Cross the Taklamakan Desert
  • Explore Kashgar's traditional Sunday market and Animal market
  • Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang
  • Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
  • Cross the northern end of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan
  • Explore the colourful natural phenomenon of the Rainbow Mountains
  • Explore Xiahe - one of Tibets most historic cities
  • See Bingling Si's vast Buddha statue and outstanding cave sculptures
  • Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
  • Guided tour of Xi'an's world famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley in local transport
  • See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley
  • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Köl Lake
  • See a demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
  • Learn how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made
  • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge
  • Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
  • Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek
  • Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour
  • Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater
  • Overland in to the Karakum desert
  • Explore the ruined city of Kunye Urgench
  • Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva
  • 3 nights in Bukhara with guided tour of the many unique sites
  • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
  • Guided tour of the historic city of Samarkand and surrounding area
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Kol Lake
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, Local Crew Member in certain areas, One Local Crew Member
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Overnight Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus, Local Bus, Boat

Itinerary

Location: Tbilisi

Border Information: if joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).

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.

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.

*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.*

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Tbilisi

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Lake Sevan

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.

Tonight we will either stay in the National Park or continue on to Lake Sevan where we will camp for the night

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Yerevan

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Yerevan

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Armenia

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.

Tonight we will wild camp in the Northern Armenian Highlands.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Borjomi & Kharagauli National Park

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.

Tonight we will find a wild camp in the valley close to the caves.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Mtskheta

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.

We will then continue on to Mtsehketa, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Stepantsminda

Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi).

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.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Telavi

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.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Telavi

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.


Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Lagodekhi

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.

We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodekhi National Park close to the Azeri border.


Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Sheki

Border information: Exit Georgia at Lagodekhi, enter Azerbaijan at Balakan.

Today we cross the border to Azerbaijan and continue to the old town of Sheki, where we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Lahich

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

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Baku

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.

This afternoon we will continue on to the Old City of Baku where we will have free time on arrival to explore.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Baku

Border Information:

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.

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.

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!

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Caspian Sea

From Alat/ Baku, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. The boat docks at the city of Turkmenbashi.

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.

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.

There will be seats on the ferry overnight. Generally cabins are not available for passengers.

Accommodation: ,Overnight Boat

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Turkmenbashi

Border information: Exit Azerbaijan at Baku, enter Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi.

Today we hope to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Turkmenistan.

We will be either staying at a local hotel in Turkmenbashi or we will start our journey towards Ashgabat and wild camp en route.

Turkemenistan Visa Note - 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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Ashgabat

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Ashgabat

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.

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.

*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.*

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Darvaza

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'!).

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


Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Köneürgench

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


Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Khiva

Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Shovot, enter Uzbekistan at Nijazov.

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Khiva

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Bukhara

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Bukhara

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Bukhara

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Karakum Desert

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!

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

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Samarkand

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Samarkand

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

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.

The rest of the day is free to explore the Uzbek capital.

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.

*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.*

*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!*

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Fergana Valley

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.

The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Fergana City.


Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Arslanbob

Border information: Exit Uzbekistan at Andijon, enter Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik.

This morning we leave Uzbekistan behind and make our way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan!

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.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Fergana Valley

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.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Fergana Valley

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

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Song-Kul

Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song Köl Lake, where we will spend the next two nights.

We will have free time here to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.

Please note that trips during the low season will not be able to visit Song Köl 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 Köl.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Song-Kul

We will have free time in Song Kul Lake today to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking and horse-riding.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

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!

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Jeti Oguz Alley

Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Köl 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'.

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!

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Jeti Oguz Alley

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!

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Karakol

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!

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Chon-Kemin

Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk Köl 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.

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Chon-Kemin

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!

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Bishkek

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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Bishkek

For everyone that is continuing with us to China, there will be quick pre-departure meeting at 10:00am in order to explain the next 6 days until Kashgar, and your leader will collect the kitty for this linking section.

The remainder of the day is free to explore the relaxed and atmospheric city of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Asia Mountains

Hotel Asia Mountains

1a Lineinaja St

Bishkek 720021

Kyrgyzstan

Tel: +996 312 694 075

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

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!

Please note that if the group has no new people joining in Bishkek, we may choose to stay instead in a guesthouse in the small town of Naryn (a further 2 hour drive beyond Kochkor). This is so that we don't repeat Kochkor unnecessarily and can have more time to explore the area of Tash Rabat the following day.

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Tash-Rabat

Today we continue our 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.

In Tash Rabat we will wild camp. In cold weather (or if simply the group prefers and there is 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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Border information: Exit Kyrgyzstan at Torugart, enter China at Torugart.

Today we will have a full day drive over the 3752m Torugart Pass, crossing into China and heading down to the Uighur city of Kashgar.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Today we will have free time to explore the city of Kashgar and partake in any optional activities whilst we wait for our paperwork and documents to be processed with the border formalities


Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Border Information:

if joining in Kashgar, you will most likely enter China at Kashgar Airport (IATA code: KHG).

Welcome to Kashgar, one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route! If you are joining in Kashgar, you are free to explore the city, and there will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the tour leader and they will often arrive in Kashgar mid-afternoon.

Please note that many of the optional activities will only be possible for those with extra time in Kashgar 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 Kashgar.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Today we will visit the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar. We will also have an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world!

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Today we will have a free day 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.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Aksu City

Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamakan Desert! Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to stay in local hotels en route.

Please note that due to political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province. Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, staying in a local hotel in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Korla

We continue our drive through the great Taklamakan Desert.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Ürümqi

Today we will continue on to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. 

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Ürümqi

On the secnd day in Urumqi we will have an included visit to Heavenly Lake to enjoy the incredible scenery in the Tian Shan Mountains and walk around the lake.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Turpan

Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we stay for 2 nights.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Turpan

On our next day in Turpan there is time for exploring the surrounding sites, including the famous Jiaohe ruins.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Dunhuang

Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the city of Dunhuang.

Please note that due to political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province. Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, staying in a local hotel in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Dunhuang

The following day we will have an included visit to the awe-inspiring Mogao Buddha Caves in the morning. We will then have a free afternoon to explore this amazing town and it’s surroundings - there are possibilities for camel rides along the sand dunes and bicycle rides out to the nearby White Goose Pagoda!

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Jiayuguan City

Today we continue our journey with a drive to Jiayuguan, where we will have an included visit to the Jiayuguan Fort - the most western point of the Great Wall of China. Please note the Great Wall in this area is adobe, unlike the more famous stone sections further to the east.


Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Zhangye

Today we will drive to the incredible Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains - we'll spend some time exploring the region before heading off to find a place to camp.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Liujiaxia

Today we will drive onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan plateau and reach the small city of Liujiaxia. 

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Xiahe County

Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 3 nights. We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xiahe County

The next few days are free to explore this beautiful town and surrounding grasslands. We can take a guided visit to the Labrang Monastery where Tibetan monks can be seen doing their daily rituals and chants. 

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xiahe County

On your second free day there may also be a chance to go trekking, cycling or exploring the surrounding grasslands, visiting Tibetan families and perhaps trying the local Yak butter tea.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Lanzhou

Today we will leave Xiahe and head to the chaotic capital city of Gansu province, Lanzhou. We will have some free time this evening to explore the city.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Pingliang

Today we will drive to the town of Pingliang at the base of the Mount Kongtong, one of the holiest mountains in Chinese Taoism.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Pingliang

The following day we will have an included visit to Mount Kongtong, and will have the full day to explore the temples and walk and explore the pilgrimage routes on the mountain. 

Please note that if the drive between Turpan and Dunhuang was split over 2 days, there will only be 1 night in Pingliang and a half-day exploration of Mount Kongtong.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Xi'an

Today we will journey to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free afternoon to fully explore the city, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Xi'an

Border Information: if finishing in Xi'an, you will most likely exit China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).

This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour.

We will return to Xi'an for the afternoon, where we'll have a free afternoon to further explore this incredible city.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Xi'an. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities.

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

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What's Included

Included
  • Meals
    Breakfasts x 88, Lunches x 34, Dinners x 50
  • Accommodation
    Comfortable Hotel 19 nights. Basic Hotel 21 nights. Guesthouse 7 nights. Camping without facilities 5 nights. Yurt Camp 5 nights. Homestay 5 nights. Wild Camp 10 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night
  • Transport
    Overland Expedition Vehicle, Overnight Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus, Local Bus, Boat

Not Included
  • International Travel
  • Tipping and Gratuities

Dates

Dates Price Single Availability
10-May-2022
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
01-Jun-2022
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
05-Jul-2022
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal
27-Jul-2022
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
17-Aug-2022
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
09-May-2023
74 Nights
Standard Room View live deal

Claim back up to £350 on any trip booked in the next 45 days.

Members can search 100s of trip operators on this site and then book directly with the touroperator on their site. Once notified of the booking, TourHound issues the CashBack.

Membership is free, join today for members voucher.

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.

Claim back up to £350 on any trip booked in the next 45 days.

Members can search 100s of trip operators on this site and then book directly with the touroperator on their site. Once notified of the booking, TourHound issues the CashBack.

Membership is free, join today for members voucher.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

74 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:Tbilisi
Finish:Xi'an
Duration:74 Nights
Group size:1 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 20 nights. Camping without facilities 5 nights. Wild Camp 7 nights. Guesthouse 7 nights. Homestay 8 nights. Overnight Boat 1 night. Basic Hotel 22 nights. Yurt Camp 4 nights
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:Breakfasts x 94, Lunches x 28, Dinners x 48
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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