Central Silk Route & Mongolia

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

This 96 day overland tour journeys from Ulaanbaatar to Ashgabat through Mongolia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Highlights
  • 2 nights to explore Datong's Hanging Monastery and the stunning Yungang Caves
  • Explore the colourful natural phenomenon of the Rainbow Mountains
  • Guided tour of the historic city of Samarkand and surrounding area
  • Stay in traditional ger encampments in the 'Paradise of the horse herders'
  • Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples
  • Fully explore the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Jinshanling
  • Explore Xi'an and its myriad of attractions
  • Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour
  • Overland in to the Karakum desert
  • Wild camp in remote Orkhon Valley
  • 3 nights in Bukhara with guided tour of the many unique sites
  • Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater
  • Stay overnight in a Lijiashan cliff-side guesthouse built into a cave
  • Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
  • Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song Köl Lake
  • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge
  • Discover the varied and interesting history of China at the National Museum
  • Head out to see Ulaanbaatar's Gandan Monastery and National Museum
  • Explore Xiahe - one of Tibets most historic cities
  • Guided tour of Xi'an's world famous Terracotta Warriors
  • Guided tour of the ancient and beautiful city of Khiva
  • Camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan
  • Explore the ruined city of Kunye Urgench
  • Hike around forests and meadows near Khovsgol Lake
  • Cross the Taklamakan Desert
  • Enjoy a guided visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing
  • Stay in a local nomadic ger encampment at Ogii Lake
  • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
  • 3 nights in Pingyao to explore sites such as Mian Shan Mountain Resort and Zhangbi Underground City
  • Explore the Imperial city of Chengde, summer home to the Emperor's family
  • See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley
  • See Bingling Si's vast Buddha statue and outstanding cave sculptures
  • Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang
  • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
  • Discover the nomadic lifestyle of local Mongul families
  • Explore Kashgar's traditional Sunday market and Animal market
  • Visit ancient Karakoram, capital of the Mongol Empire at Kharkhorin
  • Hike to the top of Khorgo volcano
  • See a demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
  • Spend a few hours exploring Ulaanbaatar's Mongolian Black Market
  • Overland through Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley in local transport
  • Learn how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made
  • Cross the northern end of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley
  • Visit the beautiful and ornate Black Dragon temple near Lijiashan
  • Explore the myriad of temples at Wutai Shan
  • Take the Beijing metro to the centre's famous Tiananmen Square
  • 3 days overlanding and wild camping across central-northern Mongolia
  • Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, Local Crew Member in certain areas, One Local Crew Member
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Metro, Taxi, Local Bus, Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus
Destinations
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • China
  • Mongolia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Far East
  • Far East
Tour Types
  • Active
  • Adventure
  • Camping
  • Eco
  • Overland
  • Horse Riding
  • Sightseeing
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Cultural
  • History
  • Wildlife

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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Ögii 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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Orkhon Valley

<p>Today we head south</p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Altan-Ovoo

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Altan-Ovoo

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Tsetserleg

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Khorgo Mountain

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Khorgo Mountain

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Murun

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Murun

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Khovsgol Lake National Park

<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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Khovsgol Lake National Park

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'.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Murun

<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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Selenge

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

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

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.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Sainshand

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if joining in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely enter Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport (IATA code: ULN).<p>There will be a short 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.</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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Erlian Residential District

<p>Today we will leave the Mongolian capital behind us as we begin our overland journey south towards China. We may have the opportunity to visit the Dechinchoinkhorlin Monastery in Sainshand en route (please note this is not always open for visitors).<p>We aim to wild camp near the town of Sainshand tonight.</p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Erlian Residential District

<p><strong>Border information:</strong> Exit Mongolia at Zamyn-Uud, enter China at Erlian.<p>Today we will drive to the border town of Zamyn-Uud and cross the border into China! Please be aware that the border procedures can take around 5 hours to complete. Once we have crossed into China we will most likely stay in a local hotel in Erlian (the town on the Chinese side of the border), or wild camp out of town.</p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Beijing

<p>Today we have an early start and will have a long drive to China's capital, Beijing.</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Beijing

Border Information: if joining in Beijing, you will most likely enter China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK).<br/><br/><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. The rest of the day will be free to explore the incredible city of Beijing!</p><p>Please note that many of the optional activities will only be possible for those with extra time in Beijing 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 Beijing.</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Beijing

Today we will head out on the Beijing metro to the city centre's famous Tiananmen Square, which we will walk through and then take a tour of the Forbidden City. We will then have a free afternoon to further explore the many sights, sounds and flavours of Beijing.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Chengde

This morning we will start our journey with a drive to the city of Chengde.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Chengde

Today we will have a full day to explore the Puning Temple and the famous Imperial Summer Resort.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Jinshanling

This morning we will have a short drive to one of the world's most incredible sights - the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China! We will have time this afternoon to thoroughly explore and walk along the Great Wall.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Datong

Today we will drive to the city of Datong in China's Shanxi province.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Datong

On&nbsp;the following day we will head out of Datong in the truck on an included visit to the awe-inspiring Yungang Buddha Caves.&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Wutai Shan

This morning we continue to the stunning mountainous area known as Wutai Shan, one of the holiest sites of Chinese Buddhism and a major centre of pilgrimage in the country.&nbsp;We will have an included visit to the incredible Hanging Monastery en route.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Wutai Shan

Today we will have a full day to explore the area and visit its incredible array of temples and religious sites.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Pingyao

Today we will drive to China's best-preserved ancient walled town, Pingyao.&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Pingyao

We will stay for 2 nights in Pingyao, giving us plenty of time to explore this ancient town and surrounding sites such as the Mian Shan Mountain Resort and the Zhangbi Underground City.</span>

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Pingyao

<p>Today we will have another free day to explore Pingyao and its surroundings. </p>

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Lijiashanzhen

Today we continue our journey to visit the ancient village of Lijiashan, famed for settlement of cave dwellers and still home to more than 600 families. We will stop en route for an&nbsp;included visit to the Black Dragon Temple just outside of Lijiashan.<br></span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">In Lijiashan we will stay in a cave room, run by a local family and set up for guests.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><em style="box-sizing: inherit;">Please note that&nbsp;some</span>&nbsp;caves include a traditional 'Kang Stove bed'. The Kang bed is a hollow platform made from bricks that is used both as a bed and as a work area, these are common in remote villages in Northern China. In winter a coal fire can be lit under the bed, providing a huge amount of warmth day and night and it is very common for the whole family to sleep on one large bed. This means there may be times that members of the group may have to share 1 large bed with others in the group.</em></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Yan'an

Today we make our way to the city of Yan'an.</span><br><br>Yan'an is famous for being the ending point for those on the 'Long March', and became the CCP headquarters for a brief period. During our time here we have an included visit to the Revolutionary Museum and the CCP Headquarters site.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xi'an

Today we will drive to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! On arrival we will have a free afternoon&nbsp;to explore the city of Xi'an, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xi'an

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 a free afternoon to further explore this diverse city.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xi'an

Border Information:</span>&nbsp;if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at&nbsp;Xi'an&nbsp;Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Welcome 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 day to explore the city, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">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.</p><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Please note that many of the optional activities listed will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an 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 Xi'an.</span></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xi'an

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.</span><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">We will return to Xi'an for the afternoon, where we'll have a free afternoon to further explore this incredible city.</p>

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Pingliang

Today we will drive to the&nbsp;town of Pingliang at the base of the Mount Kongtong, one of the holiest mountains in Chinese Taoism.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Pingliang

Today 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.&nbsp;</span><br><br><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><em style="box-sizing: inherit;">Please note that if the group and leader prefer to split the drive between Turpan and Dunhuang over 2 days, there will only be 1 night in Pingliang and a half-day exploration of Mount Kongtong.</em></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xiahe County

Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of&nbsp;Xiahe where we spend the next 3&nbsp;nights.&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: , Guesthouse

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.</span>

Accommodation: , Guesthouse

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Xiahe County

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

Accommodation: , Guesthouse

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Liujiaxia

Today we will leave Xiahe behind us to reach the small city of Liujiaxia.&nbsp;We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Zhangye

Today we will have a full day's drive towards Zhangye. This evening we will find a place to camp in the hills surrounding Zhangye.&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Jiayuguan City

Today we will have a short drive to the incredible Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains - we will spend some time exploring the beautiful scenery, before continuing our drive on to Jiayuguan where, tomorrow, we will have an included visit to the Jiayuguan Fort - the most western point of the Great Wall of China. Please note that the Great Wall here is adobe, unlike the more famous stone sections further easy.&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Dunhuang

Today we will continue our journey westwards to reach the city of Dunhuang.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Dunhuang

Today&nbsp;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!</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Turpan

Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the oasis town of Turpan.</span><br><br><em style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 21, 34); font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Please note that due to the political tension in Western China there are many police checkpoints that we must go through to show our passports in the Xinjiang province.&nbsp;Sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, finding a local hotel in between to break up the travel day.&nbsp;</em>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Turpan

Today&nbsp;we will have a free day to&nbsp;explore the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Ürümqi

Today we will continue on to&nbsp;Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Ürümqi

On the second day we will have an included visit to Heavenly Lake to enjoy&nbsp;the incredible scenery in the Tian Shan Mountains&nbsp;and walk around the lake.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Korla

Today our journey continues westwards through the Taklamakan Desert. Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to stay in local hotels&nbsp;near Korla or Bayanbulak on our first night and&nbsp;Aksu on our second.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Aksu City

On our second day travelling through the Taklamakan Desert, we plan to stay the night near Aksu.&nbsp;

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

Today we complete our journey to the far west of China, arriving in Kashgar, once&nbsp;one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route!&nbsp;</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

We will spend 3 nights in Kashgar, during which time there will be lots of opportunity to explore the city and its central Id Kah Mosque. We will also have an included visit to the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.</span>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kashgar

We have a free day in Kashgar for optional activities.&nbsp;

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Kashgar Prefecture

<p>For everyone that is continuing with us to Kyrgyzstan, there will be quick pre-departure meeting in the early morning in order to explain the next 6 days until Bishkek, and your leader will collect the kitty for this linking section.</p><p>In the afternoon we will do an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world!</p><p>Tonight we will stay in a good quality local hotel</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Tash-Rabat

<p><strong>Border Information:&nbsp;</strong>Exit China at Torugart, enter Kyrgyzstan at Torugart.</p><p>Today we will have a full day drive over the 3752m Torugart Pass into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan! We will head just over the border to&nbsp;Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the&nbsp;Silk Road&nbsp;close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border. During our time here we will visit an ancient&nbsp;caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area.</p><p>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.</p><p>We will spend 2 nights in Tash Rabat. On the second day we will have time to explore the local area.&nbsp;</p><p>Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.</p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Tash-Rabat

We will spend 2 nights in Tash Rabat. On the second day we will have time to explore the local area.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Kochkor

<p>Today we drive to the small&nbsp;village&nbsp;of&nbsp;Kochkor,&nbsp;where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!</p><p>Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women&#39;s felt making cooperative that produces &#39;shyrdaks&#39;, the felt carpets for which&nbsp;Kyrgyzstan&nbsp;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>In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home.</p><p>Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.</p><p><em>Please note that if nobody from this group is leaving in Bishkek, we may choose to stay instead in a guesthouse in the small town of Naryn (a 2-3 hour drive from Tash Rabat). This is so that we don&#39;t repeat Kochkor unnecessarily on the next section and can have more time to explore the area of Tash Rabat this morning.</em></p>

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Bishkek

<p>Today we have a short drive to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The remainder of the day is free to explore the relaxed and atmospheric city.</p><p>In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.</p><p>Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (from Kochkor).</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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.</p><p>The rest of the day is free for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city.</p><p>Please note that 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 the Sales team 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><em><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></em></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Chon-Kemin

<p><br/><p>Today we will begin our journey to Chong Kemin National Park, where we will have free time to explore and hike in this beautiful area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion.</p><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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Chon-Kemin

We will have a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area today or perhaps get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Karakol

<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 Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free evening to explore and relax!</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Jeti Oguz Alley

<p>Today we drive up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz.<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 take 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. We will then stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz Valley (allowing time for some day walks).</em></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Jeti Oguz Alley

We will have a 2nd night here in Jeti Oguz with a chance to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Kochkor

<p>This morning we will drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality! En route we will have an included demonstration from a local 'eagle hunter'.<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>

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Song-Kul

<p>Today we will 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 or 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>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Song-Kul

On our 2nd day in Song Kul Lake we have free time to explore the area, and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking or horse-riding!&nbsp;</p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Fergana Valley

<p>We will spend the next 3 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.<p>During these days we plan to wild camp en route. 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><p> </p></p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

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 near Toktugal Lake

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Arslanbob

Today we will complete our drive to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley - if we have had a slow journey in the previous days with lots of stops, we may choose to stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Arslanbob

<p>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</p>

Accommodation: ,Homestay,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Fergana Valley

<p><strong>Border information: </strong>Exit Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik, enter Uzbekistan at Andijon.<p>Today we will have a full day's drive across the Uzbek border to the eastern city of Fergana.</p><p><br/></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tashkent

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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>We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.</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 - 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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Samarkand

<p>Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights.</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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>

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: Karakum Desert

<p>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!</p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Bukhara

<p>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. <p><br/></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Bukhara

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

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

Location: Khiva

<p>Today we have a full day drive to the incredible historic town of Khiva. <p><br/></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Köneürgench

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot.<p>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 towards the end of the day.</p></p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Darvaza

<p>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'!).<p>We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight.</p></p>

Accommodation: ,Camp,

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner,

Location: Ashgabat

<p>Today we will complete our drive to the interesting capital of Ashgabat, usually arriving mid-afternoon.<p><br/></p></p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Ashgabat

<p>Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.&nbsp;</p>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Ashgabat

<p><strong>Border Information:</strong> if finishing in Ashgabat, you wil most likely exit Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).<p>Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ashgabat. 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>

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Included
  • Accommodation
    -Comfortable Hotel 20 nights. Yurt Camp 14 nights. Camping without facilities 13 nights. Basic Hotel 31 nights. Guesthouse 6 nights. Homestay 3 nights. Wild Camp 7 nights
  • Transport
    -Overland Expedition Vehicle, Metro, Taxi, Local Bus, Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus
  • Meals
    -Breakfasts x 136, Lunches x 46, Dinners x 68

Not Included
  • International Travel
    -
  • Tipping and Gratuities
    -

Dates Price Single Availability
17-Jun-2022
95 Nights
Standard Room View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
08-Jul-2022
95 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

95 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal View live deal 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:Ulaanbaatar
Finish:Ashgabat
Group size:1 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 20 nights. Yurt Camp 14 nights. Camping without facilities 13 nights. Basic Hotel 31 nights. Guesthouse 6 nights. Homestay 3 nights. Wild Camp 7 nights
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:Breakfasts x 136, Lunches x 46, Dinners x 68
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
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