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Silk Road & the Great Wall

Silk Road & the Great Wall

Pris fra {{totalPrice}} DKK Ekstra udgifter på rejsen From USD3110.00
Prisen er en fra-pris, og afhænger af afrejsetidspunkt. Se den nøjagtige pris, når du vælger hvilken dato du vil af sted. Flybilletter er ikke inkluderet, men vi hjælper dig selvfølgelig gerne med at finde de bedste og mest fleksible billetter.
Hvad er inkluderet?
Pris fra {{totalPrice}} DKK
Prisen er en fra-pris, og afhænger af afrejsetidspunkt. Se den nøjagtige pris, når du vælger hvilken dato du vil af sted. Flybilletter er ikke inkluderet, men vi hjælper dig selvfølgelig gerne med at finde de bedste og mest fleksible billetter.
Hvad er inkluderet?
Varighed
91 dage
Start
Beijing
Slutter i
Tbilisi
Gruppestørrelse
22
This journey is very nearly the whole of the Silk Route with just the exception of Turkey. It is, therefore, perfect for the many who have already explored the delights of Turkey giving plenty of time to get to grips with the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Stans and, finally, China. A three part journey through some of the planet's most spectacular scenery and most diverse cultures. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan make up the Caucasus and are a wonderful balance of ancient Christianity and modern, oil rich, secular Islam. Crossing the Caspian, the deserts and rivers of Central Asia are the historic homes of the great city states and empires of the Stans; Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand are names that conjure up this history. Climbing into the Tian Shan of Kyrgyzstan, we pass through the Torugart Pass and on to the third part, the vast country of China. China is the reason the Silk Route exists historically and into the future. Today, travellers can still travel the route traditionally, but with China's new Silk Road Project just beginning, it is time to watch this space because massive change is just around the corner.
Itinerary

Silk Road & the Great Wall

Day 1 Beijing

Border Information: if joining in Beijing, you will most likely enter China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK). 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! Please note that many of the options listed below 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. In Beijing we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Activities(Optional)
Head out to see an acrobatic or martial arts show in Beijing, always an incredible mix of athleticism and choreography - Cost: CNY 250
Discover all about the varied and interesting history of China at the National Museum, with its huge collection of over a million artifacts - Cost: CNY
Explore the vast Temple of Heaven, once the site of an annual religious ceremony conducted by the Emporer to pray for a good harvest - Cost: CNY 10
Visit the beautiful Tibetan-style Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple) in Beijing - Cost: CNY
See the iconic modern 'Bird's Nest' Stadium, the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games - Cost: CNY 50

Day 2 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.
Activities(Included)
Guided visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing

Day 3 to 4 Chengde

This morning we will start our journey with a drive to the city of Chengde. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). On the following day we will have a full day to explore the Puning Temple and the famous Imperial Summer Resort. In Chengde we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activities(Included)
Explore the incredible Imperial Summer Resort in Chengde, a vast park with a variety of gardens, pagodas, temples and palaces from various regions of China

Activities(Optional)
See the beautiful Putuo Zongcheng Temple, modelled after the famous Potala Palace in Tibet - Cost: CNY 80

Day 5 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. In Jinshanling we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.
Activities(Included)
Fully explore the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Jinshanling, one of the most spectacular stone sections of the wall

Day 6 to 7 Datong

Today we will drive to the city of Datong in China's Shanxi province. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. On the following day we will head out of Datong in the truck on an included visit to the awe-inspiring Yungang Buddha Caves.  In Datong we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activities(Included)
2 nights to explore Datong's Hanging Monastery and the stunning Yungang Caves
Explore the phenomenal site of the Yungang Caves, a network of 252 caves containing over 51,000 incredibly crafted sculptures of Buddha from the 5th and 6th centuries

Activities(Optional)
Journey through the remarkable industrial heartland of the north, the powerhouse of modern China - Cost: CNY 60
See the beautiful and ornate Nine Dragon Screen, a screen of glazed tiles depicting nine multi-coloured interweaving dragons - Cost: CNY 10

Day 8 to 9 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. We will have an included visit to the incredible Hanging Monastery en route. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. On the following day we will have a full day to explore the area and visit its incredible array of temples and religious sites. In Wutai Shan we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Activities(Included)
Explore the myriad of temples at Wutai Shan, one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism

Day 10 to 11 Pingyao

We will then drive to China's best-preserved ancient walled town, Pingyao.  Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. 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. In Pingyao we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activities(Included)
Freely explore the old town of Pingyao, a well preserved walled city that offers a fantastic glimpse into 'Old China'

Activities(Optional)
Visit the incredible Shuanglin Temple near Pingyao, with its 2000 colourful sculptures of various gods and warriors - Cost: CNY 25
Visit the 10th-century Zhenguo Temple, one of the oldest wooden buildings in China - Cost: CNY 25
Take a day trip to the photogenic Mian Shan Mountain Resort, and explore the incredible array of buildings and scenery there - Cost: CNY 160
Take a day trip out to the impressive Wang family compound and the Zhang Bi underground village near Pingyao - Cost: CNY 205

Day 12 Lijiashan

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 included visit to the Black Dragon Temple just outside of Lijiashan. In Lijiashan we will stay in a cave room, run by a local family and set up for guests. Please note that some 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. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Activities(Included)
Visit the beautiful and ornate Black Dragon temple near Lijiashan
Stay overnight in a local guesthouse built into a cave, in the cliff-side village of Lijiashan

Day 13 to 14 Yan'an

Today we make our way to the city of Yan'an. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. 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. In Yan'an we will stay in a local hotel.
Activities(Included)
Visit the Revolution Museum and the Yangjialing Headquarters site, the former headquarters of Mao Tse Tung's Communist Party during the revolution

Day 15 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 to explore the city of Xi'an, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter. In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Day 16 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.
Activities(Included)
Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife

Activities(Optional)
Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China - Cost: CNY 30
Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures - Cost: CNY 90
Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset - Cost: CNY 50
Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world - Cost: CNY 90
Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China - Cost: CNY 30
Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties - Cost: CNY 90
Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 - Cost: CNY 75
Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens - Cost: CNY

Day 17 Xi'an

Border Information: if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY). 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. 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. Please note that many of the options listed below 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. In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Activities(Optional)
Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset - Cost: CNY 50
Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China - Cost: CNY 30
Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China - Cost: CNY 30
Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures - Cost: CNY 90
Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 - Cost: CNY 75
Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world - Cost: CNY 90
Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties - Cost: CNY 90
Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens - Cost: CNY

Day 18 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 the afternoon, where we'll have a free afternoon to further explore this incredible city.
Activities(Included)
Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife

Day 19 to 20 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. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). On 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.  In Pingliang we will stay in a decent local hotel. 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.
Activities(Included)
Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples

Day 21 to 23 Xiahe

Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 3 nights.  Estimated Drive Time - 9 -10 hours. 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. 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. In Xiahe we will stay in a local Tibetan-owned hotel.
Activities(Included)
3 night detour to the Tibetan town of Xiahe, one of the main pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists

Activities(Optional)
Climb up onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan Plateau - Cost: CNY
Take a day trip up into the Sangke or Ganjia grasslands of the lower Tibetan Plateau surrounding Xiahe - Cost: CNY 400

Day 24 Liujiaxia

Today we will leave Xiahe behind us to reach the small city of Liujiaxia. We will have an included visit to the incredible Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route. In Liujiaxia we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time: 4-5  hours.
Activities(Included)
See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge

Day 25 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.  Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

Day 26 Zhangye

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.  We will camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan. Estimated Drive Time: 5-6 hours.
Activities(Included)
Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall
Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

Day 27 to 28 Dunhuang

Today we will continue our journey westwards to reach the city of Dunhuang. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. On 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! In Dunhuang we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activities(Included)
Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang

Activities(Optional)
Stopover and time to explore historic Dunhuang - Cost: CNY 20
Take a camel ride at Crescent Moon Lake. - Cost: CNY 240

Day 29 to 30 Turpan

Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the oasis town of Turpan. Estimated Drive Time: 10-13 hours. 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. 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.  On the following day we will have a free day to explore the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins. In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel.
Activities(Included)
Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
Learn about the Karez water system, the ingenious method of irrigating the area that was developed by the Han Dynasty and allowed Turpan to flourish as an oasis town
See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan

Activities(Optional)
See the Emin Minaret, a beautiful Uighur mosque built in the 18th century which is the tallest minaret in China - Cost: CNY 30
Explore the ancient oasis city of Gaochang, once a bustling trading trading centre along the Silk Road - Cost: CNY 40

Day 31 to 32 Heavenly Lake

Today we will continue on to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. Estimated Drive Time: 4-5 hours. We will stay here for 2 nights on the 2nd day we will have an included visit to Heavenly Lake to enjoy the incredible scenery in the Tian Shan Mountains and walk around the lake. In Urumqi we will stay in a local hotel. 

Day 33 to 34 Bayanbulak

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 near Korla or Bayanbulak on our first night and Aksu on our second. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours each day.

Day 35 to 37 Kashgar

Today we complete our journey to the far west of China, arriving in Kashgar, once one of the ancient trading posts on the Silk Route!  Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours. 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. In Kashgar we will stay in a hotel with good facilities.
Activities(Included)
Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market.

Activities(Optional)
Visit the Id Kah Mosque, the finest example of Islamic architecture in Kashgar and the centre of religious life in the city - Cost: CNY 45
Discover the history of the ancient Silk Road at Kashgar's Silk Road Museum - Cost: CNY 45
Visit the mausoleum of the 17th-century religious leader Afaq Khoja, considered the holiest site in Xinjiang Province - Cost: CNY 30

Day 38 Kashgar

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. In the afternoon we will do an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world! Tonight we will stay in a good quality local hotel
Activities(Included)
Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market.
Hike up to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world. 

Day 39 to 40 Tash Rabat

Border Information: Exit China at Torugart, enter Kyrgyzstan at Torugart. 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 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. We will spend 2 nights in Tash Rabat. On the second day we will have time to explore the local area.  Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Activities(Included)
Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai at Tash Rabat, close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border
Cross into Kyrgyzstan via the stunning and remote Torugart Pass in the Tian Shan Mountains

Day 41 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! In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. 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't repeat Kochkor unnecessarily on the next section and can have more time to explore the area of Tash Rabat this morning.
Activities(Included)
Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here

Activities(Optional)
Visit a folklore demonstration near Kockhor where you can learn all about the handicrafts of the area, see a fantastic outdoor concert of traditional music and help to erect a yurt! - Cost: KGS 1000

Day 42 Bishkek

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. In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (from Kochkor).

Day 43 Bishkek

Border Information: if joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport (IATA code: FRU). 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 for you to explore this relaxed and atmospheric city. 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. In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *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!*
Activities(Optional)
Begin our journey in picturesque Bishkek - Cost: USD
Freely explore the vast Osh Bazaar, Bishkek's largest market - Cost: USD
Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square - Cost: KGS 150

Day 44 to 45 Ala Archa

The next 2 days will need to be fairly flexible. Many of the group will apply for Uzbekistan visas in Bishkek. However, the Uzbek Embassy opening times will often vary and therefore our itinerary will need to remain flexible over the next 2 days to accommodate this. As a general guide, we will most likely spend our first night camping in stunning mountainous Ala Archa National Park near to Bishkek. We will then return to Bishkek on the following day in order to submit our visa applications. Once this is process is complete we will continue 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 if time allows. In Chong Kemin and Ala Archa 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. Estimated Drive Times - 3-5 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Activities(Included)
Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan

Activities(Optional)
Explore the beautiful Chong Kemin valley on horseback - Cost: KGS 300
Head out on a white-water rafting adventure through the stunning Chong Kemin valley - Cost: KGS 1800
Walk around the incredible scenery of the Chong Kemin valley - Cost: KGS
Wild camping and hiking in the beauty of Ala Archa Gorge - Cost: USD

Day 46 Karakol

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 Russian-style town of Karakol, where we will have a free evening to explore and relax! In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Activities(Included)
Tourist time: pedalos, sand, sun. On Lake Issyk-Kul, it?s a time warp

Day 47 to 48 Jeti Oguz Valley

Today we drive up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. 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! In Jeti Oguz we will camp close to a local family yurt. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. 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).
Activities(Included)
Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains

Activities(Optional)
Explore the incredible mountain landscapes of the Jeti Oguz Valley by horseback - Cost: KGS 800

Day 49 Kochkor

Today we 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 demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'. 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! In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activities(Included)
Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here
See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor

Activities(Optional)
Visit a folklore demonstration near Kockhor where you can learn all about the handicrafts of the area, see a fantastic outdoor concert of traditional music and help to erect a yurt! - Cost: KGS 1000

Day 50 to 51 Song Koel Lake

Today we will 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 or horse-riding!  At Song Köl we will stay in traditional felt yurts. Estimated Drive Time - 4-7 hours. 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.
Activities(Included)
Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds.

Day 52 to 54 Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

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. 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. Estimated Drive Times - 4-8 hours each day.  
Activities(Included)
Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan

Day 55 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. In Arslanbob we will stay overnight in a local family-run guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Day 56 Fergana Valley

Border information: Exit Kyrgyzstan at Dustlik, enter Uzbekistan at Andijon. Today we will have a full day's drive across the Uzbek border to the eastern city of Fergana. In Fergana we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activities(Included)
See the silk-weavers of the Fergana Valley at the Yodgorlik Silk Factory

Activities(Optional)
Explore the impressive 19th-century Juma Mosque in Kokand in the stunning Fergana Valley - Cost: UZS 17500

Day 57 Tashkent

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. The truck must pass over the Kamchik Pass without passengers and will rejoin us this evening in Tashkent. In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 58 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. We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent. In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Activities(Optional)
Explore urbane Tashkent and experience a surreal cabaret dinner - Cost: USD
Visit the nightclubs and Imperial Russian-style cabaret restaurants of Tashkent - Cost: USD
Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran - Cost: USD 5

Day 59 Samarkand

Today our journey begins with a drive to the fascinating ancient city of Samarkand, where we will stay for the next 3 nights. In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Day 60 to 61 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. On our second day, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.
Activities(Included)
Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world
Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur
Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia
Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire
See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda

Activities(Optional)
Visit to Shakhrisabz city - Cost: USD 20
Wander through the markets and carpet vendors of Samarkand, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the local carpet weavers - Cost: USD

Day 62 Nurata

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a swim in Lake Ajdar Kul and head out on an optional camel ride into the desert! In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activities(Included)
Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts.

Activities(Optional)
Take a short camel ride around the sand dunes of the Kyzylkhum Desert - Cost: UZS 5000

Day 63 Bukhara

Today we will drive to the beautiful city of Bukhara, where will spend the next 3 nights. Our drive will take us via the desert town of Nurata, which we will have a brief stop.  In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Day 64 to 65 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. On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.
Activities(Included)
Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty
Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark
Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared
Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water

Activities(Optional)
See the Indian-style Char Minar Minarets, four towers nestled in a maze of alleyways in downtown Bukhara - Cost: USD
Visit the gruesome museum at the old prison of Zindon - Cost: UZS 4500
Watch an entertaining evening puppet show, featuring many local Uzbek and Tajik poems and songs - Cost: USD 5

Day 66 to 67 Khiva

Today we have a full day drive to the incredible historic town of Khiva.  Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours. On the next day, we have a guided tour of the ancient city of Khiva during the morning. In the afternoon we will have plenty of free time to further explore this wonderfully preserved Khanate town. In Khiva we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activities(Included)
See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva

Day 68 Kunye Urgench

Border Information: Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot. This morning we will drive across the border into Turkmenistan, visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, and explore the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day. We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activities(Included)
Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench

Day 69 Darvaza

Today we continue south through the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!). We will wild camp in the deserts near Darvaza Crater tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Activities(Included)
See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'

Day 70 Ashgabat

Today we will complete our drive to the interesting capital of Ashgabat, usually arriving mid-afternoon. In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 71 Ashgabat

Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. The afternoon will be free to freely explore Ashgabat and its museums.
Activities(Included)
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city

Activities(Optional)
See a myriad of incredible and impressive hand-woven carpets in the Ashgabat Carpet Museum (if open) - Cost: USD 10
Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union - Cost: TMM

Day 72 Turkmenbashi

This morning we have a full days drive to Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. If time permits we will stop at the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake on the way.  Estimated Drive Time - 10 - 11 hours  (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). Our itinerary in Turkmenbashi 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-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here! When applying for your Azerbaijan E Visa please ensure when submitting your application that you state your entry date as arriving a few days prior to the actual date on your trip notes incase your ferry departs earlier than expected.  In Turkmenbashi we will stay in a local hotel for as many nights as is needed until we finally depart on the ferry over the Caspian Sea. Most trips tend to be able to set off on the ferry 1 or 2 days after arriving in Turkmenbashi.  

Day 73 Caspian Sea

From Turkmenbashi, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku in Azerbaijan. 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 highly unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Baku while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.. There will generally only be seats on the ferry overnight
Activities(Optional)
Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Baku and Turkmenbashi - Cost: USD 100

Day 74 to 75 Baku

Border information: Exit Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi, enter Azerbaijan at Baku. Today we plan to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Azerbaijan. We will have free time on these days to explore all the sights of Baku and the surroundings. In Baku we will stay in a local hotel. Please note that we have built in significant time in the above itinerary to allow for delays with the Caspian ferry. If the ferry comes in earlier than this, we may choose to move on from Baku earlier than listed to allow more time exploring the rest of Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Activities(Included)
Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs

Activities(Optional)
Audio Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace - Cost: AZN 10
Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town - Cost: AZN 2.50

Day 76 Baku

Border Information: If joining in Baku, you will most likely enter Azerbaijan at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA code: GYD). There will be an important group meeting at 6.00pm - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Baku.  Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Baku 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 Baku.  In Baku we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.  * 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. *
Activities(Included)
Audio Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace
Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town
Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs

Day 77 Baku

Today we will have free time to explore all the sites of Baku and the surroundings.  In Baku we will stay in a local hotel. 

Day 78 Lahij Village

This morning we will make our way to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains. On the way we will stop in Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea where we will have a visit to the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volcanoes that this area is famous for.  Tonight we will camp with facilities.  Estimated Drive Time 3 - 4 hours
Activities(Included)
Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs

Day 79 Sheki

Leaving the village behind we make our way to the old town of Sheki this morning. Here we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace. In Sheki we will stay in a comfortable hotel built inside an old caravanserai.  Estimated Drive Time 3 -4 hours
Activities(Included)
Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheki
Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797

Day 80 Lagodekhi

Border Information: Exit Azerbaijan at Balakan, enter Georgia at Lagodekhi. Today we will continue our journey west and cross the border into Georgia.  We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodehki National Park shortly after crossing the border.  Estimated Drive Time 3 - 4 hours
Activities(Optional)
Discover the ancient capital of the 16th-century Kingdom of Kakheti at the Gremi Architectural Complex - Cost: GEL 10
Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park - Cost: GEL 5

Day 81 Telavi

Today we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourseves for 2 days to explore this fascinating region. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route, and have a free afternoon on arrival in Telavi to explore the area.  In Telavi we will stay in a local family-run guesthouse.  Estimated Drive Time 2 - 3 hours

Day 82 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. We will spend a 2nd night in a family-run guesthouse
Activities(Included)
Head out on Telavi's 'Big Day Out' - a tour of the town's monasteries, bee-keepers and textile-weavers, followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local family-run winery

Day 83 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 Church (the Church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains.  In Stepantsminda we will stay in a family-run guesthouse.  Estimated Drive Time 4 - 5 hours
Activities(Included)
Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda

Day 84 Mtskheta

We spend the morning in and around Stepantsminda, where we can trek to the Tsminda Sameba Church if we haven't done so already.  This afternoon we have a beautiful drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.  In Mskheta we will stay overnight in a local guesthouse.  Estimated Drive Time 3 -5 hours

Day 85 Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park

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.  In the afternoon we will continue on to Vardzia where we will find a place to wild camp for the night in the stunning valley. If time permits we will have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves this afternoon if not we will have the chance to explore them tomorrow morning also.  Tonight we will wild camp Estimated Drive Time  4 - 5 hours
Activities(Included)
Visit the impressive Vardzia Cave Monastery

Activities(Optional)
Cable Car ride to the pine woods of Borjomi Plateau - Cost: GEL 3

Day 86 Armenian Highlands

We continue south towards the Armenian border this morning. Once we have crossed we will drive through the beautiful Armenian Highlands before finding a place to bush camp for the night.  Tonight we will wild camp Estimated Drive Time 5- 6 hours

Day 87 to 88 Yerevan

Today we will make our way to the city of Yerevan. On the way we will have an included visit to Khor Virap Monastery.  We will have 2 nights in Yerevan on the 2nd day we will have free time for optional activities or simply relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere.  Estimated Drive Time 4 - 5 hours For the next 2 nights we will stay in a comfortable hotel. 
Activities(Included)
Visit the Garni Temple and learn about its fascinating pre-Christian history
Visit the Medieval Geghard Monastery
Explore the beautiful Khor Virap Monastery near the Turkish border. On a clear day you will have stunning views of Mt Ararat in the background.

Activities(Optional)
Take a tour of the Ararat Brandy Museum and discover the history of Armenian Brandy - Cost: USD 25

Day 89 Lake Sevan

We will leave the city of Yerevan behind this morning and make our way to 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 we continue onto the beautiful Lake Sevan. Tonight we will camp by the sparkling waters of Lake Sevan Estimated Drive Time 4 -5 hours
Activities(Included)
Camp on the shores of Lake Sevan 

Day 90 Tbilisi

Today we will be driving through the beautiful Dilijan National Park before arriving at the Georgian Border. Once the formalities are over we will continue onto the ancient city of Tbilisi.  Tonight we will stay in a good quality hotel in the city.  Estimated Drive Time 

Day 91 Tbilisi

Border Information: If you are leaving in Tbilisi, you will most likely exit Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tbilisi. 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 acitivities listed below. 
Activities(Optional)
Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi - Cost: GEL 35
Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation - Cost: GEL 3
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below - Cost: GEL
Relax with a dip or a massage at a traditional Georgian sulphur bath house - Cost: GEL 2
Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town - Cost: GEL
Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography - Cost: GEL 1.5
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia - Cost: GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church - Cost: GEL
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Overland expedition vehicle, Jeep, Public bus, Russian bus, Taxi, Boat, Metro

Silk Road & the Great Wall

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