Beijing to Istanbul

Beijing to Istanbul information and booking

from
$11665
  • Duration
    96
    days
  • Physical rating
    6
  • Culture Shock
    8
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Departs from
Beijing
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities), Camping (with facilities), Cave house, Guesthouse, Homestay, Hostel, Hotel, Overnight ferry, Yurt
Group Size
Maximum of 21 travellers per group
Transportation
Overland vehicle, Overnight ferry
Important Notes
1. This trip visits multiple countries for which visas can be difficult and time consuming to obtain. Please ensure that you have enough time to apply for all visas you require before booking this trip. 2. Some destinations visited on this trip do not have consulates in Australia and New Zealand. We recommend that travellers from these countries book the WESTBOUND itinerary of this trip where some visas can be obtained en route. 3. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights. 4. Combination trip. Please see Trip Notes (Important Notes) for more details. 5. Local Partner: Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.

Highlights

Wander through Beijing’s Forbidden City, Explore the temple and pagoda studded Kongtong Mountain, Climb deserted sections of the Great Wall of China, Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, Admire the Buddhist art at the Mogao Caves, Cross the infamous Torugart Pass from Kyrgyzstan to China, See the dramatic glaciers adorning the Ala Archa Canyon, Admire quaint Karakol, Meet local shepherds on a yurt stay, Explore the historic town of Bukhara, Walk the ancient walls of Khiva, Discover the romance of the Silk Road in Samarkand, Explore the hub of East and West in Istanbul

Tour description provided by Intrepid

Get ready for a massive Overland adventure from the metropolitan mammoth of Beijing to Istanbul’s bustling bazaars. Travel through some of Asia’s most remote, wild and unique wildernesses along the legendary Silk Road from China. See Istanbul’s famous blue mosque; pass through Uzbekistan’s soaring mountain vistas; tour Xi’an’s famous Terracotta Warriors; and discover secluded sections of the snaking Great Wall of China. From Beijing to Baku and beyond, this adventure encompasses the very best of Central Asia and the Middle East. If you're longing for an epic overland odyssey, away from the tourist crowds, Beijing to Istanbul is just for you.

Itinerary

Days 1-2 Beijing
Beijing has a long and colourful history and this rapidly modernising city is an amazing whirl of ancient sites, modern buildings, bicycles, people, shops and eateries.
Days 3-4 Chengde
Sitting pretty in the mountains, Chengde is a breath of fresh air, especially the enchanting Mountain Resort which is a former royal summer residence.
Day 5 Jinshanling
Jinshanling is a mountainous area with an attractive section of the Great Wall, which zigzags up the steep terrain and straddles peaks like a suspension bridge.
Days 6-7 Datong
Bordering Inner Mongolia, Datong is a coal rich city that founded in 200BC and is the gateway to the incredible Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery.
Days 8-9 Wutai Shan
Wutai Shan is also called 'Five Plateau Mountain', and is home to the Bodhisattva of wisdom and harbours some of China's most sacred monasteries and temples.
Days 10-11 Pingyao
Walking through the beautifully preserved streets of Pingyao is like stepping back into Imperial China with red lanterns lighting streets, imposing city walls and traditional buildings at every turn.
Day 12 Lijiashan
With cave dwellings adorning the hills around Lijiashan, this fascinating town is a definite highlight of any trip to China.
Days 13-14 Yan'an
Yan'an was where Mao's Long March ended in 1935, and was the Communist Party's base until 1948 - it's also filled with cultural sites and nature to enjoy.
Days 15-18 Xi'an
As the start of the ancient trading route the Silk Road and an imperial centre for 2,000 years, Xi'an has a fascinating history and rich cultural sites to discover.
Day 19 Pingliang
Pingliang is a city in China's Gansu Province that is overlooked by the beautiful and sacred Kongtong Mountains.
Day 20 Lanzhou
With the Yellow River running through the city, Lanzhou has a number of interesting mosques, temples, parks and museums to visit.
Days 21-22 Xiahe
The colours of Tibet can be seen on the streets of Xiahe, a celebrated town for Tibetans due to the Labrang Monastery and its stunning surrounding landscapes.
Day 23 Liujiaxia
Liujiaxia lies along the Yellow River and is known for its hydroelectric power station and close proximity to the intriguing Bingling Si Caves.
Day 24 Zhangye Bush Camp
Formerly known as Ganzhou, Zhangye was an important stop along the Silk Road and is close to the intriguing multi-coloured Danxia landforms.
Day 25 Jiayuguan Great Wall
Home to a 14th-century fort and a well-preserved part of the Great Wall, Jiayuguan is a legendary part of the Silk Road marking the line between China and barbarity.
Days 26-27 Dunhuang
Once an important stop on the Silk Road and a city of incredible historical and cultural riches, Dunhuang is a spectacular desert oasis.
Day 28 Hami Bush Camp
Spend the night in a wild camp beneath the desert stars.
Days 29-30 Turpan
Once an important staging post on the Silk Road, Turpan is an attractive town famous for its vineyards, stone fruits, melons and the nearby Flaming Mountains.
Days 31-32 Heavenly Lake
With the bluest of blue waters, tiered mountains of green and white, and soft, billowy clouds moving across the sky, no wonder this is called Heavenly Lake.
Days 33-34 Bayanbulak & Aksu Bush Camps
The Taklamakan Desert covers an immense area of northwest China and while a treacherous part of the Silk Road journey, stunning sunsets and sunrises have long enthralled travellers.
Days 35-37 Kashgar
Traditionally an important trading city along the Silk Road, Kashgar is still at the crossroads of trade due to its location in the heart of Central Asia.
Day 38 Karakol
Set off early to get to stunning Lake Karakol. Spend the day wallowing in the surrounds of this magnificent setting.
Day 39 Kashgar
Hike the lakeside mountains to wear yourself out before the drive back to Kashgar. Take time out in comfort this evening to relax and recuperate.
Day 40 Tash Rabat
Take a good book as today's lengthy border crossing meanders through the Torugart pass and into Kyrgyzstan.
Day 41 Kochkor
Spend some time getting to know the locals of Kochkor with a traditional Kyrgyz homestay and experience a glimpse of daily life.
Days 42-43 Bishkek
Driving into the capital city, explore the crowded bazaars and vast bustling squares of this modern city.
Days 44-45 Chong Kemin Valley & Ala Archa Gorge
Set off on a leisurely hike along Chong Kemin River. Or if feeling adventurous, perhaps tackle one of the tough 4000 m passes.
Day 46 Karakol
Enjoy the remote, picturesque town of Karakol, complete with quaint tree-lined streets and colonial houses.
Days 47-48 Jeti-Oghuz Valley
Hike through dramatic canyons and sandstone cliffs in Jeti-Oghuz Valley
Day 49 Kochkor
Enjoy more traditional Kyrgyz hospitality on a homestay in Kochkor village.
Days 50-51 Song Kul Lake
Stay in traditional yurt accommodation and experience nomad life in the lush pastures surrounding the beautiful Song-Kol Lake.
Days 52-54 Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
Spend a leisurely three days journeying through the stunning mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan's Fergana Valley.
Day 55 Arslanbob
Make tracks across the Ferghana Valley to Arslanbob.
Day 56 Fergana City
Enter Uzbekistan and see the palace of the former Khan of Kokand.
Day 57 Tashkent
Arrive in Tashkent, the final stop on this tour. Shop for fresh produce at the Chorsu Bazaar and perhaps grab some Soviet paraphernalia from a market.
Day 58 Tashkent
Start the journey in the most modern of Uzbekistan’s cities, Tashkent. Visit the Chorsu Bazaar to pick up Soviet-style souvenirs and admire the ornately decorated Kukeldash Medressa.
Days 59-61 Samarkand
Travel to one of Central Asia's most magical cities, Uzbekistan’s Samarkand. Discover the romance of the Silk Road in this perfectly preserved city full of exotic architecture and majestic buildings.
Day 62 Nurata
Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
Days 63-65 Bukhara
Get to know Central Asia's holiest city, where the combination of buildings spanning a thousand years and a thoroughly lived-in Old Town combine to create an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Days 66-67 Khiva
Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva and imagine how they once provided sanctuary for weary Silk Road travellers. Explore the historic and perfectly preserved Old Town, beautifully decorated in classic turquoise tiles.
Day 68 Konye-Urgench
Follow a local trading route through harsh desert sands, and meet the nomadic people who call this inhospitable region home.
Day 69 Darvaza
Drive across the Karakum Desert. If time allows, see the amazing Darvaza Gas Crater.
Days 70-72 Ashgabat
End your adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat's skyline. Spy the world's largest hand-woven rug or learn about the city's traumatic history at the Earthquake Museum.
Day 73 Geok-Depe
Travel to the spectacular Kow Ata underground lake. Take a walk around - and perhaps dip a foot into - the incongruously warm waters before continuing on and making camp for the night.
Day 75 Overnight Ferry
Continue the adventure by boarding an overnight freight ferry and travelling across the Caspian sea toward Azerbaijan. Rusty, rugged but full of memorable moments, this intrepid experience is grassroots adventuring at it's finest
Days 76-78 Baku
Explore Azerbaijan's rapidly evolving capital. Stroll the Old Town for a hint of the regions medieval past, check out the cosmopolitan cafe culture and be romanced by the leafy parks on the seaside promenade.
Day 79 Qobustan
Drop by the geologically themed town of Gobustan, known for it's rock art and mud volcanoes.
Day 80 Sheki
Continue to the cobblestone streets and forested hills of Sheki. Explore the exquisite Khan's Palace and the Museum of History for a solid dose of Silk Road heritage.
Day 81 Lagodekhi
Cross the border into Georgia and get acquainted by the lush surrounds of the Alazani valley.
Days 82-83 Telavi
Enter into Georgia's famed wine country and spend two days exploring the vineyard clad town of Talavi. Sample unique local drops, and keep an eye out for local traditions such as grape harvests and the keipi (banquet). Then, work off all that wine-tasting by taking a walk to the sixth century Shaumta Monastery, which is beautifully located on an isolated forest hilltop.
Days 84-86 Tbilisi
End the adventure in Tbilisi, one of Europe's most regal, yet largely under appreciated cities. Spend free time perusing the fine architecture, and perhaps climb to the top of Narikala Fortress for a view over the surrounding hills.
Day 87 Gori
Another day, another glorious set of hillside scenery.With a name meaning 'hill', Gori was the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. History buffs will revel in a chance to visit to the Stalin museum, which houses artefacts that provide an insight into his early life.
Day 88 Kutaisi
Get a dose of Georgian history in Kutasi - one of the oldest cities in the world. Enjoy a guided walk around the ruins of Bragrati Cathedral before getting an unique insight into Georgian life by spending the night at the home of a local family.
Day 89 Batumi
Swap the hills for the Black Sea coast and explore the picturesque port town of Batumi. Perhaps settle in at a riverside cafe and sip a Turkish Coffee while watching the ships go by.
Day 90 Sumela
Cross the border to Turkey and climb into the incredible Sumela Monastry. Nestled high in the cliffs above the evergreen forests and rushing streams of Altindere National Park, this peaceful sanctuary is the perfect place to take some time out and breathe the fresh air of the Turkish countryside.
Day 91 Zara
Continue to Zara and watch the changing landscapes of rural Turkey pass by.
Days 92-94 Goreme
Admire the otherworldly cone formations of Goreme, a truly unique location in the heart of Cappadocia. Perhaps enjoy a guided tour of the network of honeycombed caves that have formed an underground city, complete with churches and dwellings, or take to the skies on a hot air balloon to see this dramatic landscape from above.
Day 95 Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul, a city that has for centuries been the crossroads of the East and West. Take in the aromatic smells of the thousands of bazaars that line the streets, browse stunning islamic architecture and see why Istanbul is one of the world's most exotic, invigorating cities.