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Mountains of the Caucasus & Mongolia Tbilisi - Ulaanbaatar

Trip Overview

This 110 day overland tour journeys from Tbilisi to Ulaanbaatar through Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.
1 DAYS THROUGH Azerbaijan, China (+ 5 more countries)
RATING:
of 0 reviews
PRICE FROM:
N / A
DURATION:
1 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, Jeep, Public bus, Russian bus, Taxi, Boat, Overnight boat, Metro
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
25%
75%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ERU
DEPOSIT:
$ USD

Highlights

  Explore the mud Volcanoes and wilds of Gobustan

  Wild camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan

  Guided tour of Xi'an's world famous Terracotta Warriors

  3 days overlanding through the stunning Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

  Unique experience of crossing the Caspian sea by ferry

  Explore the colourful natural phenomenon of the Rainbow Mountains

  Stay in traditional felt yurts at the incredible Song KÃÖl Lake

  Wild camp near the 'Door to Hell' Darvaza Crater

  Visit Georgian vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting

  Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheiki

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.
Day 1 - Tbilisi ( 16th Sep 2019 )

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

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6:00pm - please meet at the joining hotel reception at this time. Please do not be alarmed if there is no note from you leader on arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the crew and they will not arrive until about 4:00pm. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi.

In Tbilisi 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.*

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi

GEL 35
Day 2 - Tbilisi ( 17th Sep 2019 )

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

We will have a second night in our comfortable local hotel in Tbilisi.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation
GEL 3
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below
Free
Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography
GEL 1.5

Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town

Free
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church
Free
Day 3 - Telavi ( 18th Sep 2019 )

This morning we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourselves for 2 days to explore this fascinating region. We will have a free afternoon to explore the area on arrival.

In Telavi we will stay in a local family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 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 4 - Telavi ( 19th Sep 2019 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 5 - Lagodekhi ( 20th Sep 2019 )

Today we leave the wine region behind us as we make our way towards the Azerbaijan border. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Discover the ancient capital of the 16th-century Kingdom of Kakheti at the Gremi Architectural Complex

GEL 10

Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park

GEL 5
Day 6 - Sheki ( 21st Sep 2019 )

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

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

In Sheki we will stay in a comfortable hotel built inside an old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheki

Included in Kitty

Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797

Included in Kitty
Day 7 - Gobustan ( 22nd Sep 2019 )

Today we will continue our journey to Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea. Whilst here we will visit the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volcanoes that this area is famous for.

In Gobustan we will wild camp near the mud volcanoes.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs

Included in Kitty

Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Included in Kitty
Day 8-10 - Baku ( 23rd Sep 2019 to 25th Sep 2019 )

This morning we have a short drive to the Azeri capital, Baku. During our time in Baku we will have free time to explore all the sights of the city and the surroundings.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

Our itinerary in Baku and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here! 

In Baku 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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town

Included in Kitty

Audio Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace

Included in Kitty
Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Included in Kitty
Day 11 - Caspian Sea ( 26th Sep 2019 )

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

The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board.

Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also very unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Turkmenbashi while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.

There will be basic cabins on the ferry overnight.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Baku and Turkmenbashi
Included in Kitty
Day 12 - Turkmenbashi ( 27th Sep 2019 )

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

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

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

Turkemenistan Visa Note - as the timing of the Caspian ferry crossing can be very unpredictable, please get your Turkmenistan visa issued with at least 2 'flexible' days before the entry date listed on these notes. If you arrange the visa through The Visa Machine they will be aware of all the correct dates for your visa according to the date of your trip. Please see the detailed visa notes below.

Day 13 - Geok Tepe ( 28th Sep 2019 )

Today, if we are off the ferry in good time by this stage, we will continue our drive to the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake. We will have some time either this afternoon or tomorrow morning to explore this superb lake of naturally-heated clear water.

Tonight we will wild camp in the area of Kow Ata or Geok Tepe.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore Turkmenistan's unique underground lake at Kow Ata and swim in waters naturally heated to around 36°C

Included in Kitty
Day 14 - Ashgabat ( 29th Sep 2019 )

This morning we have a short drive to Turkmenistan's bizarre modern capital, Ashgabat. This afternoon we will have some free time to explore.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

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
Free
Day 15 - Ashgabat ( 30th Sep 2019 )

Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. In the afternoon we have the option of visiting the famous Ashgabat Sunday Market.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore, shop and haggle at the vast Tolkuchka Sunday Market

Included in Kitty
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn about the history and culture of Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in Ashgabat

USD 10
Day 16 - Ashgabat ( 1st Oct 2019 )

Border Information: If finishing in Ashgabat, you will most likely exit Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

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 the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Day 17 - Ashgabat ( 2nd Oct 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport.

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.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. In the afternoon we have the option of visiting the famous Ashgabat Sunday Market.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*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.*

Day 18 - Darvaza ( 3rd Oct 2019 )

Today we set off north from Ashgabat and head into the Karakum Desert. We will have an included side trip to the amazing flaming Darvaza Gas Crater (also known as the 'Door to Hell'!).

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

Estimated Drive Time - 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 19 - Kunye Urgench ( 4th Oct 2019 )

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

We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 20-21 - Khiva ( 5th Oct 2019 to 6th Oct 2019 )

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

This morning we will visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, before driving across the border into Uzbekistan and continue to the beautiful historic town of Khiva. 

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

The following 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.

Day 22 - Bukhara ( 7th Oct 2019 )

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

In Bukhara we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

Day 23-24 - Bukhara ( 8th Oct 2019 to 9th Oct 2019 )

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.

Day 25 - Nurata ( 10th Oct 2019 )

Today we will drive into the Kyzylkhum Desert near the town of Nurata. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to head out on an optional camel ride into the desert!

Tonight we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 26 - Samarkand ( 11th Oct 2019 )

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

In Samarkand we will stay in a good hotel on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 27-28 - Samarkand ( 12th Oct 2019 to 13th Oct 2019 )

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 here, we will have a free day to further explore the beautiful city and its surroundings.

Day 29 - Tashkent ( 14th Oct 2019 )

This morning we will have a little more free time to explore more of Samarkand. After lunch we will drive to the Soviet city of Tashkent.

In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 30 - Tashkent ( 15th Oct 2019 )

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

Day 31 - Tashkent ( 16th Oct 2019 )

Border Information: if finishing in Tashkent, you will most likely exit Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport.

Today we will have more free time to explore Tashkent. Please note that if you are leaving in Tashkent, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight.

Day 32 - Tashkent ( 17th Oct 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport.

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore this old Soviet city.

In Tashkent 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!*

Day 33 - Fergana Mountains, Fergana City, Fergana Valley ( 18th Oct 2019 )

This morning we travel in local transport over the Kamchik Pass 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 to Ferghana. 

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

In Ferghana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 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 34 - Arslanbob ( 19th Oct 2019 )

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

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

Once we have crossed the border we continue our journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan's Ferghana Valley - if we are delayed at the border 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 - 8 hours.

Day 35-37 - Kyrgyz Fergana Valley ( 20th Oct 2019 to 22nd Oct 2019 )

We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Ferghana 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.

Drive times - 4-8 hours per day.

Day 38-39 - Song Köl Lake ( 23rd Oct 2019 to 24th Oct 2019 )

Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song-Kul 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, horse-riding or watching a game of goat polo! 

At Song-Kul we will stay in traditional felt yurts.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-8 hours.

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

Day 40 - Kochkor ( 25th Oct 2019 )

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 - 6 hours.

Day 41-42 - Jeti Oguz Valley ( 26th Oct 2019 to 27th Oct 2019 )

Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti-Oghuz. En route we will have an included demonstation from a local 'eagle hunter'.

The next day we will have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads!

In Jeti-Oghuz we will camp close to a local family yurt.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti-Oghuz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti-Oghuz Valley (allowing time for some day walks) and then move via a stunning and incredible drive up a mountain in a Russian 4x4 truck to Altyn Arashan, a hot spring development in a stunning alpine setting, staying in dormitory accommodation.

Day 43 - Karakol ( 28th Oct 2019 )

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

In Karakol we will stay in a decent local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

Day 44-45 - Chong Kemin Valley, Cholpon Ata ( 29th Oct 2019 to 30th Oct 2019 )

Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon-Ata. We will then continue to the beautiful area of Chong Kemin where we will spend 2 nights.

The next day we will have a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area, or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion!

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.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 46 - Bishkek ( 31st Oct 2019 )

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

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 47 - Bishkek ( 1st Nov 2019 )

Border Information: if finishing in Bishkek, you will most likely exit Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport.

Today we will have free time to explore Bishkek. Please note that if you are leaving in Bishkek, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight.

Day 48 - Bishkek ( 2nd Nov 2019 )

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

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

In Bishkek we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Asia Mountains
Hotel Asia Mountains
1a Lineinaja St
Bishkek 720021
Kyrgyzstan
Tel: +996 312 694 075

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Begin our journey in picturesque Bishkek

Free

Freely explore the vast Osh Bazaar, Bishkek's largest market

Free
Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square
KGS 150
Day 49 - Kochkor ( 3rd Nov 2019 )

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 - 3-4 hours.

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

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village

Included in Kitty

See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

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!
KGS 1000
Day 50 - Tash Rabat ( 4th Nov 2019 )

Today we continue our journey south to Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the Silk Road close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border. During our time here we will visit an ancient caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area.

In Tash Rabat we will wild camp. In cold weather (or if simply the group prefers and there is availability), we may choose to stay in local nomadic yurts that are set up for guests near the caravanserai, sleeping 8-10 people per yurt.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (from Kochkor).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai at Tash Rabat, close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border

Included in Kitty
Day 51 - Kashgar ( 5th Nov 2019 )

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

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

In Kashgar we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 52 - Lake Karakol ( 6th Nov 2019 )

Today we will set off on a stunning journey along the Karakoram highway to Lake Karakol. The drive takes us up past some truly incredible mountain scenery and underneath a few 7000m peaks, including Mustagh Ata.

Near Lake Karakol we will stay in local nomadic yurts, sleeping 6-8 people per yurt. Provisions here are very basic, but the scenery is incredible and it is an interesting glimpse into the way of life of the local Uighurs.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 53 - Kashgar ( 7th Nov 2019 )

This morning we will journey back along the beautiful mountain road to Kashgar.

The remainder of the day will be free to explore the old town.

In Kashgar we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market.

Free

Visit the Id Kah Mosque, the finest example of Islamic architecture in Kashgar and the centre of religious life in the city

CNY 45

Discover the history of the ancient Silk Road at Kashgar's Silk Road Museum

CNY 45

Visit the mausoleum of the 17th-century religious leader Afaq Khoja, considered the holiest site in Xinjiang Province

CNY 30
Day 54 - Kashgar ( 8th Nov 2019 )

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

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

If you are arriving by truck to Kashgar, we will drive from Lake Karakul and the Karakoram Highway back to the city, arriving mid afternoon.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kashgar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kashgar.

In Kashgar we will stay in a hotel with good facilities.

Day 55-56 - Kashgar ( 9th Nov 2019 to 10th Nov 2019 )

Today we will visit the animal market just outside of town, and then the famous Kashgar Sunday Bazaar.

The following day we will have a free day to explore the town, the central Id Kah Mosque and its surrounding square, while your crew finalise the customs procedures for our truck to continue further into China.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore Kashgar's Sunday market and Animal market.

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Id Kah Mosque, the finest example of Islamic architecture in Kashgar and the centre of religious life in the city

CNY 45

Discover the history of the ancient Silk Road at Kashgar's Silk Road Museum

CNY 45

Visit the mausoleum of the 17th-century religious leader Afaq Khoja, considered the holiest site in Xinjiang Province

CNY 30
Day 57-58 - Aksu, Bayanbulak ( 11th Nov 2019 to 12th Nov 2019 )

Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamakan Desert! Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to wild camp near Aksu on our first night and near Korla or Bayanbulak on our second.

Please note that occasionally the police insist that we do not camp in times of political tension - in this case we will stay in local hotels in the small towns en route.

Estimated Drive Times - 8-9 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!).

Day 59-60 - Heavenly Lake ( 13th Nov 2019 to 14th Nov 2019 )

Today we will complete our drive through the Taklamakan Desert and arrive at Heavenly Lake, a beautiful lake set in the Tian Shan mountains.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

We will stay here for 2 nights, and will have many opportunities to relax in the incredible scenery and walk around the lake.

In Heavenly Lake we will stay in local yurts with very basic facilities.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Enjoy a day to walk around Heavely Lake, or maybe take the boat out onto the water. 

Included in Kitty
Day 61-62 - Turpan ( 15th Nov 2019 to 16th Nov 2019 )

Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we stay for 2 days exploring the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins.

In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan

Included in Kitty

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

Included in Kitty
See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the Emin Minaret, a beautiful Uighur mosque built in the 18th century which is the tallest minaret in China
CNY 30
Explore the ancient oasis city of Gaochang, once a bustling trading trading centre along the Silk Road
CNY 40
Day 63-64 - Dunhuang ( 17th Nov 2019 to 18th Nov 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

Please note that sometimes it may be preferred by the group and the leader to split this drive over 2 days, wild camping in between - in this case we will have 1 less night in Pingliang towards the end of the trip.

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Stopover and time to explore historic Dunhuang

CNY 20

Take a camel ride at Crescent Moon Lake.

CNY 240
Day 65 - Jiayuguan ( 19th Nov 2019 )

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

We will wild camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall

Included in Kitty
Day 66 - Zhangye ( 20th Nov 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains

Included in Kitty
Day 67 - Liujiaxia ( 21st Nov 2019 )

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

In Liujiaxia we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

Day 68-70 - Xiahe, Bingling Si ( 22nd Nov 2019 to 24th Nov 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Climb up onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan Plateau

Free

3 night detour to the Tibetan town of Xiahe, one of the main pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists

Free
Take a day trip up into the Sangke or Ganjia grasslands of the lower Tibetan Plateau surrounding Xiahe
CNY 400
Day 71 - Lanzhou ( 25th Nov 2019 )

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

In Lanzhou we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Day 72-73 - Pingliang ( 26th Nov 2019 to 27th Nov 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

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

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples

Included in Kitty
Day 74 - Xi'an ( 28th Nov 2019 )

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

In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 75 - Xi'an ( 29th Nov 2019 )

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

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

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

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

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world

CNY 90

Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China

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

CNY 30

Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures

CNY 90

Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset

CNY 50

Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties

CNY 90

Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057

CNY 75
Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens
Free
Day 76 - Xi'an ( 30th Nov 2019 )

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'!

There will be a group meeting today at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting.

This afternoon 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.

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 77 - Xi'an ( 1st Dec 2019 )

Today we will have a free day to explore the city of Xi'an, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset

CNY 50

Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China

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

CNY 30

Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures

CNY 90

Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world

CNY 90

Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties

CNY 90

Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057

CNY 75
Day 78 - Yan'an ( 2nd Dec 2019 )

Today we make our way to the city of Yan'an. 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.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 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!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the Revolution Museum and the Yangjialing Headquarters site, the former headquarters of Mao Tse Tung's Communist Party during the revolution

Included in Kitty
Day 79 - Lijiashan ( 3rd Dec 2019 )

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.

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 - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Stay overnight in a local guesthouse built into a cave, in the cliff-side village of Lijiashan
Included in Kitty
Day 80-82 - Pingyao, Lijiashan ( 4th Dec 2019 to 6th Dec 2019 )

We will set off early this morning for an included visit to the Black Dragon Temple just outside of Lijiashan. We will then drive to China's best-preserved ancient walled town, Pingyao.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

We will stay for 3 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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the beautiful and ornate Black Dragon temple near Lijiashan

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the old town of Pingyao, a well preserved walled city that offers a fantastic glimpse into 'Old China'

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the incredible Shuanglin Temple near Pingyao, with its 2000 colourful sculptures of various gods and warriors

CNY 25

Visit the 10th-century Zhenguo Temple, one of the oldest wooden buildings in China

CNY 25
Take a day trip out to the impressive Wang family compound and the Zhang Bi underground village near Pingyao
CNY 205
Take a day trip to the photogenic Mian Shan Mountain Resort, and explore the incredible array of buildings and scenery there
CNY 160
Day 83-84 - Wutai Shan ( 7th Dec 2019 to 8th Dec 2019 )

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.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the myriad of temples at Wutai Shan, one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism

Included in Kitty
Day 85-86 - Datong ( 9th Dec 2019 to 10th Dec 2019 )

Today we will drive to the city of Datong. 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 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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

2 nights to explore Datong's Hanging Monastery and the stunning Yungang Caves

Included in Kitty
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
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the beautiful and ornate Nine Dragon Screen, a screen of glazed tiles depicting nine multi-coloured interweaving dragons
CNY 10
Day 87 - Jinshanling ( 11th Dec 2019 )

This morning we will 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 and the following morning to thoroughly explore and walk along the Great Wall.

In Jinshanling we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Fully explore the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Jinshanling, one of the most spectacular stone sections of the wall

Included in Kitty
Day 88-89 - Chengde ( 12th Dec 2019 to 13th Dec 2019 )

This morning we will spend some more time exploring the Great Wall of China. We will then continue with a short drive to the city of Chengde.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
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
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the beautiful Putuo Zongcheng Temple, modelled after the famous Potala Palace in Tibet
CNY 80
Day 90-91 - Beijing ( 14th Dec 2019 to 15th Dec 2019 )

Today we complete our journey to China's chaotic and evocative capital, Beijing!

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

On the following day 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 fully explore the many sights, sounds and flavours of Beijing.

In Beijing we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Discover all about the varied and interesting history of China at the National Museum, with its huge collection of over a million artifacts

Free

Head out to see an acrobatic or martial arts show in Beijing, always an incredible mix of athleticism and choreography

CNY 250

Explore the Ming Tombs

CNY 60
Explore the vast Temple of Heaven, once the site of an annual religious ceremony conducted by the Emporer to pray for a good harvest
CNY 10
Visit the beautiful Tibetan-style Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple) in Beijing
Free

See the iconic modern 'Bird's Nest' Stadium, the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games

CNY 50
Day 92 - Beijing ( 16th Dec 2019 )

Border Information: if leaving in Beijing, you will most likely exit China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK).

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

Day 93 - Beijing ( 17th Dec 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Beijing, you will most likely enter China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK).

There will be a short group meeting today at 10:00am - 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.

Day 94 - Erlian ( 18th Dec 2019 )

Today we leave the Chinese capital behind us as we begin our overland journey towards Mongolia. Today will be a long drive day to reach the border town of Erlian.

We will either wild camp outside Erlian or stay in a basic local hotel, depending on weather conditions and group preferences.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 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 95 - Sainshand ( 19th Dec 2019 )

Border information: Exit China at Erlian, enter Mongolia at Zamyn-Uud.

This morning we cross the border into Mongolia. Please be aware that border procedures can take around 5 hours here. Once we have made it into Mongolia we will continue our overland journey north.

We will aim to wild camp near the town of Sainshand tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Khamaryn Khiid Monastery near Sainshand, dedicated to Danzan Ravjaa, a 19th-century religious leader of the 'Red Hat' branch of Buddhism
Free
Visit the modern working Buddhist monastery of Dechinchoinkhorlin Khiid, near Sainshand
Free
Day 96 - Choir ( 20th Dec 2019 )

This morning we may have the opportunity to visit the Dechinchoinkhorlin Monastery in Sainshand before we continue our drive towards Ulaanbaatar (please note this is not always open for visitors).

We aim to wild camp near the town of Choir tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Day 97 - Ulaanbaatar ( 21st Dec 2019 )

Today we will drive the remaining distance to Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar. We will have a free afternoon until the joining meeting for the Mongolia loop at 6:00pm.

In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 98 - Ulaanbaatar ( 22nd Dec 2019 )

Border information: If you are joining in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely enter Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport.

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!

In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Day 99 - Ulaanbaatar ( 23rd Dec 2019 )

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.

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 peoples lives, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers.

Day 100 - Ögii Lake ( 24th Dec 2019 )

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.

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.

After our visit to the ruins we will drive to Ögii 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.

In Ögii Lake we will stay in a local nomadic ger-tent camp set up for guests. These are large gers, each usually containing 2 or 4 beds.

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.

Day 101 - Kharkhorin ( 25th Dec 2019 )

Today we have an early start as we head to Mongolia's earliest capital, Kharkhorin (otherwise known as Karakoram).

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.

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.

In Kharkhorin we will stay in a ger camp.

Day 102-103 - Orkhon Valley ( 26th Dec 2019 to 27th Dec 2019 )

Today we head south, driving into the stunning region of the Orkhon Valley. We will drive to the beautiful volcanic canyon that runs along the Orkhon River and we can take an easy hike along the canyon ending near a pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfalls where we can take a cool swim!

We will wild camp in a remote area of the Orkhon Valley tonight.

The following day 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.

After our visit we will wild camp nearby.

Please note that on occasion it is impossible to rech the Tuvkhon Monastery due to river flooding or the ground being impassable - the roads are in a particularly bad state here and are very susceptible to being rendered impossible to drive on if there has been rain recently. Although we will do our best to make this visit, your understanding is appreciated if we cannot.

Please also note that the order of our visits to the 2 main highlights in the Orkhon Valley is interchangable, depending on the road conditions.

Day 104-105 - Tsenkher ( 28th Dec 2019 to 29th Dec 2019 )

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.

We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at 82°C, and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak.

The following day 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.

In Tsenkher we will stay at a ger camp.

Day 106 - Tsetserleg, Tamir River ( 30th Dec 2019 )

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.

We will then continue our journey north past the Tamir river, and will wild camp tonight.

Day 107 - Chuulut Canyon ( 31st Dec 2019 )

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.

In Khorgo we will stay at a nearby ger camp.

Day 108 - Khorgo ( 1st Jan 2020 )

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.

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.

Day 109-110 - Mörön, Zuun Lake ( 2nd Jan 2020 to 3rd Jan 2020 )

Over the next few days we continue driving north on one of Mongolia's most beautiful routes, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks! We will pass by the beautiful alpine Lake Zuun en route. 

We hope to arrive at Mörön, the provincial capital, the following 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.

We will aim to wild camp near Zuun Lake and near the town of Mörön.

Day 111-112 - Khövsgöl Lake ( 4th Jan 2020 to 5th Jan 2020 )

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 Khövsgöl Lake.

Khövsgöl 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.

The following day 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'.

In Khövsgöl Lake we will stay at a ger camp.

Day 113-115 - Bulgan, Selenge River ( 6th Jan 2020 to 8th Jan 2020 )

We will spend the next 3 days crossing central-northern Mongolia on our way back towards the capital of Ulanbaatar. The long road offers diversified landscapes, from vast, open steppes to beautiful sand dunes.

We will aim to wildcamp in the plains east of Mörön on the first day of this journey, by the Selenge River on the next day, and on the outskirts of the town of Bulgan on the day after that.

Day 116 - Amarbayasgalant Monastery ( 9th Jan 2020 )

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.

Tonight we will wild camp near the monastery.

Day 117 - Ulaanbaatar ( 10th Jan 2020 )

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!

In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in our comfortable joining hotel.

Day 118 - Ulaanbaatar ( 11th Jan 2020 )

Border information: If you are leaving in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely exit Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport.

Today is a free day to further explore the city of Ulaanbaatar.

Please note that if you are leaving in Ulaanbaatar, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight.

 

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We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.