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Xi’an to Istanbul Overland

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Xi’an to Istanbul Overland

From: AUD $14,712.00

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Product Description

Highlights

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

Overview

Get ready for a massive Overland adventure from the metropolitan mammoth of Xi’an 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;This adventure encompasses the very best of Central Asia. If you’re longing for an epic overland odyssey Xi’an to Istanbul is just for you.



Breakfast Included: 3

Lunches Included: 3

Dinner Included: 3

Xi'an to Istanbul Overland 1 Xi'an to Istanbul Overland 2Xi'an to Istanbul Overland 3Xi'an to Istanbul Overland 4

 

 

Trip Dates

Start Date End Date Price Room Type Status
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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. Hotel for the night: Skytel Hotel Skytel Hotel Xi'an No. 32 South Avenue (Nan Dajie) Beilin District Xi'an Shaanxi Province China Tel - +86 29 8763 2222 Activity Approximate Cost Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset CNY 40 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 Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 CNY 50 Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world CNY 80 Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties CNY 80 Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens Free About Xi'an: The imperial centre of China for 2,000 years, Xi'an is now a vibrant, modern city dotted with many interesting historical sites. Xi'an was the start of the famous ancient trading route of the Silk Road and the city is still surrounded by its original city walls which you can climb and walk or cycle along, a unique way to experience the city. For a different view, haul yourself to the top of the Bell or Drum Towers in the centre of the city. Home to many Hui people, an ethnic Muslim minority, the city also has a unique Islamic flavour, particularly in the streets and markets surrounding the Great Mosque, best explored by foot. Thanks to Xi'an's long and colourful history, the city is full of beautiful temples, museums and interesting cultural and historic sites, the most famous of which are probably the ancient Terracotta Warriors. The collection of over 8,000 life-sized model warriors and 700 horses was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974. Dating from the late 3rd Century BCE, they were built by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, to protect his tomb in the afterlife.

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. Activity Approximate Cost 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

Pingliang

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 (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. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the stunningly beautiful Mt. Kongtong and its temples Included in Kitty About Pingliang: The town of Pingliang is the gateway to the Kongtong Mountain, an absolutely spectacular set of steep hills covered in temples. Kongtong is one of the most sacred sites in Taoism, and features the famous steep 'Stairway to Heaven' - the area is a wonderful place to explore on foot.

Lanzhou

Today we will 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 - 5-6 hours.

Xiahe

Today we set off to the enchanting Tibetan town of Xiahe where we spend the next 2 nights. We will have an included visit to the incredble Bingling Si Buddha Caves en route. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 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. Activity Approximate Cost 2 night detour to the Tibetan town of Xiahe, one of the main pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists CNY 40 Climb up onto the lower slopes of the remote Tibetan Plateau Free Take a day trip up into the Sangke or Ganjia grasslands of the lower Tibetan Plateau surrounding Xiahe CNY 400 About Xiahe: The town of Xiahe, on the lower Tibetan Plateau, is frequently described as one of the most enchanting places to visit in China - and it certainly has a wonderful tranquil atmosphere and a beautiful setting. Many Tibetans come here on pilgrimage to the stunning Labrang Monastery - and the combination of the many monasteries, saffron-robed monks, fluttering prayer flags and spectacular scenery make this small town feel like a slice of the real Tibet as well. Xiahe is right up on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and the population here is over 45% Tibetan.

Liujiaxia, Bingling Si

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 - 3-4 hours. Activity Approximate Cost See the vast Buddha statue and the outstanding Buddhist cave sculptures at the fabulous Bingling Si gorge Included in Kitty About Bingling Si: Bingling Si is a fabulous Buddhist grotto site along the Yellow River - the site is full of carvings and Buddhist artwork, including the centrepiece Maitreya Buddha statue, a 27m-tall statue dug into the cliff. The grottoes began construction in 420 CE and were added to continuously until the 15th Century. There are over 180 small caves and nearly 700 statues on the site (not all of which are open to the public), that are well preserved despite centuries of damage from erosion and earthquakes.

Zhangye

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 - 7-9 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the incredible and colourful natural phenomenon of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains Included in Kitty About Zhangye: Zhangye is famous for the phenomenal Zhangye Danxia rock formations - created by the same tectonic movement that created the Himalayas, the landscape is a rainbow of different coloured rocks, the result of deposits of sandstone and minerals over the last 24 million years. The layer cake of coloured rocks has been sculpted by erosion, producing hills and ravines in the most remarkable patterns!

Jiayuguan

oday 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 that the Great Wall here is abode, unlike the more famous stone sections further east. We will wild camp near an adobe section of the Great Wall near Jiayuguan. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Journey down the Gansu Corridor to Jiayuguan Fort, our first stop at the Great Wall Included in Kitty About Jiayuguan: The fort at Jiayuguan marks the far western end of the Great Wall of China - this was one of the first parts of the Great Wall to be built by the Ming Dynasty in 1372 CE, located at a vital pass on the ancient Silk Road. The fort was at a strategically vital position for defence against potential attacks from the northwest, and became an important melting pot of cultures between China and the Silk Road. This older section of the Great Wall is adobe, unlike the stone sections in the east of the country. The fort here is very impressive and remarkably well preserved.

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. Activity Approximate Cost Stopover and time to explore historic Dunhuang CNY 20 Guided tour of the Mogao caves, Dunhuang Included in Kitty Take a camel ride to Crescent Moon Lake, Dunhuang CNY 120 About Dunhuang: Dunhuang is one of the largest and historically most important oasis trading towns in Gansu province. Dunhuang is an oasis in an otherwise barren desert, surrounded by sand dunes and mountains - the setting is spectacular and a good enough reason to travel here alone. However most visitors make the long journey to Dunhuang to see the fantastic ancient Buddhist art in the nearby Mogao Caves - an extraordinary site even by Chinese standards, the caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years between the 4th and 14th Centuries CE. Re-discovered in the early 20th Century, the site is one of the most celebrated Buddhist sites in China, and full of thousands of ancient Buddha images!

Turpan

Today we will have an early start and a big drive to the oasis town of Turpan. Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 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 beginning of the trip. On the following day we will have a free day to exploring the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins. In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost 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 Emin Minaret, a beautiful Uighur mosque built in the 18th century which is the tallest minaret in China CNY 30 See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan Included in Kitty Explore the ancient oasis city of Gaochang, once a bustling trading trading centre along the Silk Road CNY 40 About Turpan: East of Ürümqi lies one of the hottest places on Earth, the Turpan Basin. Nestling between the Northern and the Southern Tian Shan Mountains, this dry dust-bowl is the lowest basin in China. The oasis town of Turpan was crucial to the traders on the Silk Road, providing a staging post and a market place for the traders to exchange goods and to reequip their caravans. Although Turpan is the hottest place in China, the lack of humidity makes the atmosphere pretty bearable. The town is a very relaxed, tranquil place, and has some fascinating irrigation channels which show how this dry area has been collecting water for hundreds of years, as well as the nearby 2000-year old fortress of Jioahe.

Heavenly Lake

Today we will continue on to Heavenly Lake, a beautiful lake set in the Tian Shan mountains. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 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. Activity Approximate Cost Enjoy a tranquil yurt stay at the beautiful Heavenly Lake Included in Kitty About Heavenly Lake: Ürümqi is the capital of the western province of Xinjiang, and just south of one of the region's most beautiful spots - the aptly-named Heavenly Lake. This is a dazzling deep blue lake set in the dry mountains, providing some excellent walking and boating opportunities.

Bayanbulak, Aksu (

Today our journey continues westwards through the Taklamakan Desert. Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2 nights, and we plan to wild camp near Korla or Bayanbulak on our first night and near Aksu 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 Time - 8-10 hours each day.

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TRIP MAP

TRIP OVERVIEW

Trip Code: KDOBC

Group Size: 21

Start: Xi'an

End: Istanbul

Duration: 80

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