Back
Ashgabat to Ulaanbaatar

This 54 day overland tour journeys from Ashgabat to Ulaanbaatar through China, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

  • Duration: 54 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Moderately Active
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EHWM1/247022
  • Starts: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Finishes: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Ashgabat
  • Darvaza
  • Kunye Urgench
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Nurata
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent
  • Fergana Valley
  • Arslanbob
  • Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
  • Song Köl Lake
  • Kochkor
  • Jeti Oguz Valley
  • Karakol
  • Chong Kemin Valley
  • Cholpon Ata
  • Bishkek
  • Tash Rabat
  • Kashgar
  • Aksu
  • Bayanbulak
  • Turpan
  • Hovdiin Bulgan
  • Altai Tavn Bogd National Park
  • Ulgii
  • Tsambagarav National Park
  • Tsenkher Caves
  • Khongor Sand Dunes
  • Gobi Desert
  • Bayanzag
  • Yolyn Am
  • Baga Gazryn Chuluu
  • Ulaanbaatar

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Ashgabat

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

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.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat 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 Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book.

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

*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.*

02

Day 2: Darvaza

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 - 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!).

03

Day 3: Kunye Urgench

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 - 6-7 hours.

04

Day 4-5: Khiva

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 - 4-5 hours.

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.

05

Day 6: Bukhara

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 - 8-10 hours.

06

Day 7-8: Bukhara

Today we will have a guided tour of Bukhara and the surrounding area, including the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Kalon Mosque, Zindon Prison and the Ark Fortress.

On our second day here, we will have a free day to further explore this incredible historic city and its surroundings.

07

Day 9: Nurata

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!

In the Kyzylkhum Desert we will stay in a desert yurt camp.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

08

Day 10: Samarkand

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.

09

Day 11-12: Samarkand

Today we will have a guided tour of the incredible historic city of Samarkand and the surrounding area, including the Registan, Ulug Beg Observatory, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda.

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

10

Day 13: Tashkent

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

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

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

11

Day 14: Tashkent

Today we will have a free day to explore Tashkent.

12

Day 15: Tashkent

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS).

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

The rest of the day is free to explore the Uzbek capital.

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

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

*Important note - 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!*

13

Day 16: Fergana Valley

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 Fergana.

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

In Fergana we will stay in a basic local hotel.

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!).

14

Day 17: Arslanbob

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 Fergana 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 - 4-5 hours.

15

Day 18-20: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley

We will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside.

During these days we plan to wild camp en route. Please note that trips running in low season (May to mid-June and October to November), we may not be able to camp if temperatures are too low, in which case we will stay in local guesthouses along the route instead.

Estimated Drive Times - 4-8 hours each day.

16

Day 21-22: Song Köl Lake

Today we complete the drive to the incredible Song K l 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 and horse-riding.

At Song K l 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 K l Lake, as temperatures will be below freezing, the road will be snowed over, and there will be no yurts to stay in! Instead we will likely stay in yurts on the southern shore of Lake Issyk K l.

17

Day 23: Kochkor

Today we drive to the small village of Kochkor, where we stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality!

Whilst here we will visit a small museum and women's felt making cooperative that produces 'shyrdaks', the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. We may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!

In Kochkor we will stay in family-run guesthouses, accommodating up to 8 guests in each home.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

18

Day 24-25: Jeti Oguz Valley

Today we drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk K l and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti Oguz. 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 Oguz we will camp close to a local family yurt.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Please note that on trips in the low season we may not be able to camp in Jeti Oguz due to low temperatures. If this is the case, we will stay for 1 night in a local hotel at the base of Jeti Oguz 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.

19

Day 26: Karakol

Today we will move on from Jeti Oguz 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 - 3-4 hours.

20

Day 27-28: Chong Kemin Valley

Today we will drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk K l 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.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

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.

21

Day 29: Bishkek

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 - 3-4 hours.

22

Day 30: Bishkek

Border Information: If joining in Bishkek, you will most likely enter Kyrgyzstan at Bishkek Manas International Airport ( IATA code: FRU ).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting as well.

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

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

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

*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

23

Day 31: Tash Rabat

Today we will have a full day's 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 or there is no 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 8- 9 hours.

24

Day 32: Kashgar

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

Today we will 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

25

Day 33-34: Kashgar

This morning we will have an included visit to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world!

In the afternoon we will have free time 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.

Tonight we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

26

Day 35-36: Aksu

Our journey through China begins as we leave Kashgar and head east through the Taklamkan Desert! Our crossing of the desert usually takes 3 days/2nights and we will plan to stay in local hotels along the way.

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 comfort 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! )

27

Day 37: Turpan

Today we will travel to the oasis town of Turpan, where we will have time to explore the surrounding sites including the famous Jiaohe ruins.

In Turpan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

28

Day 38:

Today is mostly a travel day as we make our way closer to the Chinese/ Mongolian Border.

We will either wild camp tonight if possible or stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Driving Time 7 - 8 hours

29

Day 39: Hovdiin Bulgan

Border Information: Exit China at Takeshiken, enter Mongolia at Hovdiin Bulgan.

This morning we will complete the drive to the border and cross into Mongolia. We will stop in the small town of Bulgan to stock up on supplies for the next few days before we find a place to camp for the night in this remote area of Western Mongolia.

Tonight we will wild camp near Bulgan

Estimated Drive Time 7 - 8 hours

30

Day 40-42: Altai Tavn Bogd National Park

Over the next 3 days we will be driving mostly offroad making our way further west towards Altai Tavn National Park wild camping along the way. On the first day we will drive through Bodnach Canyon and then onto Tal Lake. On the way we will visit one of the biggest deer stone sites in Western Mongolia.

We will then continue on to Khoton & Khurgan Lakes where we will have 2 nights wild camping next to the beautiful lake in the National Park. From here we will have time to simply relax and take in the beautiful landscapes or opt to do a full day hike to Turken Waterfalls.

We will be wild camping for the next 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Times 7 -8 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 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! )

31

Day 43: Ulgii

This morning we will leave the national park and continue on to the town of Ulgii.

In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the local museum to understand more about Ulgii and the surrounding areas. We will also head to the local markets to explore and stock up on supplies again.

Tonight we will stay in a basic local hotel or guesthouse

Estimated Drive Time 6 -7 hours

32

Day 44: Tsambagarav National Park

Today we drive out of the town of Ulgii and do a full day's drive off road onto Tsambagarav National Park.

We hope to arrive early afternoon where there will be free time to explore this beautiful national park and admire the view of Tsambagarav which is one of the highest mountains in Mongolia sitting at 4195 metres.

Tonight we will wild camp in the National Park

Estimated Drive Time 6 - 7 hours

33

Day 45: Tsenkher Caves

We have an early start this morning to begin our drive to Tsenhker Caves.

Once we arrive and have set up camp we will have a chance to stretch our legs and walk to the caves to see the rock paintings which have been there for thousands of years.

Tonight we will wild camp near the caves

Estimate Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

34

Day 46-47:

Over the next 2 days we will continue our journey east, edging closer to the famous Gobi Desert.

We will bush camp on the first night near the Antaishir Mountain range and on the second we will find a place to camp at Taats Lake which has a beautiful sandy beach giving us a good opportunity to relax and enjoy the peacefulness surrounding this area.

We will spend the next 2 nights wild camping.

Estimated Drive Time each day 7 -8 hours

35

Day 48-49: Khongor Sand Dunes

Leaving Taats lake we will drive to Khongor Sand Dunes.

Late this afternoon we will hike to Duut Mankhan which is the highest point of the dunes to see the stunning sunset over the dunes.

We will have a second night in Khongor to enjoy and take in the incredible landscape with an opportunity for Camel Riding in the day.

We will stay in a local Ger Camp

Estimated Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

36

Day 50: Bayanzag

This morning we will leave the sand dunes behind and drive to Bayanzag known as the site of the Flaming Cliffs. Late in the afternoon we will see them change colours with the sun direction and enjoy another stunning sunset.

We continue on through the Gobi Desert taking in the vast open lands in all directions taking in another beautiful sunset as we reach our camp for the night.

Tonight we will stay in a local Ger Camp

Estimated Drive Time 6 -7 hours

37

Day 51: Yolyn Am

Today we will continue through the Gobi and Yol Valley, we will eventually start to head north to Tsagaan Suvraga which is translated to White Stupa. This sediment structure is over 60 metres high with steep slopes which appear to be the ruins of an ancient city.

Tonight we will wild camp

38

Day 52: Baga Gazryn Chuluu

Today we will drive to Baga Gazrynn Chuluu. When we arrive we will get a chance to explore the impressive rock formations rising from the desert steppe.

Tonight we will spend our last night wild camping before we reach Ulaanbaatar.

39

Day 53: Ulaanbaatar

This morning we will leave the desert behind and make our way to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

In the afternoon we will have free time to explore the city.

Tonight we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

40

Day 54: Ulaanbaatar

Border Information: If you are leaving at 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 at Ulaanbaatar, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
    • See the bizarre and incredible burning gas crater at Darvaza, popularly known as the 'Door to Hell'
    • Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench
    • See the beautiful turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva
    • Visit the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassa, a museum dedicated to the Khan that surrendered to the Russians in 1873
    • Explore the incredibly photogenic blue palace of Tash Khovli in Khiva
    • Learn all about the Khoezm culture and handicrafts at the Islam Hodja Madrassa, Khiva's newest monument
    • Explore the incredible Juma Mosque and the 12th century fortress of the Kukhna Ark
    • Visit the mausoleum of Pahlavon Mohammed, the legendary 14th-century poet, philosopher, wrestler, and patron saint of Khiva
    • Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water
    • Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty
    • Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared
    • Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark
    • Overnight in the Kyzylkum Desert staying in yurts
    • Visit the Guri-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur
    • Explore the stunning plaza of The Registan, a world-famous and iconic symbol of Central Asia
    • Learn about the area's scientific heritage with a visit to the 15th-century Ulug Beg Observatory, once the finest observatory in the Islamic world
    • Discover the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once one of the largest mosques in the world and the jewel in Timur's empire
    • See the beautiful and moving ancient mausoleum of Shah-I-Zinda
    • Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan
    • Experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz mountain shepherds
    • Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village
    • See the traditional felt workshops or Kochkor and learn about how Kyrgyz carpets and hats are typically made here
    • See an incredible demonstration from a traditional eagle hunter near Kochkor
    • Trek into the wilds of the Jeti-Oghuz Gorge on the edge of the Tian Shan mountains
    • Get off the beaten track with 3 nights wild camping and a leisurely overland journey through the stunning mountains and National Parks of Kyrgyzstan
    • Tourist time: pedalos, sand, sun. On Lake Issyk-Kul, it?s a time warp
    • Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai at Tash Rabat, close to the Kyrgyzstan-China border
    • Hike up to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world
    • Exploration of the oasis and the Jiaohe ruins at Turpan
    • Learn about the Karez water system, the ingenious method of irrigating the area that was developed by the Han Dynasty and allowed Turpan to flourish as an oasis town
    • See the striking red sandstone landscape of the Flaming Mountains near Turpan
    • Day hike to Turgen Waterfalls
    • Discover the mysterious Deer Stone sites - one of the biggest in Western Mongolia
    • Visit the old fashioned museum and learn more about the history and culture of Ulgii and surrounding areas
    • Hike to Duut Mankhan the highest point of the Khongor Sand Dunes and enjoy a spectacular sunset
    • Visit Baga Gazryn Chuluu, the intriguing granite rock formations
    • Take a guided tour of the Gandan Monastery, the largest Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia
    • Visit the infamous Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, and explore the traditional clothes stalls and saddle markets within
    • Explore the incredible history of the country from the Neolithic era to the present day, at the National Museum of Mongolia
    Accomodation
    • 40% Camping - 60% Hotels
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road



Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities