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Istanbul

Silk Route between Istanbul and Tashkent

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Istanbul

Silk Route between Istanbul and Tashkent

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Silk Route between Istanbul and Tashkent

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Since the first trip back in 1981, Dragoman has been at the forefront of overland vacations, taking people on unique, off the beaten track adventures in their iconic custom-made orange trucks. Dragoman make it a whole lot easier to get off the tarmac and to take the road less-travelled be it a short trip or an epic journey. It is this ability to go beyond the traditional tourist tails on a life changing overland journey that attracts people from all over the world ranging in age from 18 to 80!. Now as much as we love the highlights of the places we visit, it is often the journey where the real magic happens. Be it the the small village stop in Benin, trying to spot Jaguars in the dense Amazonian jungle of Guyana or staying with the nomadic people of Mongolia. Our balanced itineraries give you the chance to get under the skin of the country and get a true insight into the local culture. Start your overlanding adventure and become part of the family.
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Rejserute

Silk Route between Istanbul and Tashkent

Day 1 Tashkent

Border Information: if joining in Tashkent, you will most likely enter Uzbekistan at Tashkent International Airport (IATA code: TAS). There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to carefully check your visas at this initial meeting. We will then have a free afternoon to explore the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tashkent before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tashkent. In Tashkent we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Activities(Optional)
Explore urbane Tashkent and experience a surreal cabaret dinner - Cost: USD
Visit the nightclubs and Imperial Russian-style cabaret restaurants of Tashkent - Cost: USD
Visit the religious centre of Tashkent at Hast Imam Square and see the Uthman Koran, believed to be the world's oldest extant copy of the Koran - Cost: USD 5

Day 2 Samarkand

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

Day 3 to 4 Samarkand

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

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

Day 5 Nurata

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

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

Day 6 Bukhara

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

Day 7 to 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.
Activities(Included)
Explore the city's oldest Islamic monument, the 10th-century mausoleum of Ismail Samanid, the founder of the Samanid Dynasty
Discover the ruins of the ancient 5th-century fortress of the Bukhara Ark
Explore the colossal Kalon Mosque and Minaret, which has survived without restoration for 850 years and impressed Genghis Khan so much that he ordered the building to be spared
Visit the magnificent 16th-centrury architectural ensemble surrounding the Lyab-i Hauz ponds, once the city's principal source of water

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

Day 9 to 10 Khiva

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

Day 11 Kunye Urgench

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

Day 12 Darvaza

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

Day 13 Ashgabat

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

Day 14 Ashgabat

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB). There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Ashgabat.   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 comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Activities(Included)
Explore, shop and haggle at the vast Tolkuchka Sunday Market
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city

Day 15 Ashgabat

Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. The afternoon will be free to freely explore Ashgabat and its museums.
Activities(Optional)
Learn about the history and culture of Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in Ashgabat - Cost: USD 10

Day 16 Ashgabat

This morning we have some time to further explore Ashgabat. This afternoon we will drive to the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake. We will have some time this afternoon to explore this superb lake of naturally-heated clear water. Tonight we will wild camp in this area of Kow Ata or Geok Tepe. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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!).
Activities(Included)
Explore Turkmenistan's unique underground lake at Kow Ata and swim in waters naturally heated to around 36°C

Activities(Optional)
Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union - Cost: TMM

Day 17 to 18 Turkmenbashi

Today we will complete our drive to the city of Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours. Our itinerary in Turkmenbashi and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here!  In Turkmenbashi we will stay in a local hotel for as many nights as is needed until we finally depart on the ferry over the Caspian Sea. Most trips tend to be able to set off on the ferry 1 or 2 days after arriving in Turkmenbashi.

Day 19 Caspian Sea

From Turkmenbashi, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku in Azerbaijan. The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board. Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also highly unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Baku while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat. There will be basic cabins on the ferry overnight.
Activities(Included)
Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Turkmenbashi and Baku

Day 20 to 21 Baku

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

Day 22 Gobustan

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, or continue further and wild camp en route. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Activities(Included)
Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs

Day 23 Sheki

Today we will 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 - 5-7 hours.
Activities(Included)
Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheiki
Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797

Day 24 Lagodekhi

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

Day 25 Telavi

Today 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 visit the Gremi citadel en route, and have a free afternoon on arrival in Telavi to explore the area. In Telavi we will stay in a local family-run guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

Day 26 Telavi

The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality.
Activities(Included)
Head out on Telavi's 'Big Day Out' - a tour of the town's monasteries, bee-keepers and textile-weavers, followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local family-run winery

Day 27 Tbilisi

Today we will complete our journey to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, where we will have an afternoon to freely explore the city. In Tbilisi we will stay in a comfortable hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours.

Day 28 Tbilisi

Border information: if you are joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS). There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. This afternoon we will visit the old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple. 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 - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Activities(Optional)
Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation - Cost: GEL 3
Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi - Cost: GEL 25
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below - Cost: GEL
Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town - Cost: GEL
Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography - Cost: GEL 1.5
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia - Cost: GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church - Cost: GEL

Day 29 Stepantsminda

Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Church (the Church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains. In Stepantsminda we will stay in a local hotel or family-run guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Activities(Included)
Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda

Day 30 Stepantsminda

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

Day 31 Kutaisi

This morning we drive to Gori, the birthplace of Stalin - here we will have a guided tour of the city and the Stalin Museum. We then make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bragrati cathedral and the Gelati monastery. In Kutaisi we will stay in a local hotel or a family-run guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activities(Included)
Explore the colossal and awe-inspiring Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi

Activities(Optional)
Visit the beautiful 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a symbol of the city of Kutaisi - Cost: GEL

Day 32 Batumi

This morning we will continue to the port town of Batumi, where we will have a free afternoon to explore. In Batumi we will stay in a comfortable hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
Activities(Optional)
Visit the Batumi Archaeological Museum, home to many historical exhibits found in excavations in the area - Cost: GEL 2

Day 33 Sumela

Border Information: Exit Georgia at Sarpi, enter Turkey at Sarp. This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Turkey. We will reach the awe-inpsiring Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will either visit in the afternoon or the next morning. We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. In cold weather we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon. Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Activities(Included)
Exploration of the Black Sea mountain monastery at Sumela

Day 34 Zara

This morning we will visit the beautiful Sumela Monastery if we didn't have time yesterday, and then start our drive through central Turkey towards Göreme. We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.  

Day 35 Goereme

Today we will complete our drive to Göreme, a small enchanting town in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains. In Göreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are sometimes used here. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Day 36 to 37 Goereme

We now have a 2 full days to explore Göreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during our time here.
Activities(Included)
Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries
Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

Activities(Optional)
2-3 nights to discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 15
Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia - Cost: EUR 150
Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve - Cost: TRY 15
Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 5
Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos - Cost: USD
Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays - Cost: TRY 90
Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme - Cost: EUR 35

Day 38 Istanbul

Today we will have a full day's drive west to arrive in Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia. In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque. Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

Day 39 Istanbul

Border information: if leaving the trip in Istanbul, you will most likely exit Turkey from Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IATA code: IST). Today will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River and the phenomenal Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia! Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Istanbul. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman 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.
Activities(Optional)
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world - Cost: USD
See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia - Cost: USD 17
Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul - Cost: USD
Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage! - Cost: USD 20
Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century - Cost: TRY 25
Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century - Cost: TRY 20
Explore the majestic Topkapi Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years - Cost: TRY 35
Oversigt

Hvad er inkluderet?

Ekstra udgifter på destinationen
From USD1550.00

Lokal transport

Overland expedition vehicle, Private bus, Overnight boat