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Kashgar & Western Mongolia Expedition Bishkek - Ulaanbaatar

Trip Overview

This 25 day overland tour journeys from Bishkek to Ulaanbaatar through China, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia
We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.
25 DAYS THROUGH China, Kyrgyzstan (+ 1 more countries)
PRICE FROM:
$3,435 (USD) + 520 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
25 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
45%
55%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZUK
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Exploration journey across Western Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

  Relax in the picturesque city of Bishkek

  Overnight homestay at a traditional rural Kyrgyz village

  Horse Riding in Tash Rabat

  Explore Historic Kashgar, home of the Uygur people

  Cross the Taklamakan Desert

  Explore the Oasis and Jiahoe Ruins in Turpan

  9 nights wildcamping and exploration of Western Mongolia

  Wild camping in Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

  Cross the Gobi Desert ( Flaming Cliffs, Yol Valley, Khongor Sand Dunes )

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Bishkek ( 18th May 2020 )

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 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.*

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
Explore Bishkek's past at the State Historical Museum on Ala-Too Square
KGS 150

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

Free
Day 2 - Tash Rabat ( 19th May 2020 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 3 - Kashgar ( 20th May 2020 )

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

Day 4-5 - Kashgar ( 21st May 2020 to 22nd May 2020 )

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. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Hike up to Shiptons Arch - the largest natural arch in the world. 

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

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

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

CNY 45

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

CNY 45

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

CNY 30
Day 6-7 - Aksu, Bayanbulak ( 23rd May 2020 to 24th May 2020 )

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! )

Day 8 - Turpan ( 25th May 2020 )

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

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
Day 9 - ( 26th May 2020 )

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

Day 10 - Hovdiin Bulgan ( 27th May 2020 )

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

Day 11-13 - Altai Tavn Bogd National Park ( 28th May 2020 to 30th May 2020 )

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! )

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Day hike to Turgen Waterfalls

Included in Kitty

Discover the mysterious Deer Stone sites - one of the biggest in Western Mongolia

Included in Kitty
Day 14 - Ulgii ( 31st May 2020 )

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

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the old fashioned museum and learn more about the history and culture of Ulgii and surrounding areas. 

Included in Kitty
Day 15 - Tsambagarav National Park ( 1st Jun 2020 )

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

Day 16 - Tsenkher Caves ( 2nd Jun 2020 )

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

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

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

Explore the Tsenkher Caves and admire the remarkable cave wall paintings. 

Free
Day 17-18 - ( 3rd Jun 2020 to 4th Jun 2020 )

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

Day 19-20 - Khongor Sand Dunes, Gobi Desert ( 5th Jun 2020 to 6th Jun 2020 )

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

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Hike to Duut Mankhan the highest point of the Khongor Sand Dunes and enjoy a spectacular sunset

Included in Kitty
Day 21 - Bayanzag ( 7th Jun 2020 )

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

Day 22 - Yolyn Am ( 8th Jun 2020 )

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

Day 23 - Baga Gazryn Chuluu ( 9th Jun 2020 )

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. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit Baga Gazryn Chuluu, the intriguing granite rock formations

Included in Kitty
Day 24 - Ulaanbaatar ( 10th Jun 2020 )

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. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Take a guided tour of the Gandan Monastery, the largest Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia

Included in Kitty

Visit the infamous Black Market in Ulaanbaatar, and explore the traditional clothes stalls and saddle markets within

Included in Kitty

Explore the incredible history of the country from the Neolithic era to the present day, at the National Museum of Mongolia

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

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

Head out for a cultural show or a performance from a traditional folk band, featuring the unique art of throat-singing

USD 12
Day 25 - Ulaanbaatar ( 11th Jun 2020 )

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. 

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

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

Discover a remnant of Mongolia's imperial past at the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan

MNT 6000

Visit the intriguing International Intellectual Museum, dedicated to puzzles and games made by local artists

MNT 3000

Discover the unique showcase of religious art and learn about the Buddhist history of Mongolia at the Chojin Lama Temple Museum

MNT 5000

Visit the Grand Chinggis Khan Square and see the statue of Damdin Sukhbaatar, one of the leaders of the struggle for independence in the 1920s

Free

Climb to the Zaisan Memorial, an interesting remnant of Mongolia's communist past that affords incredible views over Ulaanbaatar

Free

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 18 May 2020
Returning: 11 Jun 2020
Duration: 25 days
Route: Bishkek - Ulaanbaatar
$3,435 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 17 May 2021
Returning: 10 Jun 2021
Duration: 25 days
Route: Bishkek - Ulaanbaatar
$3,575 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available