Xian to Istanbul overland tour

A classic Silk Road holiday by train from China to the Caucasus, travelling through some of the world’s remotest corners.
Xian Great Wall of China Xian Terracotta Army Kashgar Osh Tashkent Samarkand Bukhara Ashgabat ‘Door to Hell’ Mashhad Emam Reza shrine Tehran Lake Sevan Yerevan brandy factory Tbilisi Gori – birthplace of Stalin Istanbul
£9515 excluding flights
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42 Days
Armenia, China, Georgia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Small group
More info
Mimimum age 12.
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Description of Xian to Istanbul overland tour

For those that have always dreamed of retracing the path of traders and explorers such as Marco Polo along the ancient Silk Road, this six-week overland tour from Xian to Istanbul will prove irresistible.

Along with a small group of like-minded adventurers and a professional tour leader, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry and culture of classic Silk Road stops including Xian, Durhuang, Turpan, Kashgar, Osh and Samarkand as you embark on the trip of a lifetime from China to the Caucasus.

For greater detail, read the itinerary below, but you will take in key sights including the legendary Terracotta Warriors of Xian, the riotously colourful Sunday market of Kashgar, the iconic shrine complex of Emam Rez in Mashhad, one of the great architectural wonders of the Islamic world, Gori, the birthplace of Stalin, and the ‘Door to Hell’ – the Darvasa gas crater that has been burning now for some 40 years.

Wander historic bazaars, pause to people-watch in charming tea shops, purchase fine silks and handicrafts, and visit some of the most fascinating cities of ancient history.

You will cross vast sand dunes, over mountain passes, through oases and green valleys, mostly by train, an excellent way to get to know both your fellow travellers and the many other passengers, be they from China, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan.

This is less a holiday, more a grand tour, and one that will leave you with a thousand and one stories to tell on your return.


Price information

£9515 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Mimimum age 12.
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

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1 Reviews of Xian to Istanbul overland tour

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 07 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Pass between the Pamirs and the Tien Shan mountains and Sary Tash; the Chinese warriors, the Registan at dusk.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take luggage you can carry up and down stairs. Enjoy it, it’s wonderful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

A little. Wonderful

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


We are committed to positive environmental impacts through our Responsible Travel Policy. As an overland company we have extremely low carbon emissions throughout all our journeys. This journey operates over 12,332km departing from Xian, travelling through China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey before concluding in Istanbul. We like to ensure that rail travel is used where possible, allowing for the journey to be shared between many. We also ensure to use experienced drivers who know the areas best when transfers are needed. This allows us to be confident there will be no risk of damage to the environment and local flora.

We use Local Partners who work with us to design journeys an optimal way to limit our impact on the environment. We make certain to reduce plastic waste by promoting reusing drink bottles instead of buying bottled water. Where possible our clients stay in smaller-scale accommodation, such as locally owned guesthouses, in support of the local people.

We try to include as many local lunches, dinners and wineries in our journeys which enables us to spread economic benefits while also promote cultural understanding. We also make certain that none of our scheduled sightseeing visit zoos or orphanages.


We have a very clear mandate to support the local community and without these Local Partners our on ground experiences wouldn’t be the same. We have been operating journeys throughout Asia for over 50 years and strive to build on our long established reputation for having the utmost respect for the places and communities that we visit.

We contract the services of Local Guides and City Ambassadors through our Local Partners. On this trip we use Djonghir, a trusted Local Guide from Samarkand for many of our tours. Djonghir loves showing our travellers the lifestyle in Samarkand and has even been known to demonstrate how to make local cuisines upon request. He wants all travellers to leave Uzbekistan loving it as much as he does.

In addition, we partner with local families, which we find not only enriches the overall experience but allows us to understand local traditions and create sound relationships between clients and locals.

We visit local markets where possible again helping to serve as an authentic and cultural experience and one, which maintains a closer bond between client and local. We always encourage our group to buy locally and encourage local trade and artistry.

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