Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Eleven days, three different countries and a lifetime of memories are what’s in store in this epic trip across from Russia into Mongolia and through to China. The journey takes you over the unexplored Altai Mountains, across the incredibly remote Western Mongolia region and into the ancient Northern Chinese city of Turpan, which will be where you finish your overland adventure. The border between Western Mongolia and China remained closed for many travelers until recently, and this handcrafted itinerary takes full advantage of the new opportunities to follow a route usually reserved for locals. After some sightseeing in Novosibirsk, you’ll head on to the foothills of the Altai Mountains and across the Gobi desert, with stop-offs in Ulgi, Hovd and Qinghe Xian - all whilst staying in a range of hotels, traditional ‘yurts’ and quaint wooden lodges.
Following an early morning breakfast and check-in to your hotel, take time to rest before heading off with your guide for lunch in a traditional Siberian tavern. After your fill, it’s time to see Novosibirsk with a half-day sightseeing tour covering all the major attractions such as the iconic Trans-Siberian Railway Station, Ascension Cathedral, and Lenin Square. Before heading back to the hotel, there’s also a chance to try the cuisine at a hunting workshop, including bear salami, wild meat, wild berries.
This second day is really when your 11-day cross-country adventure begins. Leave your hotel and Novosibirsk behind, making your way to over some spectacular Siberian scenery towards the Altai Mountains. You’ll have a night’s rest before taking on the range the next day, and the accommodation tonight is a quaint wooden lodge situated on the picturesque banks of the Katun River.
After breakfast you’ll be hitting the road, which happens to be one of the most spectacular in the whole of Russia. The drive along the famous Chuysky Tract that was once the main trade route of Russia and China takes you over the stunning Seminsky and Chike-Taman Passes in the mountains. The final destination of the day is the tiny and incredibly remote settlement of Chibit: no hotels here, so it’s a night under the stars in the tents and sleeping bags provided!
After waking up surrounded by nature, pack up your tents and jump in the 4X4s again; today’s itinerary leads you to the second country of this trip – Mongolia. Pass through the breathtaking Kosh-Agach district, which boasts snowcapped mountain tops in the distance for most of the way. The journey takes you to one of the remotest areas of the Altai Mountains at the border with Mongolia, which after you cross, you’ll head on to the tiny village of Ulgi where you’ll be spending the night in yurts.
On the morning of this fifth day you’ll be heading south, towards the once prosperous trade town of Hovd, an important stop-off on the ancient Northern Silk Way, connecting Russia and China. On the way to Hovd we stop for lunch near Lake Tolbo, which boasts beautifully clear water 6,500 feet above sea level. Before arriving in your hotel in Khovd, there’s a chance to see 15,000-year-old cave paintings by indigenous tribal groups.
Enjoy breakfast before checking out of your hotel, ready for spending the next three days of the trip exploring the incredibly remote Altaian Gobi region of Mongolia. The day will be spent driving past some breathtaking scenery, and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop enroute to snap photos, and take it all in. This is one of the most sparsely-populated areas of Mongolia, a country already well-known for being incredibly remote. There are no hotels for miles, so it’s overnight in traditional Central Asia ‘yurts’, making for a memorable night’s sleep.
Wake up surrounded by the sparse, naturally beautiful Mongolian landscape and enjoy a leisurely morning and breakfast around your yurts that you spent the previous night in. You’ll depart the Uench region for Bulgan and then on to Qinghe Xian - across the Chinese border. After you’ve entered what is the third country on this trip, head head across Jungaria along the frontier of the Gobi desert. Once in Qinghe Xian, check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner.
Take time for breakfast at the hotel Qinghe Xian and prepare for a full day of overland adventure across the Western Gobi Desert, also known as the Gurban-Yungut Desert. On the way, there is chance to witness the Multicolored Bay – perhaps the the most impressive of sights throughout the trip, comprised of rocks of all shapes, sizes and different colors. End the day’s journey in the remote Qitai region, which is where you’ll be spending the night.
Leave Qitai behind for a drive through Tien Shan Mountains. You’ll be making your way towards Turpan City, once an important city along the ancient Silk Road trade route. Turpan is an old city with a long history and traces have been found of ancient civilisation dating back as far as 6,000 years. There will be plenty of time to see the city in all its glory the following day.
A full day tour around the impressive Turpan City awaits on this penultimate day of your trip. Rise early and head out, visiting several key points of interest around the city such as markets and fortresses, as well as the famous Turpan Depression, Aydingkol Lake, and the "1,000 Buddha" Cave Mountains Temple complex at Bizalkik -15 minutes’ drive away. In the evening it’s back to the hotel for dinner and a well-deserved rest after 10 days on the road.
This final day of the trip is set aside for travel onto your next destination or departure home. Enjoy one final breakfast at your hotel in Turpan City, check out, and transfer (via private transportation) to the airport, where you’ll catch an onwards flight either to Novosibirsk or Beijing.