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.
Adventure-seekers looking to get off the beaten path are in for a real treat with this 11-day journey through Northern China, Western Mongolia and Russia. Starting in China, you’ll venture on through both the Altai Mountains and the remote Gobi Desert into Mongolia, taking advantage of the recently opened border between the two countries. From the ancient Chinese city of Turpan, you’ll stop off at Qitai, Qinghe Xian, Hovd, Ulgi, and Lake Aya before eventually making it to Russian Siberia’s unofficial capital of Novosibirsk. The trip allows time to see the traditions of local people, and is perfect for those who love to venture through rocky deserts and tackle towering mountains.
Commence the tour with a morning pick-up at the Urumqui Hotel, before heading off to see some of the major sites around Turpan, including the famous Turpan Depression, Emin Minaret Gaochang Ancient City, and the impressive Aydingkol Lake, at the bottom of Turpan Basin (the lowest point in the country). After a full day’s tour of this historic city, head back to the three-star hotel for your first night’s sleep of the trip.
Another day dedicated to sightseeing around the ancient city of Turpan, one in which early settlement has been traced back as far as 6,000 years. After breakfast, take to the road to visit to one of the world’s historical wonders – the World Heritage Site of Jiaohe, an ancient settlement between two rivers perched on a cliff top above the valley. Continue to see the "1,000 Buddha" Cave Mountains Temple Bizalkik within 15 minutes from the city center, before heading back to the hotel.
Take time for breakfast and check out of your hotel in Turpan; today is when the epic overland adventure really begins as you say goodbye to the city and head to the remote town of Qitai. The drive takes you past stunning scenery and through the majestic, snowcapped Tien Shan Mountains. Arrive in good time and check-in to your hotel .
The 200-mile drive on day four is just as spectacular as yesterday’s, taking you from the town of Qitai to the more built-up Qinghe Xian. Journey through the Gurban-Yungut desert (Western Gobi) and stop off at the famous Multicolored Bay – an impressive area of land full of rocks of all shapes, sizes and colors. Check in to your two-star hotel for a well-earned rest.
The route on day five takes you further into the wilderness in the incredibly remote Western Gobi Desert. Around half-way through the itinerary, and it’s time for your second country: Mongolia. After border formalities, head on to Uench/Bulgan where you’ll be spending the night in a traditional ‘yurt’ camp.
Wake up and enjoy breakfast outside, surrounded by the remote desert landscape after a memorable night spent in the yurts. Pack up camp and head out of the Gobi desert towards the Mongolian Altai Mountains. The drive goes through one of the most sparsely populated regions of Mongolia, with the day’s final destination being the much more built-up Khovd, which has shops, restaurants and hotels.
Hit the road again on the morning of day seven, this time heading north towards Ulgi, near the border with Russia. On the way to Ulgi, stop for lunch near the picturesque Lake Tolbo, which boasts clear and cold waters high up in the mountains. The night will be spent in a hotel in Ulgi, where there’s also chance for dinner and some free time.
Russia, the third and final country of this trip, will be reached today. After making your way to the border and completing all the crossing formalities, head on past the famous Chuysky Tract - once the main trade route of Russia and Mongolia and now one of the remotest areas of the country - and stop along the way for a scenic picnic lunch. Reach the mountainous settlement of Chibit and spend the night at an eco-camp.
Continue driving along the famous Chuysky Tract, passing stunning valleys and panoramic viewpoints with each turn. In the ancient times, the Chuysky Tract route was the path of Tatar-Mongolian forces led by Genghis Khan. This truly is one of the most spectacular roads in Russia, and the time spent travelling to Lake Aya on this ninth day is well worth it. Once you have reached the lake, have dinner and check into your three-star hotel.
The morning trip will finally lead you to the end of the awe-inspiring Chuysky Tract and to the unofficial capital of Siberia – Novosibirsk. There’s time for sightseeing and free time for the rest of the day in what is Russia’s third-largest city (after Moscow and St. Petersburg). The city also offers far more comfort and convenience than many of the stops on this trip, and the night will be spent in the four-star Novosibirsk Hotel.
After a week and a half of exploring this incredible part of the world, it’s time to say your goodbyes and head onwards. Take breakfast at the hotel and check out, before making your way to the airport (via private transportation) for your onwards flight. International connections go to Urumqi, Beijing, Hong Kong, Almaty, Nur-Sultan, Tashkent, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Prague, as well as domestic departures to all over Russia.