Central Asian Explorer

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  • No booking fees
  • Explorer
See Itinerary
  • duration 89 days
  • tour type Group
  • minimum participants 2
  • age requirement 18+ years old
  • max group size 24
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Istanbul, Turkey
  • Ends Xian, China
HIGHLIGHTS Download trip notes
  • Explore the amazing sights of Istanbul
  • Guided tour of Ancient Troy
  • Visit the Gallipoli Peninsular and the battlefields
  • Ancient ruins of Ephesus
The Central Asian Explorer trip starts from Istanbul and ends in Xian. The Central Asian Explorer trip is an explorer tour that takes 89 days. You will travel through Ashgabat, Kyzylkhum, Darvaza and 51 other destinations visiting Armenia, Georgia and 6 more countries. This is a guided group tour. The trip includes accommodation, transport, meals and others.

Overlanding started along the Silk Route back in the 60s, the famed Hippy Trail. Our route takes us along the northern Silk Route, across the heart of Central Asia. From the legendary city of Istanbul crossing the wild mountains and lush valleys of the Caucasus, through Georgia and Azerbaijan; both countries renowned for their food, home stays and hospitality.

The Caspian Sea is the divide between true Central Asia, the deserts and nomads of Turkmenistan and the infamous city of Ashgabat. In the north of the Karakum deserts, lies the country's most bizarre attraction, the Darvaza Crater. Crossing the Oxus River is the heart of the route, Uzbekistan's fabulous cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Towering above the deserts are the Tian Shan Mountains and the lands of Kyrgyzstan; home to shepherds and horseman; this is our opportunity to really get to grips with the local life.

Crossing the Torugart Pass, the lands of Western China open up at Kashgar; ahead lies the vast bowl of the Taklimakan Desert and then it's onto the edge of the Tibet Plateau and the Tibetan town of Xi'ahe. But no trip to China can be complete without a visit to the seminal city of Xi'an, home of the terracotta army.

5 - Excellent
Based on 1,020 reviews
  • James
  • On Oct 08 2018
5 - Excellent
James' review for another Dragoman tour
“Brilliant way to travel and see a country and the Wild Andes trek was amazing.”
  • Richard
  • On Jun 04 2015
5 - Excellent
Richard's review for another Dragoman tour
“Guides were helpful and friendly!”
  • Jonathan
  • On Apr 29 2019
5 - Excellent
Jonathan's review for another Dragoman tour
“A really great trip with an excellent leader and driver.”
Select Tour Version:
  • Day 1: Istanbul
  • Day 2: Gallipoli
  • Day 3: Selcuk
  • Day 4: Selcuk
  • Day 5: Pamukkale
  • Day 6: Olympos
  • Day 7: Olympos
  • Day 8: Egirdir
  • Day 9: Goreme
  • Day 10: Goreme
  • Day 11: Zara
  • Day 12: Sumela
  • Day 13: Batumi
  • Day 14: Kutaisi
  • Day 15: Tbilisi
  • Day 16: Tbilisi
  • Day 17: Lake Sevan
  • Day 18: Yerevan
  • Day 19: Yerevan
  • Day 20: Armenian Highlands
  • Day 21: Borjomi-Kharagauli NP
  • Day 22: Mtskheta
  • Day 23: Stepantsminda
  • Day 24: Telavi
  • Day 25: Telavi
  • Day 26: Lagodekhi
  • Day 27: Sheki
  • Day 28: Lahij Village
  • Day 29: Baku
  • Day 30: Baku
  • Day 31: Caspian Sea
  • Day 32: Turkmenbashi
  • Day 33: Ashgabat
  • Day 34: Ashgabat
  • Day 35: Darvaza
  • Day 36: Kunye Urgench
  • Day 37: Khiva
  • Day 38: Khiva
  • Day 39: Bukhara
  • Day 40: Bukhara
  • Day 41: Bukhara
  • Day 42: Kyzylkhum Desert
  • Day 43: Samarkand
  • Day 44: Samarkand
  • Day 45: Samarkand
  • Day 46: Tashkent
  • Day 47: Tashkent
  • Day 48: Tashkent
  • Day 49: Fergana Valley
  • Day 50: Arslanbob
  • Day 51: Arslanbob
  • Day 52: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
  • Day 53: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley
  • Day 54: Son-Kol Lake
  • Day 55: Son-Kol Lake
  • Day 56: Kochkor
  • Day 57: Jeti-Oguz Valley
  • Day 58: Jeti-Oguz Valley
  • Day 59: Karakol
  • Day 60: Chong Kemin Valley
  • Day 61: Chong Kemin Valley
  • Day 62: Bishkek
  • Day 63: Bishkek
  • Day 64: Kochkor
  • Day 65: Tash Rabat
  • Day 66: Kashgar
  • Day 67: Kashgar
  • Day 68: Kashgar
  • Day 69: Kashgar
  • Day 70: Kashgar
  • Day 71: Aksu
  • Day 72: Korle
  • Day 73: Urumqi
  • Day 74: Urumqi
  • Day 75: Turpan
  • Day 76: Turpan
  • Day 77: Dunhuang
  • Day 78: Dunhuang
  • Day 79: Jiayuguan
  • Day 80: Zhangye
  • Day 81: Liujiaxia
  • Day 82: Xiahe
  • Day 83: Xiahe
  • Day 84: Xiahe
  • Day 85: Lanzhou
  • Day 86: Pingliang
  • Day 87: Pingliang
  • Day 88: Xi'an
  • Day 89: Xi'an
  • Overland Expedition Vehicle, Private Bus, Overnight Boat, Jeep, Russian Bus, Local Bus, Boat
  • Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary, Local Crew Member in certain areas, One Local Crew Member
  • Comfortable Hotel 21 nights
  • Multishare Hostel 5 nights
  • Camping without facilities 8 nights
  • Basic Hotel 26 nights
  • Guesthouse 8 nights
  • Wild Camp 7 nights
  • Homestay 8 nights
  • Overnight Boat 1 night
  • Yurt Camp 4 nights
  • 110 Breakfasts
  • 34 Lunches
  • 60 Dinners
  • Any international flights to Istanbul and from Xian are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Central Asian Explorer tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

No additional cancellation fees apply for this Central Asian Explorer tour. You can cancel the tour up to 56 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 55 days of departure.


For any tour departures within 15 August 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 15 August 2021, a deposit is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 55 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Central Asian Explorer tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this Central Asian Explorer tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Local Payment The local payment is a group fund, paid separately from the trip price on the first day of the tour. It covers everything that the group does together on the ground. This is primarily hotel accommodation and campsite fees, meals whilst camping (but not while eating in restaurants), and included activities and puts money directly back to the local community. The local payment, or kitty system, is unique to overlanding tours and provides maximum flexibility and best value on the road - you can see exactly what is being paid for, you get everything at cost price, it keeps costs competitive by leveraging group expenses and saves on administrative costs. The fund is run by the tour guide, and any excess left over at the end is returned equally to the group. Local prices are estimated in USD when we print the brochure then reviewed monthly as local costs and exchange rates vary throughout the year. It's therefore important once you book your trip to check the website regularly and just before departure for any changes to the amount.

If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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