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Silk Route between Istanbul and Ashgabat

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  • Istanbul
  • Tbilisi
  • Turkmenbashi
  • Ashgabat
  • Caspian Sea
  • Lagodekhi
  • Telavi
  • Baku
  • Batumi
  • Gori
  • Stepantsminda
  • Gobustan
  • Sumela Monastery
  • Göreme
  • Wildcamp Turkey
  • Sheki
  • Geok Tepe
  • Kutaisi

Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting in the magnificent historic city of Istanbul, we overland to the magical land of Cappadocia and to the breathtaking ancient monastery of Sumela. We then head to the wonderful country of Georgia and discover the ancient city of Kutaisi and Stalin's birthplace of Gori before arriving in the delightful capital, Tbilisi. From Tbilisi we journey to the Georgian wine regions of Telavi, before crossing into Azerbaijan and discovering its charming towns and ancient petroglyphs. After an adventurous ferry crossing over the Caspian Sea, we arrive in the reclusive desert land of Turkmenistan, visiting the Kow-Ata underground lake en route to the bizarre capital city of Ashgabat. Join us on this unforgettable epic overlanding experience on the Silk Road!

  • Day 1 Ashgabat

    Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB). There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Ashgabat.  In the afternoon we have the option of visiting the famous Ashgabat Sunday Market. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book.  In Ashgabat we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. *Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please 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.*

    Explore, shop and haggle at the vast Tolkuchka Sunday Market
    Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city

  • Day 2 Ashgabat

    Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. The afternoon will be free to freely explore Ashgabat and its museums.

    Learn about the history and culture of Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in Ashgabat - Cost: USD 10

  • Day 3 Ashgabat

    This morning we have some time to further explore Ashgabat. This afternoon we will drive to the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake. We will have some time this afternoon to explore this superb lake of naturally-heated clear water. Tonight we will wild camp in this area of Kow Ata or Geok Tepe. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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 coffee 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!).

    Explore Turkmenistan's unique underground lake at Kow Ata and swim in waters naturally heated to around 36°C

    Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union - Cost: TMM

  • Day 4 to 5 Turkmenbashi

    Today we will complete our drive to the city of Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours. Our itinerary in Turkmenbashi and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here!  In Turkmenbashi we will stay in a local hotel for as many nights as is needed until we finally depart on the ferry over the Caspian Sea. Most trips tend to be able to set off on the ferry 1 or 2 days after arriving in Turkmenbashi.

  • Day 6 Caspian Sea

    From Turkmenbashi, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku in Azerbaijan. The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board. Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also highly unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Baku while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat. There will be basic cabins on the ferry overnight.

    Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Turkmenbashi and Baku

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Overland expedition vehicle.