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The Marco Polo

Departing: Beijing, China - 25 days
Countries visited: China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran & Turkey

Follow in the footsteps of the grandfather of wanderlust! Traverse deserts and mountains, of the ancient Silk Road; Discover the jewels of ancient Persia, the carpets of Uzbekistan and the dumplings of China on this journey well off the beaten track.




Day 1. Arrive Beijing - Enjoy some Peking Duck with your Honcho and new travel buddies.
Day 2. Morning departure for Urumqi.
Day 3. Evening arrival in Urumqi - Home to China's Uyghur people.
Day 4. Urumqi - Explore the furthest city from the ocean in the world, before a late evening departure for Almaty.
Day 5. On board the train to Almaty - Watch the changing landscapes of the ancient Silk Road. 
Day 6. Arrive in Almaty - Welcome to Kazakhstan! Stroll the leafy streets of this cosmopolitan city before boarding the train to Shymkent on our way to Tashkent. 
Day 7. Arrive Shymkent, cross the Uzbek border and transfer to its capital - Tashkent.  
Day 8. Early morning train to Samarkand - Home to breathtaking monuments and glittering minarets. Witness the amazing Registan! 
Day 9. Golden Samarkand - Don't forget to visit the astronomer Ulugh Beg's observatory originally dating back to the 1420's.
Day 10. Morning in Samarkand and afternoon in Bukhara. 
Day 11. Bukhara - Relax under the Mulberry trees drinking tea.
Day 12. Bukhara - Marvel at the imposing Ark and impressive Kalyan minaret.
Day 13. Depart Bukhara for Ashgabat via Turkmenabat.
Day 14. Early morning arrival in Ashgabat - Discover this eccentric city of white marble.
Day 15. Depart Ashgabat for Mashhad - Cross the Kopet Dag Mountains into Iran.
Day 16. Mashhad and afternoon departure for Isfahan.
Day 17. Morning arrival in Isfahan - Discover the mosaic clad jewel of ancient Persia.
Day 18. Isfahan - Wander the Grand Bazaar and pick yourself up a prized rug.
Day 19. Last minute wanderings before our bus to Tehran.
Day 20. Spend the morning exploring Tehran before departing for Ankara by bus. (Should the train line re-open this sector will be by rail)
Day 21. Arrive Ankara late evening.
Day 22. Ankara - Explore Turkey's capital and check out the views from the hilltop castle.
Day 23. Morning train to Istanbul - a melting pot of cultures. 
Day 24. Istanbul - Shop to your heart's content in the bazaar!
Day 25. End Istanbul - Farewell your new friends and set off to discover more of this great country! 

Note: This itinerary reflects our current intended route for 2017 until the Trans Asia Express recommences operations between Tehran and Ankara in which case arrangements between Turkey and Iran will change. 




Visa support for pre-booked services

Services of Vodkatrain; Honchos in Beijing, Urumqi, Almaty, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Ashgabat, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tehran, Ankara and Istanbul.

Accommodation on a share basis (twin/triple or dorm rooms, private facilities not guaranteed):
Trains - 6 nights (shared)
Bus - 1 night (sitting class)
Guesthouses/Hotels - 15 nights (twin share)
Hostels - 2 nights (shared)

4-berth train tickets from:
- Beijing to Urumqi (1 night)
- Urumqi to Almaty (2 nights)
- Almaty to Tashkent (1 night)
- Turkmenabat to Ashgabat (1 night)
- Mashhad to Isfahan (1 night)

Sitting Class Rail from:
- Tashkent to Samarkand
- Ankara to Istanbul

All departure and arrival transfers en-route. 

Please Note: Arrival transfer on Day 1 and departure transfer at the end of your itinerary are not included. 

Extra Stuff! 
Linger a little longer. Pre and Post tour accommodation including visa support… stay as long as you like.

Want to spend more time in Turkey? 
Why not hook you up with our friends at Busabout for their Sail Turkey Adventure?

Get me to the airport on time!
Take the hassle out of arriving and departing… arrange a transfer.

Rail Packs: Travel longer, travel further!
Explore China and Vietnam at your own pace with a collection of the best rail tickets, pre-booked for your travel pleasure.