Our People
  • Amy Waters snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • William Dalrymple Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

  • Liz Bonnin Heroes and Heroines

    The people who lead the way when it comes to those things which matter to us: exploration, the environment, women’s empowerment and education.

Country Road, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Journey along the Silk Road

  • EXPERT-LED GROUP TOUR
Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
06/08/21 06/23/2116 days $6,469 ex. flights $894Diana Driscoll15 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Mountain scene, Kyrgyzstan 1

Dramatic landscapes

Witness Kyrgyzstan’s dramatic landscapes of forested mountains and lush valleys.

Mogao grottoes in Dunhuang, China 2

The Mogao Caves

Discover the incredible wealth of Buddhist cave art found in Dunhuang’s Mogao grottoes.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian, China 3

Xian

Visit Xian’s extraordinary terracotta warriors and Big Wild Goose pagoda.

Forbidden city in Beijing, China 4

Beijing

Experience China’s capital, a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Bishkek

  • Day 2

    Bishkek - Ashu Village

  • Day 3

    Ashu Village - Naryn

  • Day 4

    Naryn - Kashgar

  • Day 5

    Kashgar

  • Day 6

    Kashgar - Turpan

  • Days 7-8

    Turpan

  • Day 9

    Turpan - Dunhuang

  • Day 10

    Dunhuang

  • Day 11

    Dunhuang - Jiayuguan

  • Day 12

    Jiayuguan - Xian

  • Days 13-14

    Xian

  • Day 15

    Xian - Beijing

  • Day 16

    Beijing

Day 1

Bishkek

Central Mosque, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Spend the morning at leisure to rest after your early morning flight. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided city tour taking in the sites of Bishkek, including Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people.

Day 2

Bishkek - Ashu Village

Burana Tower, Kyrgystan

Proceed to Ashu village in the Chon-Kemin valley. En route, you will see the Burana Tower, a monument from the 11th century.

Day 3

Ashu Village - Naryn

Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

Travel from Ashu village to Naryn via Balykchy and Kochkor, a journey of around 300 kilometres. Visit the west coast of Issyk Kul lake and Kochkor village en route.

Day 4

Naryn - Kashgar

Kyrgyz man at Kashgar Sunday animal market, Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China

Leave Naryn and travel to Tash Rabat, an ancient caravanserai. Afterwards cross the border from Kyrgyzstan into China, bound for Kashgar. The road cuts through the mighty Tien Shan via the Torugart pass (3,650 metres).

Day 5

Kashgar

Apak Hoja Mazzar, Kashgar, China

Spend the day exploring Kashgar sites, visit the Id Kah mosque, the largest mosque in China, the green-tiled tomb of Apak Khoja and wander through the Old Town’s narrow alleys.

Day 6

Kashgar - Turpan

Kashgar Market, Kashgar, China

Explore the covered market in Kashgar, where carpets, pashminas, brassware, inlaid handled knives, traditional hats, silks and spices are for sale. The art of haggling remains an important skill. Continue to Turpan.

Days 7-8

Turpan

Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang, China

Spend the next few days exploring the historic oasis town of Turpan – the second lowest place on Earth. Famous for its remarkable ‘Karez’ irrigation system, the town is fed by a network of wells, connected by underground channels.

Day 9

Turpan - Dunhuang

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

Travel by train from Turpan to Dunhuang. Dating back over 4,000 years, Dunhuang became a major stopping point on the Silk Road due to its role as an oasis. Now more famous for its history than its geography, Dunhuang plays host to the UNESCO-recognised Mogao Caves.

Day 10

Dunhuang

Crescent Moon Lake, Dunhuang, China

Head to the Singing Sand Mountains (Mingshan), where the desert meets oasis at the Crescent Moon Lake. Continue to the Western 1,000 Buddha caves. From here, travel to the Mogao Grottoes.

Day 11

Dunhuang - Jiayuguan

Gate Tower, Jiayuguan, China

This morning depart for Jiayuguan, a distance of 385 kilometres. Travel through the arid Gansu corridor, offering another opportunity to see some of rural China.

Day 12

Jiayuguan - Xian

Xian City Wall, Xian, China

In the morning, explore the Overhanging Wall and Jiayuguan Museum. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Xian.

Days 13-14

Xian

Terracotta Warriors Xian China

Spend 2 full days exploring Xian. Visit the Great Mosque and Museum, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Wild Goose Pagoda and The Terracotta Warriors.

Day 15

Xian - Beijing

The Forbidden City, China

Visit the Han Jing Tombs and Museum in the morning before transferring to the airport to catch your afternoon flight to Beijing. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 16

Beijing

Forbidden city in Beijing, China

Depart after breakfast and transfer to the airport.

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Moderate Activity
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by Diana Driscoll throughout
  • Accompanied by English speaking local guides
  • Airport transfers
  • All accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
  • All meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to sites visited
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters
  • Transport as detailed in the itinerary
  • £25 to help fund the communities, conservation agencies and NGOs that we work with
  • £25 contribution to ‘Trees and Science’ in mitigation of your carbon emissions

What is excluded

  • Drinks with meals
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
Country Road, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan

Chon-Kemin valley

The Chon-Kemin valley is known as one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful regions. Its river flows across the Kungei-Ala-Too and Iliysky Ala-Too mountain ranges, stretching over 110 kilometres, with seven lakes in its basin. Here also lies a specially-protected region, Chon-Kemin National Park, a lush natural area brimming with diverse flora and fauna. Forming the sides of the valley are conifer forests, which are home to many varieties of herbs, berries and mushrooms. Today you can take a light walking tour to Chon-Kemin gorge or relax in the village.

Emin Minaret, Turpan, Xinjiang, China
Emin Minaret
Sand Gate in Gaochang Ancient City, Turpan, China
Turpan, China

Turpan

Located on the northern edge of the inhospitable Turpan Depression – the second lowest place on Earth – Turpan is a historic oasis town. Famous for its remarkable ‘Karez’ irrigation system, the town is fed by a network of wells, connected by underground channels.

The hottest place in China, Turpan is famous for the grapes that grow here. Both its wine and sultanas are popular within China.

Apak Hoja Mazzar, Kashgar, China
Kashgar, China
Kashgar Market, Kashgar, China
Kashgar market
Kyrgyz man at Kashgar Sunday animal market, Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China
Kashgar, China

Kashgar

Spend time exploring the great Silk Route city of Kashgar, a key base for commerce and cultural exchange for many centuries, and is possibly one of the most interesting cities in western China.

Explore the covered market where carpets, pashminas, brassware, inlaid handled knives, traditional hats, silks and spices are for sale. Many of the goods on sale have changed little since Marco Polo’s time and the art of haggling remains an important skill for anyone looking to buy.

Lines of terracotta warriors stood in tomb trenches.
China
Terracotta Warriors Xian China
Xian, China
Terracotta soldiers and horses in a trench.
China

Terracotta warriors

Stumbled upon by a farmer digging a well in 1974, the 2,000-year-old army of the terracotta warriors is a fascinating record of artistic achievement and a grandiose expression of imperial power. Emperor Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of the Chinese people and embarked on a series of huge construction projects including the Great Wall. The best preserved of these undertakings is probably the terracotta warriors, interred within the outer wall of the emperor’s mausoleum as his eternal imperial guard. The mound of earth which protects his tomb is believed to be studded with precious stones.

Group Tour FAQs

Why should I travel with Steppes Travel to Kyrgyzstan & China?

An exceptional guide is the first essential component of a successful group tour and in Diana Driscoll, Steppes Travel is confident we have found just that. We have worked with Diana for over three years, and clients continue to rave about how amazing she is as a tour leader. Her passion for the regions that she travels to is incredible. She is known on our trips to be travelling with a file filled with fascinating handouts on the history, cultures and other local insights of the area, which she happily shares with the group. In addition, we find that she is great fun to travel with and our clients tend to travel with her, again and again.

Travel from the lush mountain scenery of Kyrgyzstan, with its nomadic culture, across the Tien Shan mountains to join the Chinese Silk route through to its origin in Xian.

Is June a good time to travel to Kyrgyzstan & China?

Early summer is a pleasant time to visit Kyrgyzstan & China. The days will be getting warmer in the northern and central regions.

What is the standard of accommodation on this tour?

Accommodation will vary along the route. There are a couple of smaller guesthouses, with private bathrooms, through to larger more sophisticated 4-star hotels in the major towns.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

What is the food in Kyrgyzstan & China like?

All meals are included. These will vary but on the whole, will include Western-style breakfasts and local cuisine in both countries for lunch and dinner. Therefore, you will not need to worry about the ‘extreme’ dishes you may have read about.

Is there a dress code in Kyrgyzstan & China?

No, there is no dress code for either country. You should be prepared for possible colder weather when crossing the mountains to warmer/hotter weather in China. You should dress for comfort taking some additional clothes so these can be layered. Good, worn-in shoes are advised.

Do I need to be physically fit to enjoy this tour?

You do not need to be particularly fit to participate; there are no long walks involved, but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.

Can I extend my time in Kyrgyzstan & China?

We can arrange additional days at the beginning or end of the tour if you wanted to extend your time in Kyrgyzstan & China. Please speak to one of our experts for more information.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?


VISIT OUR FAQ PAGE

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 1 855 2037885

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
06/08/21 06/23/2116 days $6,469 ex. flights $894Diana Driscoll15 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 880 980

Send us an enquiry

Send us a message and one of our travel experts
will get right back to you.

Enquire Today

Explore similar expert-led group tours

With an average group size of just eight to ten people our group tour itineraries enable you to travel to some of the most intriguing regions of the world in the company of experts guides in the field and, of course, with likeminded people.