DAYS 1 – 13: TURKEY
Your overland journey to Bishkek starts in the fascinating city of Istanbul, the gateway between Europe & Asia.
Your tour includes one night in Istanbul, however the city has a huge amount to offer so we recommend arriving in a few days before the start of your trip so that you can fully explore the city’s amazing sights and experiences including the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cisterns, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, Topkapi Palace and much more.
From Istanbul, your overland truck journey begins as you embark on a half day drive through olive groves and rural settlements to Gallipoli and the Straits of the Dardanelles. In World War I, on this blustery and exposed peninsula, ANZAC and British Forces struggled unsuccessfully for nine horrendous months to dislodge Turkish troops from the hills above the beaches. It is a moving experience to visit the war graves and battlegrounds where so much suffering and unnecessary loss of life took place.
From Gallipoli you cross the Straits of the Dardenelles, leave Europe and enter the continent of Asia. You will visit Troy on your way to Ephesus and spend the next 2 nights camping on the coast. Built by the Greeks a thousand years before Christ and then rebuilt by the Romans, this immense ancient city boasts an amphitheatre that can seat 24,000 and a harbour with no water – still in good condition after all these years.
From Ephesus you travel via Selcuk and then drive inland towards Pamukkale where you can swim in warm, mineral-rich waters.
Your next stop is Cappadocia where you stay for a few nights. Here, over the centuries, houses, churches, fortresses and even underground cities have been carved into this eerily eroded volcanic rock. The Goreme Valley provides an astonishing setting in which to spend a few days investigating the region. Why not take in the scenery from the skies in a Hot Air Balloon flight (optional). You will visit one of the underground cities where you can explore this ancient and mysterious area alone or with a guide.
After Goreme you head east to Kahta. Nearby you can climb the 2150m Nemrut Dagi – where the statues of the gods of antiquity lie scattered at the summit. These huge statues were carved from solid rock by King Antiochus during the reign of Emperor Nero.
You then have some long drives north towards the Georgian border, stopping to camp around Ysufeli, a small, typical rural Turkish town set amongst rocky surroundings on the Çoruh River