The 2025 Silk Route Cycling Expedition
We are very excited to announce the route of the 2025 Silk Route Bicycle Expedition, with its traditional start in Beijing, China and finish destination in Istanbul, Turkey.
The route from Beijing to Istanbul on our Silk Route tour has never been exactly the same twice, and this edition will have its own unique differences, due to the geo-political realities of our time. As we have written before, the path of this ancient trading route has never been static, and one follows the path that opens, and embraces the adventures and challenges that await.
There were 2 clear logistical hurdles in designing this tour that we had to overcome, in order to cycle from Beijing to Istanbul. The first was how to arrive in Kazakhstan from Mongolia. In the past, to do this, we cycled through a small portion of Russia however due to the war in Ukraine this is not possible. Another way is cycling from Mongolia into western China and then into Kazakhstan. However due the security situation in the Xinjiang province of China, this is also not an option. There is a solution though. With the help of our local contacts in Mongolia, we have devised our plan around a flight from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Almaty, Kazakhstan. This will allow us to take in the splendours of Beijing, the Great Wall of China, the Gobi Desert and the steppes of Mongolia and still find a way to continue onwards from Kazakhstan.
From Kazakhstan, we are extremely fortunate to cycle into the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan, before returning to the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, which we last cycled in 2018. This is certainly one of the greatest adventures of the route.
Afterwards, we will enter Uzbekistan and visit the historic Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
The second logistical hurdle was how to get from Uzbekistan to the western side of the Caspian Sea. In distant years, our tour would cycle from Uzbekistan into Turkmenistan and take a ferry from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan. In some other years, we would cycle into Turkmenistan and then on into Iran and eventually into Turkey. With Azerbaijan’s land and sea borders remaining closed to foreigners and with Iran not being an option for us at this time, due to security reasons, we have repeated the solution from our 2023 Silk Route edition, a flight from Uzbekistan, to Tbilisi, Georgia. The culinary and culturally rich surroundings of the Caucasus will be a fresh start after the desert landscapes of southern Uzbekistan.
From Georgia, our tour enters Turkey following our traditional route through Anatolia, with its challenging terrain, ancient history and hospitable people, before arriving at our destination of Istanbul. We are very excited for the 2025 Silk Route and all of the experiences it will entail. It will be an arduous, enlightening and life changing journey.
Our self-powered caravan begins in Beijing, China, the political and cultural centre of China and crosses mysterious lands, fiery deserts, and...