Why fly to Iran when you can take the classic overland train-ferry journey from Turkey? We took the Trans-Asia Express train from Ankara to Tabriz. It’s a classic long-distance train and ferry ride that crosses Anatolia and Lake Van before entering Iran.
Overland on the Silk Road
One of the inspirations for this trip was our mutual desire to travel along the Silk Road, the network of trade routes that connected China with Rome for much of the first millennium AD. Places with names like Samarkand and Kashgar enticed us with visions of blue tiled domes and crumbling mud brick walls. A trip over the Pamir Highway, a high-altitude road through the jagged peaks of Tajikistan, was also a top priority. A three-week trip to Central Asia in 2013, where we attended a friend’s wedding in Kazakhstan and backpacked in the Tien Shan range in Kyrgyzstan, had already given us a taste of the region’s famous hospitality and stunning scenery.
As we made progress with our itinerary planning, we learned two key facts that nudged us towards an overland itinerary from Turkey to China, roughly following the Silk Road via Iran and Central Asia. The first was that Americans were allowed to visit Iran, and the second was that there is a weekly train, the Trans-Asya Express, that runs from Ankara to Tehran. As we are big fans of train travel, and wanted to visit Iran, we designed the beginning of our … Read more