Visit the most interesting and mysterious places of Turkmenistan in a fascinating 13 days tour. You will see the modern Ashgabat city with its impressive white marbled buildings entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, visit the World Heritage Sites – Parthian Fortresses of Nisa, Ancient Merv and Koneurgench exploring the past along the mystical Silk Road. You will also make a journey to the heart of the Karakum Desert to see the Burning Gas Crater in Darvaza. Furthermore you will spend a day in atraditional and picturesque Nohur villagein Kopet Dag Mountains, visit pilgrimage sites, explore the magnificent scenery of Yangikala canyons and relax on the shores of the Caspian Sea spending a night in a luxurious hotel inAvaza seaside resort.
Tour dates: 22 April – 04 May, 2017
Itinerary: Ashgabat – Nissa – Kow-ata – Nohur – Balkanabat – Yangikala – Turkmenbashy – Dashoguz – Darvaza – Ashgabat – Mary – Merv – Gonurdepe (Margush) – Turkmenabat – Koytendag – Turkmenabat – Ashgabat
Day 1: Arrival in Ashgabat. Half day Ashgabat city tour
Arrival in Ashgabat by morning flight. Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan even though it is relatively young city. In 2013 the Guinness Book of Records named Ashgabat “white marbled city” – here you can see the biggest number of structures in the world made out of the white marble. Transfer to the Grand Turkmen hotel 4*. Early check-in and free time.
You can walk around the hotel; near the hotel, you can visit beautiful monument of Akhalteke horses, park of “Ylham” (Inspiration), “Altyn Asyr” trade market and “Gulistan” market (so called Russian bazaar).
After lunch half day tour of Ashgabat including visit to: Park and Monument of Independence, National Museum of History and Ethnography, Arch of Neutrality, a 75m- high monument with a revolving golden statue of the first President Turkmenbashy. Hit the viewing platform of the Arch of Neutrality to see the beautiful panorama of Ashgabat. Panoramic tour to “Alem” Ferris wheel, “Bagt Koshgi” (wedding palace). Continue tour to the historical and archaeological site “Ancient Nisa – the Residence of Parthian Kingdom” UNESCO site from 2007. The Parthian Empire was one of the most powerful and influential civilizations of the ancient world, and a brilliant rival of Rome which prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire to the east.
Day 2: Drive to Nokhur Mountain Village
After breakfast drive to Nokhur Mountain Village by 4WD car (190km, 3,5 h). En route stop to visit “Kow-ata” underground lake. A warm hydrogen sulphide lake lies in a cave at the Kopet Dag foothills. 276 steps lead into the lake. On your way down you will admire marvelous grapes and lines of stalactites and see bat’s bevies. This cave impresses with its greatness. It has the length of 250 m, width 50 m, depth of 65 m. The lake is available all year round because of constant temperature of water (33-37◦C) and air.
Arrival in Nokhur village. Short sightseeing of Nokhur village and visiting of "Gyz Bibi" Pilgrimage site & its unique cemetery where each tomb has the horns of mountain goats, the Great Tree - oldest tree in the village thought to be 800 years old. Evening short introduction with local silk textile weavers and having dinner at local family. Overnight in tents or at local family’s house.
Day 3: Leave Nokhur and drive to Yangikala via Balkanabat
Morning drive to Yangikala where impressive limestone formations rise up from the desert sands with views of the Karabogaz Gulf in the distance. These limestone cliffs are the remains of massive coral reefs from the pre-historical Parathetys Sea. En route to Yangikala stop in Balkanabat to have lunch and visit the local bazaar to stock up with food & drinks for dinner. Continue to the canyon of Yangikala, home to some of the best scenery in Turkmenistan. Arrive and explore the site. Take a picnic among the cliffs. When the sun sets we drive to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata - one of the holiest pilgrim sites in Turkmenistan. The mausoleum of Gozliata, located on a low platform against the backdrop of stunning pink and red limestone rock formations.Overnight at a local pilgrim house (multi-share accommodation) or camping.
Day 4: Drive to Turkmenbashi. Rest in Avaza – Caspian Sea Resort.
Morning drive to Turkmenbashy - the biggest port town of Turkmenistan. The town is enclosed with low mountains and faces the Caspian Sea. Arrive and accommodation in one of the best hotels in Avaza – the most popular sea resort center (10 km from Turkmenbashi) that is promising much in the future. Rest on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Short sightseeing in Avaza with its nice beaches which will be turned soon into the free economic touristic zone with decades of luxurious hotels, resorts and health clubs. Overnight at “Seyrana”5* hotel or similar.
Day 5: Turkmenbashy – Dashoguz (by flight)
Transfer to the airport and flight to Dashoguz. Arrival & check in Uzboy hotel. Short sightseeing in Dashoguz city. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Dashoguz – Koneurgench – Darvaza
In the morning drive to Koneurgench - the capital of Khorezmshahs (3-16th cc.) inscribed into the World Heritage Book of UNESCO.Koneurgench (known as Gurganch in the past) is the largest historical and archaeological park in the north of Turkmenistan. It is a large reserve with numerous ruins and monuments on the territory of modern Kunyaurgench. Such great Muslim scholars as al-Biruni, al-Khorezmi and Avicenna once worked here.
Sightseeing of the old city: Portal of Caravansaray (11-14th cc.), Il Arslan Mausoleum (12th c.), Mausoleum of Khorezm shahSultan Tekesh (13th c.), Academy of Horezm (3-13th cc.), Mausoleum of TurabekHanum, Minaret of KutlugTimur (14th c.) - one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia, Najmeddin Kubra (13th c.) and Soltan Ali (15th c.) Mausoleums.
After sightseeing of KoneUrgench drive to Darvaza. Arrive at Darvaza and explore the flaming Gas Crater at sunset. Having dinner (barbecue). Overnight in tents. (D).
Day 7: Darvaza – Ashgabat
Drive to Ashgabat. En route explore the gas craters, first full of water, and second the sulfur - muddy. Make the next stopover to visit Yerbent Nomadic village where you can enjoy seeing the local life in the desert - Turkmen yurts, dromedaries, tamdyr (mud oven) and many others. Arrive & check in the hotel “Grand Turkmen”. Overnight.
Day 8: Ashgabat – Mary – Merv
Drive to Mary. Visit on the route: Anau pilgrimage place (remains of Seyitjemalatdin mosque XV c). Lunch at Hanhovuz chayhana to taste silver or grass carp fish. Arrive in Mary & check in Margush hotel. Visit the museum of history and ethnography of Khorassan region in Turkmenistan. Drive to Merv historical site. The ancient city of Merv (Persian Marv) contains a succession of ancient cities developed over a period of 2500 years at the heart of the oasis formed by Murgab river delta, and close to the course of where the main river channel flowed in ancient times. Together, the cities of Merv once encompassed over 1000 hectares. In 1999, the United Nations declared Merv a World Heritage Site. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Mary – Gonur – Turkmenabat
Transfer by 4WD (110km & 2,5 h) to visit Margush Country (GonurDepe - capital of Margush) - Bronze Age Civilization Sites recognized as 5th Civilization of the Earth recently & Birthplace of Zoroastrianism - Fire Worshipping (4-3 mil. BC- 6th c. BC) inscribed in the World Heritage Book. After sightseeing of Margush drive to Turkmenabat. Arrive & check in Jeyhun hotel. Overnight.
Day 10: Turkmenabat – Koytendag
Early morning drive to Koyten village to explore the Koytendag Nature Reserve, which offers dinosaur footprints, a vast network of caves and Turkmenistan’s highest peak. The region has some fine historical monuments and holy places as well.En route stop to visit “Astana-Baba” Mausoleum in Atamyrat.Crossing Amudarya River.Arrival in Koyten. Accommodation in the hostel. Overnight.
Day 11: Explore Koytendag
Morning drive by 4WD along the Koytendag mountain gorge.Koytendag is the home of the highest mountains in Turkmenistan, the deepest lake, the longest caves and the most majestic natural waterfalls in the country. Koytendag Nature Reserve is a huge geological research center, the pride of which is the rocky plateau with hundreds of dinosaur footprints.
Explore “Forty Girl`s Gorge”, “Plateau of Dinosaurs”. Lunch outdoors.Visit of Umbar-Dere Waterfall. Return to the hostel. Excursion to the Kaynar Baba Lake.Overnight at the hostel.
Day 12: Drive back to Turkmenabat. Flight to Ashgabat
Day 13: Flight to Home
Transfer to the International Airport of Ashgabat for a flight to your city. Farewell. End of tour.
No of travelers
10 pax up
Price in USD/person
$ 2 236
Accommodation (local star & standard): Double/Twin in hotels
Ashgabat: Grand Turkmen 4* or similar hotel
Nokhur: Tents or at local family house
Turkmenbashy: Seyrana 5* hotel or similar
Mary: Margush Hotel 3* or Yrsgal Hotel 3*
Dashoguz: Uzboy Hotel 3* or similar hotel
Derveze, Yangikala: Tents
Excluded: International flights, consular fees for Turkmenistan tourist visa, migration card paid upon arrival - 12 USD, photo/video fees at sites, porterage & other services not mentioned above.