Highlights of Turkmenistan
Highlights of Turkmenistan during this eight-day tour:
– the bizarre capital Ashgabat
– experiencing the Darwaza gas crater during an overnight in a yurt
– excavations at Merv
– the mountain village of Nohur with a tribale graveyard
– cultural treasures at Konye Urgench
An introduction to Turkmenistan, visiting several highlights in just eight days including the historcial sites of Konye Urgench and Merv.
You will experience the extremes of the unknown Turkmenistan; the desert, excavations, tribal peoples, the natural phenomenon Darwaza (a gas crater that has been burning since 1974 when geologists thought they burn off a small amount of gas!) and of course the megalomaniac capital Ashgabat.
You still need a visa and even an invitation letter (LOI) to visit the closed Turkmenistan. We arrange the LOI for you, you receive and pay for the visa on the spot upon arrival in the country.
You can read more about travelling in Turkmenistan and in Central Asia here. Including much practical advise.
Flight to Turkmenistan, capital of Turkmenistan (or entrance over land from Iran or Uzbekistan)
Day distance: 70 kms
Arrival at Ashgabat airport, normally at night or in the early morning, and transfer to your hotel, a distance of approximately 20 km.
Start of your tour to the highlights of Turkmenistan!
Today you will enjoy a city tour in Ashgabat, including visits to the Neutrality Arch, the Independence Park and the National Museum. Not to be missed are also Nissa (UNESCO) historical site, the Ahalteke and Lenin Monuments, and the Earthquake Memorial.
You will be amazed by the new parts of Ashgabat, entirely made of Italian white marble! And rather empty…
Day distance: 150 kms
Transfer to the unusual town of Nohur in the Kopetdag Mountains, after having first visited the Turkmenbashi Mosque & Mausoleum. Followed by the Geok Depe Mosque, and the underground lake (springs) of Kowata (swimming is possible!).
Arrival in Nohur, populated by an ancient people who once settled here from Mesopotamia. It is said that polygamy is common here and was even allowed in times of the Soviet Union!
In the afternoon the village is explored, including a visit to tribal cemetery and a silk weaving workshop. Dinner and overnight in tents nearby Nohur.
Day distance: 180 kms
Return to Ashgabat, where you will visit the remains of the Anau Mosque, the Carpet Museum and the Ertogrul Ghazi mosque.
Evening flight to Mary (40min) and transfer to the hotel.
Mary is a sleepy provincial town with previously quite a few Russian influences. You will still find a Russian Orthodox church, a (shrinking) Russian population and a wonderful new museum with finds from Merv and Margush.
Day distance: 200 kms
A visit to nearby Merv (on the list of UNESCO heritage sites) in the morning, and the Talkhatan Baba mosque and Ahun Baba Madrassa in the afternoon. The stories from history are rich, in a landscape of camels and ruins caused by (who else) the Mongols in 1221.
Interesting fact; Yelena Bonner, the wife of Andrei Sacharov, comes from Merv. Transfer to Mary airport for the evening flight to Ashgabat (40vmin). Transfer to the hotel.
Day distance: 400 kms
A varied and demanding day, starting in Ashgabat and via a visit to Konye Urgench in the north ending at the gas crater of Darwaza!
You fly from Ashgabat to Dashoguz (50 min), the big city of northern Turkmenistan. Followed by a transfer by car or minibus to Konye Urgench, also a UNESCO cultural heritage site with remains of mausoleums and mosques. Still not everything has been investigated in this area, it remains ‘work in progress’ for now.
You continue the road through the Kyzulkum (‘black’, which is not true) desert towards Ashgabat, a road that is not always good. The ultimate goal today is the infamous gas crater of Darzawa, burning since the early 70s. An ideal place to camp! From 2023 you will stay in a newly built yurt camp.
Day distance: 300 kms
Return from the desert by car to Ashgabat again. Leisure time after visiting the Tolguchi Bazar (when open, Sunday is the most lively day to attend).
Accommodation in a hotel.
Day distance: 20 kms
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
The costs of this program with highlights of Turkmenistan are €1,055 per person at six people, €1,090 p.p. at four people and €1,170 p.p. at two people. You can write to us for other group sizes.
Included in the offer are:
– five nights accommodation in double rooms incl. breakfast in 3 * hotels; once in a yurt and once in a two-person tent
– all transfers in Turkmenistan by car (two people) or minibus (from four people)
– plane tickets Ashgabat-Mary and Ashgabat-Dashoguz
– dinner twice and lunch once
– 1.5 liters of mineral water en route per person per day
– invitation letter for the visa (LOI)
– optional: services from an English-speaking guide during the entire trip with alle entrance fees included: €360 extra per person at two people, €235 p.p. extra at four people and €190 extra at six people.
Single room surcharge €175
Not included are international flight tickets, other meals, English-language guidance, entrance fees for the sites, the Turkmen visa (costs incl. migration tax around USD 110, cash to be paid on arrival) and the services not mentioned. Finally, we withhold €9 per person for the Dutch GGTO Guarantee Fund.
|from €1,090-1.170 p.p. at 4-2 persons