Travel, tour, hike, trek, camp

Hiking in Turkmenistan/ Trekking in Karakum desert

Trekking trips in Turkmenistan. Explore the Karakum desert at your leisure: trekking or hiking through barchans. Visit villages in desert and meet semi-nomadic people remote areas of the country. Explore the landscapes of Karakum as per options: in the west sands till Yangy Kala canyons, in the east till archeological excavations of Gonur Tepe and Merv, in central part between the villages. Starting and finish in Darvaza, to visit fire gas crater


Trekking in Central Karakum/ Turkmenistan    Hiking option 1

Trekking in Western Karakum/ Turkmenistan               option2

Trekking in Eastern Karakum/ Turkmenistan                option 3





Trekking in Central Karakum/ Turkmenistan    Hiking option 1



Day 1             airport- Ashgabat- Yerbent (Erbent)- Karakum desert/ around 200 km

Meet at airport (at night or early in the morning). Early check in hotel. O/N


P.M Drive to Erbent. Trekking in the desert. Camping after village in desert. O/N in tent


Day 2             Karakum desert/ hiking

Starting hiking in the desert in the area of Kyzyl Takyr. Around starting point as 75 km before Darvaza.

Later in Summer, the grass, flowers disappear and color change to yellow-brown. The winds are usually warm or hot. Small trees –tamarisk or saxaul can be frequent.

Camping in desert. O/N in tent


Day 3             Karakum desert/ hiking

Continue hiking in north direction.Camping. O/N in tent


Day 4-5-6      Karakum desert- Darvaza/ hiking- Stay in Darvaza last night.

Continue crossing the desert to the north direction in central Karakum.

Mainly soft sand, combined with small bushes and small trees.

Totally distance around 75 km. Altitude around 80-100 m

Arrive at Darvaza gas crater. Camping. Discover the spectacular view of gas crater at night. O/N in tent


Day 7             Darvaza- Ashgabat- airport, 257 km

Return on the road and drive to Ashgabat. Check in htl. Transfer to airport as per flight schedule

This day or next day



Group 2 persons         1285 USD per person

Group 3 persons         1282 USD per person

Group 4 persons         1105 USD per person



Including services:

  • Letter of invitation, registration
  • 4 WD car service as per program. English speaking driver- guide. Support English speaking person- guide (*there are two options: or we prepare GPS data for every night camping in advance (travel this itinerary in advance) and driver-guide will advise it every day and also leave fresh trail in the morning till the camp place or there will be two drivers-guides who change each other for hiking with you each day till next camp/ fresh trail in the morning till the camp place is left also the same)
  • Camping (tent, sleeping bags) for 5 nights
  • FB meals in desert (5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners), bottled water for whole stay
  • 2 nights at htl AkAltyn **** in Ashgabat (arrival based on early check in, one night before departure) Breakfast included




Visa consular fee (price may depends on place to obtain), border migration tax, sites entrance fees/photo/video in Ashgabat museums or historical sites, gratuities, airport departure tax, other services missing above. Thank you




Trekking in Western Karakum/ Turkmenistan               option 2



Day 1  airport- Ashgabat- Kov Ata

Arrive in Ashgabat during the day. Transfer to hotel. O/N *check in htl after 13:00


Drive to Kov Ata. Visit the cave lake. Sightseeing in Ashgabat, visiting the parks and squares of the capital, Earthquake memorial, the archeological site “Nisa” (The ruins have mud brick remains of fortifications and palaces, temples, ceremony hall, treasury building. It covers the remains of Parthian civilization, what combined the traditional art and culture with Hellenistic and Roman elements. The richly decorated architecture of religious, royal power and ordinary domestic functions had been revealed as the result of archeological excavations, started from beginning of 20th century and are continued in our days. Nisa or Parthaunisa presumed to be the first capital of Parthians, its ancient people lived along Kopet Dag mountain range (modern Turkmenistan and Iran). Accordingly to UNESCO description, Nisa played important role of a barrier to Roman Empire expansion to the west, while playing the communication and trading centre between east and west, between central Asia and Mediterranean cultures. Discover Turkmenbashy spiritual mosque in Gypjak. Return in Ashgabat. O/N at hotel.


Day 2  Ashgabat- Darvaza, 257 km

A.M explore Ashgabat at your leisure.

P.M Drive to Darvaza. Stop for photos at Yerbent village along the route. Arrive & start to visit gas craters. Drive in the desert and arrive at Darvaza fire gas crater. See it after sunset. Camping. O/N in tent


Day 3-4-5       Karakum desert- Karakum lake- Yangy Kala canyons

Darvaza- Karakum desert- passage Karakum lake- local hills and plateau formation - Gyzyl Kaya and finally arrive at Yangy Kala canyons. Total distance 440-450 km (365 km off road/desert trails and last 75 km along road  Gyzyl Kaya- Yangy Kala). The landscape changes from Karakum desert to plateau. Altitude is from 100 to 300 m.


4 WD trekking. Camping along the route. O/N in tent


Day 6              Yangy Kala- Turkmenbashy- Avaza

Drive to Turkmenbashy. Drive around Avaza. Stay at Avaza Caspian Sea resort. O/N at htl


Day 7              Avaza- Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat

Time at leisure in Avaza. Check out at 12:00-13:00.

Late afternoon flight to Ashgabat


Day 8              Ashgabat- airport

Transfer to airport for next destination flight. End of program


*notes to the program

1. For travelers who don’t need escort guide service, it can be removed from included services (bellow quotes) as 540 USD total per group




3 persons group                      1212 USD per person

4 persons group                      1042 USD per person

6 persons group                      866 USD per person



Including services in Turkmenistan:

Letter of invitation, registration

4 WD cars as per program / based on 3 passengers in a car (plus one guide for group), for groups –bus in Ashgabat

Local Escort English speaking guides services (including guide salary, guide’s meals and accommodation)

Flight tickets Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat (based on Turkmenistan Airlines prices from April 12,2015)

Stay in DBL/Twin sharing room, at htls, camping in tent. Pls. look bellow



Number of nights/City

AkAltyn****  /breakfast included

2/ Ashgabat


Serdar***** or equal   /breakfast included


Camping /tent & sleeping bags  /breakfast included

4/Darvaza, Karakum desert, Yangy Kala


*water in cars - complimentary.

*Single supplement 55 USD per SGL room



Separate prices to choice/ optional service:

  • FB meals  Day 2-6 (5 lunches 5 dinners)                  150 USD per person
  • Entrance tickets to Kov Ata 10 usd p/ticket, Nisa 8 USD p/t. Total 18 USD per person




Pls. kindly note that visa consular fee (cost depends on place to obtain), migration tax at border (12 USD p/p, paid once at entrance), photo/video fees, gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above – NOT included into above quotes. Thank you






Trekking in Eastern Karakum desert/ Turkmenistan                option 3



Day 1              airport- Ashgabat

Arrival at night or early in the morning. Meet at airport. Transfer to htl. Check in. O/N

Sightseeing in Ashgabat, visit the Independence square, Independence parks and monuments, Neutrality arch, Ertogrul Ghazi mosque, Nisa archeological site, Turkmenbashy mosque.

Return at hotel. Time for leisure. O/N.


Day 2              Ashgabat- Darvaza, 250 km

Drive to Darvaza. Along the route, visit ‘Erbent’ village in the desert. Continue to Darvaza. Arrive & start to visit gas craters. Venture in the desert and arrive at ‘flaming’ gas crater. Camping. Enjoy, seeing the gas crater at night. O/N in tent.


Day 3              Darvaza- Damla

Start 4 WD trekking in Karakum desert. Crossing the barchans, discover landscape. Stops for walking in the desert and lunch. Arrive at Damla village. Discover people and their mode of life. Camping. O/N in tent.


Day 4              Damla- desert

Continue drive in the desert. Along the way, discover flora and fauna. Passing a little settlement in desert ‘Muzerchirla’. Camping. O/N in tent.


Day 5              Desert- Gonur Depe

Continue trekking in the desert. Arrive at Gonur Depeand see the archeological excavations.

Gonur Depe (Turkmen name) or Margush (Persian name), Margiana (Greek name) site discovered to be the most impressive and called by the head of Russian archeological expedition, Mr. Sarianidi, as the capital or “imperial city” of Bronze Age state (which probably has thousands of sites around in desert, still covered by sands). The people of Gonur had lead sedentary life in oasis richly watered by Murgab river (after many centuries Murgab river changed its course and now can be seen in present day Mary), practicing irrigation farming of wheat and barley. Artifacts of Gonur are sophisticated and ingenious consists of bronze tools, horse training tools, ceramics rich in forms and usage, lapis lazuli, carnelian, gold and silver jewelry, semiprecious stone objects, stone seals – now it can been seen in history museum in Mary and  in the National museum of history in Ashgabat. Camping. O/N in tent.


Day 6              Gonur Depe -  Merv- Mary

Drive to Merv historical site (One of the famous cities on the ancient Silk Road, having more 2500 years of history, declared a World heritage site from 1999. It is located 26 km to the east from Mary, the first ruins appeared on the outskirts of Bayram Ali town. Its immense domain enclose five main sites (Erk Kala, Gyaur Kala, Sultan Kala, Abdullah Khan Kala, Bayram Ali Khan Kala) and numerous remains of caravanserais, fortresses, fortified castles and small towns or estates now seen in the forms of mounds, total surface is around 70 sq. km. As Gonur, the Merv in its turn had appeared, thanks to the Murgab river, flowing in the area in ancient times. Silk Road important city, Merv had four directions of trade caravan routes: Kunya Urgench to its north, Bukhara and Samarkand (Sogdiana) to the east, Herat (Bactria) to the south, to Mashad (Iran) to the west. Sightseeing : Alexandria Margiana, Antiochia Margiana remains, Sultan Kala, Sultan Ahmad Sanjar mausoleum, Yusuf Hamadany shrine, Mohammed ibn Zaid mausoleum, Gyz Kala castles. Arrive in Mary. Check in htl. O/N at htl.



Day 7              Mary- Ashgabat

Flight to Ashgabat. Arrive and visit the remains of Anau mosque and fortress. Check in hotel. Free program. O/N at htl.


*To your interest, starting from this day, this program can be continued and combined with Uzbekistan, visiting Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrizabs, Tashkent/ departure from Tashkent.


Day 8              Ashgabat- airport

Transfer to airport as per departure flight time. End of program




Group 2 persons     1580 USD p/person

Group 3 persons     1317 USD p/person

Group 4 persons     1164 USD p/person



Including services:

  • Letter of invitation, registration
  • A/C transportation service, 4 WD cars in desert  (TOYOTA, NISSAN or equal)
  • Escort English speaking guide service for Days 1-8 period, as per program
  • Flight ticket Mary- Ashgabat
  • Meals 5 lunches& 5 dinners, Days 2- 6, as per program
  • Entrance tickets: at Nisa, Merv, Gonur
  • Hotel stay in DBL/Twin shared room B&B, camping. Pls. look bellow



Number of nights/City

AkAltin**** or equal

3/ Ashgabat


1/ Mary

Camping (tent& sleeping bag)

4/ as per program


*Single room supplement                                          85 USD p/SGL room




Pls. kindly note that visa consular fee (cost depends on place to obtain), migration tax at border (12 USD p/p, paid once at entrance), photo/video fees, gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above – NOT included into above quotes. Thank you