Travel Brochure

Trekking Expeditions in Turkmenistan


Jump links to the programs on the page:

 

option 1, Karakum desert

option 2, Kopetdag mountains, Caspian Sea area, Yangy Kala canyon, Fiery Gas Crater

option 3, Karakum desert therapy, expedition from Caspian Sea to Fiery Gas Crater

 

 

 

Trekking in Karakum desert, option 1 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of the trip:

Day 1  airport – Ashgabat (hotel)

Day 2  Ashgabat – Karakum desert drive. Start Trekking trip, from behind Erbent village (wild camp).

Day 3  Karakum desert trekking, 15 km trek (wild camp)

Day 4  Karakum desert trekking, 15 km trek (wild camp)

Day 5  Back on the road and drive to the north, 100 km. Start trekking to Akjakaya lowest depression in the desert (minus 81 m), 15 km trek (wild camp)

Day 6  Trekking in the area, 10 km (wild camp)

Day 7  Return drive to the south, 100 km. Arrive at Darvaza. Hike over sand barchans to fiery gas crater in Darvaza area, trek 5 km. See the fiery gas crater. Last night in the desert. Camp.

Day 8  Drive back to Ashgabat. Check in hotel. Free program. Overnight.

Day 9  Transfer to airport as per next destination flight.

 

 

Detailed description of the program: (*the description is the personal experience of the sites and events. Certainly, this tour program is flexible and a new trip has its own discoveries, vivid moments, and personal scenario)

 

Day 1: airport – Ashgabat (hotel)

A.M meet at airport. Sightseeing in Ashgabat.

Visit the Turkmenbashy Ruhy Mosque in Kipchak

Ertogrul Ghazi Mosque (Ertogrul from Oguzz Kayi Tribe, his son Osman founded Ottoman Empire in 13th century, what is now Turkey).

Independence Park and Alem Ferris Wheel.

13h00 Check in the hotel. Time at leisure/ free program.

After sunset, night tour in the town to see Ashgabat in lights and have panoramic photos. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 2: Ashgabat – Karakum desert drive. Start trekking after Erbent village (wild camp)

Free program in Ashgabat

13h00 start drive into Karakum desert. Drive to Erbent village where we take the photos and then leave the road to proceed by a sand track between the barchans. Camp before sunset. Enjoy the stars of the night sky in the desert. Overnight in tent.

 

Karakum desert, Black Sands in Turkic languages (Earthen Sands – another interpretation)

It is stretching clockwise between the Caspian Sea, Sarakamysh lake, Aral Sea area, Amu Darya river, Karabil uphills, Murghab and Tejen rivers lower streams and Kopet Dag Mountain range. The sandy desert is a geographically well delineated biome of the temperate desert, zonobiome of the Arid- Temperate Climate, with a little rain, hot summers and cold winters, extensive droughts about 4- 6 months.

The large basin of Karakum desert is remain part of the ancient Paratethys Sea and Tethys Ocean. Then since the Tertiary has been in the process of being filled with loose alluvial rocks by paleo- Amu Darya river and later by Murghab and Tejen rivers. In the course of the long period the sand barchans had been formed. The dust particles have been deposited by wind, on the Kopetdag slopes in the south forming a dune region.

The paleo- Amu Darya originally crossed Karakum desert basin and into the Caspian Sea, often changing its course what can be clearly seen on the example of Erbent 1,000 km long wedge left by Amu Darya.  Later, Amu Darya was displaced to the east by the delta deposits of the Murghab and Tedzhen rivers and redirected to the Aral Depression. It emptied into the Aral Sea.

 

Flora of Karakum:

The distinctive feature of the desert biome is the often highly heterogeneous origin of its flora. This is especially true for the Central Asia deserts, the species of which originated in the surrounding high mountain areas and on the littorals of the ancient Tethys. Its long evolutionary history under gradually increasing xeric conditions and its large gene pool may explain the high percentage of endemics and a considerable diversity with respect to adaptive characters, both morphological and physiological.

Two groups of plants can be distinguished with respect to photosynthetic behavior in the Karakum desert. Ephemeraes and ephemeroids, which finish the life cycle before May month, are characterized by high potential photosynthesis. In drought-enduring shrubs and trees (Haloxylon, Calligonum, Salsola, Ephedra) the photosynthesis is lower. At different times of the year, the maximum photosynthesis rates vary as per different life forms:  Ephemeres and Ephemeroids coincide with the onset of fructification, end of March – end of April (in Ferula, Carex, Horaninovia). For plants completing the vegetative period at the beginning of the summer, they precede summer dormancy and partial leaf shedding – Smirnovia, Astragalus, Convolvulus. For drought enduring shrubs and trees they occur during the hottest and the driest period in the middle of June.

In the Karakum desert, the water content of the drought enduring species is low and remains almost constant during the day, with water saturation deficits not exceeding 6-15 % even on a midsummer day (sub-lethal saturation deficits are in the range 46-53 %). Photorespiration was found in few species Haloxylon, Aristida, Calligonum.

 

 

Day 3:Karakum desert, 15 km trek (wild camp)

After breakfast, start trekking on the sand barchans. Plan to hike 15 km during the day, with pauses when sun goes higher and resume closer to the sunset. You certainly meet on your way:  the jirds, small lizards, possibly see the medium size monitor lizards and the snakes. The landscape is mainly sand dunes, low bushes, with Salsola, Saksaul and Tamarix small trees. Enjoy the evening in the desert. Camp and overnight in tent.

 

Day 4: Karakum desert trekking, 15 km trek (wild camp)

After breakfast, continue trekking in the desert. Come across small settlement of semi nomadic people. Low mud houses and some yurts hide between the sand dunes. People are occupied in sheep and camel breeding. Ride old soviet motorbikes on the sand tracks and new Toyota Land Cruiser 4 WD in the desert. Vivid contrasts are everywhere. Satellite TV dish and small mud houses, traditional sheep hats and modern mobile phones and TV sets… The modern world circles the ancient way of life.

Continue trekking. Camp before the sunset. Overnight in tent.

 

Day 5: Back on the road and drive to the north, 100 km. Start trekking to Akjakaya lowest depression in the desert (minus 81 m), 15 km trek (wild camp)

Today, we return on the road and drive to the north of the desert. Crossing the Unguz line, we come into the Zaunguz Sands of Karakum desert. After a couple of hours drive, we start trekking to the lowest point of the desert.

Akjakaya depression is around 50 km long and 6 km wide, the relative depth about 200 meters and the absolute depth is minus 81 meters below the sea level. Located to the south of Sarakamysh depression (lake). Paleo-bottom of Tethys Sea.

 Camp before the sunset. Overnight in tent.

 

Day 6: Trekking in the area, 10 km (wild camp)

A breakfast, continue trekking in the area. Come by the salt flat – Takyr and sand hills with small dried grass (it is green only two months, April- May), low bushes, tamarix and saksaul trees. Arrive in the Akjakaya. Explore the depression. Meet on the way: the desert hares or foxes, the birds of prey flying up in the sky. Find the good place for camping. Overnight in tent.

 

Day 7: Return drive to the south, 100 km. Arrive at Darvaza

Drive to the road and then proceed to Darvaza. Arrive and hike over sand barchans to the fiery gas crater.

That is around 4.1 km direct line (from the road- through three ranges of sand barchans). See the Fiery

Gas-Crater. Last night in the desert. Camp.

 

Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 8: Dravaza- Ashgabat, 350 km drive

After breakfast, drive to the road (hike back to the choice). Then visit the other gas craters in the area: one is with mud at the bottom, next is deep and full of water. In both, gas can be seen bubbling outside.

Drive back to Ashgabat.

P.M Check in hotel. Free program. Complimentary Farewell Dinner. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9: Ashgabat- International Airport

Transfer to airport as per next destination flight

 

Quotes as per program (Trekking in Karakum desert, option 1 in Turkmenistan)

 

Group

Price USD / per person

1

1547

2

1070

3

927

4

897

5

959

6

909

7

870

8

869

 

 

The included services:

  • Letter of invitation, registration in the country
  • A/C Overland Transport (4WD car/s for support and transportation), airport transfers as per program. English speaking drivers are available.
  • Accommodation at hotel and camping

 

Accommodation

Place/ number of nights

AkAltyn**** hotel in DBL/TWIN shared room

Ashgabat/ 2 nights

SGL room supplement

40 USD per SGL room

 

 

Camping (separate tent, sleeping bag, mat included)

Karakum desert as per program/ 6 nights

 

 

Excluded services / optional services:

  • English guide services Day 1- Day 8, USD total per group: 420 USD total per group (we can do the program without or with guide/ this services is your choice)
  • Entrance tickets to museum or history sites in Ashgabat
  • Photo/ video history sites or museums in Ashgabat
  • Upgrade hotel in Ashgabat/ any hotel available upon request
  • Extra nights in Ashgabat
  • Alcohol drinks
  • Gratuities to driver or guide
  • Turkmen visa cost (at airport, visa urgent tariff: 10 days visa 87 USD, starting from 11 days visa – 117 USD. Visa cost at Embassies is different/ lower)
  • Migration tax 12 USD paid once on arrival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trekking in Kopet Dag mountains, Messerian, Caspian Sea, option 2

(Program is flexible and can be changed or shortened as per required travel period/ number of days)

 

Plan of the trip:

Day 1  Arrive in Ashgabat. Meet at airport. Sightseeing in the town. 13h00 Check in hotel. Free program.

After sunset, night tour around Ashgabat, to see the town in lights. Overnight at htl

 

Day 2  Sightseeing the Nisa fortress, Geok Depe mosque, Akhal Teke horse farm, Kow Ata cave.

Drive to Nokhur valley. Stay home.

 

Day 3  Start trekking in mountains. Return in the village for overnight.

Day 4  Drive in the direction of Kara Kala. Continue trekking in the mountain. Camp on the route. Overnight in tents.

Day 5  Drive along the lunar landscapes. Leave the road. Trekking on the Messerian plain. Arrive at Dehistan history site. Sightseeing. Drive to Okarem. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 6  Hiking along Caspian Sea shore. Visit mud volcanoes. Guesthouse stay.

Day 7  Drive to Balkanabat. Visit Mollakara beach. Stay at hotel

Day 8  Drive to Yangy Kala canyon. Trekking on the plain prior the canyon. Wild Camping

Day 9  Drive to Turkmenbashy. Flight to Ashgabat. Stay at hotel

Day 10Drive to Darvaza. Arrive. Trekking through Karakum sands, arrive at fiery gas crater. Wild Camping.

Day 11Return to Ashgabat. Stay at hotel. Free program.

Day 12Transfer to airport. End of the program

 

 

The Detailed description of the program

 

Day 1  Ashgabat airport - Ashgabat

A.M Welcome meet at Ashgabat airport. Transfer to town. Coffee break. Start sightseeing in town. Visit Russian (Gulistan) bazaar,

Ertogrul Ghazi mosque (The Copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul, built by Turkey, to show the line of Oguz Kayi Trabe who finally united all Oguz tribes in Anatolia and founded the Ottoman Empire. Ertogrul was the father of Osman. He prepared the ground and opened the way for his son to become the founder of Turk empire).

Come in the Independence park and take the photos of Independence monumental complex consisting of 118 meter’s tower, 27 statues of famous ancestors who marked the history with their deeds (Military commanders, Tribal leaders, Poets, Political Governors), the complex of Turkmenbashy – First President of Neutral Turkmenistan.

Arrive at hotel and check in. Have a rest.

Free program in the afternoon. Closer to the sunset, start night tour in the capital. See Ashgabat in lights and have panoramic photos. Visit the Alem Ferris Wheel, 75 meters high Neutrality Tower, Wedding Palace area, drive through town. Return in hotel. Overnight.

 

Day 2  Ashgabat – Kow Ata- Nokhur, 140 km / West Direction

Day full of cultural and nature discoveries in Turkmenistan.

Starting from Parthian fortress of Nisa (UNESCO World Heritage Site). One of the first Parthian capitals and their religious, diplomatic and military outpost to keep close connection with Scythian – Sakas tribal confederations in the Karakum desert and beyond in the Northern Great Steppes, for the safety of the Trade Routes and Parthian’s northern borders.

Continue to the Geok Depe and visit Geok Depe mosque, built inside of 19th century fortress. Place of the battle of Turkmen Teke tribes and Russian Military Detachment in 1880-1881.

Then, arrive at Akhal Teke horse farm. See the horses (One of the best horse breed in the world/ the same breed found in the Scythian burial kurgans of Pazyryk, 6th – 5th centuries BCE). Have a rest at horse farm.

Afternoon drive to Kow Ata cave. Descent by steps deep in the cave. See the cave’s lake, having warm water all year round +33 C. Swim in the lake. Return on the surface. Drive to Nukhur village in Kopet Dag mountains. Arrive. Stay at local home.

 

Day 3  Nohur valley trekking, 10-15 km and drive

Nokhur valley is incircled by three villages: Lower Nokhur, Upper Nokhur and Kone-Gummez. Situated inside of Kopet Dag mountains, near the Iranian border. The remoteness of the valley partly conserved the traditional way of life of the Nokhur tribe. Here, you can see the traditional mountain village houses with narrow alleys and brand new Land Cruiser standing in front of it. The traditional dresses and costumes entwined with modern smart phones in the daily life of the people. The contrasts are all around. Local people tell that they are descendants of the Alexander the Great and as a prove underline some Nokhur dialect words resembling the Greed words. The Nokhur area connected to the Persian legend of the Peri living in the Gyz-Bibi cave and the name of Nohur translated as ‘no’ and ‘hur’ – nine Peri. Some locals believe that the origin of Nokhur name derived from Noah.

Trekking around in the valley, Aydere gorge, come to the highest point 1901 m and come to the waterfall and mountain gorge. After day expedition in the valley, return to home for overnight.

 

Day 4  Nokhur- Kara Kala (Makhtumkuli), 10 km and 60 km

Continue trekking in the mountains. Then drive in the direction of Kara Kala. After border check points, camp in the mountain closer to Kara Kala (Makhtumkuli). Overnight in tents.

Kara Kala is the small town on the Sumbar river, west from Aydere gorge, in Kopet Dag mountains. Now, it is known as Makhtumkuli.

 

Makhtumkuli lived in 18th century. He is known as a philosophical poet and one of the founder of Turkmen literature, inspiring in his works to the unity of Turkmen tribes and proclaiming the valor of people and the beauty of the nature. He wrote himself that he is from the area around Atrek river.

 

Day 5  Kara Kala – Madau – Messerian plain/ Dehistan- Okarem, 350 km

Drive along the ‘lunar landscapes’. Stop for the photos and walk around. In the afternoon, leave the road and drive through Messerian plain to Madau direction. Trekking on the plain.  Arrive at Dehistan. Sightseeing in the ancient town and mosque. Drive to Okarem. Overnight in a guesthouse.

 

Dehistan (Mashad-Messerian) – the ancient city, since the end of 3rd century BCE. It is famous for its medieval period. Necropolis of Mashad, Mausoleum of Shir Kabir X century CE, the remains of Messerian town X-XV centuries CE. At different stages, it was the part of Gorgan region of northern part of Persia and a part of Khoresmshakh state. The archeological expeditions revealed the remains of mosques, caravanserais, parts of water supply system and sewerage. The recently discovered arcade leading inside of the court, suggest that the mosque was part of the Ribat (Sufic cloister) complex. Monuments in the town: Minaret built by Abu Ziyard, Mausoleum of Ala ad din Muhammad Khoresmshakh, the Fortification of the Fortress.

 

Day 6  Okarem – Chyakishlyar area, 10-15 km and drive

Hiking along Caspian Sea shore. Visit mud volcanoes around Chyakishlyar. Return to guesthouse for overnight.

 

All active mud volcanoes located around Akpatlavuk and Chyakishlyar, 1-3 meters in diameter, with mud or slurry eruption up to 3-7 meters high. The intervals between the eruptions is irregular. Depending on the chance to see it at once upon arrival or it can require a long wait.

 

Day 7  Okarem – Balkanabat, 190 km

Drive to Balkanabat. Near the Gumdag, stop on the road and trekking to the ancient mud volcano – Boyadag. Sightseeing. Back on the road. Continue drive. Arrive at hotel. Check in. Have a rest.

Who would like to have more activities – drive Mollakara salt river beach.

Overnight at hotel

 

Day 8  Balkanabat – Yangy Kala canyon, 170 km

Drive to Yangy Kala canyon. Visit the Gozli Ata mausoleum.

Trekking on the plain of the canyon. Camping in the area. Overnight in tent.

 

Yangykala canyon is a natural wonder in the western Turkmenistan, behind the Gara Bogaz Bay of the Caspian Sea. The abrupt and wavy rock landscape walled at 60-100 meters tall. Colors play with deep red, pink, yellow and white are impressive remains of the massive coral reefs from the pre-historical Sea, what covered all the spaces around in the region.

 

Crossing the spaces of western part of the Karakum pre-desert area. Caspian Sea breath is in the air, the largest salt lake in the world. The vast open and flat desert relief is open to the atmospheric corridor from the north, making the sudden temperature changes as normal. Today, this area is far from the oceans, but once in the pre-history it was itself the floor of the ocean. All the large basin of the Karakum desert remained in the Tethys Ocean and in its part Paratethys Sea, what existed some 40 million years ago. Since, the world platform changes geological process and grow of the mountain ranges in the Caucasus and in the Central Asia, some 30-20 million years ago; the present day relief was constructed. The Sea retreated, the former limestone walls transformed into red-pinky-white cliffs of Yangykala, it happened more than 5.5 million years ago.

 

It is not a reserve or a nature park. It is almost empty area with only a few small settlements scattered around the Gara Bogaz Bay. The area of Scythian - Sakas tribes in the antique times. The origin area of famous Ghuzz Turkic tribes in the early medieval times, where the Seljuk (from Kinik tribe) and Osman (from Kayi tribe) come from. Who founded two different Turk empires at different stages of the history. The mystic and enigmatic wind of the steppes and desert is around, with an impressive color scenery of the rock.

 

 

Day 9  Yangy Kala- Turkmenbashy, 170 km                      Fly Ashgabat

Drive to Turkmenbashy. Arrive. Visit Turkmenbashy bazaar and Caspian Sea resort Avaza.

Flight to Ashgabat. Meet at airport. Transfer to hotel. Check in. Overnight at hotel.

 

 

Day 10            Ashgabat- Darvaza, 250 km

A.M Free program in Ashgabat. 12h00- 13h00 Check out hotel

14h00 Start drive into Karakum desert. Stop for photos at Bakhordok and Erbent villages. Arrive at Darvaza. Trekking through Karakum sands to the fiery gas crater, direct track is less than 5 km. See the gas crater at daytime and at sunset. Camping in the area. Enjoy the view of the crater at night. Overnight in tent.

 

Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

 

Day 11            Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km

After breakfast, trekking back to the road. Visit the gas craters after Darvaza. There are two other craters. One is large and empty, with mud surface at the bottom where the gas is bubbling through. Next crater is 10 km to the south, along the road. It is the large and deep crater, with water at the bottom; the gas is going from the depth upward, finally finds way outside in the air.

Return drive to Ashgabat. Arrive and check in the hotel. Free program. Overnight.

 

*who have an interest to visit Local Pilgrimage Place at Anau and see the Anau fortress and mosque remains XV century. We can offer a complimentary drive and visit.

 

Day 12            Ashgabat- airport

Transfer to airport as per next destination flight. End of the program

 

 

Quotes as per program

(Trekking in Kopet Dag mountains, Messerian plain, Caspian Sea shore, option 2)

 

Group

Price USD / per person

1

1805

2

1303

3

1114

4

1186

5

1163

6

1086

7

1050

8

1046

 

 

SGL room supplement (for groups 2-8 persons)

+80 USD per SGL room

 

 

The included services:

  • Letter of invitation, registration in the country
  • A/C Overland Transport (4WD car/s for support and transportation), airport transfers as per program. English speaking drivers are available.
  • Domestic flight tickets Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat
  • Accommodation at hotel, guesthouse and camping:

 

Accommodation

Place/ number of nights

AkAltyn**** hotel

Ashgabat/ 3 nights

Village stay

Nohur/ 2 nights

Guesthouse

Okarem/ 2 nights

Nebitchi*** hotel

Balkanabat/ 1 night

Camping (separate tent, sleeping bag, mat included)

as per program/ 2 nights

 

 

 

Excluded services / optional services:

  • English guide services Day 2- Day 11, USD total per group: 580 USD total per group (we can do the program without or with guide/ this services is your choice)
  • FB meals Day 2- 10 (lunches 9, dinners 9) – 246 USD per person
  • Entrance tickets to museum or history sites in Ashgabat
  • Photo/ video history sites or museums in Ashgabat
  • Upgrade hotel in Ashgabat/ any hotel available upon request
  • Extra nights in Ashgabat
  • Alcohol drinks
  • Gratuities to driver or guide
  • Turkmen visa cost (at airport, visa urgent tariff: starting from 11 days visa – 117 USD. Visa cost at Embassies is different/ lower)
  • Migration tax 12 USD paid once on arrival

 

 

 

Trekking option in Karakum desert (option 3)

 

Day 1  airport- Ashgabat

A.M    Meet at airport. Drive to Ashgabat Welcome - complimentary breakfast and short drive around Ashgabat.

12:00 Check in hotel. Time at leisure.

In the evening, train to Turkmenbashy. O/N on train

 

Day 2  Turkmenbashy- Yangy Kala- Gozli Ata, ~180 km

Arrive in Turkmenbashy. Short drive around.

Drive to Yangy Kala (The south eastern bordering area of Gara Bogaz Gol bay, it has spectacular view of the former sea bed, and millions of years work by natural forces to form the canyons in its unusual shapes and variety of colors). Arrive and discover Yangy Kala canyons. Visit the Gozli Ata mausoleum. Arrive and discover Yangy Kala canyons. Camping. O/N

 

Day 3              Gozli Ata- Gaytaramysh Ata – Western Karakum, 250 km

Follow exploration of the region. Drive to Gaytaramysh Ata mausoleum (Kaytaramysh). Visit mausoleum and explore terrain around. Continue drive to Gyzyl Kaya, then change direction to south-east in direction of Melegoch. Visit villages along the route. Camping in the desert. O/N in tent

 

Day 4                 Western Karakum- Melegoch area- Karakum lake- Darvaza, ~ 180 km

Continue 4 WD trekking in Karakum desert, drive by Melegoch settlement. Arrive at Karakum lake. Visit it. Drive around, cross Turkmen lake, then start to east direction, to Darvaza. Arrive. Camping at Darvaza gas crater area. See the gas crater at night

*Total distance 440-450 km. The landscape changes from plateau to Karakum desert. Altitude is from 300 to 100 m.

 

Day 5              Darvaza- Damla- Murzechirla, ~200 km

Continue trekking in Karakum desert. Crossing the barchans, discover landscape. Stop for walk in the desert and lunch. Arrive at Damla village. Discover people and their mode of life. Continue drive to Murzechirla village. Camping. O/N in tent.

 

Day 6              Desert- Gonur Depe / 230 -260 km depending on the road

Continue trekking in the desert. Arrive at Gonur Depe and 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 history museum  in Ashgabat. Camping. O/N in tent

 

Day 7             Gonur Depe - Merv- Mary, 100 km

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. Drive to Mary. Arrive. Check in htl. O/N

 

Day 8  Mary- Farap border, 270 km

Option 1:Continue trip in Uzbekistan         08:30 transfer to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum, Amudarya river and Sundukli barchans along the way. Arrive. End of program

 

Option 2:Return flight to Ashgabat. Transfer to international airport

           

Quotes

Group/ persons

USD per person

4

900

6

892

8-10

792

 

 

SGL room supplement

30 USD per SGL room

 

 

Including services:

  • Letter of invitation, registration
  • A/C transportation service, 4 WD cars in desert / 3 persons in a car (TOYOTA, NISSAN or equal) as per program
  • Train Ashgabat- Turkmenbashy
  • Hotel stay in DBL/Twin shared room, other arrangements. Pls. look bellow

Hotel

Number of nights/City

AkAltyn****

Breakfast included

1/Ashgabat

*for extra night at AkAltyn SGL 70 USD/ DBL 95 USD

Margush or Yrsgal htl**

Breakfast included

1/ Mary

Camping in desert (tent, sleeping bag)

5/ as per itinerary/ * camping gear cost can be removed as per request

 

Separately, services as per choice:

  • FB meals (6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners)                      210 USD per person
  • English escort guide as per program                                     630 USD total per group

 

 

Excluded:

Pls. kindly note that visa consular fee (cost depends on place to obtain/ at airport 87 USD pp), migration tax at border (14 USD pp, paid once at entrance), photo/video fees, entrance tickets, guide, gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above – NOT included into above quotes. Thank you