Travel, tour, hike, trek, camp
Travel planning in Turkmenistan, 12 days. March – October, 2016
Travel in Turkmenistan: visit Ashgabat, trekking in Kopetdag mountains, see natural sites in Nohur, Gara Kala, Caspian Sea, explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites – Nisa, Kunya Urgench, Merv and archeological sites in Dekhistan and in Gonur Depe (Margush), visit Turkmen pilgrim holy places, discover Karakum desert and Darvaza gas craters and have cultural exchange with Turkmen people in towns, villages or in desert
Day 1 airport- Ashgabat
Meet at night (or at evening of previous day). Transfer to hotel. Check in & O/N
Sightseeing in Ashgabat, visiting the parks and squares of the capital, Ertogrul Ghazi mosque, 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- Nokhur, 175 km
Drive to Kopetdag mountains. Discover on the way Kov Ata cave lake & Ahal Teke private horse farm (Experts say the Akhal-Teke breed is at least 3,000 years old, may be the last remaining strain of the Turkoman (a horse that has existed since 2400 B.C.). In the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 A.D.), Akhal-Tekes lived with nomadic tribesmen near the Kopet Dag Mountains in Turkmenistan. The nomads treated the horses as part of their families, tethering them near their shelters. In the early 1900s, Russians used Akhal-Tekes as cavalry horses. Today they excel in sport, particularly in racing, show jumping, dressage and endurance racing. The Akhal-Teke breed has preserved type, purity and performance abilities of its ancestors into modern times thanks to the geographically isolated area of the harsh Kara Kum desert where the horses have been bred by the Akhal-Teke tribe since ancient times. The Akhal-Tekes are still being bred for speed and stamina by the Turkmen and one of the most famous stallions of modern times, Yanardag, is a part of the national emblem).
Drive in mountains, to Nohur village (one of the Turkmen tribes). Enjoy with beauty of the mountains and cultural exchange with people. Homestay
Day 3 Nokhur- Karakala (Gara Kala) - Parau Bibi, 250 km
Continue exploration in Kopet Dag mountains. Trekking by 4 WD car, follow the mountains tracks till Karakala. Drive along Sumbar river.
*If, Parau Bibi mausoleum is real interest. We can continue drive till this site via Serdar small town. Visit mausoleum. Camping at Parau Bibi pilgrimage site.
Day 4 Parau Bibi- Dehistan, 300 km
Return back on the road and drive again along Kopet Dag mountains and Sumbar river valley.
After long drive we leave the road and continue by Messerian plain tracks via Magdanly till Dehistan ruins. Arrive. Sightseeing of Dehistan site (remains of Cathedral mosque, madrasa, caravanserai, minarets), then continue and visit Shir Kebir mausoleum, Mashhad mausoleums.
Camping at the site. O/N in tent
Day 5 Dehistan- Balkanabat, 190 km
Drive to Balkanabat. Visit on route ancient Boyadag mud volcano. Photo stops along oil extraction region and in Mollagara health resort. Arrive in Balkanabat. Check in hotel.
Time for leisure. O/N in hotel
Day 6 Balkanabat- Yangy Kala- Yangy Suw- Gozli Ata, 320 km
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. Then continue drive to see Yangy Suw view to Gara Bogaz. Return to Gozli Ata mausoleum. Visit and overnight at pilgrimage
Day 7 Gozli Ata- Gaytaramysh Ata – Turkmenbashy, 275 km
Follow exploration of the region. Drive to Gaytaramysh Ata mausoleum (Kaytaramysh). Visit mausoleum and explore terrain around. Return back on road and drive to Turkmenbashy.
Arrive. Drive through town and continue to Avaza/ Turkmen Caspian Sea resort. Check in htl. Free program. O/N at htl
Day 8 Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat- Darvaza/ FLT +257 km
Flight to Ashgabat. Start drive to Darvaza. On route, stop for photos at Yerbent village. Arrive in Darvaza. Start exploration of gas craters along the route (one – full of water, second- muddy/ in both, you can see gas bubbling through it). Then venture in the desert and arrive at Fire gas crater. Camping. Enjoy the view of the gas crater at night. O/N in tent
*to your choice you can also visit along the route: Jeytun Depe Stone Age site and near this site, there is tamarisk natural grove
Day 9 Darvaza- Kunya Urgench- Dashoguz, 400 km
Drive to Kunya Urgench historical site (“Kunya Urgench” contains the survived monuments: mausoleums of Il Arslan 12th century, Sultan Tekesh 12th century, Turebeck Khanym 14th century, Najm addin Cubra 14th and Sultan Ali 16th century, minaret of Kutluk Timur 14th century (probably started in 11th ) 62 meters high, the tallest old brick construction in central Asia. The capital of Khwarezm had the most power in 11th – 13th centuries, have been overcoming in population and fame other Silk Road cities of central Asia. In 1221 it was razed by Genghis Khan, on its way in central Asia. After the revival in 14th century, the city was left forever due to Amudarya river course change and new destruction this time by Timur in 1370, later the new town of Urgench was built in present day Uzbekistan. Since 2005, it become a world heritage site protected by UNESCO. Sightseeing and continue drive to Dashoguz. Check in htl. O/N
*Along the route Shasenem fortress visit can be added
Day 10 Dashoguz- Mary – Merv/ FLT +80 km
(*direct flights available only on THU & SUN, other days we can fly via Ashgabat)
Transfer to airport. Flight to Mary. Arrive. 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 its east, Herat (Bactria) to its south, to Mashad (Iran) to its west. Sightseeing: Alexandria Margiana (Erk Kala), Antiochia Margiana (Gyaur Kala) remains, Sultan Kala, Sultan Ahmad Sanjar mausoleum, Yusuf Hamadany shrine, Mohammed ibn Zaid mausoleum, Gyz Kala castles. Return in Mary. O/N at htl
Day 11 Mary- Gonur- Ashgabat/ 200 km + FLT
Drive to Gonur archeological site. Arrival and discover the archeological excavations.
Gonur Depe (Turkmen 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 state 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.
*The road comes through agricultural area of Mary region and finally enter the Karakum desert on its last length.
Return drive to Mary and flight to Ashgabat. Arrive and transfer to hotel. O/N
Day 12 Ashgabat
Free program in Ashgabat. O/N at htl
Transfer to airport late evening or early morning next day
*Kindly note that program is flexible and other sites along the route can be added in it. Museums in Ashgabat can be added as per your interest
1 person group 2387 USD
2 persons group 1548 USD per person
3 persons group 1543 USD per person
4 persons group 1493 USD per person
Including services in Turkmenistan:
Letter of invitation, registration
A/C car service / (Toyota, Nissan or equal).
Local flight tickets Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat, Dashoguz- Mary/ direct flight, Mary- Ashgabat
Hotel lodging in SGL room at htls, homestay, camping pls. look bellow
*water in car - complimentary.
Separate prices to choice/ optional services:
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, meals L D, gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above – NOT included into quotes. Thank you.