Kara Kum Desert

Popular Landmarks Of The Country / Part 2 Sightseeing Summary

Sightseeing in Ashgabat

The main tourist attractions (cost of entrance ticket):
  • Independence Park (free)
  • Ruhnama book monument. It is also the Independence Park (free)
  • Neutrality tower (starting at 3 DTM)
  • Alem Ferris Wheel (starting at 5 DTM)
  • Monument of Constitution (inside closed/ outside free)
  • Serdar Yoly Health Road on mountains (free)
  • Cable car visit (5 USD)
  • Russian bazaar, Lenin monument park(free)
  • Ertogrul Ghazi mosque (free)
  • Turkmenistan Heritage Cultural Center:
    • Ethnography section (ticket starting from 10 USD)
    • History And Archeology section (ticket starting from 10 USD). Recommended as it has full collection and other sections are just the extensions
    • Section of Modern History of Turkmenistan (ticket starting from 10 USD)
  • Turkmen carpets museum (ticket starting from 43 DTM)
  • Fine Arts museum (ticket starting from 10 USD)
  • Turkmenbashy Spiritual Mosque in Kipchak (free). The mausoleum of Turkmenbashy(free, the dress code required)
  • Recommended: night tour in Ashgabat, when all town in lights. Visit Neutrality tower, Wedding Palace area, Independence Park with chains of fountains there

Sightseeing in Mary

The main tourist attractions (cost of entrance ticket):
  • Svyato Pokrovskaya Orthodox Church 1900, the Russian Orthodox Architecture
  • Zelenyi bazaar. The most popular daily bazaar in Mary. Location is convenient as it is just across Mary hotel.
  • Central mosque, in the same area with Mary hotel and Zelonyi bazaar, Murghab river
  • Regional History museum (ticket starting at 5 USD). Museum has the rich collection of exhibits from Margiana and Merv History park, Ethnography and Fauna sections.

All can be done on foot, require 2 - 3 hours

The Svyato Alexandrovskaya Orthodox Church in Bayram Ali 1910, show the Russian period in Mary region (built for Russian Tsar Nikolai II visit). It is 26 km from Mary. Car or Taxi is required. It is better to visit on the way or after Merv Sightseeing

The Ancient Merv Historical Park - the history of Mary oasis from VI century B.C through XVIV century A.D. Read more about Merv.

The archeologocal excavations at Margiana Bronze Age Country - the start of history route of Merv/ Mary oasis. Read more about Margiana and its capital Gonur Depe (Brown Hill).

Sightseeing in Dashoguz

The main tourist attractions (cost of entrance ticket):
  • Bay bazaar – the most interesting place to see in Dashoguz. Normally, it is very active from early morning to 3 p.m.
  • There is also the Regional history museum, but not very popular between tourists
  • In general, Dashoguz is just passing point for trips in the country.
  • Sightseeing in Dashoguz combined with the Old Urgench Historical Park - the medieval capital of Khoresmshakhs state. Read more about Kunya Urgench and Khoresm sights

Turkmenabat sightseeing:

  • Old Town – Amul. The remains of Amul can be seen at the entrance to Turkmenabat
  • XIX century – early XX century part of Turkmenabat, Russian St. Nicolas Orthodox Church
  • Town zelyony bazaar, interesting place to see local people and Chinese good shopping. Attention to your bags and pockets!
  • Turkmenabat Regional museum, History of the region, Ethnography, Flora and Fauna

It is often just the start or the end point of the standard trips in Turkmenistan, unless you plan the complete visit of the region and go to Kugitang or the cross of the desert in the direction of Dashoguz or see the Amu Darya river closely.

Kugitang (Koyten) sightseeing:

Kuguitangtau mountain range dated to the Oligocene epoch. It is the spur of Pamir - Alay mountain system, the natural border with Uzbekistan.

Tourist attractions:
  • Dinosaur plateau with the visible dinosaur footprints left on the ground. Rock platform dimensions 400X300 meters, totally 31 dinosaur tracks with visible 3000 footprints. All traces have different length: 195, 226, or even 311 meters long
  • Kyrk Gyz gorge, with wishing cave. Local belief connected to the legend of 40 virgins hiding in this cave. Visitors come to make a wish. They moisten the ribbons at one end in the mud and throw it up to the ceiling of the cave, trying to stick it there that wish come true
  • Umbar Dere gorge with waterfall, 28 meters high. Good place to hide from hot summer day and have cool waterfall shower, refreshing for the rest of the day
  • Kaynar Baba lake, good option to swim in the lake. It has unique experience to swim in company with local fish. Local belief connected to the legend that local people don’t try to catch these fishes
  • Karluk (Karst/ Karlyuk State Nature Sanctuary) lakes and caves, there are around 50 km underground labyrinths under the mountains (Kattakul, Khurdzhumkul, Garlyk, Kap Kutan…). All caves closed for public. Required authorization of Ministry of Nature Protection to visit it

At least 3 days required for this part of trip. Turkmenabat – Koyten 440 km drive one way. Domestic flights are available to Kerki, this is around 180 km to Koyten.

Tip! for travelers

  • Entrance tickets to sites or museums: Good advantage to pay with manats DTM (Denominated Turkmen Manats), directly at the sites, museums (*Except, only at History museum, museum of Fine Arts in Ashgabat)
  • Money exchange at airport in Ashgabat is not an advantage
  • Visa cost, migration tax, state travel tax paid USD. Recommend to have USD cash prepared before arrival. EUR not exchanged correctly at airport or at border (EUR- USD correct rate only at banks in Ashgabat)
  • Visa credit cards cash withdrawal: possible only in Ashgabat, Foreign Economic Affairs bank at Visa department stand. Bank commission 3 %, Business days MON- FRI 09h00-13h00, 14h00-16h00, SAT 09h00-13h00, then closed for weekend. Bank address Garashsyzlyk street 1986, tel 406198
  • ATM use not advantage for you, possibly withdraw only manats DTM as per this rate 1 USD - 3.5 DTM
  • Guide service not compulsory in the country. Some travel agents insist on it. Flexibility in this question is always possible; there are legal ways to meet local state requirements and lower price
  • Public Transportation in Ashgabat: TAXI starting 10-20 DTM per ride, Public Bus 50 tenne
  • Public coaches, start at Ashgabat International Passenger Bus Terminal (at north of Ashgabat, Choganly area). There are coaches to all three directions of the country: North- Dashoguz, East – Tejen – Mary- Turkmenabat, West- Balkanabat – Turkmenbashy. Tickets starting at 50 DTM (manats). Air Conditioning available
  • Trains from Ashgabat train station: Daily trains to every main town. Tickets prices starting from 30 – 80 DTM (manats). E-tickets available https://www.railway.gov.tm/
  • Domestic flights, Turkmenistan Airlines, https://turkmenistanairlines.tm International flight tickets better to book via Hanh Air https://www.hahnair.com (German scheduled and executive charter airline, An der Trift 65, 63303 Dreieich, Germany, phone +49 6103 7331 200). Price is lower than in Ashgabat ticket office
  • Domestic flight tickets, best way to book – via a travel agent in Turkmenistan


Turkmenistan area has extremely arid continental climate. The main climate resulted factors are the remoteness from the oceans, the lowlands relief, the specifics of the atmospheric circulation in the area, the location of the mountain systems in the south and south – east. The continentality of the climate is shown in the severe daily and annual fluctuations of the temperature, high aridity of the region, low annual precipitation, dry air and rare cloudiness, intense evaporation.

The vast open and flat desert relief of the north and north- west open the atmospheric corridor from middle and high latitudes spaces, realizing the sudden temperature changes as normal. It is more expressed in the winter and early spring periods. The Kopet-Dag mountain system in the south and south-east stop the atmospheric moisture from Indian ocean.

Read more about the temperatures, the winds and the precipitation, click to open