Visit the most interesting and mysterious places of Turkmenistan in a fascinating 12 days tour. You will see the modern Ashgabat city with its impressive white marbled buildings entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, visit the World Heritage Sites – Parthian Fortresses of Nisa, Ancient Merv, and Koneurgench exploring the past along the mystical Silk Road. You will also make a journey to the heart of the Karakum Desert to see the Burning Gas Crater in Darvaza. Furthermore you will spend a day in a traditional and picturesque Nohur village in Kopet Dag Mountains, visit pilgrimage sites, explore the magnificent scenery of Yangikala canyons, relax on the shores of the Caspian Sea spending a night in a luxurious hotel in Avaza seaside resort, discover Koytendag mountain ridge, a grandiose canyon "Umbar Depe" with striking 28m waterfall, the famous plateau of Dinosaurs (with 438 footprints), unique sulfur - hydrogen spring "Kainar Baba", canyon "Kyrk gyz", carst caves and many more.
Tour duration: 12 days / 12 nights
Itinerary: Ashgabat – Mary – Merv – Gonurdepe (Margush) – Turkmenabat – Koytendag – Turkmenabat – Ashgabat - Darvaza – Koneurgench - Dashoguz – Turkmenbashy – Yangikala –Balkanabat – Nokhur - Kow-ata – Nissa – Ashgabat.
Day 1: Arrival in Ashgabat. Drive to Mary (350 km. to the east)
Early arrival in Ashgabat. Transfer to the Grand Turkmen hotel 4*. Early check-in and free time. Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan even though it is relatively young city. In 2013 the Guinness Book of Records named Ashgabat “white marbled city” – here you can see the biggest number of structures in the world made out of the white marble. You can walk around the hotel; near the hotel, you can visit beautiful monument of Akhalteke horses, park of “Ylham” (Inspiration), “Altyn Asyr” trade market and “Gulistan” market (so called Russian bazaar).
After lunch drive to Mary. Visit on the route Anau pilgrimage place (remains of Seyitjemaletdin mosque XV c). Arrive in Mary & check in Margush 3* hotel. Overnight.
Day 2: Full Day Exploring Margush & Ancient Merv
In the morning visit the museum of history and ethnography of Khorassan region in Turkmenistan. Drive to by air-conditioned Toyota Siena (110km & 2,5 h) visit Margush Country (Gonur Depe - capital of Margush) - Bronze Age Civilization Sites recognized as 5th Civilization of the Earth recently & Birthplace of Zoroastrianism - Fire Worshipping (4-3 mil. BC- 6th c. BC) inscribed in the World Heritage Book. After sightseeing of Margush drive back to Mary. En route stop to have sightseeing to Ancient Merv known as Mary ShahuJahan-King of the World for about 300 years became the biggest city in Asia, inscribed into the monuments list of World Heritage Book, protected by the UNESCO. Sightseeing of Ancient Merv includes: Gyz Gala &Oglan Gala (6-7th cc.), Complex of Askhabs (8-14th cc.), Giaur Gala (4th c. BC), Buddist Complex (4-6th cc.), Erk Gala (6th c. BC), Soltan Gala (11th c.), SoltanSanjar Mausoleum (12th c.), IbnZeid Mausoleum (12th c.). After tour of Ancient Merv drive back to Mary (35 km). Arrival & rest. Overnight at Margush 3* hotel.
Day 3: Mary - Turkmenabat – Koytendag
Early morning drive to Turkmenabat. Arrive and having lunch at local restaurant. Continue driving to Koyten village to explore the Koytendag Nature Reserve, which offers dinosaur footprints, a vast network of caves and Turkmenistan’s highest peak. The region has some fine historical monuments and holy places as well. Crossing Amudarya River. Arrival in Koyten. Accommodation in the hostel. Overnight.
Day 4: Explore Koytendag
Morning drive by Toyota Sienna along the Koytendag mountain gorge.Koytendag is the home of the highest mountains in Turkmenistan, the deepest lake, the longest caves and the most majestic natural waterfalls in the country. Koytendag Nature Reserve is a huge geological research center, the pride of which is the rocky plateau with hundreds of dinosaur footprints.
Explore “Forty Girl`s Gorge”, “Plateau of Dinosaurs”. Lunch outdoors. Visit of Umbar-Dere Waterfall. Return to the hostel. Excursion to the Kaynar Baba Lake. Overnight at the hostel.
Day 5: Drive back to Turkmenabat. Stay Overnight.
Breakfast. Drive by Toyota Sienna back to Turkmenabat. En route stop to visit “Astana-Baba” Mausoleum in Atamyrat. Continue driving. Arrival and check in Jeyhun 3* hotel. Overnight.
Day 6: Flight to Ashgabat. Drive to Darvaza.
Breakfast. Flight to Ashgabat (flight No: T5 172 at 12:00). Arrival in Ashgabat at 12:50. Lunch. After having lunch drive to Darvaza. En route stopover to visit Yerbent Nomadic village where you can enjoy seeing the local life in the desert - Turkmen yurts, dromedaries, tamdyr (mud oven) and many others. Arrive at Darvaza, explore the gas craters, first full of water, and second the sulfur - muddy. Leave the road and venture in the desert to see the flaming gas crater. Arrive at site of flaming gas crater. Having dinner (barbecue). Explore the flaming gas crater at sunset. Overnight in tents.
Day 7: Darvaza – Koneurgench – Dashoguz
In the morning drive to Koneurgench - the capital of Khorezmshahs (3-16th cc.) inscribed into the World Heritage Book of UNESCO.Koneurgench (known as Gurganch in the past) is the largest historical and archaeological park in the north of Turkmenistan. It is a large reserve with numerous ruins and monuments on the territory of modern Kunyaurgench. Such great Muslim scholars as al-Biruni, al-Khorezmi and Avicenna once worked here.
Sightseeing of the old city: Portal of Caravansaray (11-14th cc.), Il Arslan Mausoleum (12th c.), Mausoleum of Khorezm shahSultan Tekesh (13th c.), Academy of Horezm (3-13th cc.), Mausoleum of TurabekHanum, Minaret of KutlugTimur (14th c.) - one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia, Najmeddin Kubra (13th c.) and Soltan Ali (15th c.) Mausoleums.
After sightseeing of Kone Urgench drive to Dashoguz. Arrival & check in Uzboy hotel. Overnight.
Day 8: Dashoguz – Turkmenbashy (by flight). Rest in Avaza – Caspian Sea Resort.
After breakfast at 09:30 drive to Dashoguz airport. Flight to Turkmenbashy (flight No: T5 236, at 11:30). Arrival in Turkmenbashy - the biggest port town of Turkmenistan. The town is enclosed with low mountains and faces the Caspian Sea. Arrive and accommodation in Seyrana 5* hotel - one of the best hotels in Avaza – the most popular sea resort center (10 km from Turkmenbashi) that is promising much in the future. Rest on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Short sightseeing in Avaza with its nice beaches which will be turned soon into the free economic touristic zone with decades of luxurious hotels, resorts and health clubs. Overnight at “Seyrana”5* hotel.
Day 9: Avaza – Yangikala Canyons
Leisure at the hotel. Check out at 12:00 from hotel. Drive to Yangikala where impressive limestone formations rise up from the desert sands with views of the Karabogaz Gulf in the distance. These limestone cliffs are the remains of massive coral reefs from the pre-historical Parathetys Sea. En route stop in Turkmenbashy city to have lunch and visit the local bazaar to stock up with food & drinks for dinner. Continue to the canyon of Yangikala, home to some of the best scenery in Turkmenistan. Arrive and explore the site. Take a picnic among the cliffs. When the sun sets we drive to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata - one of the holiest pilgrim sites in Turkmenistan. The mausoleum of Gozliata, located on a low platform against the backdrop of stunning pink and red limestone rock formations. Overnight at a local pilgrim house (multi-share accommodation).
Day 10: Leave Yangikala and drive to Nokhur Mountain Village
After breakfast drive to Nokhur Mountain Village by 4WD car via Balkanabat. Arrival in Nokhur village. Short sightseeing of Nokhur village and visiting of "Gyz Bibi" Pilgrimage site & its unique cemetery where each tomb has the horns of mountain goats, the Great Tree - oldest tree in the village thought to be 800 years old. Introduction with local silk textile weavers and having dinner at local family. Overnight at local family’s house or tents.
Day 11: Nokhur – Kowata – Ashgabat. Half day tour of Ashgabat.
After breakfast leave Nokhur and drive to Ashgabat. En route stop to visit “Kow-ata” underground lake. A warm hydrogen sulphide lake lies in a cave at the Kopet Dag foothills. 276 steps lead into the lake. On your way down you will admire marvelous grapes and lines of stalactites and see bat’s bevies. This cave impresses with its greatness. It has the length of 250 m, width 50 m, depth of 65 m. The lake is available all year round because of constant temperature of water (33-37◦C) and air. Arrival in Ashgabat. Accommodation at Grand Turkmen 4* Hotel.
After lunch half day tour of Ashgabat including visit to: Park and Monument of Independence, National Museum of History and Ethnography, Arch of Neutrality, a 75m- high monument with a revolving golden statue of the first President Turkmenbashy. Hit the viewing platform of the Arch of Neutrality to see the beautiful panorama of Ashgabat. Panoramic tour to “Alem” Ferris wheel, “Bagt Koshgi” (wedding palace). Continue tour to the historical and archaeological site “Ancient Nisa – the Residence of Parthian Kingdom” UNESCO site from 2007. The Parthian Empire was one of the most powerful and influential civilizations of the ancient world, and a brilliant rival of Rome which prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire to the east.
Day 12: Flight to Home
In the morning transfer to the International Airport of Ashgabat for a flight to home. Farewell. End of tour.
Accommodation (local star & standard): Double/Twin in hotels
Ashgabat: Grand Turkmen 4* hotel
Nokhur: Local family house or tents
Turkmenbashy: Seyrana 5* hotel
Mary: Margush Hotel 3*
Dashoguz: Uzboy Hotel 3*
Derveze, Yangikala: Tents
Turkmenabat: Jeyhun 3*
NOT included services: International flights, consular fees for Turkmenistan tourist visa, migration card paid upon arrival - 12 USD, photo/video fees at sites, porterage & other services not mentioned above.
We are looking forward to welcome you in Turkmenistan!