Discover this mysterious and fascinating country on our 8-day tour that showcases Turkmenistan’s historical and scenic highlights – from the gleaming city of Ashgabat to the ancient ruins of Merv, the fiery Karakum desert, and beyond... This longer Turkmenistan tour is suitable for those with a bit more time, who want to see as much of the country as possible. See and experience what Turkmenistan is most famous for, including tracing the legacy of the former President, Niyazov, in the marble capital city of Ashgabat, camping next to the glowing Darvaza Gas Crater, and exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ancient Merv and Kunya-Urgench. In addition, take the opportunity to get to know the real Turkmenistan as you observe life in desert and mountain villages and journey west to see the stunning Yangikala and Yangisuv Canyons and some of the country’s holiest pilgrimage sites.
This scheduled tour can easily be combined with the Scheduled Uzbekistan Group Tour.
Afterwards, drive to Gokdepe Fortress, which was attacked in December 1880 by the army of the Russian empire. The siege of Gokdepe lasted 23 days, after which the city was taken by storm. Visit Gokdepe Mosque (Saparmurat Hajji), which was built in 1995 to commemorate the defeat and is notable for its mint-turquoise roof and white marble structure. Then visit Gokdepe Museum to learn about the battle between the Russians and the local Akhal Teke tribe. Drive to the horse farm, which has over 35 of Turkmenistan’s famous Akhal Teke horses. Turkmens began to breed Akhal Teke horses 5,000 years ago, and this unique breed was never mixed with others. Famous people like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Darius I prized these horses. According to local tradition, every sick person who touches an Akhal Teke horse will get well soon. End the day with a drive to Ashgabat via Turkmenbashi Ruhy (“Spiritual”) Mosque, the largest mosque in Central Asia. Overnight at a hotel in Ashgabat.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Continue to Merv, an ancient city that was a major centre of international trade and crafts on the Silk Road. Discover the Historical and Cultural Park of “Ancient Merv” (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which was one of the most important capitals of Islam along with Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus. See the Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, Large and Small Kyz Kala, Erk Kala, Gyaur Kala, Mausoleum Complex of the Askhabs, Hoja Yusuf Hamadani complex, and Mohammed Ibn Zeid Mausoleum. Then drive to Mary airport for your flight to Ashgabat. Overnight at a hotel in Ashgabat.
Ashgabat holds the Guinness World Record as the city with the highest density of white marble buildings in the world. During the city tour, explore the archeological site of Old Nisa, a UNESCO World Heritage site; and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, the Monument of Neutrality, Ertugrul Gazi Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park.
In the afternoon, drive to the Darvaza gas crater (3.5 hours), which locals call the “Door to Hell”, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert. This area is rich in natural gas and, while drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a gas-filled cave. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole 70m wide. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided the best solution was to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. On the way, stop at Erbent village to see how locals live in these desert surroundings. Set up camp for the night, watch the spectacular and fascinating view of the burning crater, and enjoy a delicious fire-cooked dinner. Overnight in tents.
Optional extension: Drive from Kunya-Urgench to Khiva to join the Uzbekistan group tour
- All transfers: regular air-conditioned, with 4x4 vehicles if required;
- Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing (unless otherwise specified), breakfasts included;
- Sightseeing tour program with local, English speaking guide;
- Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
- Economy class tickets for flights: Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi, Mary-Ashgabat, Dashoguz-Ashgabat;
- Turkmenistan visa support letter;
- Meals as specified in the itinerary;
- Mineral water (1.5 litres per person per day)
- Travel tax: US$2 per person per night.
- Consular fees for Turkmenistan tourist visa;
- Turkmenistan migration tax - 14 USD;
- Tips to local driver and guide (although they would be appreciated);
- Travel insurance;
- International flight tickets before and after the tour;
- Full board (lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified);
- Hotel charges for additional services;
- Camera fees, charged separately by museums.
|Ashgabat - 4 nights|
|Gozli Ata - 1 night|
|Pilgrim house (shared accommodation)|
|Serdar - 1 night|
|Darvaza - 1 night|
|Tents (optional alternative: yurt shared with other group members)|