Balkan Adventure 6 days/ 5 nights (with Dehistan)
Embark on an unforgettable journey through Turkmenistan’s Western Province, Balkan, with this captivating tour. Your adventure begins with a morning flight to Turkmenbashi, where a world of natural wonders and cultural gems awaits.
Duration: 5 days/ 4 nights
Route: Ashgabat – Turkmenbashy – Yangykala/Kemal Ata/Gozli Ata – Nohur – Ashgabat
Day 1: Ashgabat/Arrival
Early morning or evening arrival at Ashgabat International Airport with TK or other. Greetings and transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
NOTE: for those tourists who arrive early morning on day 1, will be connecting to the domestic flight without leaving the Ashgabat International Airport (request for price correction when booking the tour).
Day 2: Ashgabat – Turkmenbashy – Kemal Ata – Gozli Ata – Yangykala - Nebitdag
Start you day with a scenic flight to Turkmenbashi, the gateway to Balkan Province. Upon arrival, we catch our 4WD’s and have a short city tour. Continue to Kemal Ata and Gozli Ata, two sacred sites that provide an insight into Turkmenistan’s spiritual traditions. Wonder at the serene beauty of Kemal Ata and the underground marvel of Gozli Ata, both offering a glimpse into the country’s rich heritage. Picnic lunch.
Continue driving to Yangykala Canyon, a geological masterpiece with its striking red and gold cliffs. Explore the canyon’s unique landscapes, capturing stunning photos at every turn. Late afternoon drive head to Nebitdag, a bustling town where you can experience local life and sample delicious Turkmen cuisine. Enjoy an overnight stay in Nebitdag, immersin yourself in the culture and hospitality of the region.
Overnight in Nebitdag.
Day 3: Nebitdag – Dehistan – Nebitdag
After breakfast in the hotel we take our journey to Dehistan, south of Balkan Province. After 135 km we get off the asphalt road and drive another 32 km off-road to Dehistan. After 3 hour drive we reach the historical park. Picnic lunch and site exploration for the next 1.5-2 hours.
Dehistan/Mishrian was the principal city of Western Turkmenistan from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Located on a major caravan route from Gurgan in northern Iran to Khorezm, its finest buildings were constructed by the Khorezmshahs. Major surviving monuments include parts of a minaret built by Abu Bini Ziyard in 1004-1005 and another built 200 years later, which formed part of the mosque of Muhammad Khorezmshah: this still has a superbly decorated portal, 18 m. high. The city was strongly fortified with a double row of walls and occupied c. 200 hectares: it declined and was abandoned in the 15th century. Seven kilometres to the north is the Meshat/Meskhet cemetery, where in the nineteenth century some 20 mausolea were preserved. Of these 5 still survive, including the important mosque/mausoleum Shir Kabir with an elaborately decorated mihrab of carved and coloured stucco. In addition to the medieval city and cemetery, there are also important sites from the third millennium BC.
Return to Nebitdag for dinner and overnight in a hotel.
Day 4: Nebitdag – Nokhur
Breakfast in the hotel. Morning set off to Nohur Village (485 km, approximately 6 hour drive), a hidden gem nestled in the mountains. En route stop at Paraw Bibi Shrine.
The Paraw Bibi Shrine holds immense cultural significance in Turkmenistan and the surrounding regions. It is a place where women, particularly expectant mothers or those desiring fertility, come to seek blessings, guidance, and protection from Paraw Bibi, the revered female spirit or deity. Lean the stories and legends about Paraw Bibi: Reyhana – was her real name, the story of hear beauty and betrayal of the village, escape from the enemy attack, turning the watermelon into a stone and hand prints on the stone. There you can also find a small river; locals believe if you wash your face in that water you can become beautiful like Paraw Bibi.
After a short stop, continue to Nohur Village. Arrival and exploration of the traditional village, interact with the welcoming locals, and savor authentic Turkmen dishes. Spend the night in Nohur, surrounded by the picturesque landscapes and warm hospitality. Full day exploration of local area including Kyz Bibi and tribal cemetery.
Nohur, coming from two words “Now” meaning Nine and “Hur” meaning huri or heavenly buties. The board with the names of nine female saints originating from Nohur, near the second old Chinar tree.
Spend an evening watching embroidery masterclass at local family. Turkmen women wear clothes made from homespun silk. Different types of cloth are used: gyrmyzy donlyk, sosany, sara takhta. For a day-to-day wear, a simple shift-dress is worn, as a rule, made from a type of silken cloth called keteni. This cloth is woven on narrow looms. Incidentally, it is still woven on a simple home-made horizontal loom called tara. The width of this loom, from 30-40 centimeters determines the style. The keteni has gold stripes running along the edge that are left facing outwards when the cloth sown together emphasize the line of the dress. The dress has a low, round-cut neck and the ends of the long sleeves are fringed with embroidery. Young married women and girls have to obey strict rules; sleeves have to cover the wrists and the hem has to cover the ankles.
Dinner and overnight in tents or guest house.
Day 5: Nohur – Kov Ata – Gokdepe - Ashgabat
After breakfast in Nohur we return to Ashgabat with stops at Kov Ata cave and Gokdepe stud-farm.
The Kov-Ata Underground Lake is a captivating limestone cave in Turkmenistan. Filled with warm mineral water, it offers a unique swimming experience. With healing properties and stunning cave formations, it attracts visitors seeking relaxation and natural beauty.
Ahal Teke horses are a breed native to Turkmenistan, known for their distinct features and attributes. Here are some key points about Ahal Teke horses: unique coat, lean built, exceptional speed, high-set tail, ancient heritage, endurance, and cultural significance. Ride, feed and enjoy the photo session with these beautiful creatures.
Gokdepe village was the site of the biggest battle for Russian domination in Central Asia in the late 19 c. The Battle of Gokdepe (1881) is considered to be a turning point in Turkmenistan’s contemporary historiography. It led to the then independent Turkmen (Akhal Tekke in this case) tribes coming under Russian control. The walls of the fortress were reconstructed and a mosque was erected inside the walls. Saparmurat Haji Mosque is the main mosque of Gokdepe and contains a museum dedicated to the battle of Gokdepe.
Arrive in Ashgabat for overnight.
Day 5: Ashgabat/Departure
Transfer to Ashgabat International Airport for the international flight. End of services.
Tour price information
- Comfort A/C transportation (minivan or minibus in the cities and 4WDs in the desserts and off-roads)
- Accommodation 4*5*
- Visa support (LOI)
- Water along the way
- Entrance fees to sites
- English-speaking tour guide
- Camping gear/breakfast/lunch/dinner while camping
- Visa cost and service fee $50-$100 (depending on citizenship)
- PCR test cost $33 upon arrival
- Migration duty $14
- Additional services in the hotel
- Tips to the guide and the driver (recommended)
- Personal expenses and itinerary modifications
- Photo and video camera fees at sites/museums