Turkmenistan Highlights Group Tour 8 days/7 nights
- Futuristic architecture of Ashgabat
- Karakum desert
- Flaming Davraza gaz crater
- Mountain landscapes of Nokhur village
Overview: During our 8-day journey you will discover the main highlights of the wonderful country Turkmenistan. Our tour is designed to unveil its historical and scenic marvels, taking you from the dazzling metropolis of Ashgabat to the ancient remnants of Merv, the awe-inspiring Karakum desert, and much more. Prepare to be captivated by the mystique and beauty that awaits you in this extraordinary country.
Duration: 8 days/ 7 nights
Route: Ashgabat-Bokurdak-Darvaza-Kunya Urgench-Dashoguz-Ashgabat-Nokhur-Gokdepe-Ashgabat.
Day 1: Ashgabat arrival (B)
Arrival at Ashgabat International Airport. Complete arrival formalities and meet your guide/driver. Greetings and transfer to the hotel.
After breakfast in the hotel, we will start our tour by visiting the Carpet Museum. Witness the wonders of craftsmanship and learn about the history of famous Turkmen carpet weaving as you marvel at the smallest carpet ever created designed to carry keys with utmost elegance. And hold your breath as you stand before the world’s largest handmade carpet, an astonishing feat with a total area of 301 square meters! No wonder it earned its rightful place in the Guinness Book of Records in 2003.
Continue to the Russian bazaar – State shopping center “Gulistan” – the main city bazaar of Ashgabat and the most popular bazaar in the city. There is a wide range of goods and many food establishments. The Russian Bazaar is visited not only by residents and tourists but also by international delegations. (souvenirs, dried fruits, vegetables, fruits, spices, clothes, etc.). Return to the hotel. Time at leisure.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 2: Ashgabat (B)
After breakfast, we will visit the Fine Arts Museum. The museum is named after the great Saparmurat Turkmenbashi (the first president of Turkmenistan). Discover a breathtaking collection of visual masterpieces, including paintings, graphics, sculptures, and decorative arts from renowned artists. Explore a good selection of Turkmen silver jewelry, traditional costumes, and yurt decorations. Find a collection of foreign art from Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Germany, Japan, and India – spanning centuries from the 17th to the 20th. Marvel at works by talented Chinese and Russian artists. Uncover the ancient visual arts of Turkmen ancestors that tell captivating stories of Turkmen’s rich heritage.
PM we head east along one of the major directions of the former Silk Road in Turkmenistan. 12 kilometers from Ashgabat we will make a stop near modern Anau, at a former medieval city of Bagabad, featuring the citadel of an important Timurid-period center and the ruins of the Seyit Jemaleddin mosque, which is referred to in many historical sources as “house of beauty”. Many centuries ago (around the 5 th mill. BC) this area accommodated the population of early Central Asian farmers who developed the world-famous Anau culture, shreds of evidence of which were discovered and extracted during archaeological research throughout the XX century.
Return to Ashgabat. Time at leisure.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 3: Ashgabat (B)
We begin the day heading for the fabled Bazaar of Tolkuchka (open on Saturdays and Sundays), attracting colorfully dressed people from all over the country to buy or sell camels, cattle and poultry, amulets, carpets, jewelry, and myriads of other things. A very famous Sunday market where people from all corners of Turkmenistan come for trade. Test your trading skills to negotiate for the best price when you buy something here. Drive back to Ashgabat.
PM we drive to Bagir village to explore the ruins of Old Nisa Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site), located 15 km from Ashgabat city center. The earliest of Parthian Empire capitals (III c. BC – III c. AD). Located in an atmospheric area at the foot of the Kopet-Dag Mountains. Archaeological excavations in two parts of the site have revealed richly decorated architecture, illustrative of domestic, state, and religious functions. Situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes, this powerful empire formed a barrier to Roman expansion while serving as an important communication and trading center between East and West, North and South. After the Old Nisa tour, we visit the National Museum of History (closed on Tuesdays). Prepare to be transported in time and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring wonders of the museum. Marvel at the remnants of Parthing influence, explore the mysteries of Bronze Age settlements and discover the traces left by the Greeks.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
After breakfast, we will be going to Bokurdak village to see the daily life of semi-nomadic families with camel milking, felt-making, and embroidery master class. Lunch and drive to Darwaza Gaz crater. On the way, stop at “bubbling water” and “bubbling mud” craters for pictures. When we reach the Darvaza crater, a short exploration of the area while a nomad-style kebab is being prepared. The crater was formed in the early 1970s when the ground collapsed during a Soviet gas drilling expedition. Scientists reportedly lit the massive hole on fire to prevent the spread of natural gas, and it’s been burning ever since and became a “must-see” site for those who travel to Turkmenistan. The National Geographic expedition revealed that some unusual lifeforms were thriving in the inhospitable conditions of the Darvaza crater. Dinner at sunset in Turkmen yurts or under the open sky.
Overnight in tents or yurts. Wild camping.
Day 5: Darvaza-Kunya Urgench-Dashoguz (B)
Breakfast at camp and drive through the Kara Kum desert to Kunya Urgench.
Drive 6 hours to Kunya Urgench. Be prepared for the road challenge for the next few hours. The road from Darvaza to Kunya Urgench is quite damaged but our experienced drivers have strong wheels to handle it.
PM we will visit the historical city Kunya Urgench (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – once a glorious capital of the medieval Khorezshah Empire, the biggest Muslim empire of the late 12 and early 13 centuries. We will take a close look at the outstanding 14-century mausoleum of Turabek Hanum, one of the best examples of the architecture of its period; the minaret of Kutlug Timur, a former highest minaret of Central Asia that used to form a part of the main cathedral mosque of the city; the mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh, a beautiful 12-century mausoleum with one of the earliest portals of the east and a unique cone of a dome, Kyrk-Mollah mound, the fabled al-Mamun’s Academy of Sciences, the mausoleum of Il-Arslan, Najmeddin Kubra, and Piryar Wali shrines.
Transfer to Dashoguz (130 km, 2-hour drive) for an evening flight to Ashgabat (flight schedule subject to change). Arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in Ashgabat.
After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby. Transfer to the mountain village “Nohur” which is 146 km, about a 3-hour drive from Ashgabat. Upon arrival, we will explore the beautiful nature of Nohur village and have a picnic lunch. Continue exploring the village. Nohur village is the only village that was intact during the Russian invasion of Turkmenistan.
Dinner and overnight in tents or guesthouses.
After camp-style breakfast drive to Ashgabat. On the way stop at Kov Ata cave (meaning “the father of caves”) with an underground lake. Residents have known about the unusual properties of this lake since time immemorial. Warm mineralized hydrogen sulfide water made the cave a popular place, with which hopes for recovery are pinned. This medicinal water contains hydrogen sulfide, iodine, magnesium, sodium, and sulfate, as well as chlorine, aluminum, bromine, iron, and antimony — a total of 27 chemical elements. Bathing in water has a beneficial effect on the body, and improves blood circulation. A long illuminated staircase of 350 steps leads to the lake. The cave and lake are popular places to visit by residents of Turkmenistan and a tourist attraction.
Also, visit Arkadash stud farm where you will have a chance to see, feed and ride the unique breed of Turkmen Ahal-Teke horses. Akhal-Teke horses are a cultural treasure and historic symbol of the tribal, desert nomads of Turkmenistan. Among the oldest and rarest breeds in the world today, they are highly prized internationally for their intelligence, endurance, and speed.
PM folk show and farewell dinner. Transfer to Hotel.
Overnight in Ashgabat.
Day 8: Ashgabat-Departure
Transfer to Ashgabat International Airport for departure. End of services.
- Comfort A/C transportation (busses 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
- Bilingual tour guide
- Camping gear for desert and village overnight
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner while camping
- F/B meals (no alcoholic beverages)
- Local flights (economy class)
- Visa cost $50-$100 paid in cash on arrival
- PCR test cost $44 upon arrival
- Migration duty $14 p/p (paid at the border on arrival)
- 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