Discover Central Asia’s secretive country
Join us on our Grand Turkmenistan Tour. During this trip you will visit all the famous places of Turkmenistan, such as Ashgabat, the Gates of Hell and the Yangykala Canyon. The tour is the ideal mix of nature and culture. You will see the ancient culture of Turkmenistan, but also recent developments in the country.
|Start date||Sunday 5 November 2023|
|End date||Saturday 11 November 2023|
|Days||7 days / 6 nights|
Transportation on the ground
Breakfast, lunch & dinner
LOI for the visa
Registration in the country
Western & local guide
Single room (€ 250)
Tips for the guide
Sunday 5 November – Ashgabat
- Arrival in Ashgabat, the city of white marble.
- Get to know your guide after which you can have some rest in the hotel.
- At 11:00 a.m. we start the city tour, including:
- Turkmenbashi Mosque / Mausoleum, here lies the former president of Turkmenistan.
- Drive to Nisa, a UNESCO world heritage site and the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire.
- Gate of Neutrality, an absurd monument with a golden statue of former President Niyazov.
- Alem Centre with the largest indoor ferris wheel in the world.
- Play spot the weird government buildings, including the ‘Wedding Palace’, Meteorological tower, and a giant thermometer.
- Highlight: Independence Park, the symbol of modern Turkmenistan.
- Independence monument, an impressive monument inspired by the old Turkmen tents.
- At 7:00 p.m. we take the night train heading to the furthest reaches of Turkmenistan’s west, destination Turkmenbashi.
Monday 6 November – Turkmenbashi – Yangykala Canyon
- Highlight: After arrival in Turkmenbashi we drive by 4×4 to the Yangykala Canyon. Known as the Grand Canyon of Central Asia – this “unearthly” surface, on the ancient Ustyurt plateau, was once under water and formed over millions of years on the site of an ancient ocean. The rich red color of the canyons is due to the mineral composition.
- We visit the famous viewpoint of the canyon.
- If you wish you can take a short walk.
- Visit to the Gozli Ata Pilgrim House. This is one of the holiest pilgrim sites in Turkmenistan and is situated in the shadow of Yangykala Canyon. Gozli Ata was a 14th century Sufi teacher, it was said he could see inside peoples’ souls. Gozli Ata translated means “All-seeing Father”.
- Overnight stay in the shared rooms at the Pilgrim House.
Tuesday 7 November – Yangykala – Nokhur – Ashgabat
- Today we drive the long way back to Ashgabat across the desert.
- Highlight: Visit the traditional mountain village of Nokhur. here we get to know life outside the big city. According to legends, its name originates from the Bible prophet Noah, whose Ark after a forty-day’s sailing landed to Manoman Mountain, that is why the words “nokh” or “nukh” are translated as “hit”.
- Nokhur Cemetery, learn more about the impressive graves marked by wooden posts adorned with the horns of a mountain goats.
- Explanation about the silk weaving mill.
- Drive to Kow Ata.
- Swimming in a natural hot spring, deep in a cave.
- Geok Depe Mosque, one of the famous mosques of Ashgabat.
- Overnight stay in Ashgabat.
Wednesday 8 November – Ashgabat – Mary
- Drive to the south-east of Turkmenistan, to Mary.
- Visit to the Akhal Teke horse farm. Learn more about Turkmenistan’s most important animal – considered the most beautiful equine breed in existence. These horses were the breed of choice for soldiers and kings from Kazakhstan to China – even Alexander the Great rode a predecessor of the Akhal-Teke in his battles.
- Anau Fort, the history of this place goes back 7,000 years.
- Upon arrival in Mary we continue 40km to Merv – once the world’s biggest city, the Silk Road metropolis was destroyed by Genghis Khan’s son and the Mongols in AD1221 with an estimated 700,000 deaths.
- Highlight: Discover the shrines, temples, towers, city walls, castles and mausoleums of this UNESCO city.
- Sultan Sandzhar Dar-al-Akhir Mausoleum, a special architectural structure. This amazing landmark is almost 40 m high.
- Overnight stay in Mary.
Thursday 9 November – Mary – Ashgabat – Darwaza
- Morning flight with Turkmenistan Airlines to Ashgabat. Lookout for Ashgabat airport from the sky – it’s built in the shape of a giant bird.
- Visit the Stairs of Health Park, if open we will actually walk the stairs here (8km).
- Drive to Darvaza, watching out for desert camels on the way.
- Highlight: Arrival at the fire crater (Gates of Hell). A place that started to burn in the seventies and has never stopped since.
- Walk through the sand dunes around the crater.
- Sunset at the crater.
- Barbecue and overnight stay in tents near the Gates of Hell.
Friday 10 November – Darwaza – Ashgabat
- Up early to catch a spectacular sunrise over the Gates of Hell, followed by a camp breakfast.
- Visit to the water crater and mud crater.
- Drive back to Ashgabat.
- Visit the Ashgabat cable car, which ascends to the base of the Kopetdag Mountain range.
- We visit the Central Bazaar for some last minute shopping.
- Head to the Halk Hakydasy Earthquake memorial. The 1948 quake occurred close to Ashgabat.
- Ashgabat by night tour, a strange and secretive city.
- Overnight stay in Ashgabat.
Saturday 11 November – Ashgabat
- Airport drop off.
- End of the tour.