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Undiscovered Turkmenistan

Tailor Made Itinerary

10 Days From £2,895

Overview

Home to ancient ruins, marble clad cities and a rich mix of traditional and modern cultures, this undiscovered gem is also blessed with a wealth of natural attractions including the colourful Yangikala Canyons, the Kopetag Mountains and the Dinosaur Plateau.

Staying in a mixture of hotels, pilgrim rest houses, camping spots and an overnight train, this remarkable journey really gets beneath the surface of one of the world’s most enigmatic destinations. You’ll start in Ashgabat,...

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discover the rich history of Turkmenistan’s ruined cities in Merv
  • Camp in the Karakala Nature reserve by the Koshdemir waterfall
  • See clearly defined dinosaur footprints around 145 million years old
  • Trek in the coloured Yangikala canyons of the east
  • Swim in the underground lake of Kow Ata
  • Marvel at the marble city of Ashgabat

ITINERARY

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: ARRIVE ASHGABAT: CITY TOUR

DAY 1: ARRIVE ASHGABAT: CITY TOUR

Upon arrival in Ashgabat this morning, you will be met by your driver and guide and taken to your hotel to check in before hitting the ground running with a city tour. Discover the Turkmen capital’s main sights with your guide from the vibrant Tolkucha Bazaar, for a glimpse of local life and perhaps a spot of shopping, to the city’s overly grand constructions such as the Mosque of Spirituality, the Orthodox Church of Alexander and the statue of Lenin. In the afternoon, drive out to Old Nisa to see this ancient Parthian city and the Turkmenbashy Mosque and Mausoleum.

Nusay Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 2: ASHGABAT - LAKE KOW ATA - NOHUR - KARAKALA NATURE RESERVE

DAY 2: ASHGABAT - LAKE KOW ATA - NOHUR - KARAKALA NATURE RESERVE

Leaving Ashgabat you’ll first stop at the Kowata underground lake, where you can swim in the warm waters known locally for their healing properties. Continue on to the Kopetdag Mountains and the tribal village of Nohur for lunch before arriving to the Karakala Nature Reserve. There is the opportunity for some short walks before spending the night camping in tents near the Koshdemir waterfall.

Yangykala Wild Camping
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: KARAKALA NATURE RESERVE - DEHISTAN - BALKANABAT

DAY 3: KARAKALA NATURE RESERVE - DEHISTAN - BALKANABAT

The mountains and valleys of Karakala and their rocky appearance make for a beautiful drive as you head to Dehistan to visit the ancient silk road city. Once connecting Khorezm with Iran, the city was as important as Merv and Konye Urgench, the remains of mosques and minarets from the 9th to 13th centuries along with mausoleums give useful insight into the scale of the ancient city and its past importance. Continue on to Balkanabat for the night.

Nebitchi Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: BALKANABAT - YANGIKALA CANYON - GOZLI ATA

DAY 4: BALKANABAT - YANGIKALA CANYON - GOZLI ATA

This morning drive north to the canyons of Yangikala and Yangisuw. The ravine dissecting Yangikala canyon was once an ancient seabed and you can now see the layers of sandstone with their pink, green and white hues. There will be time for a walk in the canyon and to visit the white canyon of Yangisuw before travelling on to the pilgrim rest house at Gozli Ata for your overnight.

Pilgrim Resthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: GOZLI ATA - TURKMENBASHI - ASHGABAT

DAY 5: GOZLI ATA - TURKMENBASHI - ASHGABAT

The shrine of Gozli-Ata lies in a natural bowl surrounded by layers of pink and white rock. This morning, visit the mausoleum of the renowned 14th century sufi Gozli-Ata before driving through this spectacular landscape to the city of Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea to catch your flight back to the capital.

Nusay Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 6: ASHGABAT - MERV - MARY

DAY 6: ASHGABAT - MERV - MARY

Returning to the airport in time for your short flight to Mary this morning, you will be met on arrival and taken east to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ancient Merv. It was one of the main cities along the ancient Silk Road and believed at one time to be the largest city in the world. After exploring the site, which encompasses the ruins of five ancient cities, you will head back to Mary for a look around the Regional Museum which showcases an array of archaeological finds dating as far back as the 3rd millennium BC through to the late 14th century. For the rest of the evening you have ‘day use’ of the Mary hotel until you are transferred to the train station, at around midnight, to board your overnight train.

Mary Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 7: AMUDARYA - KUGITANG VILLAGE - KOYTENDAG

DAY 7: AMUDARYA - KUGITANG VILLAGE - KOYTENDAG

You will pull into the train station at around 11:30 am where your guide will be waiting to meet you and begin the drive towards Kugitang village (also known as Koyten). En route, you will visit the medieval architectural monuments of the Alamberdar Mausoleum (X-XI cc.) and the Astanababa complex (XI-XVII cc.), both highly revered pilgrimage sites for the locals. After settling into your guesthouse in Koytendag there is the option to go for a walk through Koyten village, and around the Unabi tree (Chinese fig-tree) grove and local lake. Lunch is included during the transfer today and dinner will be served at the guesthouse.

Koyten Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: KOYTENDAG: DINOSAUR PLATEAU EXCURSION

DAY 8: KOYTENDAG: DINOSAUR PLATEAU EXCURSION

After an early breakfast, jump into the 4x4 and head up to the Kugitang valley to visit the Dinosaur Plateau and other interesting natural sites around the area. To reach the dinosaur plateau, which is home to over 400 clear dinosaur footprints that became extinct about 145 million years ago, there is a hike up the hill of approximately 1 km (around 1-2 hours) from the scenic Hojapil village. Then, drive to a ravine which, after a 15-minute walk, will bring you to the Kyrk Gyz (forty maidens) cave or grotto, a holy shrine with a freshwater spring. In the afternoon we’ll return to the Kugitang village.

Koyten Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: KOYTENDAG - TURKMENABAT - ASHGABAT

DAY 9: KOYTENDAG - TURKMENABAT - ASHGABAT

After an early start and breakfast, you will begin the journey towards Turkmenabat, a drive of around seven to eight hours with a quick lunch stop en route. Once in the city, board your evening flight to Ashgabat and head straight to your hotel for a much needed rest.

Nusay Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 10: DEPART ASHGABAT

DAY 10: DEPART ASHGABAT

Depending on your departure flight time, you may have a morning at leisure for some last-minute shopping or relaxation before being taken to the international airport for your onward flight, where your tour in Turkmenistan ends.

Breakfast

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

UNDISCOVERED TURKMENISTAN (10 DAYS) £2,895

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra - The best of the best, the ultimate indulgence
Luxury - Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium - Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior - Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple - No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

If you book international flights through Wild Frontiers.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHEN TO GO

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Natalie

Natalie is our Central Asia expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Natalie by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Wild camping under the stars and alongside the spectacular Darvaza Gas Crater, aka the ‘Gate to Hell’, is a truly surreal but must do experience when visiting Turkmenistan.

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