Best of Turkmenistan

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287
08 Nights / 09 Days
Ashgabat
Ashgabat

Turkmenistan – a fascinating country like no other. In one week we take you to the country’s most interesting historical, natural and architectural highlights: You will visit the marble city of Ashgabat, the ancient ruins at Merv and Gonur Depe, camp next to the burning gas crater known as “Gate of Hell”, visit Yangykala Canyon and go swimming in a luxury beach resort on the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan is a country full of amazing contrasts and on this tour, you will see them all.

Day 01: Arrival Ashgabat & City Tour
Arrival in Ashgabat. After the customs formalities, you will meet the driver. Transfer to the hotel in Ashgabat to relax.

After short rest in the hotel start sightseeing of Ashgabat, visit independence-period parks and monuments, including the Park of Independence, Neutrality Square, and some others. The tour today also includes visits to Old Nisa fortress (UNESCO site) and Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque and mausoleum and visit National Museum of history and ethnography, whose halls are dedicated to various themes and historical periods. Demonstrating a rich collection of artifacts from all over Turkmenistan, including ivory rhytons from Old Nisa, the museum will also offer us reconstruction models of most of the sites that we are going to visit.

Day 02: Ashgabat – Mary (flight) – Gonur Tepe (100km) – Mary
In the early morning take a flight to Mary (40 mins). On arrival, drive to Gonur Tepe/Margush  (100 km including 40 km off-road). Here first agricultural settlements appeared in the delta of Murgab River as back as 3 millennium BC. Fertile silt coming from mountains, an abundance of water and moderate climate had created favorable conditions for good crops and the progress of the ancient economy was continuing for several centuries. The American newspaper “Boston Globe” wrote that before we knew the four oldest centers of the world’s civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China, and due to the fantastic results of the Margiana expedition it is quite possible to think that there was another, the fifth center. Picnic lunch. Later drive back to Mary.

Day 03: Mary – Ancient Merv – Mary – Ashgabat (flight)
After breakfast, we head 25 km to the east of Mary, towards Bayram-Ali, the contemporary re-incarnation and humble suburb of the glorious Ancient Merv (UNESCO World Heritage Site). One of the major archaeological sites of Central Asia, Merv played an important part in the development of the Silk Road for more than 2 000 years. Within the limits of the archaeological park, which is 1200 ha, we will have a chance to observe all constituent parts of the “wandering city”. A series of adjacent cities, which can be roughly divided into the ancient (Erk Kala and Gyaur Kala), the medieval (Sultan Kala with its suburbs), and post-medieval (Abdulla-Khan Kala and Bayram-Ali-Khan Kala), appeared in the course of time as a token of the natural progress of the city from initial stages of its existence to a more advanced level. Besides remnants of the cities of Merv, we will visit the VI-IX cc. AD forts of Big and Little Kyz-Kalas, excellent examples of the so-called corrugated Koshks; the splendid XII c. mausoleums of Sultan Sanjar and Muhammed ibn-Zeyd. After sightseeing, we drive back to Mary where we will have lunch.

In the afternoon we visit the local history museum and do some sightseeing in Mary. In the evening we take a return flight to Ashgabat.

Day 04: Ashgabat – Anau – Darvaza (280 km, 4h)
Check-out from the hotel after breakfast. The remains of the Anau-Depe bronze age settlement and the Anau fortress are a 30-minute drive outside Ashgabat in the southeast. The name Anau is derived from Abi-Nau and means “new water”. The site was already in the 4th-3rd Millennium BC inhabited. We also visit a mosque from the 15th century this morning.

In the afternoon we drive north to the burning gas crater in Darvaza. On the way, we also visit the desert village of Erbent and two other craters, both of which gush from the underground with natural gas – one with water and one with mud. On arrival in Darvaza, we check-in at the yurt camp next to the burning gas crater in the desert. When the sun goes down, the whole crater becomes a door to hell, a fire temple, or another mysteriously spectacular place. Dinner and overnight in a yurt near the burning gas crater.

Day 05: Darvaza – Ashgabat (280 km, 4h)
After breakfast, we drive back to Ashgabat. Free time for the rest of the day.

Day 06: Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi (flight)-Yangykala (ca 200 km)
In the morning, at 08:30 am (subject to possible change) take a flight to Turkmenbashi (1 hr with Boeing 737). On arrival, brief tour of Turkmenbashi, visiting local market, city center,and some other sights.

In the afternoon drive to the stunning Yangykala Canyon, known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Central Asia’ and a remarkably beautiful place with pink, white, and yellow sandstone formations, stunning vistas, and the fascinating ‘crocodile’s mouth’ rock formation. En-route visit Gozli Ata shrine. Gozli Ata was reportedly a respected Sufi who lived in the early part of the 14th century.

Overnight in tents (wild camping)

Day 07: Yangikala – Turkmenbashi – Awaza (ca. 250 km)
Today morning we explore the canyon landscape a little more and drive down to Yangi-Suu. Then drive back to Turkmenbashi. The modern tourism resort Awaza is located just 12 kilometers west of Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea. There we check-in at a beautiful hotel and relax on the beach in the afternoon, including a short excursion in Awaza. Optionally, it is also possible to take a boat trip.

Day 08: Awaza – Turkmenbashi – Ashgabat (flight)
This morning we fly from Turkmenbashi back to Ashgabat (10:30 am – 11:30 am, subject to change). Check-in at the hotel and free time in Ashgabat in the afternoon. Farewell dinner in the evening.

Day 09: Ashgabat – Departure
Transfer to airport for departure flight back home.

City Night (s) Hotel
Ashgabat 01 Archabil hotel
Mary 01 Mary myhmanhanasy
Ashgabat 01 Archabil hotel
Darvaz 01 Camp
Ashgabat 01 Archabil hotel
Yangykala 01 Camp
Awaza 01 Yacht Club Yelken
Ashgabat 01 Archabil hotel

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
– 08 Nights accommodation
– Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.
– Local English-speaking guide
– Domestic flights Ashgabat-Mary-Ashgabat; Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi-Ashgabat
– All transfers, sightseeing, excursions as per the program by private vehicle.
– Entrance fee as per program
– Transport, Parking, Gasoline & Toll ways.
– All present government taxes.

– International Airfare.
– Tips, gratuities, Portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks, camera/ video camera charges, or any other expenses of a personal nature.
– Visa fees, personal insurance.
– Any item not specified under cost includes.

– Accommodation in good hotels.
– Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
– Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost.
– Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
– A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
– If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
– Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
– In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
– Sometimes, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
– While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
– Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
– In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.