This is a short although intensive tour to give you an idea about the country and an attempt to show its main landmarks, various landscapes, introduce to ancient history, modern realities and meet a true hospitality of the Orient. Home to some of the region’s most friendly people, and one of its least visited destinations, Turkmenistan is a country that offers a fascinating mix of tradition, culture and historical pedigree.
Beginning in Ashgabat you will have a chance to explore the Turkmen capital - a home to the world’s highest concentration of marble buildings, before going on to explore Door to Hell. Darwaza is certainly the highlight of Turkmenistan travel and also one of the main reasons why travelers come to Turkmenistan. This is a truly mind blowing experience. You’ll drive through the Karakum desert to spend the night wild camping under the stars near the peculiar Darvaza Gas Crater.
Upon return you will continue to the town of Mary, your gateway onto the Bronze Age wonders of recently uncovered fortress of Gonur Depe and the ancient ruins of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once believed to be the largest city in the world.
Tour ends at the Turkmen-Uzbek border post "Farap" and is ideal for those who proceeds further to Uzbekistan. It could be modified in the reverse direction and be finished at the Turkmen-Iran border, depending on what travel itinerary you have and how many days you can allocate for the country.
Please keep in mind, that Turkmen visa is given only strictly for the number of days you booked your tour and you are not allowed to extend visa unless tour is booked. As a result, Turkmenistan is quite expensive for the tourists with daily budgets starting from 200$ (stays are authorized only in state owned hotels and you can’t stay overnight in cheaper private accommodations and you are obliged to have a tour guide). For budget wise travelers a transit visa restricted by 5 days is the only option to save on accommodation and guide.
- Ashgabat - See Turkmen's capital in all its marble-clad glory
- Merv - founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century, it was once reputedly the largest city in the world before a Mongol invasion ended her reign in the 13th century. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as the most well-preserved ancient center of the Great Silk Road.
- Darwaza - burning gas crater also known as 'The Door to Hell'. Camp under the stars and in the evening watch the spectacular and fascinating view of the gas crater.
- Khorezm - Visit the ancient capital of Khorezm and its surviving monuments
Arrival to Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital. At the airport, you will be met by our representatives and will be accommodated at Grand Turkmen Hotel. Free time.
Afternoon you will have Ashgabat city tour. During the tour you will visit Nissa fortress – the Sanctuary of Parthian Kings. The fortress was enrolled to UNESCO World Heritage list in 2007. Nissa described as one of the first capitals of the Parthians. It was founded by Arsaces I and was the royal necropolis of the Parthian Kings.
Drive to visit Turkmenbashy Ruhy mosque (the largest mosque in Central Asia), Ruhyyet Palace, Wedding Palace, modern “Yildyz” Hotel, building of Constitution, Arch of Neutrality, Monument and park of Independence and other beauty sights of Ashgabat.
Then you will see Ruhyyet Palace, Wedding Palace, modern “Yildyz” Hotel, Arch of Neutrality, Monument and park of Independence, Ertogrul Gazy mosque, and other beautiful places of Ashgabat city.
Transfer and overnight at Grand Turkmen Hotel.
Breakfast in the camp. In the morning, drive to visit "Altyn Asyr" Orient Bazaar (Tolkuchka) located in 20 km to the north of Ashgabat. It is one of the largest open bazaars in the world filled with colourful carpets, jewellery, silk and national Turkmen costumes and animals.
Then drive to Darwaza burning Gas Crater. The Crater is also called as "The Door to Hell". The Darwaza area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 60 m and 20 m deep. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. En-route we cross Karakum desert, will make a stop at small desert village. In the evening, watch the spectacular and fascinating view of the gas crater. BBQ Dinner at Gas Crater. Overnight in camp.
Picnic style breakfast in camp. After breakfast, drive toback to Ashgabat. Arrival& transfer to café where you can have lunch by your own.
After lunch transfer to domestic flights airport. Flight to Mary city. Arrival & transfer to Mary hotel. Free time. Overnight at Mary hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to Gonurdepe (90km, 3h). Gonurdepe was a capital of Margush (Margiana) country that occupied an area of more than 3000 sq. km and consisted of 78 oasis and more than 150 compact settlements. The American newspaper "Boston Globe" wrote that before we had known four oldest centers of the world's civilization: Egypt, India, China and Mesopotamia, and now due to the fantastic results of the Margiana expedition it is quite possible to think that there was another, the fifth center. Lunch box at the sight. Drive back to Mary city. Overnight at Mary Hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to Bayramali town to explore ancient Merv – “Queen of the world”, was one of the most important capitals of Islam along with Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus. Sightseeing of ancient Merv includes Greater Kyz Gala & Lesser Kyz Gala (VI-VII), Complex of Askhabs (VIII-XIV), Erk Gala (VI BC), Gyaur Gala (IV BC), Hoja Yusus Hamadani complex, Sultan Sanjar mausoleum, Muhamed Ibn Zeid mausoleum.
Drive to Turkmen-Uzbek border post “Farap”.
2-3 star hotels
4 star hotels
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