As soon as you set your eyes on the brilliant flame-colored canyons of Yangykala, you’ll realize why this deep valley region is considered to be one of the most spectacular sights – not just in Turkmenistan – but the whole of Central Asia. This mini-three day excursion will take you from the white-marble capital of Ashgabat overland via 4X4, stopping off at treasured shrines and mosques, before reaching the stunning Yangykala Canyons on the second day. Along the way, you’ll bed down under the stars in tents, as well as experience a full tour of the valleys, which boast stunning pink, orange, red and yellow shades and cut deep into the Turkmenistan landscape. Make your way back on the third day and spend your final night in the capital of Ashgabat.
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The first day of this mini-tour of Turkmenistan will take you from the capital, Ashgabat, to the western stopover city of Balkanabat. The stunning overland 6-7 hour journey is made via a private and comfortable 4X4 car, and there will opportunities along the way to see the Spirituality Mosque in Kipchak (the biggest of its type in Turkmenistan), as well as the atmospheric holy shrine of Paraw-Bibi. After you have arrived in Balkanabat, transfer to Nebitchi Hotel and relax for the evening.
Hit the road again early in the morning of this second day, making your way 4 hours north to the flame-colored canyons of Yangykala, one of the most spectacular attractions in the entire country. You’ll reach the first ‘Grand Canyon’ by lunch, which is where you’ll eat before continuing further north in the afternoon to the precipice of Kara-Bogaz-Gol, where you’ll discover the sparkling canyons of Yangysuw. After dinner, bed down for the night under the stars in the tents supplied.
After breakfast, there’s further chance to explore the stunning canyons of Yangykala, rich in natural beauty and oozing a certain atmospheric and peaceful charm that all visitors can enjoy. After some final visits, set off back to the white-marble capital, Ashgabat, and take time to rest in your quality hotel or explore the city, all whilst winding down what has been an action-packed three-day excursion in Turkmenistan.
The Nebitchi hotel in Balkanabat is one of the few hotels in this isolated western Turkmenistan city. Guests staying here can enjoy all the comforts of home, including temperature controls in the room, large comfy beds, television sets, a mini-bar, WiFi, en-suite bathrooms and hot water. Elsewhere at this popular hotel there is an on-site tennis court, an outdoor swimming pool, a conference room and a sauna. Whilst the immediate area outside the hotel does have a few local dining options, guests looking to stay closeby can enjoy the hotel’s own restaurant, which serves a breakfast spread every morning as well as local and international dishes throughout the rest of the day.
The Yangykala Canyon is one of Turkmenistan’s most stunning natural phenomena; incredibly isolated and without a hotel in miles, it would be a shame to come all this way without spending the night. Therefore, the best – and only way to stay here is by pitching a tent and spending the night under the stars in a comfy sleeping bag. The best place to stay is on one of the high ridges above the flame-colored canyons; although it can get a little windy up here, the views of the surrounding landscape are simply awe-inspiring. Watch as the red sun sinks slowly below the horizon in the evening and wake up as it rises over the eastern edge of the rugged desert terrain.