Our guide in Uzbekistan seemed to know everyone wherever we went which made us feel like locals.
In the midst of the arid sprawl of Turkmenistan's vast Karakum desert, the tiny village of Damla is a little haven of traditional Turkmenistani life. Among just 60 dwellings in the swirling sands, the local inhabitants go about their daily lives quietly and simply and a visit to Damla is a unique opportunity to see and experience a slice of their way of life.
Located to the east of the fiery crater at Darvaza and connected to other civilization by endless sandy dunes, Damla is secluded and cut off; indeed, many of the villagers trek miles to neighboring towns like Bekuri, on foot or carried on camels or horseback for supplies and services. However, it is precisely Damla's isolation that creates its charm; see and experience for yourself the marvel of the peace and tranquility of this preserved piece of true Turkmenistan.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall loved being one of the few western tourists to visit Turkmenistan, and will never forget coming face-to-face with the Door to Hell at Darvaza!
Travel like a local and experience the life of a local horseman, proud of their stunning Akhal Teke horses, thought to be the purest breed in the world, or charter a ‘desert ship’ - the indigenous one-humped camels well-suited to the sandy terrain.
Spend a night in a traditional nomadic yurt and experience the unforgettable feeling of being both exposed to the elements and totally safe. The semi-portable tents might not have hotel-standard luxury, but they do provide a window to the starlit canopy on magical desert nights.
Damla’s larger neighbor, Bekuri, is a popular destination in the area for its traditions and industries. Here, you can see authentic Turkmenistani carpets woven before your eyes using original medieval techniques, unchanged for centuries.
Join the locals in Damla and share in their way of life. Learn their customs and experience their traditions through mealtimes, lively conversations and evenings of entertainment including traditional live music performances.
Journey west of Damla to discover Darvaza, the village that means ‘gate’ and the home of the ‘Door to Hell’. Gaze into the vast crater of fiery gases which have been burning for decades without respite.
Discover the best of Turkmenistan with this nine-night, eight-day adventure tour of both cultural and natural phenomenons. From the white-marbled capital city of Ashgabat to overnight camping in the desert and everything in between, this trip will provide you with a cross-section of this unique Central Asian country.
This nine-day tour of Turkmenistan opens up one of Central Asia’s most mysterious lands: Turkmenistan. Passing over the desolate, yet utterly spectacular Karakum Desert, you’ll explore ancient ruins, dazzling mausoleums, and fiery caves, all before ending up in the fascinating capital of Ashgabat.
Damla is a tiny, isolated village located deep into Turkmenistan’s vast Karakum Desert. With only around 60 houses and sparse amenities available, the only way of staying in this remote region is by pitching up your own roof for the night – in the form of a traditional yurt. These portable, tipi-like structures can be put up in a matter of hours, and are comprised of a metal or wooden frame covered in fabric to keep the weather out, such as leather, sheep’s wool or felt. Yurts have been a prominent feature of Central Asian life for thousands of years, and this is your chance to experience in night’s sleep in one yourself. Your Damla village stay will be made all the more memorable as you watch the stunning sun set over the desert, then wake up the next morning as it creeps over the eastern horizon to start a new day.