Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
This six-day tour offers the perfect introduction to one of the least-visited and most mysterious of all the Central Asian countries, Turkmenistan. Spend three action-packed days getting to grips with the fascinating capital, Ashgabat, before embarking on an epic overland journey across this little-known region. Your expert tour guide will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Merv before exploring all the historical ruins of nearby Mary. After making your way back to the capital, there’s chance to witness local life in the quaint countryside village of Bokurdak, where farming, baking and embroidery practices have barely changed over centuries. Finally, head to one of the real cultural jewels of Turkmenistan, Kunya-Urgench, the former capital of the Khorezmshah Empire.
After an early morning arrival in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat, you’ll be greeted by your friendly tour guide and check in to a quality four-star hotel, allowing plenty of time during the rest of the day to see many of the city’s highlights. The tour takes you to must-see attractions such as the famous white marble ‘Eiffel Tower-like’ monument in the Park of Independence. Two interesting museum visits are also on the itinerary (Earthquake museum and Carpet Museum) before returning to the hotel for a well-earned rest.
The second day in the capital will be spent with your knowledgeable tour guide, visiting the fortress of Old Nisa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the earliest of all the Parthian Empire capitals, stretching over 14 hectares. After fully exploring this stunning landmark, it’s back to the main Ashgabat city center to see the National Museum of History and Ethnography and then back to the hotel to wind down after what has been a full day of touring.
A final day of getting to know Turkmenistan’s most important region will take you slightly outside the city center, with a short drive to Geok-Depe to see the pure-blood Akhal-Tekke horses that this small town is famous for. The horses live at a farm, and on the way you’ll pass by a former Tekke stronghold, a site of a major Russian battle for domination during the late-19th century. You’ll also pass Kov-Ata cave, home to some naturally-heated water where you can even jump in for a dip!
Leave the capital in the morning and fly to Mary, one of Turkmenistan’s many historical jewels. Upon arrival, drive to Merv to explore its 1200-hectare historical park - a current UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient city of Mary also has numerous forts and mausoleum ruins to explore, and you can pay a visit to the local History Museum, which presents a wide array of archaeological finds (dating back to the third millennium BC). After a full day of sightseeing, transfer to your three-star hotel in Mary city via private transportation.
Following breakfast in Mary, it’s time to board an early morning flight back to the capital and then make the 60-mile drive over the Karakum Desert to the quaint local village of Bokurdak. People here live in houses made of unfired brick or in yurts, and you’ll have a chance to visit a local family house and experience the traditional ways of life of the Turkic people. Activities include embroidery, pichme (traditional bakery), baking bread and cooking ishlekli (meat pies). You can also try camel milk, or a cup of tea before making your way back to Ashgabat for your final night in the country.
On this final day, catch a morning flight and then make the 60-mile overland trip to Kunya-Urgencho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some fascinating medieval monuments and the former capital of the Khorezmshah Empire. Your guide will take you to all the worthwhile sites in this ancient city, including mausoleums dating back to the 12th century, as well as fort ruins and museums documenting the rich history of this region. After the day’s sightseeing is over, transfer to the Kunya-Urgench/Khojaeli border and say goodbye to your guide, ready for your onwards trip to your next destination.