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.
From the moment you cross over the border from Uzbekistan, your tour in Turkmenistan is full of adventure, excitement and wonder. In just nine days, you’ll explore several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, set up camp in the heart of the desert by a molten lava crater, discover medieval villages amid modern towns and spend time in the white-marbled city of Ashgabat, the capital and largest city in the country - all while following traditional routes through the desert or along the old Silk Road. Discover history, discover culture, discover Turkmenistan.
Today you’re off and away, as you enjoy breakfast and then head northwest toward Kunya-Urgench, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the medieval capital of the Muslim Khorezmshah Empire. Explore the monuments, mosques and mausoleums of this glorious city, then take off south on the traditional route across the Karakum desert to the desert village of Darvaza. Here, your drivers will set up camp for the night as you tour the nearby flaming crater, an incredible molten lava cavity caused by natural hot gasses in the ground. After exploring the vast circumference of this crater, head back to camp for a dinner of delicious nomadic food and an overnight stay in your tent.
After breakfast, it’s time to pack up camp and head east towards the heart of the Karakum desert, the village of Damla. Head over high sand dunes and across plains of dusty, hard-packed clay - a natural phenomenon called “takyrs” - for an incredible three-hour drive deep into the desert where Damla sits. Spend the rest of the day exploring this traditional rural village, home to cattle, sheep, goats and camels, before staying overnight in a national house.
After a farewell to Damla over breakfast, you’ll set off through the desert once again, this time toward Ashgabat, the capital city of Turkmenistan and a soon-to-be gem of Central Asia known for its impressive white marble buildings. On the way, make a short stop at Yerbent, a metropolis – so to speak – within the desert, where you can see traditional houses set against satellite dishes and modern, urban living. You’ll arrive in Ashgabat in the late afternoon, just in time to settle into your hotel and spend the evening exploring.
This morning, you’re heading east along one of the former Silk Road routes, stopping to visit the former medieval city of Bagabad, home of a Timurid-period citadel and the ruins of the famous Seyit Jemaleddin mosque. Afterward, you’ll continue to Mary, a city in the Karakum desert and a famous archaeological site. Here, you’ll have some time to explore the city before staying overnight.
Continue to explore the incredible history of Turkmenistan, as today you take off northeast from Mary towards Gonur Depe, the former capital of the Margust country. Gaze out at unique fields and villages as you drive through the desert, arriving at the former city and archaeological site, the center of a remarkable Bronze Age civilization. Discover some of the city’s hidden treasures before enjoying a picnic lunch, then head back to Mary in the afternoon to check out the local history museum and some more of the city’s great sites.
Today it’s back to the capital city of Ashgabat - but not before exploring the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site and archaeological park of Ancient Merv, a reconstructed version of the once-major stop on the Silk Road, portraying time periods from ancient to post-medieval. After learning more about the history of this significant location, explore the ruins of Abiverd, once an important trading town in northern Khorasan. After sightseeing, set off back to Ashgabat for your overnight stay.
Spend the day exploring some of the most significant sites in and around Ashgabat. First, head to the nearby fortress of Old Nisa, the first capital of the Parthian Empire, located on an irregular pentagon hill at the foot of the Kopet-Dag Mountains. Then, head to Kipchak village to visit the biggest mosque in the country and the family mausoleum of the first president. Finally, wrap up the day sightseeing within Ashgabat itself, checking out sites including the incredible white marble statue in the Park of Independence and the Arch of Neutrality, a revolving statue with the first president on top. You will stay overnight once again in Ashgabat.