Tour itinerary can be seen below.
• Arrive in Ashgabat in the early morning and transfer to your hotel.
• Tour the capital (there is also an option of arriving a day earlier and having a free day before the tour starts – extra accommodation and airport transfer will be an additional cost.)
• In the morning, we will visit the Nawruz festival village, fifteen kilometres west of Ashgabat, to participate in festivities. Here we will experience Turkmen culture, traditional yurts, cooking of national dishes, carpet making, embroidery, singing and dancing. Locals will dress in traditional costumes, and there will be the chance to see national dances and music played with traditional instruments such as the dutar and gyjak.
• Full-day tour of Turkmenistan's fascinating, marbled capital
• Visit the archaeological site of Nisa. Nis has mud brick remains of fortifications and palaces, temples, ceremony halls and treasury buildings. It covers the remains of the Parthian civilisation, which combined traditional Turkmen art and culture with Greek and Roman elements. Nisa is presumed to be the first capital of Parthia.
• Head to the Turkmenbashy spiritual mosque in Kipchak before returning to the hotel and spending the evening at leisure.
• Drive to the Kopet Dag Mountain Range, visiting the Kov-Ata cave lake and Akhal Teke private horse farm along the way. The Akhal-Teke horses are one of the most prized breeds in the world. They are the last remaining strain of the Turkoman horse, which has existed since 2400BC. In Kov Ata you can swim in the cave lake. The cave features a hot-water sulphur lake which is 35C all year round.
• Continue to the Kopet Dag Mountain Range, ascending into the mountains as we drive to Nohur village—here, you can experience the traditional lifestyles of the villagers, as we will be staying with a local family.
• More sightseeing around Nohur in the morning before starting our drive to Balkanabat. We will visit the Parau Bibi pilgrim site along the way.
• Arrive in the western Turkmen city of Balkanabat and check into the 3-star Nebitch Hotel.
• Evening at leisure.
• Drive to Yangy Kala, a series of Mars-like canyons and arguably the best natural sight in Central Asia. The southeastern border area of Gara Bogaz Gol has spectacular views of dried-up sea beds and canyons of unique shapes and colours.
• Continue our trek to Turkmenbashy and check into our 4-star Serdar Hotel in the Awaza Caspian Sea Resort.
• Evening at leisure.
• Depart early morning for the incredible Darvaza gas crater, also known as the ‘Gates of Hell.’ En route, we stop off for supplies in the desert village of Erbent. We then turn off the road and drive across massive desert dunes.
• Arrive at Darvaza early evening when the light is fading. You will see for miles around the glowing crater.
• Our guide will set up camp in tents safely away from the crater before cooking dinner while you relax and stare in awe at the gas crater.
• Journey back to Ashgabat in the morning. We will visit Tolcuchka bazaar before returning to your hotel.
• Spend the rest of the day at leisure around the capital.
• Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
• For those taking the optional extension to Merv and Gonur Depe, we will depart Ashgabat early morning by domestic flight to Mary. We then transfer to the Margush Bronze Age capital, Gonur Depe. The journey is 100 kilometres and takes three hours. Greek-Russian archaeologist Viktor Sariandi excavated the site from 1972 until he died in 2013. Excavation work is still ongoing, and new relics are found daily.
• Return to Mary and check into our hotel, relaxing for the evening.
• Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ancient Merv, the biggest archaeological site in Central Asia. Merv was an important destination along the ancient Silk Route and was briefly the world’s biggest city during the 12th century.
• We will visit Alexandria Margiana (Erk Kala), Antiochia Margiana (Gyaur Kala) remains, Sultan Kala, Sultan Ahmad Sanjar mausoleum, Yusuf Hamadany shrine, Mohammed ibn Zaid mausoleum and Gyz Kala castles.
• Return to Mary and take a late flight back to Ashgabat.
Single supplement is £215. We also offer an extension tour to Merv and Gonur Depe - £379 p/p with optional £80 single supplement cost.