May 8 - May 15 2021

Turkmenistan Tour (May): Ashgabat, Darvaza Gas Crater & Beyond

7 nights exploring
Turkmenistan

Featuring the white marble fantasy-capital of Ashgabat, a night camping
at the bizarre Darvaza gas crater, the ancient Silk Road ruins of Konye-Urgench,
and more!

From 2,100 USD per person

Please apply by 10th April, 2021.

Turkmenistan Tour (May): Ashgabat, Darvaza Gas Crater & Beyond

7 nights exploring
Turkmenistan

Featuring the white marble fantasy-capital of Ashgabat,
a night camping at the bizarre Darvaza gas crater,
the ancient Silk Road ruins of Konye-Urgench, and
more!

From 2,100 USD per person

  • Overall

    Join experts in Turkmenistan travel, Koryo Tours, on this epic journey to Central Asia’s most enigmatic and least-visited country; Turkmenistan.

    We will see history unfold as we travel from ruined ancient cities to gleaming modern marble-clad towers. From flaming pits deep in the desert to deep subterranean pools of health-infusing water. We will make sure to visit the main sites during our time in Turkmenistan such as Ashgabat and the Darvaza Gas Crater (Gates of Hell), but also take you off the beaten path to really experience and understand Turkmenistan. Meet local people, learn about their lives and history, their differences and commonalities.

    We look forward to sharing it with you in Turkmenistan!

    This tour will be led by our general manager and travel specialist Simon Cockerell, who first travelled to Turkmenistan in 2004 — on the very first flight from Beijing! He has been to the country over 25 times since. Over the years, he has made close friends there, explored widely, and maintained a deep fascination since first visiting 15 years ago. You can rest assured that you will be in safe hands during your Turkmenistan tour and that you will get the most out of your trip into this unexplored land!

    If dates don’t suit, check out our Turkmenistan tour in October, or contact us to organise a private tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of the Turkmenistan Tour highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, Turkmenistan visa information, and extra add-ons.

    Highlights

    • Ashgabat - All the highlights and local colour
    • Darvaza Gas Crater - The ‘Mouth of Hell’
    • Kow Ata Underground Lake - Natural hot spring 80m under the ground
    • Nisa Fortress – UNESCO listed archaeological site
    • The Ancient ruins of Konye-Urgench
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 9
    1. May 8th - Saturday

      Arrival

      • Assemble in Ashgabat - Airport pickups will be arranged wherever you fly in from and we will have a group dinner to get introduced and start the adventure! 

      Meals: Dinner

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat - A comfortable hotel that has escaped the marble-isation of the main city centre. Situated around 15 minutes walk from the main area it has easy access to the local regions of the city such as the Teke Bazar and good restaurant options.
    2. May 9th - Sunday

      Ashgabat

      • Tolkuchka Bazaar - The nation’s largest market, built outside the city and home to various sections selling household goods, clothes, the famous Turkmen carpets, camels & other animals, and much more!
      • Ashgabat Hippodrome – Sunday is a day at the races, with the sacred Ahal-Teke horses in full display.
      • Afternoon city tour including Independence Park and Monument, Arch of Neutrality topped by the gold statue of Turkmenbashi, Ahal-Teke Horse Monument, Earthquake Monument and Museum.
      • This evening is free for further exploration of Ashgabat

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat
    3. May 10th - Monday

      Darvaza Gas Crater & Bokhurdag

      • Desert adventure! We head off in a fleet of 4x4s into the deep desert today.
         
      • Bokhurdag: This Semi-nomadic village affords us a great look at what desert life is like today. The visit here is made even better as we enjoy lunch in a local family home.
         
      • Onwards to the bizarre mud and water craters, scenes of accidents that opened sinkholes in the desert.
      • Finally, we arrive at the stunning and unforgettable Darvaza Gas Crater in the centre of the country and the scene of a 40-year-old industrial accident that ended with a giant flaming pit burning to this day. A hypnotic sight and one of the strangest and most spectacular things you can see.
      • We camp tonight besides the crater; it is best seen at night, dinner cooked on the spot.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight: Camping at the Darvaza Gas Crater - Camping in the desert with tents, sleeping bags and roll mats provided. We will also provide tents based on your rooming options. Camping affords us the best opportunity to view the fantastic gas crater from before sunset to sunrise.

    4. May 11th - Tuesday

      Ashgabat

      • We return to Ashgabat, driving through the morning with a stop at a monument to the Soviet defeat (or suppression) of the Basmachi Rebellion, guerillas who resisted first Russian Imperial and then Soviet rule in Central Asia.
      • Once back in the capital the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please; explore, relax, shop, take a side-trip (drivers are available for hire), we and our local guides can advise on the spot.

      Meals: Breakfast 
      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat.

    5. May 12th - Wednesday

      Dashoguz & Konye-Urgench

      • We take a morning 1-hour flight from Ashgabat to the northern city of Dashoguz, in the Uzbek-majority part of the country.
      • We’ll see the local bazaar and a taste of life in this very different city.
      • The ancient silk road ruined city of Konye-Urgench, ravaged by successive invaders over the centuries and now hope to minarets, impressive mausoleums, and all manner of historical tales and stories – one of the most important sites on the old silk-road.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight: Hotel Uzboy, Dashoguz - This local hotel may be basic although there are not many options in this far-flung town. It does offer us the chance to walk out into the local streets and experience life away from the marble city of Ashgabat.

    6. May 13th - Thursday

      Ashgabat & Kow Ata

      • We’ll fly back to Ashgabat and get on with some more touring activities straight upon arrival.
      • Ahal-Teke horses considered as heavenly and sacred beasts in Turkmenistan; this stud farm visit will show you why. Have a ride on one of the horses if you like.
      • We then drive on to the bizarre Kow-Ata underground lake. A Sulphur-heated lake 100m deep underground. Take a swim, explore the cave, and then have lunch at a shashlik restaurant on the spot.
      • After lunch, we will visit a couple of large mosques; first, the Geok Deppe Mosque, built on the site of a late 19th Century massacre that marked the beginning of Russian dominance in the region.
      • Then we see the even more massive Gypjak Mosque, built on the site of the 1949 Earthquake that devastated the city; this is also home to the Turkmenbashi Mausoleum which we will visit.
      •  Back to the city for a relaxing evening before beginning the final day of this adventure!

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat.
    7. May 14th - Friday

      Ashgabat & Kopet Dag Mountains

      • Free morning in Ashgabat for any final shopping, wandering, relaxing that you want to do and then we meet for a packed last afternoon.
      • The cable car rides into the Kopet Dag mountains to see a view of the city from above.
      • The world’s largest indoor Ferris Wheel – yes, indeed! A bizarre and quite fun trip to this oddity at the edge of town.
      • An evening drive around the marble city, stopping at some viewpoints for some great photos of the nighttime illuminations which are very impressive.
      •  Final dinner of the tour, time for goodbyes and the last night out if you’ve got the energy!

      Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat.
    8. May 15th - Saturday

      Departure day

      • Departure day – airport transfers provided for everyone regardless of the time of flight or where you are going

      End of tour, OR;

      OPTIONAL EXTENSION (+550 EUR)

      Extension day 1: Mary & Margush

      • Flight from Ashgabat to Mary, in the centre of the country and the nearest city to the ancient silk road metropolis of Merv.
      • Visit Gonur-Deppe (Margush); another ancient city in this area, with some lovely extent architectural features.
      • Back to Mary City and explore this modern town, mix with the locals, go to parks, bars, etc. as you like, a sleepy area with welcoming and friendly locals.

      Meals: Breakfast

    9. May 16th - Sunday

      Extension day 2: Ancient Merv

      • Excursion to Ancient Merv. Merv was once one of the most important cities in the world at certain times of its history. This ancient site is now a place where you will learn a great deal about the history of Central Asia, the rise and fall of dynasties and cities, the silk road, and human civilisation in this part of the world. Animals, travellers and archaeologists now roam the existing building, ruins, etc. All contribute to a sense of the dynamism of the ancient silk road.
      • In the afternoon you fly back to Ashgabat for a final rest/night out before departure.

        Please let us know if you wish to book an extra night in Ashgabat. The flight should return to the capital at around 8 - 9 PM.
  • Extras

    • Upgrade to your own room in Turkmenistan

      The default rooming option for this tour is shared hotel room or tent (one night). Each hotel room on tour has two separate beds. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra $50 USD per night

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • English speaking guide
    • Western tour leader
    • Meals
    • Accommodation
    • Internal flights
    • All included sight seeing
    • All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Optional extension to Merv is USD 550
    • Optional single supplement: USD 50 per night
    • Visa issuing fee - USD 80 to USD 140 depending on nationality
    • Room extension - USD 120
    • International fights to/from Turkmenistan not included
    • Return flights from Beijing to Ashgabat cost approximately USD 780 Return flights from London to Ashgabat cost approximately USD 1040 (Estimates only, we can book these tickets for you or you can purchase separately)
  • Notes

    **This tour will be accompanied by a western tour leader if there are over five passengers booked**

    HOW TO APPLY

    Please email Rich Beal at [email protected] to begin your tour application. We do require a deposit paid upon booking the tour as we start paying tour costs when your visa application process had begun. We ask for a deposit of 50% of the tour fee. You must apply at least four weeks before the tour departure date as the Letter of Invitation that we need to obtain to facilitate the visa can take several days to be issued by the Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most travellers opt to have the visas issued upon arrival into Turkmenistan. If you would prefer to have the visa issued before your arrival or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. aThe LOI's will be issued to coordinate as closely as possible with the tour dates if you need extra days at each end of your journey please do let us know in advance of your application. If you are joining the tour from somewhere other than Beijing and buying a ticket via Koryo tours; We will email the e-ticket voucher to you as soon as it has been received into our office. If you are purchasing your flight ticket via other airlines or agents, we need these flight details ASAP. We, unfortunately, can not accept any liability for delayed flights and any issue associated with times associated letters of invitations. It is entirely possible to join the tour by flying in from other destinations also. We can also accommodate people joining the tour after entering by land or sea, and a range of exit methods are available to those joining this tour. Single supplement is accessible on this tour at 50 USD per night; if you are travelling alone and wish to share a room to avoid this fee, we will attempt to match you up with another traveller. You will also have to pay the visa issuing fee, at Ashgabat airport this ranges from US$80 to $130 (depending on nationality) payable in cash only.

    CANCELLATION & REFUNDS

    Please note: The visa fee for this tour is not covered in the tour cost and you will be responsible for this. Due to the extended amount of time that it takes to have a visa authorised and sent to an Embassy of Turkmenistan it is much simpler to collect the visa on arrival at Ashgabat Airport, the fee payable here varies according to your nationality, its usually around US$100. The visa is stamped in your passport and is the same as it would be if issued at a Turkmen Embassy. If you insist on having your visa issued at an Embassy, then please be sure to apply for the tour as early as possible. The deposit is non-refundable if the tourist cancels himself. If however we cannot arrange visas or for whatever reason, it is not possible to travel at the specified time (or you cannot make rescheduled dates) a full refund will be issued. Should the client wish to cancel after the visa application has submitted, charges imposed on us will be paid out of the 50% deposit with the balance being returned to the client. If you have paid in full, we will return 50% plus the balance of what is left after the cancellation fee we pay to our partners in Turkmenistan. If you book and cancel a plane ticket through us, we charge only the airline's cancellation fee. In all cases, we return as much as we can, and we do not take a fee for the client's cancellation. Please be sure that you will be joining the tour when you send all application details.

Please apply by 10th April, 2021.

[email protected] | + 86 10 6416 7544
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
邮编:100027
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