September 26 - October 3 2020

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

An amazing Turkmenistan
adventure!

Spend 7 nights in Central Asia’s least visited country! Visit Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s white
marble fantasy capital, see the bizarre Darvaza Gas Crater, and explore the ancient Silk Road
ruins of Konye-Urgench.

From 2,190 USD per person

Please apply by 14th August, 2020.

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

An amazing Turkmenistan
adventure!

Spend 7 nights in Central Asia’s least visited country! Visit
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s white marble fantasy capital, see the
bizarre Darvaza Gas Crater, and explore the ancient Silk Road
ruins of Konye-Urgench.

From 2,190 USD per person

  • Overall

    Join Koryo Tours this October for our Turkmenistan tour as the adventures continue. Turkmenistan is Central Asia’s least visited country. This means it may be a bit difficult to access and travel around, but it certainly doesn’t have any less to offer!

    Join Koryo Tours as we explore the beautiful capital city Ashgabat, camp over at the famous Darvaza Gas Crater, otherwise known as ‘the Gates of Hell’, and be dazzled by the colourful desert canyons to the Caspian Coast.

    As we journey through the country, we will see the serious and the sublime, the freaky and the frivolous – join us on this fantastic adventure that we simply do better than anyone else. Koryo Tours have been working in Turkmenistan for over a decade. Over this time, we’ve built this extraordinary experience through dozens of visits and the best local contacts and relationships, meaning our Turkmenistan tours are unrivalled in quality, experience, and fun!

    We look forward to sharing it with you in Turkmenistan! This tour will be led by one of our most experienced tour leaders, Rich Beal. Rich has led tours all over the world since 2004, leading tours to Turkmenistan for five years (and to the rest of Central Asia twice as long!). He is incredibly knowledgable about the area and a great storyteller — ask, and he will tell you plenty of fascinating travel anecdotes from his many adventures!

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

    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 stunning Yangykala Canyon, known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Central Asia’
    • The Caspian Sea city of Turkmenbashi & the unique & Weird Awaza Area
    • Extend the tour to visit the Capital of the Silk Road – Ancient Merv
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 9
    1. Saturday 26th September

      Arrival in Ashgabat
      • 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: Breakfast 
       
      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat - A comfortable hotel that has escaped the marbalisation 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. Sunday 27th September

      Ashgabat City Tour

      • 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 horses monument, Earthquake Monument and Museum.
      • Evening free for personal exploration.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat
    3. Monday 28th September

      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. Tuesday 29th September

      Ashgabat

      • This morning we break camp and make our way back to Ashgabat. As we drive, we will be sure to make a stop at the monument to the suppression of the Basmachi rebellion.
         
      • 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. Wednesday 30th September

      Nisa Fortress and Kow Ata Underground Lake

      • Nisa Fortress: - This fantastic construction is not only a UNESCO site but the former capital of the mighty Parthian state in ancient times.
         
      • 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.
      • We will drive in our 4x4 fleet on to the remote city of Balkanabadthis sleepy town is easily explored on foot in a couple of hours of free time before dinner and overnight in a hotel shaped like a giant yurt.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight: Hotel Niebitchi, Balkanabat - Yurt-shaped curiosity in the centre of town, well-situated for wandering around and exploring.
    6. Thursday 1st October

      Yangykala Canyon & Turkmenbashi

      • We drive to the stunning Yangykala Canyon, known as the ‘Turkmen Grand Canyon’ little-known but a beautiful area with shifting colours in the rocks, amazing formations, and some lovely photos to be taken.
         
      • Through the afternoon we make our way across the country, stopping at scenic areas, pilgrimage sites and so on until we reach our destination; the Caspian sea city of Turkmenbashi and the bizarre ‘touristic zone’ of Awaza. This surreal place has to be seen to be believed, and we will have a look around the hotel-covered peninsular before checking in for a relaxing evening at the coast.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

      Overnight: Serdar Hotel. A comfortable beachside option. You can also upgrade to the Yelken Yacht Club, the most elegant establishment in Awaza. Contact us for more details!
    7. Friday 2nd October

      Awaza

      • A free morning to relax at the coastal resort, try swimming (although the Caspian is a cold sea) or some watersports, wandering around, or even sleeping in!
         
      • Late morning we will take a boat ride down a canal stretching the length of the Awaza area, see the different architectural styles of the buildings here, all of which have sprung up in the last few years.
         
      • We will drive to Turkmenbashi city for lunch, the oldest city in the country and one settled by Russians during their invasion from across the sea during the late Great Game.
      • A city tour of Turkmenbashi – the local bazaar, railway station, Oil Workers’ Square, various monuments, and even a cemetery for Japanese POW’s who were brought here to labour after their capture at the end of WWII, and never got home again.
      • Flight back to Ashgabat for the final dinner of the tour, time for goodbyes and the last night out, if you’ve got the energy!

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

      Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn, Ashgabat.
    8. Saturday 3rd October

      Departure

      • 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. Sunday 4th October

      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 sightseeing
    • 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 flights 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 14th August, 2020.

[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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