This 5-day tour is built around the celebration of the old Persian New Year called Navruz (“naw” meaning “new” and “ruz” meaning “day”) and is comparable to the beginning of springtime. The tour includes a comprehensive visit of Ashgabat and its post-independence architecture; all three UNESCO historical parks, but also introduces you in great detail to the cultural aspects of the lifestyle of the Turkmen people. Last but not least, it includes an after-dark return trip to Darwaza in the vast Karakum Desert (it is too cold for camping in March).
Accommodation during this tour is in a good Ashgabat 3* standard tourist hotel. For those not keen on camping, this can be changed into an after-dark return trip with overnight in Ashgabat. Depending on international flight arrival and departure times, extra hotel room night(s) can be booked at the start and/or end of the tour. Meals are only included on 2 occasions, when no other opportunities for such meals are absent. Overland transport is by comfortable town and off-road vehicles whereby every guest has a window seat. Domestic flights (operated by Turkmenistan Airlines using exclusively Boeing aircraft) are used where large distances need to be covered and time can be better spent.
With this tour design we have aimed to give maximum freedom to individual preferences and budgets. Two extensions can easily be added to this tour for an even more complete experience of Turkmenistan.
Arrival by flight between midnight at 0700h (depending on airline used). Transfer to hotel for luggage drop off and breakfast.
0900h Departure from hotel lobby for city tour, including visits of Independence Park, Neutrality Arch, Ferris Wheel, Wedding Palace Viewpoint, Stairs of Health Park, Turkmenbashi Mosque-Mausoleum, and Ertogrul Ghazi Mosque. 1800h return to hotel. Traditional Turkmen lunch included. Evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
1000h Departure from hotel for visit of Sunday Bazaar. Early afternoon departure by jeeps for after-dark trip to Darwaza (4-hour drive one-way). BBQ dinner at Darwaza. Midnight return to hotel. Overnight in hotel.
0830h Departure from hotel lobby for transfer to airport. Morning flight to Dashoguz (50 min.). Day trip to Kunya Urgench (UNESCO). Evening flight to Ashgabat and transfer to city. 2030h return to hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
0830h Departure from hotel lobby for full morning visit of Navruz celebrations near Ashgabat. Afternoon visit of National Museum and Nissa (UNESCO). 1800h return to hotel. 1900h departure from hotel for city-by-night tour. 2130h return to hotel. Overnight in hotel.
0830h Departure from hotel lobby for transfer to airport. Morning flight to Mary (40 min.). Day trip to Merw (UNESCO) and visit to Mary town center and bazaar. Evening flight to Ashgabat and transfer to city. 2030h return to hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
Transfer to airport. Departure by flight between midnight and 0800h (+1), depending on airline used.
Transfer from hotel to airport for mid-morning flight to Turkmenbashi. Visit Turkmenbashi town bazaar and Russian-orthodox church. Transfer to Caspian Sea coast. 1600h arrival at seaside hotel. Rest day at leisure.
0800h departure from hotel lobby for day trip to Yangikala Canyons (4-hour drive one way). Picnic lunch at canyon viewpoint included this day. Return to Turkmenbashi and transfer to airport for late evening flight to Ashgabat. Return to hotel around midnight.
(immediately before or after the set tour program)
Transfer from hotel to airport for early morning flight to Turkmenabad. Drive to Koyten village (8-hour drive). Opportunity to individually explore the surrounding village and lake-side hills on foot. Dinner at base lodge.
Visit of Dinosaur Plateau and Kyrk Gyz pilgrim cave and gorge. Picnic lunch included this day. Dinner at base lodge.
Visit Owadan Dere Gorge with view on Airy Baba Peak. 1300h departure for return drive to Turkmenabad. Transfer to airport for late evening flight to Ashgabat. Transfer to city. Return to hotel around midnight.