Turkmenistan – Navrus Bayram Festival – a 13 day Small Group Tour.
Undiscovered Destinations is delighted to offer this small group tour that encompasses the highlights of this enigmatic Central Asian country. Beginning in the dramatic capital Ashgabat, we travel to Mary and the ancient site of Merv, the most important in Turkmenistan.
On returning to Ashgabat we travel to the Navrus Bayram Festival, a celebration of the most important holiday in the region. We move on to the beautiful mausoleums of Konye Urgench , camp by the flaming gas crater of Darwaza, and visit the Moon Mountains and the canyons of Yangikala.
This thirteen day trip is a comprehensive journey through one of the most mysterious places in Asia. Starting in Ashgabat we combine both ancient and modern, visiting the monuments built by the previous ruler Turkmenbashi.
In addition we will travel a short distance outside Ashgabat to join the local people in celebrating the Navrus Bayram Festival, the most important holiday in the entire region, before flying to Dashoguz and visiting the UNESCO listed site of Konye- Urgench, evidence of the former glories of this fascinating region.
Perhaps the most exciting part of our trip is the excursion into the Karakum desert, camping at a flaming gas crater and stopping in isolated settlements to meet people who rarely see tourists. On returning to Ashgabat we visit the Parthian fortress of Nisa, before leaving the city for the mountains where we visit the town of Nohur, whose inhabitants are reputed to be descended from the armies of Alexander.
We then travel through the remarkable canyon landscapes of Yangikala, to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata, where we spend the night in the company of local pilgrims. We will then continue to the town of Turkmenbashi from where we will fly back to Ashgabat.
Day 1 – Ashgabat
Arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have the opportunity to explore the city. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. No meals nor guided arrangements included today.
Day 2 – Ashgabat
After a briefing with your tour guide spend the day exploring Ashgabat including Independence Park and Neutrality Arch with time to enjoy a traditional Turkmen lunch. Ashgabat is a city of grandiose monuments, giving an insight into the nation building efforts that took place after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and a good place to start getting to grips with Turkmenistan. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 3 – Mary
After breakfast we travel east stopping first at the Seyitdzhemaliddin Mosque at Anau; dating from the 15th century the mosque was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1948, but has since been restored. We will also visit the remains of the once important city of Abiverd, before arriving in Mary in time to visit the Regional Historical Museum. Overnight at Hotel Mary or similar. (B)
Day 4 – Merv - Ashgabat
Visit the ancient site of Merv, the most important in Turkmenistan dating back 2500 years, with an array of surviving mosques and citadels. Return to Mary for a visit to the bazaar before taking a late evening flight to Ashgabat. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 5 – Navrus Bayram Festival- Kow Ata Underground Lake
This morning we travel out of Ashgabat to join in the celebrations of the Navrus Festival; this is held to mark the most important holiday in the entire region. In the afternoon we visit the Kow Ata underground lake before returning to Ashgabat for a night time tour of the city. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 6 – Konya Urgench- Dashoguz
This morning we take a flight to Dashoguz and on arrival transfer by road to Konya Urgench, an ancient capital of the land of Khorezm, with beautiful mausoleums and now also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visiting its key sites we return to Dashoguz to visit the lively bazaar. The rest of the day is at leisure with no organised activities. Overnight at Hotel Dashoguz or similar. (B)
Day 7 – Darwaza
After the morning at leisure we depart by jeep to travel along the highway through the Karakum Desert to Darwaza, a burning gas crater where flames literally leap from the ground. We set up camp here, and over a barbeque dinner watch the sun go down, the crater lighting up the night sky with its fires. Overnight camping or in yurts- the tents are private while the yurts are shared by gender. (BD)
Day 8 – Ashgabat
After breakfast we set off for our return to Ashgabat, paying a visit to a desert village on the way. On arrival in the city we will visit the National Museum and onto the ruins of the ancient Parthian fortress at Nisa. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 9 – Nohur- Karakala
Today we leave Ashgabat and head to the west of the country. Our first stop will be at a stables housing some of the famous Akhal –Teke horses greatly prized by the people of Turkmenistan. We continue to the village of Nohur whose inhabitants believe that they descend from the armies of Alexander the Great. Leave Nohur behind and drive through walnut and pomegranate groves to the “Moon Mountains”, a series of rather striking barren hills. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 10 – Dekhistan- Balkanabat
An early start takes us alongside the Iranian border so we can expect to encounter several checkpoints along the way. We will stop to view the ruins of Dekhistan, once an important state in its own right, before continuing on to Balkanabat. Arrive early evening and check in to your hotel. Overnight at Nebitchi Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 11 – Yangikala – Gozli Ata
After a visit to the local bazaar to stock up on supplies, we drive to the Balkan Mountains and the canyons of Yangikala, home to some of the best scenery in Turkmenistan. We explore on foot and take a picnic lunch among the cliffs. When the sun sets we drive to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata. Overnight at a local pilgrim house (multi-share accommodation). (BLD)
Day 12 – Turkmenbashi- Ashgabat
We drive today to Turkmenbashi with time to visit the port and the fish market before taking a flight back to Ashgabat. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 13 – Ashgabat
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.(B)
Dates & Price.
Please note that as of 1st January 2018, a tourist tax of 2 US Dollars per person per night for accommodation will be introduced. This must be paid on checkout and in US Dollars cash.
Single supplement from £335 – not applicable to homestay nights.
Flights from London to Ashgabat start from £750. Please contact us for a quotation.
Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.
Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Ashgabat costs from £48 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £74 per person in a solo occupancy room.
Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.
Navrus Byram Private Tour
If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.
Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch so that we can tailor your perfect tour of Turkmenistan.
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
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+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Transportation throughout
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- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
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