We have designed this budget tour to be short quick and a little easier on the wallet as you take part in the Independence Day celebrations in Turkmenistan – easily our most favourite nation of “the Stans”.
The tour begins in the ultra-modern capital city of Ashgabat, also known as the “White City” from the abundance of glistening white marble statues and buildings adorned with gold trims. Although statues and pictures of the President for Life, Saparmurat Niyazov – more famously known as “Turkmenbashy” – are still seen on almost every street, park, and at the front of ministry buildings, his successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has made his own mark on the city.
Here not only will you become one of the small group of foreigners to visit Ashgabat, but you will join the even smaller group of foreigners who have ever had the opportunity to take part in the colourful Independence Day celebrations, getting a truly unique insight into how the Turkmen celebrate their proud day. If you thought an Olympic opening ceremony or the North Korean Mass Games were spectacular, think again.
Once the celebrations in the capital quiet down, we’ll then embark on a drive through the Karakum Desert. Here you’ll explore the Ancient UNESCO world heritage archaeological sites along the Silk Road such as the ancient fortresses, underground thermal springs, an incomplete beach resort, and the very famous Gates of Hell. Turkmenistan is a place oozing in both history and quirkiness.
The LOI application process for Turkmenistan is quite complicated and time-consuming. For the best chance of approval, please get in at least 3 months in advance. Late applications are accepted but the approval rate goes down, in most cases you will get a full refund if the application is rejected.
Tuesday September 26th – Ashgabat
Wednesday September 27th – Ashgabat – Nisa – Ashgabat – Turkmenistan Independence Day
Thursday September 28th – Ashgabat – Darvaza / The Gates of Hell
Friday 29th September – Darvaza / The Gates of Hell – Ashgabat
• Letter of Invitation
• Transport according to the itinerary
• Local English speaking guide
• Western YPT guide
• Entrance fees to Kow Ata and Nisa
• Accommodation according to itinerary in twin/double share
• Breakfast every day
• Visa for Turkmenistan (currently $85 at the airport for most nationalities)
• Immigration tax at the airport ($14)
• Transport to and from Ashgabat at the beginning and end of the tour
• Meals other than those stipulated (allow up to $10 per meal)
• Single supplement for accommodation ($155 per room)
• Photo/video fees at sites (not at all sites, but usually $2-10 depending on the site)
• Tips for guides (not obligatory, and up to your personal discretion)
• Any other personal expenses such as souvenirs and drinks
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.