So Turkmenistan, a very difficult place to stay for longer than the standard allowance of a five day transit visa. We went through a then government approved agency , who now have a new web site http://www.travelnotoria.com
Artem Gubaev and his Turkmen version of “crocodile dundee”, Vlad, looked after us very well and Artem sorted out all the paperwork that was needed for our 14 day itinerary. So without further ado I will post the trip we requested through Artem below.
Here is our 14 day itinerary, we will be posting our thoughts and impressions of Turkmenistan shortly.
Program ref: Tour for Johnson update Period: June, 2012
14 days option:
Day 1 Arrive Howdan – Ashgabat
Arrive at the border. Formalities. Meet at the border last check point and transfer to htl. Free program. O/N. (*Between the Turkmen customs and last border check point 35 km, the state shuttle minibus service is available in this zone, charging around 11 USD per person).
Day 2 Ashgabat
Free program. O/N at htl.
Day 3 Ashgabat
Free program. O/N at htl.
Day 4 Ashgabat – Nissa
Visit the archeological site ‘Old Nisa’. Return in Ashgabat. Free program. O/N at htl.
Day 5 Ashgabat – Turkmenbashy Mosque – Geok Tepe – Kov Ata – Nokhur
Drive to Kopetdag mountains and Nohur valley. Leaving the asphalt road at Archman we ascend in mountains, drive to village Nohur (One of the Turkmen tribes). Enjoy with beauty of the mountains and meet the people. Visits on the way: Turkmenbashy mosque, Geok Tepe mosque, Kov Ata cave lake. Family stay in Nohur village.
Day 6 Nokhur – Parau Bibi
Return on the road and continue to Parau Bibi pilgrimage. Visit Parau Bibi mausoleum. O/N at the place.
Day 7 Parau Bibi – Dekhistan
Drive to Dehistan historical site. Discover the Messerian plain & the remains of cathedral mosque, minarets, madrassah of Dehistan, mausoleum- mosque of Shir Kebir. Camping at site or at local home.
*to choice: visit mud volcano ‘Boyadag’.
Day 8 Dekhistan – Balkanabat – fly to Ashgabat (FLT available on TUE, WED, FRI)
Return in Balkanabat. Arrive at airport & have flight to Ashgabat. Arrive in Ashgabat. Check in htl. O/N
Day 9 Drive Ashgabat – Mary (as per your itinerary)
Drive to Mary. Visit on the way: Anau fortress and mosque ruins, Abiverd historical site. Arrive at Hanhovuz. Taste fish at chaykhana (from local lake). Continue to Mary, arrive and check in htl. O/N
Day 10 Mary – Merv (as per your itinerary)
Drive to Merv historical site. Visit the remains of cities Alexandria and Antiochia Margiana, Sultan Kala (also named Marv al- Shahijan “city of kings”), Sultan Ahmad Sanjar mausoleum, Yusuf Hamadany shrine, Mohammed ibn Zeid mausoleum, Gyz Kala castles ‘Keshk’). After lunch drive to Talkhatan Baba pilgrimage place, visit XI century Namazga mosque and Ahun Baba madrasah remains. Return in Mary. O/N at htl.
Day 11 Mary- Gonur- Mary
Drive to Gonur (Gonur or Gonur depe site discovered to be the most impressive and called by the head of Russian archeological expedition, Mr. Sarianidi, as the capital or “imperial city” of Bronze Age state (which probably has thousands of sites around in desert, still covered by sands). The people of Gonur had lead sedentary life in oasis richly watered by Murgab river (after many centuries Murgab river changed its course and now can be seen in present day Mary), practicing irrigation farming of wheat and barley. Artifacts of Gonur are sophisticated and ingenious consists of bronze tools, horse training tools, ceramics rich in forms and usage, lapis lazuli, carnelian, gold and silver jewelry, semiprecious stone objects, stone seals – now it can been seen in history museum in Mary and in the National museum of history in Ashgabat). Visit the archeological site. Return in Mary. O/N at htl.
Day 12 Fly Mary to Ashgabat and Drive to Darvaza via Erbent
Flight to Ashgabat. Meet at airport and continue drive to Darvaza. Visit ‘Erbent’ village. Arrive at Darvaza, explore the old gas craters. Venture in the desert to see the big, spectacular gas crater ‘on fire’. Camping in the area.
(on THU, SAT, SUN Tolkuchka bazaar visit is available on the way)
Day 13 Drive Darvaza to Konye Urgench via Shasenem, arrive at Dashoguz
Return on the road and drive to Dashoguz. Visit Shasenem fortress in Karakum desert. Arrive at Kunya Urgench UNESCO site (Formerly situated on the Amu-Darya River, Old Urgench was one of the greatest cities on the Silk Road. Its foundation date is uncertain, but the extant ruins of the ‘Kyrk mullah’ fortress have been dated the Achaemenid period. The XII and early XIII centuries were the golden age of the city, as it surpassed in population and fame all other Central Asian cities, barring Bukhara. In 1221, Genghis Khan razed it to the ground in one of the bloodiest massacres in human history. The city was revived after Genghis’s assault, but the sudden change of Amu-Darya’s course to the north and the town’s destruction again in the 1370s, this time by Tamerlane, forced the inhabitants to leave the site forever). Sightseeing& en route to Dashoguz. Check in htl. O/N
Day 14 Dashoguz- Izmukshir and Usma Makhmut and transfer to border Dashoguz
Visit Izmukshir historical site, Usma Makhmut Ata pilgrimage. After lunch, transfer to border. Formalities. End of program