Getting a goat massage in Turkmenistan

Eilidh Crowley
April 21, 2024

How to get a goat massage in Turkmenistan

One of the most unique activities in Turkmenistan is the famous goat massage. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s literally a goat giving you a massage. The goats themselves weigh between 15 and 25 kilograms.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

Where can you get a goat massage?

The goat massage is unique to the Koytendag area of Turkmenistan, which is in the far east of the country. This region is where Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan all border one another. In the small village of Hojapil, which is named after the nearby Dinosaur Plateau, there is an elderly couple who have trained their family of goats to perform this much desired service.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

How do you get to Koytendag?

Being in the far east of Turkmenistan means its no easy task to get there. Luckily since COVID, they have resumed flights to the airport of Kerki. From Kerki it is a 3-4 hour drive to Koytendag. There are only flights twice a week from Ashgabat so if that doesn’t fit in with your schedule, you’ll need to fly from Ashgabat to Turkmenabat (daily flights) and then drive 8-9 hours to Koytendag. The  best town to stay in in the Koytendag region is the town of Kugitang, where there are two accommodation options for foreign tourists. (There was only one until very recently – development!)

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

How much does a goat massage cost?

You can receive a goat massage for the outrageously affordable cost of 20 Manat per person, which at the time of writing is roughly USD$1 per person.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

Does the goat massage work?

This is the toughest question of all. To some people the experience feels enjoyable and to others it feels like they are being lightly stabbed. I highly doubt there is a physiotherapist in the world who would recommend this, however as a once off experience it will neither cause serious long-term damage, nor fix any long held chiropractic issues.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

How to receive the goat massage

The first step is to decide whether or not to wear a protective cloak. This is to prevent the goat’s hooves dirtying and ripping your clothes. But depending on what time of year you’re there, the extra heat might not be worth it.

You then need to lean forward as if you are bowing, allowing the goat to jump up on to your back. Some people will place their hands above their knees for extra support. The goat then walks around in circles giving you a massage.

For those who are a little bit more adventurous, the next step is to slowly return to an upright position while the goat walks up your back onto your shoulders. Once you’ve reached an upright position you then bow again allowing the goat to walk back down your back. You can repeat this to get an extremely intense experience.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan

For most people the fun is the idea of having a goat standing on them. After all it’s not every day you have a goat standing on your back.

If the idea of exploring one of the remotest parts of Turkmenistan and experiencing a goat massage for yourself sounds appealing, then contact us and we’ll help you out.

Goat massage, Koytendag, Kugitang, Turkmenistan




Eilidh Crowley

Eilidh Crowley

Co-founder of SAIGAtours, Eilidh has been running tours since she was 23. When not on the road, Eilidh’s a pianist, drummer and percussionist, and loves playing jazz especially. She’s also been known to collect the worst postcards she can find from some of the most interesting places that exist.

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