Turkmenistan Carpet Day Tour

Start
May 19, 2025
Ashgabat
End
May 26, 2025
Ashgabat
Duration
8 days
Price
US$1495.00

TOUR OVERVIEW



Turkmenistan is known for many things - horses, dogs, white marble, neon lights, world records, and you got it - carpets!

Home to the largest carpet in the world, the largest handmade carpet in the world, the largest carpet in the shape of a star, the second largest carpet in the shape of a star, Turkmenistan certainly takes their carpets seriously.

The Turkmen flag is the only flag in the world with carpets on it - yep, not just one carpet, but five of them! And those same five carpets you'll see everywhere in Turkmenistan, representing the five main tribes and the five regions of the country.

And for one day only the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat is open and will be buzzing with events and exhibitions, on this special day that is dedicated to carpets.

Of course, as well as experiencing this unique festival, we'll show you all our favourite spots around Ashgabat and elsewhere in Turkmenistan, including of course the Gates of Hell and Yangykala Canyon.



View the full itinerary


Ministry of Carpets, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Carpet Festival, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan


If you like the look of this tour but the dates don't work for you, or you'd like to do part of the tour, please get in touch and let us know. All our tours are able to be split into smaller sections, we're always scheduling new tours and your dates might work for one of them, or we can always organise an independent tour.

If Carpet Day takes your fancy but you don't have time for this whole tour, check out our shorter Turkmenistan Carpet Day Budget Tour .




INCLUSIONS:

Letter of Invitation

Accommodation in twin share at roughly 3 star hotels (breakfast included), camping at Gates of Hell

Transport as per itinerary, beginning and ending in Ashgabat

Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary

SAIGA guide and local guides


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $350



EXCLUSIONS:

Visa fee (can be paid on arrival at the airport or land border, or at an embassy beforehand)

Meals other than breakfast at hotels

Transport to and from Ashgabat at the beginning and end of the tour

Accommodation and any other services before or after the tour

Personal expenses such as souvenirs or any optional activities

Any COVID related expenses


Carpet Festival, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan


TOUR HIGHLIGHTS


Experience the unique festivities of Carpet Day

Explore the glimmering white and gold monuments of Ashgabat

Spend the night mesmerised by the horrendous but exhilirating Gates of Hell

Stand on the edge of the vast and vibrant Yangykala Canyon




Itinerary
Day 1Mon May 19
Ashgabat
  • Our first day in Ashgabat, you’re going to be in awe of everything that the capital has to offer. We’ll spend the day taking in all the main sites of Ashgabat, including all those crazy monuments you’ve probably seen pictures of, as we begin explaining all the weird and wonderful aspects of Turkmenistan that make it such a special place.
  • We’ll start with a driving tour of Ashgabat's main sites, including Independence Park and Independence Monument, the Monument to the Constitution, the Arch of Neutrality, Lenin Park, and a drive-by of the Olympic Complex which was built for the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. The complex is home to the famous Horse Stadium (the largest structure in the shape of a horse in the world – you’ll hear plenty more of these records! ), but unfortunately is closed to the public.
  • A highlight of the day will likely be the Alem Centre, which is the complex in which the Wheel of Enlightenment is, the largest indoor ferris wheel (yes, there’s another one). And YES, for just $1, you can even take a ride!
  • Stop for lunch at Berkarar Shopping Centre, where you can go ice-skating, play in the games centre, ride a miniature double-decker bus, and even have a cappuccino in a hipster café – bet you weren’t expecting that!
  • In the afternoon we’ll visit the university bookshop, a great chance to pick up some very cool, unique Turkmenistan swag, including where you can find amazing coffee table books written by and about the president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, as well as ones about Ashgabat and Turkmenistan. You can even get them in English! They also have postcards and posters, and if you're lucky they might even have a copy of the Ruhnama, the book written by Turkmenbashy.
  • In the evening, we’ll take a night tour of Ashgabat. With the white marble buildings lit up by brightly coloured neon lights, Ashgabat is a truly spectacular place after dark.
  • Spend the night at the Ak Altyn Hotel.
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Day 2Tue May 20
Nisa, Turkmenbashy Mosque, Kow Ata, Nokhur, Serdar
  • Old Nisa, UNESCO historical site, Turkmenistan Checking out of our hotel in Ashgabat, we'll begin heading west, with our first stop at Nisa, a UNESCO site which was once the capital of the Parthian Empire.
  • We’ll then continue on to Kipchak to see the resplendent Turkmenbashy Mosque and Mausoleum, where Turkmenbashy is buried beside his mother, father and two brothers in their white marble mausoleum. There aren’t too many Turkmenbashy related sites still around, but this one is truly spectacular.
  • Continuing west, our next stop is an underground thermal cave lake which is said to have many medical attributes, but is also used by locals as a swimming hole and makes for a very fun and relaxing swim. Turkmenbashy Mosque and Mausoleum, Kipchak, Turkmenistan
  • After a refreshing swim in the cave lake, we'll sit down and chill for a while with some shashlik from one of the restaurants just outside the entrance to the cave.
  • Nokhur market bazaar, Turkmenistan We’ll continue driving west, away from Ashgabat, to the village of Nokhur, situated in the Kopet Dag mountains. Unlike the rest of Turkmenistan, even during the Soviet Union and the era of Turkmenbashy, this village were largely left to their own devices and as such live a much more traditional lifestyle than most Turkmens.
  • Here we’ll visit Nokhur Cemetery, where each grave is adorned with the horns of a mountain goat and a small market next to a wishing tree where you can buy all sorts of natural teas and potions.
  • Keep driving to the town of Serdar where we’ll spend the night in a local hotel.
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Day 3Wed May 21
Balkanabat, Avaza, Turkmenbashy
  • Today we’ll complete the drive towards the Caspian Sea, arriving in Turkmenbashy in the late afternoon.
  • We’ll stop in Balkanabat on the way for some lunch and a quick look at a monument to the caravans of the Silk Road.
  • Arriving in Avaza in the afternoon, this is the epitome of bizarre modern day Turkmenistan. Although the facilities are extravagant and the buildings futuristic, the town is somehow best described as a ghost town.
  • We’ll have dinner at the one café that will be open, and from there you can explore the amusement parks, beaches, and hotels of Avaza, and if you’re game, take a swim in the notoriously cold Caspian Sea.
  • Overnight in Turkmenbashy.
  • Avaza is currently closed to foreigners, as of April 2023. We are working on the assumption that it will open before the time of this tour, however there is a chance that it won't. If it is unavailable we will change around the itinerary accordingly and as always we will work with the situation on the ground at the time to ensure that the tour is as well-rounded as possible.
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Day 4Thu May 22
Yangykala Canyon, Turkmenbashy
  • Today we’ll visit Yangykala Canyon. Until recently most Turkmens didn’t even know that this place existed, and still not many have been there. Wide and vast, the area was once a seabed, and scattered with all sorts of fossils, it stretches as far as the eye can see. In 4x4s, we’ll drive over the canyon walls, through the canyon itself, and up the other side, stopping at a couple of different viewpoints along the way.
  • We will take a packed lunch with us so we can enjoy it whilst taking in all the shapes and colours of this spectacular natural phenomenon.
  • Returning to Turkmenbashy in the afternoon you'll have some free time before we head out for dinner.
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Day 5Fri May 23
Turkmenbashy, Ashgabat, Gates of Hell
  • Gates of Hell, Darvaza, Turkmenbashy We'll fly on Turkmenistan Airlines (an experience in itself!) back to Ashgabat in the morning, where we'll have a chance to have a little rest or just get yourself organised for the night ahead!
  • We'll stop at a supermarket to pick up supplies for the rest of the day and dinner that night.
  • After lunch we’ll drive 250km north to Darvaza, The Gates of Hell.
  • One the way we’ll make a few stops – including to see a salt lake, two other craters (one full of mud, one full of water), and of course maybe for a toilet (not a luxurious one!).
  • Crossing the sand dunes to get to Darvaza, we’ll arrive in time to watch the sunset over the fiery crater and experience dusk turn to dark at this breathtaking site.
  • Set up tents near the Gates of Hell and camp near the fiery crater.
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Day 6Sat May 24
Gates of Hell, Ashgabat
  • Drive back to Ashgabat, where we’ll check into the hotel before going to one of our favourite bazaars in Central Asia – the Russian Bazaar. Here we’ll have some free time during which you can get lunch, do some souvenir shopping, or if you’re in the market for a Turkmen carpet we can show you a good place to get them.
  • For dinner this evening we’ll go to the Yyldiz Hotel – the newest and most expensive hotel in Turkmenistan, where you can have a real 5 Star restaurant experience for 1 Star prices, complete with 360 degree views of the city.
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Day 7Sun May 25
Carpet Day, Ashgabat
  • Happy Carpet Day!
  • Today is a very one off opportunity to see the Carpet Museum in Ashgabat in all its glory, with exhibitions, shows, and loads of Turkmens milling around taking part in the festivities. There will be a great atmosphere, and we'll spend most of the day just soaking it in.
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Day 8Mon May 26
Ashgabat, End of Tour
  • Last day of the tour for those of you finishing here.
  • Transfers to the airport for your flights, or if you'd like to spend longer in Turkmenistan let us know and we can help you arrange something.
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