Peregrine’s first foray into the country will reveal unique sites from medieval ruins and prehistoric towns to underwater caves and a gas crater filled with flaming fire. As one of the only small group tour operator offering trips in Turkmenistan, and with travel not permitted without a local guide, the nine day tour affords a rare opportunity to experience a fascinating country off the tourist map.
Turkmenistan has just opened itself up to tourism after being relatively closed off from the outside world following the death of the Turkmenbashi (‘Leader of the Turkmen’) dictator in 2006. Comprised mainly of the Karakum Desert and with some bizarre public architecture on display, the country remains largely unfamiliar to anyone but the locals, ensuring a tourist-free Central Asia experience.
“If travel is the search for something new, then Turkmenistan might be the ultimate travel destination,” says James Thornton, Managing Director. “Most people would not even know where Turkmenistan is located let alone know what treasures lie within it. Tour operators are just scratching the surface in Central Asia and within 5 to 10 years we’ll start to see many more comprehensive tours such as this in the area.”
Using the capital of Ashgabat as a base, the Turkmenistan Discover trip includes:
- The Door to Hell, otherwise known as Darvaza, a 70 metre wide flaming crater fuelled by gas located in the heart of the Karakum Desert. In the early 1970s, oil drillers unearthed a large pocket of methane and, fearing it would pollute the surrounding air, decided to burn it off. Those flames still burn today.
- The ancient ruins of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the largest city in the world and an oasis of civilisation on the Silk Road that connected East and West.
- Kow-Ata Cave, a lake 60 metres underground with water temperatures around 35C all year.
- The fortress of Old Nisa, one of the earliest Parthian Capitals and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The village of Yerbent in the Karakum Desert, offering an insight into local life.
- A cable car ride up the Kopet Dag Mountains for views of white-marbled Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan Discoverer is a nine day trip and costs from $2,995 per person. Four departures are available in 2015 with the first trip departing on 27 April. Peregrine Adventures offer assistance with visas, which should be applied for at least three months prior to departure, and with airfares. Fly to Dubai and then directly onto Ashgabat.
Peregrine’s new trips in 2015 are currently 10% off if booked by 20 December 2014.Tweet