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Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Caspian Sea. It is known for its vast deserts, including the Karakum Desert, and has a rich history with ancient cities like Merv, once a major center on the Silk Road.

The country is rich in natural gas reserves, and its neutral foreign policy stance, along with a distinctive cultural heritage marked by Turkmen carpets and equestrian traditions, sets it apart in the region.

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Exploring Ashgabat

morning:Start your day with a visit to the Independence Park to admire the impressive monument and take in the panoramic view of the city. Head to a local bakery to try traditional Turkmen pastries for breakfast. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the National Museum to learn about Turkmenistan's rich history and culture.

afternoon:Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Ashgabat's beautiful Geokdepe Park and take in the scenic surroundings. Grab lunch at a charming local eatery to savor authentic Turkmen cuisine. Explore the intriguing Nissa Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with fascinating historical significance.

evening:For a delightful evening, head to the picturesque Tolkuchka Bazaar to browse through a variety of local crafts and souvenirs. Conclude the day with a visit to one of the vibrant local teahouses for a taste of traditional Turkmen hospitality and live music. 🌆

day 2

Darvaza Gas Crater Excursion

morning:Embark on a thrilling desert adventure with a trip to the iconic Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the 'Door to Hell'. Witness the mesmerizing sight of the fiery crater and learn about the fascinating natural phenomenon. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at a nearby desert camp with stunning panoramic views.

afternoon:Continue the desert exploration with a visit to the nearby Erbent Village to interact with the local Turkmen community and gain insight into their traditional way of life. Indulge in a delicious lunch featuring grilled lamb and fresh bread prepared by hospitable locals.

evening:As the sun sets, gather around the Darvaza Gas Crater to witness the surreal spectacle of the flaming crater illuminating the night sky. Experience a mesmerizing evening under the stars in the heart of the Karakum Desert. 🔥

day 3

Historical & Cultural Treasures

morning:Begin the day with a visit to the Ancient City of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to explore the remnants of this ancient Silk Road city. Enjoy a delightful breakfast at a local café and savor the flavors of freshly brewed Turkmen tea. Delve into the historical significance of the area at the Merv Museum.

afternoon:Immerse yourself in the heritage of Turkmenistan by visiting the Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, a stunning architectural marvel adorned with intricate designs and motifs. Relish a traditional Turkmen lunch at a charming local restaurant, offering a variety of indigenous dishes.

evening:Conclude the day with a visit to the Gonur Depe archaeological site, an ancient treasure trove housing remnants of the Bronze Age civilization. Experience a serene evening as you wander through the ancient ruins amidst the golden glow of the sunset. 🏛️

day 4

Nature & Wildlife Expedition

morning:Embark on a nature-filled adventure with a visit to Kugitang Nature Reserve, home to diverse flora and fauna. Explore the surreal landscape of the Gyaur Kala Canyon and marvel at the natural rock formations. Stop by a local café for a freshly brewed Turkmen coffee and breakfast.

afternoon:Venture into the depths of the Koytendag Mountains to discover the breathtakingly beautiful Kakaya Cave and discover the diverse ecosystem within. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch featuring local delicacies and fresh fruits at a cozy mountain lodge with panoramic views.

evening:As the day draws to a close, take a leisurely walk through the picturesque woodland trails surrounding the Kow-Ata Underground Lake. Experience the tranquility of the natural surroundings and marvel at the enchanting twilight. Venture to a nearby traditional yurt camp for an authentic Turkmen dinner and immersive cultural experience. 🌄

Turkmenistan Famous Food

Must-Try local dishes

Palaw

A traditional Turkmen rice dish usually served with lamb, carrots, and other vegetables.

Must-Try!

Köne

Flatbread that is a staple of Turkmen cuisine, often enjoyed with tea or served alongside main dishes.

Tandyr Kabob

Skewered and grilled meat, often lamb or beef, cooked in a traditional clay oven called a tandyr.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Görogly Bazaar

One of the largest and most vibrant markets in Ashgabat, offering a variety of fresh produce, spices, and traditional Turkmen snacks like samsa and chiburekki.

Taze Jahan Bazaar

A bustling market in Mary known for its fresh fruits, nuts, and local street food such as fried fish and kebabs.

Dietary Restrictions

Navigating dietary restrictions locally

Vegetarian

Vegetarian options are available, with dishes like stuffed peppers, vegetable pilaf, and fresh salads.

Vegetarian

Vegan

While vegan options may be limited, some markets and restaurants offer dishes such as grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and bean-based soups.

Vegan

Gluten-Free

Gluten-free options include rice-based dishes, grilled meats, yogurt, and fresh fruits, which are commonly available in Turkmen cuisine.

Gluten-Free

Restaurants & Cafés

Best places to eat and drink in Turkmenistan

Yer Gök Café

A popular cafe in Ashgabat known for its traditional Turkmen pastries and tea varieties.

Turkmenbashi Restaurant

Located in Turkmenbashi, this restaurant offers a wide range of Turkmen dishes, including shashlik, laghman, and various stews.

Popular cities in Turkmenistan

Explore local food, attractions and more!

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