Turkmenistan Expedition

Oct 15-22
8 Days

We’re finally launching our very first expedition to Turkmenistan.

Along with Eritrea and North Korea, Turkmenistan might possibly be one of the most hermetic countries in the world, and the most difficult destination to travel to in Central Asia.

Infamous for being ruled by a funny leader who spends billions in building nonsensical, and absolutely strange buildings to worship himself, Turkmenistan is the offbeat capital of Central Asia.

Join us on discovering with the least visited countries in Asia.


October 15th to 22nd, 2024


8 days, 8 nights

Lead by Oriol López

travelers who joined us say


Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.

Day 1 – Arrival in Asgabat & Mary

Day 2 – Gonur Depe & Merv

Day 3 – Flight to Dashoguz & Kunya Urgench

Day 4 – Dashoguz & Darwaza

Day 5 – Darwaza & Turkmenbashi

Day 6 – Yangy Kala-Yanguy Suw-Balkanabat

Day 7 – Balkanabat-Ashgabat

Day 8 – Ashgabat & departure

Day 1 – Arrival in Ashgabat & train to Mary

  • Flights to Ashgabat arrive at night. Airport pick up and check in the hotel.
  • Quick morning tour in Ashgabat
  • Train to Mary departs at 2pm, traveling through Kopet Dag mountains, and along the Iranian border.
  • Overnight in Mary

Day 2 – Mary, Gonur Depe & Merv

  • Morning drive to Gonur Depe, a Bronze Age settlement.
  • In the afternoon, we’ll visit Merv, a former Silk Road oasis-city of big importance, and today a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Overnight in Mary.

Day 3 – Fly to Dashoguz & Kunya Urgench

  • Visit a pretty interesting propaganda museum in the morning
  • At 13:30om, we’ll catch the flight to Dashoguz, from where we’ll go to the Silk Road city Kunya Urgench, located at the border with Uzbekistan
  • Overnight in Dashoguz

Day 4 – Darwaza crater

  • In the morning, we’ll finish visiting a few places in the area like Izmukshir fortress and then, we’ll drive to Darwaza
  • 5 hour drive to Darwaza
  • Overnight in a yurt camp next to Darwaza crater

Day 5 – Ashgabat & Turkmenbashy

  • In the morning, we’ll visit some water gas craters and then, we’ll drive to Ashgabat
  • In Ashgabat, we’ll catch an afternoon train to Turkmenbashi
  • Overnight in Turkmenbashi

Day 6 – Yangy Kala, Yanguy Suw & Balkanabat

  • Morning drive to Yangy Kala, the main highlight being an impressive canyon
  • In the evening, we’ll drive to Balkanabat
  • Overnight in Balkanabat

Day 7 – Nohur

  • Visit Nohur village, including Ata cave lake and Akhal Teke horse farm, where they raise what is considered some of the best horses in the world.
  • In the vening, back to Ashgabat

Day 8 – Full day in Ashgabat

  • Full day in Ashgabat visiting all missing highlights
  • We’ll also give free time for shopping, walking around the bazaar, etc.
  • Flights to either Dubai and Istanbul are at night, so airport transfer will be at the end of the day.

Gallery of photos


Letter of Invitation + visa processing

Domestic flight

8 nights of accommodation in secured hotels mentioned in FAQ

Camera permits (see FAQ)

Private transportation: minibus, 4WD or local train when needed


English-speaking Turkmenistan guide

International tour leader

Entrance fees to all places listed in the itinerary

Not Included

International flights to Ashgabat

Visa fees ($85)

Lunch & dinner

Single supplement (€150)

Travel insurance


October 15th to 22nd, 2024


8 nights, 8 days

Lead by Oriol López


Which hotels do we stay in?

These are the hotels where we stay. Note that they might be subject to availability.

How does the room distribution work?

The price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room. 

If you are a solo traveler, you will be sharing the room with another like-minded traveler from the group. We always try to group people of same gender and age together but note that this won’t always be the case.

If you want to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €150.

How to get a visa?

We will apply for a letter of invitation (LOI) with which you’ll be able to purchase your visa at the border.

For the LOI, all we’ll need is a passport copy, a passport photo and a filled-out form.

How much does the visa cost?

As of today, the visa has a cost of 85 USD, to be paid at the airport to the respective authorities.

Additionally, upon arrival you’ll also have to pay 31 USD for a COVIS test and 14 USD of immigration fees.

In total, 130 USD.

Which nationalities can join this tour?

All nationalities are welcome to apply for a Turkmenistan visa.

How do I get into Turkmenistan?

You can fly to Ashgabat from Istanbul (Turkish airlines and Turkmenistan airlines) and also Dubai (Emirates and Fly Dubai).

Can I take photos in Turkmenistan?

Taking photos is absolutely restricted in Turkmenistan.

In this tour, we will include camera tickets for Nisa, Gonur Depe, Merv, Kunya Urgench, Kow Ata lake, and the horse farm.

Any extra tickets you may want/need will be at your own cost.

Is it safe?

Turkmenistan is one of the safest countries in the world.

How many people will attend this tour?

We will limit it to a maximum of 12-13 people.

How does payment work?

To secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit. All details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, if you want to join any of our expeditions, you must purchase travel insurance, this is non-negotiable, and it must be with IATI

Why do we have to book it with IATI?

Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for a very long time. We know their CEO, the marketing team and we do a lot of collaborations together so in the unlikely case something happened, we’d know what to do.

Moreover, IATI Insurance covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel.

You may also benefit from a 5% discount if purchasing it from the below link.

Get a quote here to claim your discount

What about the cancellation policy?

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.