A commanding player on the ancient Silk Road, the vestiges of once powerful empires are seen today in its monuments, caravanserais and archaeological relics.

One of the five ‘stans of Central Asia and bordered by Iran and the inland Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan has been at the centre of civilisation for centuries. This mysterious country offers bountiful cultural experiences and exotic encounters for those adventurous enough to explore. 

Abercrombie & Kent luxury travel specialists have designed impressive Central Asia itineraries that explore the hidden wonders of Turkmenistan. We’ve been crafting adventures for over 50 years, whether you seek an intimate group tour or a private journey, our expert guides can show you beyond the tourist trail for a real taste of Turkmenistan.

From desert plains to mountain peaks, Turkmenistan has an abundance of natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Once a key trading post along the Silk Road, Turkmenistan boasts significant archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Dash back in time as you explore relics from the country’s Silk Road heyday and forwards again as you meet friendly locals in between mosques, mausoleums and markets.

Experience ancient history in Turkmenistan

If you have a passion for Silk Road history, ancient empires and intriguing cultures then a Turkmenistan trip is for you. The destination is full of intrigue and will suit those with a strong sense of adventure.

Archaeological treasures are plentiful but found amid arid environments. Natural beauty abounds but often requires long road journeys to appreciate it. The more you push yourself beyond the gleaming white marble of Ashgabat, the more Turkmenistan has to offer. Families with young children or those with mobility issues may find travelling off the beaten path in Turkmenistan more challenging.

Ashgabat is a shimmering metropolis

Mimicking the opulence of Dubai, Ashgabat’s architecture is adorned in marble and gold. The country’s natural gas reserves are as plentiful as the monuments are grandiose. The secretive capital has many quirks but the real culture unfolds in the old quarter, where you can experience warm hospitality among its cafés and bazaars. 

Museums, mausoleums and monuments

Experience Silk Road relics on a trip through Turkmenistan. In Mary and Merv, unearth settlements from the Bronze and Iron Age. Visit World Heritage sites like Old Nisa, Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum and Kyz Kala. Witness city walls, moats and fortresses and enjoy beautiful mosques glowing in the evening light.

Deserts and dinosaurs

Experience the wild side of Turkmenistan with a customised tour across the desert and mountain regions. Travel with our experienced and knowledgeable guides to places that set your imagination on fire.

Witness the flickering dance of the Darvaza gas crater. The natural gas pocket was discovered by oil-exploring engineers in 1971, when the ground beneath their drilling rig collapsed. Hoping to burn off the seeping gas, the engineers set it alight. Four decades later, the crater continues to burn.

Driving north from the desert’s flaming centre, experience a trekking adventure in the Kugitang Mountains. It’s here you’ll find Turkmenistan’s highest mountain, deep canyons, mountain goats, wild cats and the elusive Persian leopard.

And if that’s not exciting enough, the Kugitang nature reserve is home to the Dinosaur Plateau. Wander among 400 dinosaur footprints left by the Megalosaurus that roamed these parts during the Jurassic period, 150 million years ago.

Destination highlights

A&K travel specialists want your Turkmenistan holiday to leave a lasting impression for all the right reasons. Our travel experts will take time to get to know what you want from an adventure in Central Asia. Whether you are looking to join an intimate group tour that hops across borders or a bespoke itinerary that focuses solely on Turkmenistan, these are some of the highlights to consider:

  • Tour the UNESCO World Heritage fortress of Old Nisa with experienced guides.
  • Visit the weird and wonderful Tolkuchka Bazaar where you can barter for anything from cantaloupes to carpets to camels.
  • Explore the country’s rich carpet heritage at the National Carpet Museum.
  • Experience the Darvaza crater, a glowing oddity in the middle of the desert.
  • and more...

When to Go

Nearly 80% of Turkmenistan’s landmass is considered part of the Karakum Desert, therefore, hot, dry summers experience soaring temperatures over 40 degrees and winters drop to below freezing. A&K recommends planning your adventure in Turkmenistan during spring (March - May) or autumn (September - November) when temperatures hover between 25-35 degrees celsius. The weather is typically dry but you might catch a shower in May or November. Due to the desert climate, nights can be cold, so pack layers to beat the evening chill.

View the Gourmet Traveller article on Jennifer Byrne's journey along the silk road through Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan.

REGION Central Asia
CAPITAL Ashgabat
POPULATION 6,039,991
AREA 491,210 km²
CURRENCY Turkmenistan manat


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