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The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!

TURKMENISTAN

Cradled between the vastness of a sweeping desert and rugged mountains, eventually giving way to a slip of Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan was a major Silk Road respite. It was also one of the great cultural capitals in medieval times.  The ancient city of Merv (near today’s Mary) was the pride of Islam and the largest city on earth at one point in the twelfth century, earning the nickname “the mother of the world.” (This history later led to the city gaining its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.) After the Mongols crushed Merv, the city and nation both declined in power, and by 1881, Turkmenistan had been absorbed by the Russian empire. After spending most of the 20th century as part of the Soviet Union, the nation declared independence in 1991. But some old habits die hard: autocrats have ruled ever since, including the former President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, whose quirks included banning gold teeth and lip-syncing.

Today, even under the thumb of a controlling ruling party, Turkmenistan has emerged from the Soviet shadow as one of the leading cotton producers on earth, with abundant natural gas and oil. As Turkmenistan’s doors have opened to the west, comparatively few travelers around the world have yet discovered the history, culture, and friendly welcomes that the country offers. That means the lucky few who do journey here find memorable locales—including bazaars that evoke the Silk Road past—and yet no crowds, a combination which allows greater insight into authentic local life. But like any hidden gem, it’s a secret that will only last so long.

Most Popular Films

Films featuring Turkmenistan from international, independent filmmakers

Visualtraveling - Turkmenistan

A visual odyssey through Turkmenistan from a flaming pit in the Kara-Kum Desert to golden war horses.

Produced by Patrik Wallner

Buzkashi Postcard

Witness the beauty of Turkmenistan’s stallions—the pride of the country.

Produced by Najib Saidi

Turkmenistan Interactive Map

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Get the Details On Our Turkmenistan Adventure

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Small Group Adventure

New! The Stans of Central Asia: Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan

100% Traveler Excellence Rating
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Days in Turkmenistan
3

Adventure Details

Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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