After breakfast at the hotel, we head out to one of the most amazing attraction of Turkmenistan.
With about 80% of the country as a desert, Turkmenistan has quite a few natural attractions to offer. And out in the far west lies a natural attraction that few Turkmen have ever even seen: the Yangykala Canyon, a windblown landscape of colorful canyons and strange formations that stretches some 15 miles across the desert to the Garabogazköl Basin.
Once underwater, the floor of an ancient ocean that existed millions of years ago makes up Yangykala. When the ocean dried up, it left behind a rocky landscape that was slowly eroded by wind and rain, cutting out cliffs and canyons whose walls are now ribbed like the carcasses of strange stranded sea creatures. And then there are the colors: pinks and oranges, reds and yellows, a spectrum of coral shades that give Yangykala Canyon a distinct look.
Also referred to as the “The Grand Canyon of Central Asia,” Yangykala had no Colorado River to carve its path, so the actual canyon is far less defined than the Grand Canyon.
Located about 170kms from Turkmenbashi, it takes just over 2 hours to reach. The roads are in poor condition, so you need to go by 4×4. Once you arrive, you’re taken to a rock formation known as the “Crocodile’s Mouth” from which you have excellent views of the canyon.
For some spectacular views, come by the canyon during sunset, and camp out on the plateau above the canyon. Be prepared, however, as it can be extremely windy and very cold at night!
Lunch was served by the tour company at the canyon. We started our return drive around 2pm reaching Turkmenbashi at 4pm.
The port city of Turkmenbashi doesn’t have many sights to offer, and is used mainly as a landing spot for commercial and trading ships, or by locals to access the luxury resorts of Avaza.
We visited some of the few sights:
- Turmenbashi Railway Station – one of the oldest train station in former Soviet Union, trains run to and from Ashgabat.
- Heroes monument – Monument representing the heroes of WWII from Soviet era.
- Gates of Central Asia – The original ‘walls’ known to be the gates along the silk road.
After a nap in the evening, we headed to Tolkun Restaurant for dinner and later stopped by the bar in our hotel for drinks and karaoke.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = TMM 3.50 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. Note that the expenses do not include international flights to and from Turkmenistan.
|Dinner||$20||TMM 70 for dinner for 3 people at Tolkun Restaurant.|
|Drinks||$8.58||TMM 30 for drinks at Turkmenbashi Hotel.|
|Total Costs||$28.58||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,216.40||Per person|
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Travel from Darvaza to Ashgabat, and further to Turkmenbashi.
Yangykala Canyon, Turkmenbashi
Visit Yangykala Canyon and sights of Turkmenbashi.
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Sights of capital city.