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Ashgabat To Tbilisi
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Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. This fantastic holiday-length trip takes us through some rarely-visited but fascinating destinations. We start in the delightful Georgian capital of Tbilisi and journey to the wine regions of Telavi, enjoying the wonderful local hospitality as we go. We head to the incredible small country of Azerbaijan, staying in the atmospheric old town of Sheki, discovering the ancient petroglyphs and mud volcanoes of Gobustan, and arriving at the cosmopolitan city of Baku. We have an adventurous ferry crossing over the Caspian Sea before arriving in the desert land of Turkmenistan, one of the world's most reclusive and least-visited countries! We explore the underground lake of Kow-Ata before ending this trip in the bizarre capital city of Ashgabat. Join us on this wonderful and unforgettable overland experience on the Silk Road!


Duration: 16 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Parks & Nature Reserves, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites Physical rating: Average
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158286
Starts: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Finishes: Tbilisi, Georgia
You will visit
  • Ashgabat
  • Geok Tepe
  • Turkmenbashi
  • Caspian Sea
  • Baku
  • Gobustan
  • Sheki
  • Lagodekhi
  • Telavi
  • Tbilisi

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Ashgabat

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Ashgabat.  In the afternoon we have the option of visiting the famous Ashgabat Sunday Market.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat.

In Ashgabat we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

02

Day 2: Ashgabat

Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. The afternoon will be free to freely explore Ashgabat and it's museums.

03

Day 3: Ashgabat

This morning we have some time to further explore Ashgabat. This afternoon we will drive to the spectacular Kow Ata Underground Lake. We will have some time this afternoon to explore this superb lake of naturally-heated clear water.

Tonight we will wild camp in this area.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

04

Day 4-5: Turkmenbashi

 

Our itinerary in Turkmenbashi and over the Caspian Sea must remain very flexible and is very much determined by sailing times of the local ferries. Please note that there is no regular schedule for the ferries, they are notoriously unpredictable, and information from the ferry operators regarding the sailing times constantly changes (or is non-existant) up until the point of departure. Maximum flexibility, open-mindedness and co-operation with your tour leaders are absolutely essential here! 

In Turkmenbashi we will stay in a local hotel for as many nights as is needed until we finally depart on the ferry over the Caspian Sea. Most trips tend to be able to set off on the ferry on Day 5 or 6.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

 

05

Day 6: Caspian Sea

From Turkmenbashi we take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to the Azeri Capital, Baku. The boat docks at the city of Baku.  Ferry is perhaps a rather misleading word for those used to comfortable holiday boats.  Rusty, old and tub are words that might spring to your lips, but there is only one way across the Caspian Sea and beggars can't be choosers.

Overnight in a local hotel.

Please note that if the ferry is delayed we will spend tonight camping near Turkmenbashi.

06

Day 7-8: Baku

Border information: exit Turkmenistan at Turkmenbashi, enter Azerbaijan at Baku.

Today we plan to disembark the Caspian ferry and enter Azerbaijan.

We will have free time on these days to explore all the sights of Baku and the surroundings.

In Baku we will stay in a local hotel.

Please note that we have built in significant time in the above itinerary to allow for delays with the Caspian ferry. If the ferry comes in earlier than this, we may choose to move on from Baku earlier than listed to allow more time exploring the rest of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

07

Day 9: Gobustan

 

Today we will continue our journey to Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea. Whilst here we will visit the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volcanoes that this area is famous for.

In Gobustan we will wild camp near the mud volcanoes, or continue further and wild camp en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

 

08

Day 10: Sheki

Today we will continue to the old town of Sheki, where we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace.

In Sheki we will stay in a comfortable hotel built inside an old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

09

Day 11: Lagodekhi

Border information: exit Azerbaijan at Balakan, enter Georgia at Ladodekhi. 

Today we will continue our journey east and cross the border into Georgia. 

We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodehki National Park shortly after crossing the border.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (including the border crossing).

 

10

Day 12: Telavi

Today we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourselves for 2 days to explore this fascinating region. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route, and have a free afternoon on arrival in Telavi to explore the area.

In Telavi we will stay in a local family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

11

Day 13: Telavi

The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality.

12

Day 14: Tbilisi

Today we will complete our journey to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, where we will have an afternoon to freely explore the city.

In Tbilisi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

13

Day 15: Tbilisi

Today we will visit the old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple.

We will have a second night in our comfortable local hotel in Tbilisi.

14

Day 16: Tbilisi

Border Information: if you are leaving in Tbilisi, you will most likely exit Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tbilisi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Explore, shop, and haggle at the vast Altyn Asyr Sunday Bazaar
    • Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
    • Explore Turkmenistan's unique underground lake at Kow Ata and swim in waters naturally heated to around 36°C
    • Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Turkmenbashi and Baku
    • Take an audio-guided walking tour of Baku's Old Town
    • Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town
    • Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs
    • See the fascinating 40,000-year-old rock petroglyphs of Gobustan, showing depictions of life during the Late Stone Age
    • Visit the small mud volcanos in the hills above Gobustan, once a central part of the Zoroastrian religion that flourished here
    • Spend the night in an atmospheric converted 17th-century Caravanserai in Sheki
    • Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797
    • Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park
    • Visit the ancient Shuamta Monastery in the highlands forests near Telavi
    • Head out on Telavi's 'Big Day Out' - a tour of the town's monasteries, bee-keepers and textile-weavers, followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local family-run winery
    • Discover the highlights of Tbilisi on a guided tour of the Old Town
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew plus 1 local crew in Georgia and Turkmenistan
    Accomodation
    • 20% Camping - 80% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • History & Culture
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Overland Journey


Reviews (9)
PEDRO ALEXANDRE M Posted on: 

Rustam (Turkmenistan) is a very good guide and extremely professional trying to help us with all the problems (Turkmenistan is not an easy country). Zaza is a very professional guide, giving very good information about everything and willing to help and give good advices for the free time

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Norman H Posted on: 

Slava in Turkmenistan and Sophia in Georgia were both exactly what I would expect from a dedicated knowledgeable professional guide.

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Kushal I Posted on: 

On long trips or when spirits were down, Domingo did a wonderful job at cheering people up. Euan the driver was great, he drove very well, and had a very good attitude.

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Albert A Posted on: 

Both worked very hard to make the expedition a success and to try to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.

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Joshua C Posted on: 

I cannot say enough positive things about both Tim and Lynsey. They were absolutely excellent. They were extremely kind and helpful, were able to deal with difficult situations when they arose, and were all around great people to travel with. I hope to be able to travel with them again.

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Janice J Posted on: 

Both Tim and Lynsey were outstanding tour leaders! They established an excellent rapport with all tour participants and consistently displayed a friendly, helpful, and patient demeanor to all. Both Tim and Lynsey contributed significantly to the enjoyment of the trip!

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Jennifer P Posted on: 

Zaza was an absolutely wonderful guide in Georgia, full of information, friendly and helpful, both one and one and for the whole group.

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Michael H Posted on: 

The trip was well organised and went smoothly. The tour leader (Rob) and assistant (Amanda) did a good job.

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James F Posted on: 

Nick was an outstanding & gifted communicator in terms of relating to a wide range of individual travellers who exhibited a huge spectrum of needs. He related well to everyone and clearly enjoyed doing so. Euan was a really professional, dependable, steadfast guy who inspired great confidence among fellow travellers. He is knowledgeable, hard-working and conscientious.

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