Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan Adventure

18 days
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Small Group Tour
Travel into desert landscapes heavy with romance and mysticism on this adventure through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Walk in the shadows of ancient, blue-tiled buildings in Samarkand, sleep in a yurt under thousands of desert stars and spend an evening at a home stay with a family in the Nuratau Mountains. Watch the sun set over Technicolour minarets in Khiv...
26%
$5,954
From$4,410
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Overview

Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Moderate
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

    • This incredible journey takes you through parts of Central Asia that few people can find on a map, let alone have considered travelling to.
    • The much-photographed Registan in Samarkand is one of the true pinnacles of Islamic architecture. You'll be wowed by the scale, grandeur and beauty of the monuments to iconic figures such as Tamerlane and the Persia-influenced madressas, mosques and mausoleums.
    • Spend an evening in the isolated Kyzylkum Desert, warming yourself by the fire and sleeping in a yurt.
    • Get to really know the stories and people of Uzbekistan while sharing home-cooked meals with local families, including a home stay in the remote Nuratau Mountains.
    • Spend time in World Heritage-listed Bukhara, a 6th-century-BC city that's drenched in history and home to the formidable Ark of Bukhara.
    • Steeped in Silk Road history and immortalised in many great tales, the UNESCO-protected town of Khiva is as photogenic as it is legendary.
    • Explore the sprawling ruins of Mary, Merv and other ancient kingdoms and contemplate the remnants of empires that once ruled these vast lands.
    • Witness the eternal flames of the Darvaza Crater, aka the 'Door to Hell' as you camp nearby – one of the strangest, most mesmerising geological oddities on earth.
    • Ashgabat rose from the devastation of an earthquake in 1948 and has enjoyed a surreal and futuristic makeover - witness its often bizarre, but certainly memorable architecture on a city tour.

What's this trip about?

    Travel into desert landscapes heavy with romance and mysticism on this adventure through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Walk in the shadows of ancient, blue-tiled buildings in Samarkand, sleep in a yurt under thousands of desert stars and spend an evening at a home stay with a family in the Nuratau Mountains. Watch the sun set over Technicolour minarets in Khiva, learn about life in a desert settlement in Yerbent and revel in the eastern-futurism of Ashgabat. Step off the beaten track and onto the ancient Silk Road in this revelatory tour through ancient lands.

Details

Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeIntimate group - max of 12 people
Age range15 to 17 years
Flights and transportN/A
Start CityTashkent
End CityAshgabat

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • High Adventure

Destinations

  • Asia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

Attractions

  • Bukhara
  • Khiva
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent

Activities

  • Culture
  • Historic sightseeing

Trip includes

    • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
    • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
    • Bukhara - Bolo Hauz Mosque
    • Bukhara - Magoki Attori Mosque
    • Bukhara - Kalon Minaret & Mosque
    • Bukhara - Ulugbek Madrasa
    • Bukhara - Lyabi-Hauz Plaza
    • Gijduvan - Ceramics workshop
    • Nuratau - village visit
    • Nuratau Mountains - Plov cooking demonstration & dinner
    • Samarkand - Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
    • Samarkand - Registan
    • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda
    • Samarkand - Bibi-Khanym Mosque
    • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
    • Tashkent - City tour
    • Tashkent - Amir Timur Square
    • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
    • Tashkent - Khast Imom Complex & Moyie Mubarek Library Museum
    • Tashkent - Amir Timur Square
    • Tashkent - City tour
    • Tashkent - Metro tour
    • Khiva - Islom Hoja Minaret & Medressa
    • Khiva - Juma Mosque
    • Khiva - Tosh-Hovli Palace
    • Khiva - Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
    • Khiva - Kuhna Ark
    • Darvaza - "Door to Hell" Crater
    • Yerbent - Village visit
    • Ashgabat - National Museum of Turkmenistan
    • Ashgabat - Nisa ruins
    • Ashgabat - Anau ruins
    • Ashgabat - Independence Monument
    • Ashgabat - Neutrality Arch
    • Ashgabat - Turkmenbashy Ruhi Mosque & Family Mausoleum of the First President of Turkmenistan
    • Ashgabat - Ertugrul Gazi Mosque
    • Ashgabat - Akhal-Teke horse Hippodrome
    • Mary - Abiverd ruins
    • Merv - Big & Small Kizkala
    • Merv - Erk Kala & Gayur Kala
    • Merv - Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

Popular Trips

Itinerary

Travel Map

Day 1 Tashkent

Welcome to Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital and Central Asia's main hub. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet you tour leader and fellow travellers. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place.

Day 2 Bukhara

Travel from Tashkent to Bukhara by train this morning (approx 4 hours). Located on the ancient Silk Road, Bukhara was an important regional and world hub for many, many years and has a long, fascinating history featuring invasions by both Genghis Khan and the Soviet R...

Day 3 Bukhara

With over 100 architectural monuments scattered throughout the city, there's plenty to be seeing in the well-preserved ancient town. Today, enjoy a full day city tour through sites and places that are steeped in history. Visit the iconic Kalon Mosque and Minaret, one ...

Day 4 Yurt Camp

Depart Bukhara and drive to Gijduvan. Here you'll visit a ceramic workshop, where sixth-generation ceramicists Abdulla and Alisher Narzullaev make some truly beautiful pieces. Spend an hour or so at the workshop then continue to Nurata, a drive of approximately 2.5 ho...

Day 5 Nuratau Mountains

Drive into the Nuratau Mountains for our stay in a Tajik village (2-3 hours). These villages are serene, hidden away in the hills with paths shaded by greenery and buildings made of stone. The region is a desert oasis, with irrigation channels watering crops and givin...

Day 6 Samarkand

Marco Polo described Samarkand as a 'very large and splendid city,' and after a four hour drive you'll find out for yourself. This is a truly breathtaking place that conjures up images of ancient splendour, and there's perhaps no more well-known sight in Central Asia ...

Day 7 Samarkand

Spend a full day in Samarkand continuing to take in the ancient sights and modern sounds. Don't miss Shah-i-Zinda, a stunning avenue of mausoleums decorated with beautiful blue tiles. Its holiest, most loved shrine is built around what's thought to be the grave of Qua...

Day 8 Tashkent

Depart early this morning return to Tashkent by high-speed train, taking a packed breakfast for us to enjoy on board (approx 2 hours). Hop on local metro and enjoy a short city tour after arrival. Visit the Amir Timur Square in the center of the city, spend time wande...

Day 9 Tashkent

Enjoy a free day in Tashkent until your 6pm group meeting to meet your new leader and fellow travellers.

Day 10 Tashkent/Overnight Train

This morning, embark on a city tour to explore the city of Tashkent. Visit the Amir Timur Square in the center of the city, spend time wandering Chorsu Bazaar. The main building is topped by an impressive dome, and the market sells pretty much everything you could ima...

Day 11 Khiva

Arrive at Urgench around 10:30am and transfer to colourful Khiva (45 minutes). Many global powers have laid claim to this city over the centuries, from khans to Silk Road traders and the Soviet Union. Enjoy an early lunch and then get acquainted with Khiva on a tour o...

Day 12 Darvaza

Say goodbye to Uzbekistan and cross the border into Turkmenistan at Khodjeyli (Xo‘jayli). Meet the new leader who will be your key to local secrets, food and highlights for the rest of your journey. Continue your journey to Darvaza Crater with a change to 4WD for the ...

Day 13 Yerbent – Ashgabat

Hit the sand again in the 4WD, making the 4-hour drive to Ashgabat with a stop along the way at the tiny settlement of Yerbent. The community here live primarily in yurts that are tucked between the sand dunes. Check out the local monument that pays tribute to the gro...

Day 14 Ashgabat

Take a full day to wrap your head around this desert city on an immersive guided tour taking in the four pointed minarets atop the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the the extravagant Independence Monument. This sculpted park is filled with statues of Turkmen heroes (and cont...

Day 15 Mary

Rise and shine for the 5-hour drive to Mary (pronounced ‘Mah-rih’). The somewhat ostentatious displays of wealth in the city can be traced to the long-running gas and cotton industries. Stop en route for lunch and to roam through the ruins of Abiverd. This fascinating...

Day 16 Merv – Mary

Take a 40-minute drive to Merv, also known as Margiana or Margush, and enjoy some time to explore Turkmenistan's most recognised site. This sprawling World Heritage site is home to numerous walled structures from various periods spread across a 1200-hectare area. See ...

Day 17 Ashgabat

Glittering Ashgabat awaits your return today, so make the 5-hour return drive to the City of White Marble. Enjoy a free afternoon to spend as you wish before an optional dinner with your travel group.

Day 18 Ashgabat

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the hotel at any time.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $4,410
Price per day$245
Last Updated: 6/4/2024
Departure Date
Finish Date
Base Price
Availability
21 Aug 2024
07 Sep 2024
$5,040
07 Sep 2024
24 Sep 2024
$4,995
18 Sep 2024
05 Oct 2024
$4,995
21 Sep 2024
08 Oct 2024
$5,230
25 Sep 2024
12 Oct 2024
$4,855
02 Oct 2024
19 Oct 2024
$4,635
09 Oct 2024
26 Oct 2024
$4,455
13 Oct 2024
30 Oct 2024
$4,500
19 Oct 2024
05 Nov 2024
$4,410
05 Apr 2025
22 Apr 2025
$5,145

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Intrepid Travel

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The Intrepid Travel Experience

If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. For the past 25 years, we’ve been taking small groups of travelers on unforgettable trips around the world. What makes them unforgettable? Take a look for yourself and discover the Intrepid experience.

Our travelers have three styles of tour to choose from: Basix, Original and Comfort. Each has a different level of inclusions and accommodation, but all have unforgettable real life experiences as part of the package. Travellers can also choose themed trips, such as Family, Sailing or Food, to suit their interests.

Our group size has an average of just ten travellers, which allows us to get off the beaten track, use local accommodation and transport, and really get to know the culture. It also ensures we are contributing to the local economy; by choosing local suppliers we were able to keep AUD 60 million in local economies in 2012. We’re also working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and were the first in our sector to introduce carbon offset trips. This, along with our many corporate sustainability activities, has meant we’re one of the travel industry’s leaders in responsible travel.

Why Intrepid?

  •   Small groups - average of 10 people per trip
  •   Sustainability - pioneers for the industry
  •   Local leaders - authentic perspectives
  •   Local transport - get close and personal
  •   Local accommodation - experience real living
  •   Intrepid travelers - like-minded companions 

History

Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its beginnings in 1989. From two university friends, a typewriter and a kitchen desk, it is now a proud member of The Intrepid Group, taking over 100,000 travelers every year.

Intrepid Travel is part of The Intrepid Group of companies, alongside leading small group adventure companies Peregrine, Urban Adventures and PEAK DMC.

Despite growing into a global business with over 1,000 staff based all over the world and over 800 different trips across every continent, we’ve remained devoted to the same grassroots values and responsible travel philosophies that we had at the very beginning.

 

Values

On every trip we operate and in every interaction we have with a client, supplier or local, we live our core values everyday:

  • Integrity – Doing the right thing
  • Responsible – Think global, act local
  • Growth – Stakeholders in our own success
  • Innovation – Thriving on new ideas and embracing change
  • Fun – It’s engrained into who we are and what we do
  • Passion – We are inspired by the work we do and the trips we offer

 

Why we love this operator
They’re very committed to sustainable and responsible tourism and contribute to important initiatives like climate action.
What they’re known for
Small group tours for active and adventurous travelers at a range of different price points and service levels.

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Logistics

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights),Yurt Camp (1 night),Homestay (1 night),Camping (1 night),Overnight Train (1 night),

Transportation & Flights

High speed train,Private vehicle,4x4 vehicle,Overnight Train,Metro,Taxi,

Transportation & flights

High speed train,Private vehicle,4x4 vehicle,Overnight Train,Metro,Taxi
Guides
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your group leader or local representative. If you have credit card insurance your group leader or local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. For travellers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travellers from these regions who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services
Visa requirements
PASSPORT You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date. We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so it’s important that the information on your booking matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while travelling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends. VISAS & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the entry requirements for your nationality on your government's foreign travel advisories, consular websites or on our page here:  www.intrepidtravel.com/visa-entry-requirements UZBEKISTAN VISAS Many nationalities no longer require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, including most European countries, Great Britain, Australia & Canada.You can check if you are eligible for the visa free scheme here: https://e-visa.gov.uz/main E-VISAS For nationalities not included in the visa exemption list, including US citizens, an e-visa is available. The e-visa is issued for a period of stay in the territory of Uzbekistan up to 30 days with a single entry and is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. Travellers must submit an online application for a visa at least three working days before the planned date of travel to Uzbekistan. The consular fee for processing and issuing an e-visa is US$20 to be paid online. Please check if you are eligible for an e-visa and apply here: https://e-visa.gov.uz/main INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR E-VISA APPLICATION - Address of your joining point hotel (or if visiting Uzbekistan mid-trip, use: Central Palace Halal Hotel 2 Afrosiyob ko'chasi, Tashkent) - You will need to have a scanned PDF copy of your passport to upload for your application - You will need to upload a passport photo within the required parameters - Your passport will need to be valid for at least three months after you’ve entered Uzbekistan to obtain a visa. South African passport holders: A paper visa is required for Uzbekistan. Intrepid may be able to provide supporting documents at an extra expanse depending on what's required. Please inquire with your booking agent for getting such supporting documents.We advise South African passport holders to start applying at least 3 months in advance. You may need to arrive early in Bishkek to apply in the Uzbekistan embassy in Bishkek. REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. When staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel until you exit the country. TURKMENISTAN All travellers to Turkmenistan require a visa. A Letter of Invitation (LOI) issued by Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also required before you can apply for the visa. Foreign tourists can apply for the visa with the official LOI at the nearest embassy or apply for Visa on arrival at either the Ashgabat airport or the land borders. Our local operator can apply for the LOI on your behalf. The following documents are required: - clear, colour scan of the photo page of your passport - digital copy of a colour passport photo (not a scan of a printed photo) - Turkmen LOI Application form (please contact your booking agent to request the form. The form needs to be completed electronically. No handwritten form will be accepted) After submitting these documents to your booking agent our local partner will apply for your LOI. This service is included in your trip cost. The LOI can only be applied within 3 months prior to your travel and it will be processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan and usually take around 6-8 weeks to be processed, with up to 9-10 weeks in peak travel season not uncommon. We strongly suggest submitting all documents no later than 2 months before arrival in order to allow sufficient time for processing. If you plan to apply with your nearest embassy for the visa, please check with the embassy directly on how long your visa can be processed and allow sufficient time for it before your travel. NOTES: - Independent travel in Turkmenistan is not permitted and your visa will only be valid for as long as tour services (including accommodation, guides, transport etc) are provided. - Make sure you have a print out of your LOI before boarding your flight or leaving for your trip. - USD is the only acceptable cash for immigration for Turkmenistan, no cards accepted. Please prepare small notes from 1USD to 10 USD in order to pay for some small fees. Immigration is unlikely to give change back if you don't have the exact amount. - Having an LOI doesn't mean you have a visa. You will need to apply for your visa as per the way you choose for when applying for LOI. If you've chosen to get visa on arrival, you will need to pay visa fee which varies from 35 USD to 165 USD, depending on your nationality. - You will also need to complete a migration card and pay a US$15 migration fee on arrival in Turkmenistan. This fee could change without notice. You will also need to pay for the coach transfer if you are crossing border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which cost 1USD on each side. CUSTOMS: - A number of medications containing tramadol, morphine, opiates or any other similar constituent component are banned in Turkmenistan and are considered narcotic drugs. Do not bring any medications containing these drugs into the country. Covid related Entry Requirements: Turkmenistan still have some Covid related entry requirements in place. This includes: - a copy of your vaccination certificate or a certificate confirming the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 (IgM, IgG). The vaccination document should confirm that the last vaccination dose was provided at least 42 days prior to arrival in Turkmenistan. This will be checked on entry into the country, ie Ashgabat airport or border crossing checkpoints. - PCR test is charged at the border at about 35 USD, although the test may not be taken. The Covid related entry requirement may change. So please make sure you monitor your government’s travel advice and consult with your nearest Turkmenistan embassy on possible changes prior to your travel.
Health & Safety
Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your group leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your group leader or local representative will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines UZBEKISTAN Uzbekistan is generally a very safe place to travel. Petty crime targeting foreigners and tourists sometimes occurs in Uzbekistan. A regulation has been introduced allowing only licensed taxis (with certain colour and signs and card payment equipment) to operate in Uzbekistan. However, unlicensed taxis continue to operate. You should use official taxis where possible. There have been reports of robberies by individuals posing as police officers. Avoid obvious displays of wealth, particularly in rural areas. Crime levels are higher at night. Avoid walking alone. It is illegal to photograph government and military buildings. This may result in confiscation of equipment or detention. Check before taking photographs of government or security infrastructure. There is a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco to those under 20.  Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially. You should take care over public displays of affection. TURKMENISTAN Incidents of mugging, theft and pick pocketing are rare, but take sensible precautions and keep valuables out of sight. Women should avoid going out alone late at night. Please note the Government of Turkmenistan is intending to make the country free from smoking and drug taking. As a result, smoking has been prohibited in ALL public places, including streets, parks, airports, practically everywhere except specially equipped areas. If spotted smoking, you will be taken to the nearest police station and be told about their laws and the harmful nature of smoking. You will be required to sign some related forms, and as a result will have to pay a formal fine of approximately 300 manat. Those who refuse to go to the police station, pay the fine, or quarrel with police officers (swear or shout) may even end up in a temporary detention for up to 15 days. Attempts to import cigarettes into Turkmenistan or transit across the country territory of the amounts exceeding the permitted (no more than 40 cigarettes/2 packs per person for private use only) will also result in some unpleasant procedures at the arrival border port and issuance of a formal fine – 500 manat. Driving standards are poor. Road travel at night outside cities is particularly dangerous because of the condition of the roads. Seat belts, if fitted, should be worn at all times. Licensed taxis are clearly identified and yellow in colour. Although taxis have meters, drivers will usually ask foreign nationals for a set fee of around 5 to 10 Manat. Taxis from the airport cost more and drivers usually ask for US$. Most taxi drivers do not speak much, if any, English. Using unlicensed taxis is not recommended.
Age Requirements
15 to 17 years
Additional Information

Finish point

  • Sport hotel
  • 10 yil Abdanchylyk str Olympic complex Ashgabat Turkmenistan
  • Ashgabat
  • TURKMENISTAN
Trip ID
intrepid-KFSAC

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