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Ashgabat To Tbilisi

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: Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites, Parks & Nature Reserves
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: ZTA2/158286
  • 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. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. 

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 its 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 of Kow Ata or Geok Tepe.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

04

Day 4-5: Turkmenbashi

Today we will complete our drive to the city of Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian Sea.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

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 1 or 2 days after arriving in Turkmenbashi.

05

Day 6: Caspian Sea

From Turkmenbashi, we will take the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku in Azerbaijan.

The ferry is a fantastic local experience, but please do not expect any luxury whatsoever! These ferries are budget vessels for the locals and cargo hauliers, and are not designed with tourists in mind. We must be prepared for very basic conditions and limited provisions on board.

Please also note that the time that the ferry takes to cross is also highly unpredictable, as it is often forced to wait outside of the port in Baku while they arrange the unloading of the cargo on the boat.

There will be basic cabins on the ferry overnight.

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 - 2-3 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 - 5-7 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 - 3-4 hours.

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 - 2-3 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 - 2-4 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 Tolkuchka Sunday Market
    • 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
    • Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace
    • 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
    • Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs
    • Zoroastrian Fire Temple
    • Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheiki
    • Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797
    • 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
    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 (12)
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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Thomas D Posted on: 

Nick and Euan were both good people and I enjoyed being on the trip with them.

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Stine J Posted on: 

Impressive work in all aspects, no matter if it was maintaining the truck or making sure that everybody was having a good time!

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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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