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Silk Route

Tbilisi - Ashgabat

16 DAYS THROUGH Azerbaijan, Georgia (+ 1 more countries)
RATING:
PRICE FROM:
$1,585 (USD) + 690 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
16 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, Overnight boat
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
20%
80%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZTA
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Explore the fascinating city of Tbilisi

  Visit Georgian vineyards in Telavi for wine tasting

  Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheiki

  Explore the 1797 built Palace of the Sheki Khans

  Explore the mud Volcanoes and wilds of Gobustan

  Guided tour around the old town of Baku

  Unique experience of crossing the Caspian sea by ferry

  Stopover at the unusual heated underground lake in Turkmenistan

  Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Ashgabat ( 29th Oct 2018 )

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.  

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.*

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore, shop and haggle at the vast Tolkuchka Sunday Market

Included in Kitty
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
Included in Kitty
Day 2 - Ashgabat ( 30th Oct 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn about the history and culture of Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in Ashgabat
USD 10
Day 3 - Ashgabat, Geok Tepe ( 31st Oct 2018 )

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!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore Turkmenistan's unique underground lake at Kow Ata and swim in waters naturally heated to around 36°C

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union
Free
Day 4-5 - Turkmenbashi ( 1st Nov 2018 to 2nd Nov 2018 )

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.

Day 6 - Caspian Sea ( 3rd Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Cross the Caspian Sea on a local transporter ferry between Turkmenbashi and Baku
Included in Kitty
Day 7-8 - Baku ( 4th Nov 2018 to 5th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Audio Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace

Included in Kitty

Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town

Included in Kitty
Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Included in Kitty
Day 9 - Gobustan ( 6th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs

Included in Kitty
Day 10 - Sheki ( 7th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheiki

Included in Kitty

Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797

Included in Kitty
Day 11 - Lagodekhi ( 8th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Discover the ancient capital of the 16th-century Kingdom of Kakheti at the Gremi Architectural Complex

GEL 10
Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park
GEL 5
Day 12 - Telavi ( 9th Nov 2018 )

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.

Day 13 - Telavi ( 10th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 14 - Tbilisi ( 11th Nov 2018 )

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.

Day 15 - Tbilisi ( 12th Nov 2018 )

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.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi
GEL 25
Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation
GEL 3
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below
Free
Relax with a dip or a massage at a traditional Georgian sulphur bath house
GEL 2

Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town

Free
Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography
GEL 1.5
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church
Free
Day 16 - Tbilisi ( 13th Nov 2018 )

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.

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 29 Oct 2018
Returning: 13 Nov 2018
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tbilisi
$1,585 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
limited
Departing: 31 Mar 2019
Returning: 15 Apr 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Tbilisi - Ashgabat
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 12 May 2019
Returning: 27 May 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Tbilisi - Ashgabat
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 7 Jul 2019
Returning: 22 Jul 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Tbilisi - Ashgabat
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 29 Jul 2019
Returning: 13 Aug 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tbilisi
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 16 Sep 2019
Returning: 1 Oct 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tbilisi
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 28 Oct 2019
Returning: 12 Nov 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tbilisi
$1,605 USD + $690 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available

WHAT OUR PASSENGERS SAY

I liked to travel on the bus. I liked Telavi - both the program and the accommodation. Lagodheki (National park) was nice. Gobustan with the mud volcanoes and petroglyphs was amazing and not to forget sleeping in a Caravanserai in Sheki. I was very satisfied with the accommodations in the bigger cities.
Anita H
Zaza was very knowledgeable, but not too talkative.
Christian F
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.
James F
Nick and Euan were both good people and I enjoyed being on the trip with them.
Thomas D
Both leaders are excellent and assets to your organisation.
Thirumalai Govindan P
Impressive work in all aspects, no matter if it was maintaining the truck or making sure that everybody was having a good time!
Stine J
The trip was well organised and went smoothly. The tour leader (Rob) and assistant (Amanda) did a good job.
Michael H
Zaza in Georgia was great.
Christine G
Wonderful crew who really made the trip for us and did a heroic job.
Jennifer P
Zaza was an absolutely wonderful guide in Georgia, full of information, friendly and helpful, both one and one and for the whole group.
Jennifer P
Fantastic travel experience!
Janice J
Both of the crew did an excellent job!
Andreas C
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!
Janice J
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.
Joshua C
Our guide in Georgia was especially great.
Joshua C
Both worked very hard to make the expedition a success and to try to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.
Albert A
Slava was a good guide in Turkmenistan.
Charleen K
Our guide in Georgia (Sophia) was exceptional.
Albert A
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.
Kushal I
Slava in Turkmenistan and Sophia in Georgia were both exactly what I would expect from a dedicated knowledgeable professional guide.
Norman H
I really enjoyed this trip, even with all of the uncertainty surrounding the Caspian Sea ferry!
Shelley I
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
PEDRO ALEXANDRE M
This is my 4th trip with Dragoman. I have enjoyed all of them.
Jeffrey M