Navrus Bayram Festival in Turkmenistan
Description of Navrus Bayram Festival in Turkmenistan
Edged by the Silk Road and with a rich history stretching back millennia, Turkmenistan is a little-explored region where tribal desert lands contrast with grand futuristic cities. And this pioneering 13-day trip provides a comprehensive experience of this secret Asian jewel.
Just considering towns alone, range from the grandiose capital Ashgabat to the remote village of Nohur, whose inhabitants believe they descend from the armies of Alexander the Great. Your visit is also timed to experience the region's celebrated Navrus Bayram Festival, bringing together different clans from around the region with feasting to match the entertainments.
Among the ancient sites you'll visit are the UNESCO-listed Konye-Urgench and the mosques and citadels rising from the earth in the 2500-year-old Merv, the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata, plus the mausoleum-dotted ancient Khorezm capital of Konye-Urgench.
You'll travel through a miscellany of incredible landscapes including the canyons of Yangikala in the epic Balkan Mountains, the fascinating coastal region around the fishing port of Turkmenbashi, as well as an awe-inspiring flaming gas crater in the sparse grandeur of the Karakum desert.
Along the way, witness timeless local traditions including horse riding on the region's prized Akhal-Teke horses, traditional dancing and eagle flying demonstrations.
PlanetTurkmenistan does not see the same number of visitors that many other countries experience and as such some practices which we take for granted in other parts of the world may not be found here. We work closely with our suppliers to introduce concepts of environmental responsibility to the communities we travel through. This can include asking hotels to implement practices such as asking guests if they need fresh, cleaned towels each day, and reminding guests to turn off lights when they leave the room - small things that are standard practice in many places in the western world but not necessarily elsewhere. Most of the places that we stay in on this tour will take advantage of the excellent local produce, not only sustaining traditional communities but ensuring that unnecessary food miles are not made.
This tour travels through some very remote regions, away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and when camping we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us. This is particularly pertinent in a desert environment where waste takes longer than usual to degrade in the arid climate. We are also careful not to place too much of a strain on fragile local resources that local people depend upon.
PeopleThis tour is based around the Navrus Bayram Festival; a celebration of the spring equinox and it is recognised as the most important holiday throughout the region. Our guides will brief clients on the appropriate behaviour and interactions when attending the festival as to not disturb the festival but allow clients to have a more enriched experience.
Furthermore, by attending the festival we are putting valuable money into the local economy so the local villages benefit from tourists. This also encourages social interaction between the locals and tourists, promoting healthy and long-lasting relationships. We want to come to an area as friends, promoting the sustainable use of tourism.
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis - getting the lowest possible price isn't usually the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign tour leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible, we use local transport (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures - usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends not intruders, and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
Our groups average only six clients, and may tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasize our commitment to Responsible Tourism, all our clients will receive a copy of out travellers code of conduct with their travel documents.