Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The most beautiful place you've never heard of

One of the things that attracted us to Turkmenistan is the Yangykala Canyon. It is so little known, that even most people in Turkmenistan do not know of its existence.

Totally beautiful. And totally remote. We had to take an overnight train to the city of Turkmenbashi on the coast of the Caspian Sea, and then drive three hours inland through the desert!

We arrived at Turkmenbashi at 8:30am.

Arrived at Turkmenbashi Train Station.

Nice blue sky, but definitely a little cooler on the coast of the Caspian Sea.

I've been forgetting to include a map, so here's our route from Ashgabat to Turkmenbashy by train, and then by 4x4 SUV from Turkmenbashy to the canyon...


First thing we did was to go for some breakfast. Really surprised to find a very modern cafe where we had a really nice breakfast...

Nice cafe for breakfast!

We are constantly amazed by the facilities available here in Turkmenistan.

After breakfast, it was on to our hotel!

Pretty fancy hotel! Not bad for $90 USD! However for the locals, they pay only 250 manat which would be the equivalent of about $14 USD. Keep in mind, the average salary is about $400 USD, but they can afford to do a lot of things with that money.

Fancy lobby.

The President on his horse. 
There are photos of the President everywhere.

We dropped our bags off and then hit the road!

On the road at 10:00am.

Taking a break.

Not much to see except for the odd camel.
Those are also camels way off in the distance.

Finally getting some interesting scenery.

One of our group coming up behind us.

Turned on to a dirt track.

And we stopped at this spectacular viewpoint.

Looking down into the canyon.






Zoomed in down below.

The only problem was that there was no way to go for a hike from the top down into the canyon. You would have to drive around on the main road and access it from below. But it would be a spectacular hike following one of the dry river beds up through the canyon. Maybe next time!


What a view from the crocodile's mouth!

Some of the gang were brave enough to sit on the ledge, like our leader Johnny.
One of my favorite photos from the trip!



 A different angle of the crocodile's mouth, with Laura making her way to the edge.

Ruth, enjoying the view.


Wow!


Cool colors!



A couple of the guys just taking it all in.

Can you see the guy standing on the left overlooking the canyon?


Heading back to the city.

We arrived back in Turkmenbashy and did an hour tour of the city, but to be honest, there's really not a lot to see. Not exactly a tourist hub, although there is a stretch of land near that is occupied by resort hotels with amusement parks and water parks, but they are for local tourists only, not foreign tourists.

Another statue of Mr. President, and a conference center.

Located on the Caspian Sea.

Shipping terminal.


The port of Turkmenbashy.

Fancy boat. Not sure where it goes!

Sea monster!

Back at the hotel, we were given our room keys and headed up to take a quick shower and get cleaned up. 

Just a typical hotel room.

Just a bathroom!

Our view from the 10th floor.

And, looking the other way.

We made our way down to the bar.

Where most of the group were getting a head start.

We went to the best restaurant in Turkmenbashy. When restaurant food is this inexpensive, you might as well treat yourself to the best!




My rib steak... overcooked.

It's a real shame that they have so many nice cuts of meat available here in Turkmenistan, but it's always overcooked no matter how you try and explain otherwise. It's just the way they do it. Oh well. Still fairly tender, but a little less cooked would have been better. 

Me!


Drinking tequila in Turkmenistan!

Gareth, putting one back.

Stay tuned... our last day in Turkmenistan coming up next!

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4 comments:

  1. Wow, the area looks like the Bad Lands and Painted Desert together plus a little of Grand Canyon. Doesn't look like the area gets much rain...dry desert with sparse vegetation and skinny camels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it certainly does but rather than the Grand Canyon I would have said Bryce Canyon. It is certainly beautiful and very impressive. No, the area doesn't get much percipitation and if it does it is usually in the winter months bewteen December and April with a combination of rain and snow. The camel may have looked skinny but we found in general that the camels looked very healthy.

      Delete
  2. That food looks delicious shame about the over cooking also like the dragons teeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food really was delicious and the steak was very tender but yeah, definitely overcooked.

      Delete

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