adventure travel & photography
Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman ◦◦ Algeria ◦◦ Faroe Islands ◦◦ Indonesia
Tours/Expeditions: List with all our scheduled tours and expeditions
During our trip in May 2016 to the Darvaza Gas Craters, we made a stop at the village of Yerbent. This strange place is in the middle of nowhere, and is half-buried by the sands of the Karakum desert. At first glance, it appeared empty, with its unattractive one-story houses and yurts, small streets tightly covered in sand, creating a sense of ghostliness and deep hopelessness.
The numerous bunches of dry trees that served as fences for livestock pens, mostly for camels, whose breeding is the main livelihood in this forgotten place, made quite an impression.
Despite its desolate appearance, the village is a popular destination for tourists seeking an "authentic experience" in the Karakum Desert. In the village center, a Soviet-era monument featuring a Turkmen lady with a hung head commemorates the death of 11 men who fell during the 1931 Basmachi Revolt in their quest to ensure the "triumph of socialism, realization of dictatorship of the proletariat, and collectivization of agriculture."
Like most of Turkmenistan, Yerbent has a continental desert climate with cold winters and very hot and sunny summers.
During our visit, a beautiful girl looked at us curiously and later brought us camel milk, which was definitely not my kind of milk. We entered the local tavern, a sparsely furnished place with an improvised bar and overflowing fly traps. I imagined how the locals drink their green tea in the evening, staring at propagandistic Russian programs on the old Soviet television or watching wearily out of the windows. "What if I had to live in this village?" I thought to myself. On the street, I saw a little boy with a dog, and we enthusiastically started talking in Russian, a language that neither of us spoke.
The girl who brought us the milk looked at us melancholically for the last time and then disappeared. We then left the village.
Travel to Turkmenistan
We usually have one or two small groups (max 7/8 participants) per year travelling to Turkmenistan. If you are interested in joining a group setting out from Europe, please drop me a line. We will provide more information, like dates, a program, and other details.