Two-day Aral Sea Tour

Muynak, Ustyurt Plateau, Aral Sea, Kurgancha Kala, Sudochie lake, Kungrad, Mizdakhan, Gyaur-Kala

The unfortunate history of the Aral Sea becomes reality in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in western Uzbekistan that’s home to a plethora of monuments, diverse desert landscapes and the rich cultural heritage of the Karakalpaks. Of particular interest to many travelers is the forlorn remains of the Aral Sea port city Muynak, the soft beauty of the Ustyurt Plateau and the distinct Karakalpak language and culture.
The Aral Sea Tour packs a combination of historical, architectural, natural and cultural stops and is designed for adventurers, historical enthusiasts and fans of exotic photography. A qualified guide and driver will accompany you on both days, informing you of the rich story of this region, its natural peculiarities and the tragedy of the Aral Sea.

In the morning your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel in Nukus. Depart Nukus for the Aral Sea via Muynak (200 km). Arrive in Muynak to see the “Cemetery of Ships”, the former port of Muynak now home to abandoned sea vessels lodged in desert sands. Tour the Muynak History Museum (subject to close without prior notice). It’s a sad yet impressive place where you can see the location of the former Aral Sea from a viewing platform, climb up a lighthouse for a more all-encompassing view, and even walk down onto the dried-up seafloor to see the ships up close.
Lunch at the guesthouse in Muynak.
Continue driving across the boundless Ustyurt Plateau. You will reach the Aral Sea in late afternoon (200 km from Muynak). Stop along the way to take pictures of beautiful desert canyons and depressions.
Arrive to the yurt camp. Camp-style dinner. Overnight in the yurt*.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise. After breakfast, visit the settlement Kurgancha Kala, a caravanserai and fortress dating back to the 13th century.
Drive through Kungrad, a small town and former trading center along the Silk Road. On the way, you’ll see the remains of a lighthouse and pass by the ruins of the abandoned settlement Urga.
Stop for a photo op at Lake Sudochie.
Have a picnic lunch before heading back to Nukus.
On the way to Nukus, stop at the Mizdakhan Necropolis, an ancient cemetery and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of Karakalpakstan. It includes the Mazlumkhan Sulgu Mausoleum (14th century), Mausoleum of Shamun Nabi (12th-13th century) and Halika Erjep Madrassah (9th-13th centuries).
Continue on to the remains of the Gyaur-Kala Fortress (4th century B.C.), partially destroyed by Genghis Khan around 1220 and currently the site of archaeological excavations.
Arrive in Nukus. Transfer to the local airport or hotel. End of the tour of the Aral Sea.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

*In case of inclement weather, the yurt camp overnight stay will be replaced with lodging in a guesthouse of equivalent value.
Subject to flight availability, this two-day tour can also be arranged to and from Tashkent.

Price includes:

  • All transportation on 4WD vehicle (2-4 persons, including guide);
  • Private, English-speaking guide;
  • Meals as listed per itinerary;
  • Accommodation in the yurt camp;
  • Entrance fees to the local History Museum and Mizdakhan memorial complex.

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