Muynak was once a thriving city on the banks of the Aral Sea, a key port town in the region known for its ships, plethora of fish and thriving trade. Now that the Aral Sea has dried up through the depletion of its waters, the remaining inhabitants of this town struggle to survive in the desert in one of the most forgotten corners of Central Asia. In the past year the process of refilling the Aral Sea has begun, and while the long-term effects of this slow process are not yet fully known, it gives a spark of hope that perhaps Muynak can one day again be a thriving, self-sustaining city.
The Muynak Day Trip Tour is a great option for travelers who are already in Nukus and wish to expand their itinerary in Karakalpakstan. If you want to see the Aral Sea’s graveyard of ships without having to haggle with taxi drivers and arrange your own transportation there and back, you’ll appreciate this full-day tour that includes a helpful English-speaking guide, lunch and private transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle.
Nukus – Muynak – Mizdakhan – Gyaur Kala – Nukus
In the morning meet your guide and driver at your hotel in Nukus. Depart Nukus towards to Muynak (200 km, 3hrs). Arriva in Muynak to see “Cemetery of ships”, the former port with abandoned ships in the sand, and visit Local History Museum (might be closed without prior notice). Sad but impressive place. You can view the former site of the Aral Sea from a viewing platform, climb up a lighthouse for a higher viewing point, or even walk down the stairs and onto the dried-up seafloor to view the ships up close. Lunch at the guesthouse in Muynak.
Drive to back to Nukus via Mizdakhan Necropolis – an ancient cemetery and one of the oldest and most visited pilgrimage sites of Karakalpakstan. Mausoleum Mazlumkhan Sulgu (14th century), Mausoleum of Shamun Nabi (12-13th centuries), Madrassah Halika Erjep (9-13th centuries).
Continue to the remains of the Gyaur-Kala Fortress, which was destroyed by Genghis-Khan.
Tour duration: approximately 9 hours