Muynak, the city of ships in the desert

“The white waves of the grizzled Aral Sea rolled back and never returned, leaving behind the empty shore, and with each coming day the shore was turning more and more into a barren desert. The sea drew further and further away from the old hotel where I first stayed in Muynak. But I believe that my seagulls will return.”
R.T. Matevosyan, artist and author of hundreds of paintings of the Aral Sea

Highlights of the Tour

  • Visit ancient architectural and cultural monuments that date back to the Zoroastrian period and the golden age of the Ancient Khorezm
  • Learn about the history of the first fishing villages
  • Learn how Karakalpaks caught fish before and what they learned from the newcomers from the Urals
  • ПVisit the Itarkh fisherman’s hut
  • Visit the Ship Graveyard, our open-air museum
  • Visit the Muynak Museum of History and Ecology
  • Learn about the modern history of Muynak and new projects and opportunities
  • Experience the hospitality of a Muynak family and dine at the “dasturkhan”, the traditional Karakalpak dining table

Brief description

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Total distance: 400 km
  • Transportation: Comfortable sedan
  • Meals: Dinner in a family home
  • Season: All year round

Day 1


Your day will start with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Comfortable vehicles will take you through Nukus and across the famous Amu Darya River, the source of life for many peoples of Central Asia.


Mizdakhan and Gyaur-Kala, the city of the dead and the city of the ancient. You will take a scenic route to Khodjeily, one of the most ancient cities. There you will visit a huge openwork Mizdakhan necropolis with a unique underground mausoleum, mystic burial mound Jumart-Kassab and other cultural and historical pilgrimage sites, including Gyaur-Kala fortress with its thousand-year-old walls and clay palace chambers.


Muynak, the city of sand-stranded ships. You will arrive at famous Muynak where the ships froze in time as the sea disappeared. You will descend to the ships from the high slope that witnessed the tragedy of the Aral Sea. Standing at the very site of the tragedy, you will listen to the story of the disappearing sea. You will see the fishermen’s huts built from bulrush and clay.


Visiting residents of Muynak. In Muynak you will have dinner at the house of a hospitable Muynak resident. You will enjoy the tasty local traditional cuisine.


After dinner, you will have a chance to walk through the cool halls of the Muynak museum of the Aral Sea where you can see wonderful ancient artefacts.


My garden at the Aral Sea. Would you like to leave your mark on Muynak and help beautify the area? You can make your contribution to the project of planting new trees around Muynak that would allow to turn the sandy sea bottom into a green forest.


On the way to Nukus. As we drive along a busy road, you will see the desert patches turn into green fields and lakes. We will make a stop along the road and you will have a chance to attend a wonderful ethnographic event. Depending on the season, it could be a tasting of local delicatessen, training of fighting rams, observing camels, attending a folklore concert or making flatbread in clay ovens. At the end of the tour you will return to the beautiful city of Nukus.

Tour Map
Number of visitors Price per person. Price includes
1 $80

The total price includes:

  • Transportation
  • Meals as specified in the tour program

The price DOES NOT include:

  • Fee to visit sites ($0.50-2.00)
  • Additional food, alcoholic beverages
  • Tips to the driver and guide
  • Guide fees
  • Accommodations at the yurt camp (close to the ship graveyard) - $20 per person, including breakfast
2 $45
3 $34
4* $28