Muynak Ship Cemetery

Mizdakhan Complex

Shore-Side Camping

From Sea to Desert: Explore the Aral Sea's Decline on a 2-Day Journey

Embark on a captivating 2-day adventure uncovering the tragic tale of the Aral Sea’s decline, one of Earth’s gravest environmental crises. Over five decades, the Aral’s waters receded over 200 km, revealing the vast ‘Aralkum’ desert. During this Aral sea tour, you will visit the Ship Cemetery and small museum in Muynak, and discover the area’s most impressive historical site Mizdakhan Complex near Nukus.

As part of this journey, you’ll also set up camp at the shores of the Aral Sea, where you’ll stay overnight. Gaze upon the stark expanse of the former sea, now transformed into the haunting Aralkum desert. It’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to intimately connect with the environment and witness the impact of this ecological disaster firsthand. This immersive adventure blends history, nature, and reflection, leaving you with a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of our planet.

Highlights of the Tour

Pause at Lake Sudochie, a birdwatcher's paradise, and witness the diverse migratory bird species that inhabit this serene oasis

Explore the ruins of Urga, an abandoned settlement with a mystique all its own

Witness the dramatic changes brought by environmental challenges, and set up camp by its tranquil shores

Embark on picturesque drives through changing landscapes, offering views of deserts, plateaus, and the Aral Sea's evolving shores

Immerse yourself in the region's history, exploring ancient ruins and learning about the cultural significance of each site

Day 1 – Transfer from Nukus though Lake Sudochie to the Aral Sea: From Nukus, drive to the Aral sea via the Ustyurt Plateau. Witness the sea’s drastic decline, explore the Sudochie region’s bird-rich lake, and encounter the abandoned Urga settlement. Capture impressive canyons en route, then set up camp by the Aral Sea. Walk the shores, swim, and savour a fireside dinner.

Day 2 – Aral Sea – Muynak – Nukus: After breakfast, drive via Muynak to Nukus. Traverse the new desert Aralkum, once Aral’s seabed. Explore Muynak, a former bustling fishing hub, now home to a ship cemetery and museum depicting Aral’s environmental changes. Lunch with a local family awaits. On the way to Nukus, explore Mizdakhan Complex and the ruins of Gaur Qala fortress. Return to Nukus by afternoon.

Click the “Itinerary” tab to see a detailed itinerary.

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Trip Details

Trip Details


In Nukus, at the Savitskiy Museum entrance

All year round. Recommended to visit during Spring and Autumn.

Check the availability for this tour on the sidebar calendar.

2 days

From 2 to 12 travellers


  • Overnight stay in the yurt
  • 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • English-speaking guide
  • Transport throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees as per itinerary

  • Pre and post-tour accommodation in Nukus
  • Additional tours and activities during the free time
  • Personal travel insurance


English-speaking guide

Your 2-Day Aral Sea Tour Itinerary

Day 1 –Nukus – Ustyurt Plateau – Aral Sea (8 hours / 450km)
Start your journey at 8:00 AM, passing through the historical town of Kungrad, once a thriving Silk Road trading centre. Traverse the seemingly boundless Ustyurt Plateau, eventually reaching the shores of Lake Sudochie – a sanctuary for migratory birds, presenting a chance to glimpse rare species. Enjoy a lakeside picnic, soaking in the vibrant aquatic birdlife. Meander along the lakeshores, absorbing the serene beauty, before exploring the abandoned settlement of Urga, where traces of the past whisper among dilapidated structures. As the day unfolds, the road leads to the Aral Sea, offering breathtaking glimpses of immense canyons. Upon arrival, set up camp by the seashore, and enjoy a leisurely evening walk or a refreshing swim in the saline sea waters. In the evening, enjoy a fireside dinner, followed by a peaceful overnight stay in tents.

Day 2 – Aral Sea – Muynak – Nukus
After breakfast, embark on a captivating drive through the evolving Aralkum desert, once the bed of the receding Aral Sea. Arrive in Muynak, a former bustling fishing port, now adorned with a ship cemetery and an evocative local museum depicting Aral’s ecological journey. Immerse yourself in Muynak’s narrative before breaking bread with a local family for lunch. Resume your journey, heading back towards Nukus. En route, uncover the historical gems of Mizdakhan Complex in Hujayli – a collection of ancient mausoleums, madrassas, and caravanserais, spanning centuries of history. Round off the day’s exploration by visiting the intriguing ruins of the Gaur Qala fortress, a testament to times long past. Arrive in Nukus in the afternoon.

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