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Köw Ata Underground Lakeblue

Summary: Köw Ata is a thermal lake fed by a spring in a cave that is 65 meter underground. It is easily reached by asphalt road, 150 km west of Ashgabat.

The entrance is hidden at the foot of a hill, from where 65 steps lead down into the cave. The site is well developed with a kiosk where you can choose between a sightseeing visit and a visit combined with swimming. As we were there on a sunny but cold November day, we refrained from a dip. Swimming enthusiasts must brave the traces of earlier visitors, bats and birds frequenting the cave. The path to the warm water is well lit, and there are basic changing facilities. The water is said to have medicinal qualities.

The journey to Köw Ata gives a good first impression of some of this desert country's main concern: water and irrigation to utilize the arable land. Along the narrow band of the southern mountain range are large cotton fields, which once provided for much of the agricultural income.

At Köw Ata, we decided to stretch our legs and hike the hill above the lake. With some more planning, it should be possible to do a more extended hike by following the ridge.

Maximum altitude: 448 meter
Minimum altitude: 302 meter
Cumulative height: 148  meter
Cumulative length: 1 kilometer
Difficulty moderate
Time: 1 hour
Date of this record October 2014
Download GPS info: Köw Ata

General location and approach: 150 kilometers west of Ashagat, on excellent asphalt road.

Other Information: Turkmenistan is still very much closed to visitors. For a visa, one needs a letter of invitation. Some travel agencies may be able to arrange this, for certain areas. Some areas of Turkmenistan are closed to visitors. Internet is difficult to get, and facebook and youtube are not accessible from Turkmenistan.

It is currently not possible to rent a vehicle in Turkmenistan, unless you hire a driver.

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