Turkmen Ecolodge

Lodge in Golestan National Park

Charming Furukh and her gregarious husband Kamran converted a rustic, thick-walled adobe homestead into this delightful four-room ecolodge, artfully decorated with old furniture and local craftwork. Entirely unmarked, it's in a tiny Turkmen hamlet beside Golestan National Park; Kamran leads various park tours in fluent English. You sleep and eat on floor mats; bathrooms are outside (bring your own towel).

Prices are per person, with meals costing extra (breakfast/lunch/dinner US$10/15/15) – and there's no real alternative to eating at the lodge around here. The communal dinners are wholesome, mostly organic and accompanied by numerous local pickles but are very expensive by local standards; simple lunches inexplicably cost as much. If accommodating larger groups (maximum 20) there might be as many as six guests sleeping side-by-side in the bigger rooms. Read the website carefully and, if possible, book at least three weeks in advance.

A taxi here from Gonbad costs around IR500,000.