For some spectacular views of Ashgabat and the surrounding desert, take a ride up the Turkmenbashi Cableway (return ticket 2M; 10am-6pm Tue-Sun). The US$20-million cable-car system, opened in 2006, starts from the base of the Kopet Dag (south of the National Museum) and climbs to a height of 1293m above sea level on a lower peak of the Kopet Dag.
The upper terminal has souvenir shops, a restaurant, cafe, picnic spots, several high-powered telescopes for sightseeing and an 80m-high artificial waterfall. It takes 10 minutes to travel the 3.5km-long cableway. To get here your only option is to take a cab. Ask to be taken to the kabelnaya doroga (in Russian) or asma yoly (in Turkmen). You’d be best off paying the driver to wait as there’s no passing traffic here, or it’s a 25-minute walk back to the main road. A taxi from the centre of Ashgabat and back including waiting time should be around 10M to 12M.