When we reached the northern part of the Aral lake region in Kazakhstan a few weeks before, there was not a lot to see anymore. Locals told us, that the shipwrecks you could see at this place in earlier days, had been deconstructed and sold.
However there are shipwrecks left on the uzbek side of Aral lake and when we passed that area, we decided to spent a night at this mystical place.
Aral lakes history is a massive ecological desaster. The local agriculture in earlier days branched off way too much water and since Aral lake has no outward flow, it became saltier and saltier over time. Nowdays it is almost dried out, the local fishing industry doesn’t exit anymore and they have serious health problems in this region. Excess use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides has been contaminating the area for decades. Furthermore is Aral lake situated in an air lane and after the lake has dried out, this chemical polluted dust is taken to the stratosphere and spread allover the planet. However most of the people don’t know the history of Aral lake and beside that, nobody cares what is happening in the middle of nowhere far-off any modern civilisation.
The shipwrecks can be found at the Aral Sea Memorial in Muynak (Uzbekistan), which is around 93km north of Kungrad. It is a dead end road, so you have to return to the main highway close to Kungrad. There are almost no shops in Muynak, so it is better to buy some food in Kungrad, if you want to stay there overnight.
In Muynak is a sign at the main road that shows you the way to the shipwrecks. The cool thing is, that you can camp there everywhere and you can drive right next to the wrecks. Be aware that you have to ride on soft sand, though!
You can climb and explore all the ships, but the real mystical atmosphere starts during sunset and in night time. Muynak’s graveyard of ships is one of the most unreal places to pitch your tent. Don’t be scared when you hear strange noises in the middle of the night. There might be many cows gathering around the wrecks and your tent, making super weird sounds while ruminating.
Although it is almost 100km off any route, we think it is very much worth spending a night there. If you are not conviced yet, maybe have a closer look at our photos…