Moynaq is no more than a rotting village that was a former prosperous seaport on the Aral Sea. The utter desperation and depression here is so thick that a knife wouldn’t cut it. Some 30 years ago when the waters of the Aral lapped at the shore, Moynaq was home to a successful fishing industry. Today it is a living ghost town with high unemployment rate and quite a few drunkards.

If you want to get a sense of the world’s worst environmental disaster, and you’re an intrepid traveler, Moynaq will be a highlight of your trip. Rusted-out ships litter the sandy plains that were once a lake bottom. Get your taxi driver to drive you as close as possible to the ship area. There are a couple dozen ships in the area. Some are concentrated in one area, and there are a few others scattered around. If you dare, inquire locally or just have your driver take you around.

Services in Moynaq are simple. You can get to Moynaq by local daily bus from Nukus easily! There is a basic hotel and a guest house (no sign) where they serve food as well (backyard toilet; they can heat up a shower if you ask them to). I heard there is a Korean restaurant in Moynaq even selling fish. If you cant find it, there are several little shops selling food and drinks.

A concrete anchor memorial on a precipice overlooking the former lake is a tribute to what was once Uzbekistan’s only seaport.