Turkmenistan Tours & Travel Information

Turkmenistan

Welcome to Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan Tours & Travel Information

The modern capital of Turkmenistan – Ashgabat (‘the city of love’) welcomes visitors with a unique architectural style that appears to be a blend of science fiction and Romanesque marble! The city is dotted with impressive monuments and tremendous fountains. The country’s landscape is characterized by beautiful sandy deserts and oases. In the middle of the Karakum desert at Darvaza lies the burning crater, also known as ‘the gate of hell’. One can spend the night in a tent next to this gas drilling accident from Soviet time.

Highlights of Turkmenistan

Other interesting sights include dinosaur footprints, underground lakes, and – most importantly – the remains of the ancient cities of Konye-Urgench and Merv that were once important stopovers along the Great Silk Road. Turkmen people are very hospitable and proud of their ancient history and rich traditions and customs. Turkmen carpets are well appreciated around the world, but only in Turkmenistan, you can see how they are being crafted by hand. Another pride of every Turkmen is the Akhal Teke horse breed that you can find nowhere except for Turkmenistan. The best time to visit Turkmenistan is Spring or Fall when the temperatures are more bearable than the 40 degrees summer months.

At a glance

  • Population:
  • 5,171,943
  • Area:
  • 491,210km²
  • Languages:
  • Turkmen
  • Time zones:
  • UTC +5
  • Currency:
  • Turkmen Manat (TMT)
  • Climate:
  • Continental
  • Geography:
  • Desert
    Highest point: Aýrybaba, 3,139m
  • Dialing code:
  • +993
  • Electricity:
  • 220V, 50Hz, European plug

Turkmenistan in photos

Top tours in Turkmenistan

Book your favorite small-group tour today; discover the grandeurs of Central Asia while making friends on your way! Happy Holidaying with Kalpak Travel!

Travel information

MONEY & COSTS:

The Turkmen currency is called the Manat. In Ashgabat you may find ATMs that accept international payment cards. VneshEkonomBank for example accepts Visa credit cards. However, most ATMs accept only local cards issued by Turkmen banks. Credit cards may be accepted in few high-end hotels, but most stores and restaurants do not accept any cards. We recommend bringing all money in cash, in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. They will be easy to exchange. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Turkmenistan is a safe country and most trips are trouble-free. There is a visible police presence and most citizens are law abiding. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, steer clear of dark streets at night and avoid taking rides in unofficial taxis alone. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Turkmen partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of every country in the world need a visa to enter Turkmenistan. As soon as you book a tour, we will ask you to provide some additional information to apply on your behalf for a letter of invitation. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approves your application, we will send you the letter of invitation. With this letter, you will be able to purchase the visa on arrival at Ashgabat Airport. Please note: your application for a letter of invitation may be rejected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. Please do not book any flights or other non-refundable travel services before your letter of invitation is approved.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Turkmenistan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Turkmenistan is continental and dry and the best seasons to visit are spring and autumn, from mid-April until early June and then again from September until early November. Autumn is drier than spring, but even in spring chances are high you can enjoy the bluest sky you have ever seen. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you don’t mind dry heat of 40° Celsius, sometimes more, summer is the best time to go. There are few tourists and the sun is shining every single day. If you are considering visiting Turkmenistan in winter you will practically have the country all to yourself. We recommend you go in November or December, when daytime temperatures are still around 10° Celsius and the often chilly winds of January & February have not yet begun to make their presence felt.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveller’s diarrhoea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Turkmenistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Turkmenistan are basic at best.

FAQs on Turkmenistan

WIFI
Hotels in cities above three stars provide free Wi-Fi access, however internet in Turkmenistan is very slow and access highly restricted.

Emergency

In the case of emergency your friends/family can call us and we will pass their message to you. Please take note of the 24/7 emergency number indicated in your travel documents.

Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan and Russian is spoken in large cities. Turkmen language is similar to Kazakh, Uzbek and Kyrgyz and part of the Turkic family of languages.  All our guides speak English, but overall in Turkmenistan very few people understand or speak English.

Local population is friendly and hospitable, especially in shops and restaurants they will ask where you come from etc. Your guide and driver will be knowledgeable locals who can answer all the questions and tell about everyday life in Turkmenistan. If you are interested in getting in touch with locals we recommend you to familiarize yourself with social dos and do nots as explained in our blog article.

Turkmenistan is a secular state and population is predominantly Muslim. Religion is practiced but still quite moderate and fully controlled by the state to avoid any kind of extremism.

In Turkmenistan, you will see bright colored national dresses on women and modern European style clothing mostly on men and men wearing suit. Feel free to wear same clothes that you would wear back home. It’s that simple.  Only exception to this rule concerns visits of religious buildings like Mosques or Churches. When visiting these places, you will need to wear long pants and women need to cover their shoulders and head with a veil.

No, it is not and we recommend you to drink bottled water, use filter or boil it. Moreover, please do not use tap water for brushing teeth and order your drinks without ice.

Central Asia is generally not an ideal place for vegetarians, however you can order side dish such as plain rice, mashed potatoes and in some places, even grilled vegetables. Most of the national dishes in cafes are made with meat, predominantly mutton. In guesthouses and yurt stays you need to talk to the guide so he can arrange something. In some cases, you can also alter some meals with quick noodles that can be bought in stores. More information of food in Central Asia you can find here.

Ashgabat has nice coffee where you can use wifi and get some snacks. Outside these places the best coffee you can get is an instant coffee, if you are coffee-lover we recommend taking little Italian coffee machine.

In cafes, service of 10-15% is usually included on the bill, however this does not go directly to the waiter, he gets only salary. Usually the amount is rounded up and If you are very content with the service you can leave some tip. Guides do not expect tips from you, if you are happy with their services provided they will certainly appreciate a little tip.

Most of the hotels are clean and have western standard toilets with shower. In Turkmenistan tourists are required to stay in hotels, so there will be always nice facilities.

The most expensive services for laundry is in hotels, since they charge 1-3$ per laundry item. Another option would be to wash couple of things by hand in hotel sink.

Your safety is the first priority for Kalpak Travel, in organizing our trips we discuss every detail to make sure that your tour runs smoothly and you will have a wonderful experience with us. Our guides are well trained to deal with emergency situations and we will get you help as quickly as possible. In case of serious illness, we will help you to get proper medical assistance, do everything possible to get you to your homeland and inform your family. To join our tours, you are required to have travel insurance. Please make sure it fully covers medical emergencies including repatriation costs.

Main intercity roads have been recently repaired, newly paved and are well maintained. However, if you drive through the desert or to villages there are mostly dirt roads. Kalpak Travel has experienced and professional drivers who will drive you safely in Turkmenistan. All our vehicles are well maintained and checked before each departure.