Turkmenistan is situated in Central Asia. Its neighbouring countries are Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The country has access to the Caspian Sea.
The climate in the country in continental dry. The average temperature in winter is +4 °C and in summer, it can reach +32 °C. The best time for travelling to Turkmenistan is from April to June and from September to November.
The official language is Turkmen. The majority of the population are the Muslims.
Those who cannot imagine their holidays without sea should go to the resort Avaz in Turkmenbashy. This is an environmentally friendly area near the Caspian Sea with a well-developed infrastructure.
Wellness tourism is gaining popularity in Turkmenistan. In Balkanabad, there are many modern wellness resorts near the Mollakara lake. The tourists can have air baths, mud baths and salt-water baths, dry aquamassage, stone and sand therapy (the sand is brought from the Karakum Desert), cryotherapy and spa. Ashgabat can also offer everything and anything to improve the health of the tourists. In Turkmenistan, there are interesting speleological tours, the tourists can go climbing, skiing, trekking. An interesting entertainment is autosafari.
Turkmenistan is a good destination for ecological tourism due its fantastic nature. The travellers can visit the Repetek State Reserve in Turkmenabat.
Excursions are arranged to the Gutlug Timur Minaret, Abu Said Mausoleum, Tyurabek Khanum Mausoleum, and Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum. Visit the ruins of the Fortress in Nis, go to Doshaguz and Mary to learn more about the history and architecture of the country.
Turkmenistan Airlines offer direct flights from Russia. The flights with this company are the most comfortable and not very expensive. The flight will take you about 355 hours. There are also regular flights from Saint Petersburg.
The citizens from Ukraine and Belarus have to take transit flights with a stop in Moscow, Istanbul or Tashkent.
There is a ferry route between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
To visit Turkmenistan, the travellers from CIS and EU countries must obtain a visa at the Embassy or in a travel agency having accredited by the Turkmen authorities.
All the foreigners must fill in the migration card on arrival and pay the registration fee.
If the tourists have an intention to stay in the country for more than 3 working days, they should register in the State Migration Service. There are offices of the service in Ashgabat, Dashoguz, Mary, Turkmenabat, and Turkmenbashy.
The adult tourists can bring in Turkmenistan tobacco, alcohol and personal belongings duty-free.
It is prohibited to import and export the national currency. The Customs legislation does not restrict the import of foreign currency, however, any sum must be declared. One can export from Turkmenistan only that sum of money which was stated in the declaration form.
It is allowed to export antiquities and art object provided that there is a special permit issued by the Ministry of Culture.
The tourists can export carpets, national musical instruments, archaeological discoveries and art objects only if they have a sales receipt or a permit issued by the authorities.
It is allowed to export handmade carpets from Turkmenistan but the tourists must obtain a certificate issued by the Carpet Museum that this item does not have any historical or artistic value.
The staple food in Turkmenistan is meat, rice, vegetables, cheese, melons and gourds, butter made from camel milk and fermented dairy products.
The Turkmen like rich and nourishing soups such as Chobra (meat broth), Gara-chobra with tomatoes, Dograma (pea soup with cheese), Unash (thick bean soup), milk and vegetable soup Suitli-unash and Mastava (hot vegetable soup with rice).
The hallmark of the national cuisine is the Turkmen pilaf.
If you like meat, you should try Govurma (roast mutton with spices), Govurlan-et (stewed button with onion rings and tomatoes), Chekdirme (mutton casserole), jerked beef Kokmach, and meat sausages Garyn.
In the coastal regions, the locals often cook fish. The most popular dishes are Balyk-shara (fish kebab) and Balyk gavurdak (fish stew).
Those who have a sweet tooth will not be disappointed. They can try a fruit sherbet, oriental cookies Pishme, cakes Kulche, and famous oriental sweets Chapady. Of course, you cannot leave Turkmenistan without trying melons and watermelons.
In Turkmenistan, they produce wines Kopet Dagh, Yasman Salyk, and Dashgala. All the tourists are offered the local vodka Serdar.
The Turkmen like tea brewed with milk very much. This is undoubtedly the most popular drink among the locals.
The national currency is Manat (TMM).
The tourists can exchange currency at banks in large cities, in exchange offices and in hotels.
Vneshekonombank, large hotels and restaurants in Ashgabat accept Visa and MasterCard.
You can cash traveller’s checks at banks and in hotels. Checks in US dollars are more willingly accepted.
There are not many ATMs in Turkmenistan. Cash is the most preferred method of payment.
As the country borders Afghanistan, it aggravates the criminal situation in the country.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Turkmenistan
In Turkmenistan, there are many architectural monuments which are of a great touristic interest.
- The ancient city of Nisa is a historic complex built in the 1st-3d centuries B.C. The historic complex New Nisa was the place where the slave owners lived from the 1st to the 18th centuries.
- Excursions to the Geok-tepe Fortress are arranged for the tourists. The Fortress was built in the 19th century.
- The tourists will want to visit the Dehistan historic district with its ruins of Missirian and the cemetery Mashad.
- A trip to the famous Cave city Ekedeshik will surely be very exciting.
- Your trip to the Darwaza Gas Crater will be an unforgettable experience. It is situated in the Karakum Desert.
- 10 km from Ashgabat, there is the National Turkmenbashi Stud Farm Akhal-Teke where the locals raise thoroughbred Akhal-Teke horses. The tourists will be offered a guided tour to the farm and horse-riding. In spring and in autumn, the hippodrome of Ashgabat holds the horse-riding competition.
- The Palace of Turkmenbashi made from white marble, The National Museum of Turkmenistan and the Carpet Museum are a must-see in Ashgabat. Go to the Sunday market for shopping.
- 90 km from Ashgabat, there is the Bakharden Cave with the underground lake Kov Ata. If you want to improve your health, go to the mineral Kov Ata lake. Hot waters of the lake rich in hydrogen sulfide help to get rid of the problems with joints and obesity.
Souvenirs in Turkmenistan
The hallmark of Turkmenistan is unique handmade carpets. The tourists can buy carpets, wallets, pillows and mobile phone cases made in the homespun technique on the factory Turkmenhaly. The tourists also buy the elements of the national costume, headwear, figurines of Akhal-Teke horses and silver jewelry.