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Top 10 Travel Destinations Turkmenistan

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19 travelers at this place

  • Day230

    Five short days in Turkmenistan

    December 11, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    For me the last of the Stan countries to travel through is Turkmenistan. As an overlander you can only apply for a transit visa, which will only be issued for a period max five days. If you are lucky that is, as not everybody is issued one at all.
    The border crossing was quite painful this time, long waiting periods between different stations of the process, manually writing all the data, such as car details, passport details in I don't know how many books, getting visa, dog certificates, getting the GPS tracker so they know you are sticking to the prescribed route ... and waiting and waiting. Then you think you are nearly there, only car inspection left... well think again.... they looked into every nook and cranny, looking for I dont know what and finding some Tramedol on my pharmacy box. Didnt know, you are not allowed to have this. And once they were done, I had to put everything back. All in all this border crossing took 3.5 hrs. Ah well, I have heard of worse ones.
    To travel south towards Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan and the Iranian border you have to traverse the Karakum Desert. FINALLY I saw my first wild camel herds. They were drinking the rain water that was collecting in the pot holed road.
    Christoph and I definitely had to stop and visit the Darvaza gas crater as well aptly named "Door to Hell". This crater is the result of Soviet-era gas exploration and has, for whatever reason been set alight and is burning since the 70s.
    To get there we had to drive through at one point quite deep sand, knowing well getting out of there the next day might be quite tricky particularly for Christoph's 2WD. Sometimes you have to take risks, we' ll worry about this tomorrow. And it was worth it, the crater was really spectacular, particularly at night.
    Yeah, and the next day. .. I got through the sand on my second try, could back out after getting stuck, but Christoph was not that lucky. Cars too far apart to pull him out. A Shepard came to our aid, some digging, no luck. How about my maxxtraxx??? Did only get 3 of the 4 locks off, dirt blocked the 4th. That's not good enough, is it? Didn't we get past a drill station on the way out with some trucks parked up, so I drive through the sand again, back to the drill station, asking for help. They cannot take the truck as it supplies the drill with power but two men can come with me to dig and push.
    Whilst they are digging and pushing I get to work on my last lock and after a lot of water jetting in with a syringe from my medical kit and poking with a needle from my sewing kit (sometimes the male tools just don't cut it!) I free the lock and with it the maxxtraxx. I am sure this was the last push anyway but my traxx at least came into action and the car was free.
    Our further journey was quite uneventful but very beautiful as the land changed more and more into a dune desert landscape with more herds of camels. These animals really fascinate me!
    Next morning getting up and out for Rex's morning walk it was freezing cold and the desert wore a stunning coat out of ice cristals. I could have walked for hours but we had to get going and get to Ashgabat, as the next day is the last day on our visa.
    Ashgabat, the white, artificial marble city, built for the president but not the people. Bombastic, very white, one of the cleanest cities I think I have ever seen, nearly only white cars driving on huge, wide, quite empty roads, ( the president apparently loves the color white). The traffic and the life on the streets quite in contrast to the busy central Asian car and pedestrian traffic. Here there are neither a lot off cars nor a lot of people in this new part of town. The ones of you who had read Momo by Michael Ende will know what I mean when I say this is what the city reminds me of. The only colorful accents at this bleakest time of the year are the women with their colorful head dresses and the schoolgirls, wearing either green or red long dresses and their little round caps. In addition they all wear their thick long hair in thick, long braids. Must be pretty in summer, when the dresses are not hidden by the winter coats.
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  • Day8

    A Day in Ashgabat

    May 15, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Last night I walked around the area near the hotel and finally found a restaurant, on the way home I discovered that there are places I’m not allowed to go and key amongst these is anywhere within a city block of the Presidential Palace (which along with any government building I’m not allowed to photograph). When I got too close the police and security people were very fast to let me know I was not welcome there.
    Today I looked at Ashgabat which everyone is fast to tell me is noted in the Guinness Book of Records as having the most marble clad buildings in the world, along with several other records (they seem a little obsessed with these records).
    I wandered around the remains of Old Nisa then headed off to the Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia I’m told, then off to the Monument of Neutrality (they are very proud of being a neutral country). I visited another mosque and the Independent Park and spent a while looking through the National History Museum which was good.
    Unbelievably in this city in the desert it rained today quite heavily for a short time.
    Tonight I will play it safe and look for somewhere to eat in the opposite direction to the Presidential Palace
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  • Day7

    Night by the Door of Hell

    May 14, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    After a short drive to the border the driver said goodbye and pointed toward the deserted border crossing . When I walked the 100 meters to the gate out of Uzbekistan I found a soldier hiding in his shelter who gave my passport a thorough check before saying with a big smile “ kangaroo “, he then pointed me to a building in the wasteland where they stamped my passport and eventually pointed me to Turkmenistan a further 150 meters away.
    Through the gate I went and eventually was met at the gate into Turkmenistan by another soldier who checked my documents out before pointing to another building. In broken English the next person then started the paperwork, all written in a notebook before directing me to the next building where a more official guy started writing 4 different permits all in duplicate which I had to sign, then charged me $US75 to get a visa and something else (who would know what). At this point my guide arrived, a very bright 20 year old called Nikita or Nick to his friends.
    Nick was a great young guy who had spent a year in the US on a scholarship and whose main aim in life is to return there and open his own business. Anyway that made things easier as I then had to have my belongings searched before finally being let through customs. Next we walked the 1.5kms along the dusty track to where the rest of Turkmenistan starts and our car was waiting.
    We headed off to Darvaza in the desert where we had a look at the gas crater (the result of a Russian gas drilling accident) it is known as the Door of Hell or the Gates of Hell and is quite spectacular. We looked around in daylight then after dinner came back in the dark (I’m sleeping 100 meters from it in a yurt).
    This morning after a quick breakfast we headed off through the desert for another 4hours till reaching Ashgabat. The hotel I’m staying at is quite magnificent, a real change from last nights accommodation
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  • Day126


    September 16, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Ashgabat: (Turkmen: Aşgabat, pronounced [ɑʃʁɑˈbɑt][2]; Russian: Ашхабад, tr. Ashkhabad, IPA: [ɐʂxɐˈbat]) — named Poltoratsk (Russian: Полтора́цк, IPA: [pəltɐˈratsk]) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan in Central Asia, situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. The city was founded in 1881, and made the capital of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. Much of the city was destroyed by the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake but has since seen extensive renovation under President Saparmurat Niyazov's urban renewal project. The Karakum Canal runs through the city, carrying waters from the Amu Darya from east to west. Ashgabat is a relatively young city, having been founded in 1881 as a fortification and named after the nearby settlement of Askhabad (see above for the etymology). Located not far from the site of Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire, it grew on the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala, first mentioned as a wine-producing village in the 2nd century BC and leveled by an earthquake in the 1st century BC (a precursor of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake). Konjikala was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the Silk Road and it flourished until its destruction by Mongols in the 13th century. After that it survived as a small village until Russians took over in the 19th century.

    A part of Persia until the Battle of Geok Tepe, Askhabad was ceded to the Russian Empire under the terms of the Akhal Treaty. Russia developed the area as it was close to the border of British-influenced Persia, and the population grew from 2,500 in 1881 to 19,428 (of whom one third were Persian) in 1897. It was regarded as a pleasant town with European style buildings, shops, and hotels. In 1908, the first Bahá'í House of Worship was built in Askhabat. It was badly damaged in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963. The community of the Bahá'í Faith in Turkmenistan was largely based in Ashgabat. Soviet rule was established in Ashgabat in December 1917. However, in July 1918, a coalition of Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and Tsarist former officers of the Imperial Russian Army revolted against the Bolshevik rule emanating from Tashkent and established the Ashkhabad Executive Committee. After receiving some support (but even more promises) from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April 1919 and the Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city.

    In 1919, the city was renamed Poltoratsk (Полторацк), after Pavel Poltoratskiy, the Chairman of the Soviet of National Economy of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. When the Turkmen SSR was established in 1924, Poltoratsk became its capital. The original name (in the form of "Ashkhabad") was restored in 1927. From this period onward, the city experienced rapid growth and industrialisation, although severely disrupted by a major earthquake on October 6, 1948. An estimated 7.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed 110-176,000 (⅔ of the population of the city), although the official number announced by Soviet news was only 40,000. In July 2003, street names in Ashgabat were replaced by serial numbers except for nine major highways, some named after Saparmurat Niyazov, his father, and his mother. The Presidential Palace Square was designated 2000 to symbolize the beginning of the 21st century. The rest of the streets were assigned larger or smaller four-digit numerical names. Following Niyazov's death in 2006, Soviet-era street names were restored, though in the years since, many of them have been replaced with names honoring Turkmen scholars, poets, military heroes, and figures from art and culture. In 2013, the city was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's highest concentration of white marble buildings.

    Editiert am 08.04.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day123

    Khiva to "Kunye Urgench" (Turkmenistan)

    September 13, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Border Information: Exit Uzbekistan at Nijazov, enter Turkmenistan at Shovot. This morning we will drive across the border into Turkmenistan, visit the markets in the border town of Dashoguz, and explore the Kunye Urgench ruins towards the end of the day. We will wild camp in the deserts near Kunye Urgench tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. Included Activities: Overland into the green Oxus Valley to the ancient ruined city of Kunye Urgench (Included in Kitty).

    Gegen 10:00 sind wir elativ schnell durch die Usbekische Passkontrolle gekommen und stellen uns jetzt auf eine lange Wartezeit auf der Turkmenischen Seite ein. Aber auch hier sind wir bereits gegen Mittag erstaunlich schnell durch die Grenze und auf unserem Weg. Am Nachmittag besichtigen wir nach einer unspektakulären Fahrt die „Kunye Urgench ruins“. Das ist ein UNESCO Weltkulturerbe.

    Konye-Urgench (Turkmen: Köneürgenç; Russian: Куня Ургенч, Kunya Urgench – from Persian: Kuhna Gurgānj کهنه گرگانج) – Old Gurgānj also known as Kunya-Urgench, Old Urgench or Urganj, is a municipality of about 30,000 inhabitants in north Turkmenistan, just south from its border with Uzbekistan. It is the site of the ancient town of Ürgenç (Urgench), which contains the ruins of the capital of Khwarazm, a part of the Achaemenid Empire. Its inhabitants deserted the town in the 1700s in order to develop a new settlement, and Kunya-Urgench has remained undisturbed ever since. In 2005, the ruins of Old Urgench were inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. (See List of World Heritage Sites in Turkmenistan). Located on the south side of the Amu-Darya River, Old Ürgenç was situated on one of the most important medieval paths: the Silk Road, the crossroad of western and eastern civilisations. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkmenistan, lying within a vast zone of protected landscape and containing a large number of well-preserved monuments, dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries. They comprise mosques, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a minaret, and the influence of their architectural style and craftsmanship reached Iran, Afghanistan and the later architecture of the Mogul Empire of 16th-century India.

    Editiert am 27.03.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day128

    Start of good news from Dragoman again

    September 18, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Hi everyone!
    Everything is going to be fine. We are looking forward to meeting you all along the way to Istanbul. We now head on much more comfortable on the last lap to Istanbul.

    E-Mail vom 24.09.2018
    Thanks George

    As Rob was keep telling us we are saisoned travellers. With Intrepid we did about more than 25 trips before they became soft. With Dragoman we did 3 trips and we still recommend you lads. Since those nasty and unpleasant kids left the DRAGOMAN group everyone left on the trip is enjoying the remaining trip to Istanbul. Therefore we have a WIN-WIN Situation. We are greatfull that you refund as the fare and the kitty from Asghabat to Istanbul as well as our deposit on the PANAMERICA. We take that money to travel privately on rather the same track than Rob und Prime and all our buddies, but a bit more in comfort. We have learned one lesson on that fantastic journey: We are to old to travel with groups let’s say more than 90 days. Therefore there is a chance that we join DRAGOMAN in the near future. Let me finish by telling you that Rob and Prim are the best tour guides we ever had and that we enjoined every bit from Ulaanbatoor to Asghabat.

    Wolfgang and Heidi Schneider

    Am 24.09.2018 um 12:36 schrieb Dragoman :
    Dear Wolfgang

    My name is George and I am the managing director of Dragoman. I am very sorry to hear about the events that occurred on your trip. We know that you have travelled with us extensively before and we do value your custom. Events such as this are extremely rare but we do have some strict rules relating to violence on trip. It was not an easy decision but in the end, our operations team decided that they had to make the decision that they made at the time. Again, I am very sorry that you were excluded from the trip but as Heather said we would welcome you back on a Dragoman trip in the future. If you have any further comments, please let me know.

    Best wishes George
    George Durie | Managing and Operations Director

    Editiert am 08.04.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day126


    September 16, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ 🌬 29 °C

    Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex (People's memory): is a memorial complex to the honor of those killed in battle Geok Tepe, World War II, and the commemoration of the victims of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake. It is located in the southwestern part of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

    Monument of Neutrality (Turkmen: Bitaraplyk arkasy): was a monument located in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The three-legged arch, which became known locally as „The Tripod“, was 75 metres (246 ft) tall and was built in 1998 on the orders of Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov to commemorate the country's official position of neutrality. It cost $12 million to construct. The monument was topped by a 12-metre (39 ft) tall gold-plated statue of Niyazov which rotated to always face the sun. The arch was located in central Ashgabat where it dominated the skyline, being taller than the nearby Presidential Palace. The statue was illuminated at night. The arch featured a panoramic viewing platform which was a popular attraction for visitors. On 18 January 2010 Niyazov's successor as president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, signed a decree to begin work on dismantling and moving the arch. There were reports that the arch would be dismantled as early as 2008, but the president did not approve the move until 2010. The dismantling was officially said to be a move to improve urban design in Ashgabat but is seen as part of Berdimuhamedow's campaign to remove the excesses of the personality cult that Niyazov had created in his two decades at the head of one of the world's most totalitarian regimes. Niyazov also named cities and airports after himself, ordered the building of an ice palace and a 40-metre (130 ft) tall pyramid, but the gold-plated statue has been described as the most notorious symbol of his legacy. Berdimuhamedow has replaced the arch with a 95-metre (312 ft) tall „Monument to Neutrality“ which is located in the suburbs. The president appointed Turkish construction firm Polimeks to carry out the demolition of the arch and the construction of the new monument. The removal of Niyazov's golden statue was completed on 26 August 2010, although it then became part of the new Monument to Neutrality. The statue no longer rotates, but the viewing platform is usually open for visitors still. There are elevators inside the „legs“ of the monument.

    Editiert am 08.04.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day128


    September 18, 2018 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Wir bewegen uns heute nicht mehr weg vom Swimming Pool. Der hat unglaubliche Dimensionen und NUR Heidi und ich nutzen den. Ashgabat ist eben eine bizarre Stadt aus Marmor geschnitzt - leider ohne Menschen. Wo in China vermutlich auf 5.000 qm bebauter Fläche gefühlte 2.000 Menschen kommen sind es hier gefühlte 0,1 Menschen.

    Unsere Enttäuschung über die „dramatischen Ereignisse“ der letzten 2 Tage weichen langsam der Vorfreude auf 4 Übernachtungen in Baku in Azerbaijan. Morgen um ca. 03:00 a.m. geht unser extrem teurer Flieger (Lufthansa). Da nur Lufthansa direkt von Ashgabat nach Baku fliegt, gibt es leider keine Alternative. Außerdem müssten wir unser e-Visa (230 USD) neu beantragen. Die geplante Überfahrt über die Kaspische See fällt leider wegen der “besonderen Situation” für Heidi und mich aus.

    Videos gibt es erst wieder aus Baku, da Turkmenistan noch konsequenter Google und Co. sperrt als es China tut. Selbst unser VPN bringt hier keine Lösung.

    Editiert am 08.04.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day37

    Einreise nach Turkmenistan

    September 1, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Nach den Horrorgeschichten von Turkmenistan mussten wir dringend unseren Dollar Vorrat aufbessern. Leider ist das in kleineren Städten wie Buxoro gar nicht so leicht und immer mit Gebühren verbunden. Nach ewiger Fahrerei und Rumfragerei haben wir dann am Sonntag mit einer Bankangestellten gesprochen. Wir mussten noch ein letztes Mal in die Altstadt, bevor wir nach Turkmenistan aufbrechen konnten.

    5 Kilometer vor der Grenze fiel uns ein, dass man in Turkmenistan für das Geld welches man nicht wieder ausführt einen Nachweis benötigt. Also wo man es getauscht hat zum Beispiel. Wir wissen nicht wie streng hier kontrolliert wird, aber wollen auf Nummer sicher gehen. Also steckten wir etwas Geld in einen Umschlag und dann unter unseren Teppich. Warum wir diesen Aufwand betreiben klärt sich später.
    Währenddessen hält extra für uns ein iranischer LKW Fahrer an und fragt ob alles ok ist. Wir fanden es sehr lieb von ihm. Er gab uns einen ersten Blick auf die Menschen im Iran.

    Und schon waren wir bei der Ausreise aus Usbekistan. Obwohl wir die Zolldokumente für das Auto bei der Einreise nicht bekommen hatten, gab es zum Glück keine Probleme. Die Zollbeamten schlugen alles im System nach und in 20 Minuten waren wir durch. So viel Einsatzbereitschaft sind wir an Grenzen gar nicht gewohnt.

    An der turkmenischen Grenze war alles etwas komisch. Hier gibt es kaum PKW Verkehr. Nur unzählige Fußgänger und jede Menge LKWs. Um die ganze Bürokratie zu erledigen, werden wir ständig hin und her geschickt. Das ist ohne Sprachkenntnisse ziemlich anstrengend. Auf einmal müssen wir zurück zum Auto. Jetzt ist für die Grenzbeamten erstmal die 1,5 stündige Mittagspause. Also packen wir unseren Tisch aus und essen erstmal unsere Melone, die wir frisch am Melonenfeld gekauft haben. Alle jungen Grenzer hier sind interessiert an uns, die alten eher mürrisch. Wir merken schon wie streng hier alles zugeht, die einheimischen Frauen, welche während der Mittagspause auf Toilette gehen wollen, werden zurückgeschickt. Wo gibt's denn sowas? Wir nehmen uns wohl echt was raus hier unseren Campingtisch auszupacken. Auch Grenzer die uns begeistert begrüßt hatten, halten sich, wenn Anzugträger in der Nähe sind, von uns fern.

    Nach der Mittagspause wird unsere erlaubte Route durch Turkmenistan noch auf einer Karte eingezeichnet. Man darf sich hier nicht allzu frei bewegen. Der befürchtete GPS Tracker blieb interessanterweise aus. Eigentlich gehört der standardmäßig dazu.

    Die Bitte nach einem kleinen Abstecher von der Route erfüllt der Mann uns leider nicht. Er konnte oder wollte uns nicht verstehen. Hier erfahren wir auch noch, dass wir im Hotel schlafen müssen. Das macht den Besuch nicht angenehmer für uns.

    An der Grenze werden wir unzählige Male gefragt, ob wir verheiratet sind. Diese Frage haben wir im Urlaub schon unglaublich oft gehört. Eine unklare Antwort wird nicht akzeptiert. Für die Menschen hier ist das völlig normal.

    Etwas unruhig waren wir vor der Einreise auch, weil seit diesem Jahr Frauen in Turkmenistan das Autofahren verboten wurde. Wir erfahren später, dass das auf uns nicht zutrifft. Vollkommen absurd ist es natürlich trotzdem.

    Nach 2,5 Stunden inklusive Mittagspause und 140$ anstatt der vermuteten 250$ haben wir es dann geschafft. Das ist trotzdem noch sehr viel Geld dafür, dass wir nur zwei Tage durchs Land fahren. Eine Umfahrung mit der Fähre hätte uns zusätzlich zu weiteren Spritkosten noch 450$ gekostet. Also blieb uns leider eh keine Alternative.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Turkmenistan, Turkmènistan, Tɛkmɛnistan, ቱርክመኒስታን, Turkmenistán, Turcmenistan, تركمانستان, ܛܘܪܩܡܢܣܛܐܢ, توركمينيستان, Туркменистан, Türkmənistan, تورکمنیستان, Төрөкмәнстан, Tuakmenien, Туркменістан, तुर्कमेनिस्तान, Turikimenisitani, তুর্কমেনিয়া, ཏུརཀ་མེ་ནི་སུཏན།, তুর্কমেনিস্তান, Туркмени, تورکمانستان, Türkmenistan, Tyrcmenistan, Tırkmenıstan, Turkmeńska, ތުރުކުމެނިސްތާން, Tɛkmenistan nutome, Τουρκμενιστάν, Turkmenio, ترکمنستان, Turkmenistaan, Turkménistan, Turcmènistan, An Tuircméanastáin, Turcmanastàn, તુર્કમેનિસ્તાન, Yn Turkmenistaan, Turkumenistan, Thú-khû-man-sṳ̂-thán, טורקמניסטאן, Tirkmenistan, Türkmenisztán, Թուրքմենիստան, Turkimenistan, Túrkmenistan, トルクメニスタン, თურქმენეთი, Тыркуменистэн, Turukimenistani, Түрікменстан, Turkmenistani, ទួគមេនីស្តង់, ತುರ್ಕಮೆನಿಸ್ಥಾನ್, 투르크메니스탄, Pow Turkmen, Түркмөнстан, Turcmenia, Туьркменистан, Takimenesitaani, Tikɛménisitá, ເຕຣີກເມນິສະຖານ, تورکأمأنئستان, Turkmėnija, Tukemenisita, Turkmenistāna, Torkmenistan, തുര്‍ക്ക്മെനിസ്ഥാന്‍, တာ့ခ်မင်နစ္စတန်နိုင်ငံ, ترکمونستون, तर्कमेनिस्तान, Tʼóokmen Bikéyah, Tarkimeenistaan, ତୁର୍କମେନିସ୍ତାନ୍, ਤੁਰਕਮੇਨਸਤਾਨ, तुर्कमिनिस्थान, Terkmenistaan, Turkmenia, ترکمانستان, تورکمنستان, Turquemenistão, Turkminsuyu, Turukumenisitani, Туркмения, Turukimenisitani, Түркменистаан, Turkumenistäan, Torkmienėstans, තුර්ක්මෙනිස්ථානය, Turkménsko, IThumekhi, Turkmyńistan, துர்க்மெனிஸ்தான், తుర్కమెస్తాన్, Turkomenistaun, Туркманистон, ประเทศเติร์กเมนิสถาน, ቱርክሜኒስታን, Tekimenisiteni, Төрекмәнстан, تۈركمەنىستان, Turkmaniston, Tuốc-mê-ni-xtan (Turkmenistan), Turkmenän, Turkumenistaan, 土库曼斯坦, Йомудин Орн, טורקמעניסטאן, Orílẹ́ède Tọọkimenisita, 土庫曼, Toerkmenistan, i-Turkmenistan

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