Turkmenistan Travel

Practical tips for tourists in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is an interesting country with many sights, landmarks, special culture and customs that have been maintained since ancient times. Turkmenistan’s travel experience will astound even a veteran traveller. The aim of this page is to familiarize you with useful knowledge that will help you get ready for a one-time trip.

Preparation for a trip to Turkmenistan

Visa

Tourists may only access the territory of Turkmenistan with a valid entry visa. One must apply for a visa assistance (invitation) to acquire a visa to Turkmenistan. Visa applications are checked by the Turkmenistan Immigration Service for a period of 3 weeks. Visas may be received at the Embassy of Turkmenistan or at the border on the condition that a visa is issued. A 10-day visa can also be issued upon arrival at Ashgabat International Airport.

Reservation

Turkmenistan is not the safest choice to arrange itineraries and travel independently; it is more advisable to get a professional travel agent to guarantee that you miss the best that this country provides to visitors. Before you fly to Turkmenistan, we suggest that you make a hotel reservation and book a tour in advance. This will avoid issues with the lodging and organisation of the tour in Turkmenistan; it will also save your time.

How to get to Turkmenistan

The best way to get to Turkmenistan

The most comfortable way to get to Turkmenistan is by air to Ashgabat. International flights to/from Ashgabat are run by Turkmen Airlines, a national airline, and few international airlines. It is necessary to book tickets in advance in order to make them affordable. It is not possible to fly to Turkmenistan by train or bus, as the country does not have direct links to neighboring countries. We also do not suggest going by car to Turkmenistan, as this is very tiring and entails crossing many borders on the way.It is possible to get from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan by ferry, which operates between Baku and Turkmenbashi on some days, although there is no precise timetable. The ferry departs the port as soon as the weather conditions are fully loaded and good. The length of a one-way ride is 12 to 15 hours.

Arrival in Turkmenistan

Registration

Upon arrival in Turkmenistan, any foreign citizen should obtain an immigration card where the hotel stay is labelled. Any foreigner arriving in Turkmenistan can apply for registration in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Turkmenistan within three working days, without taking into account the date of entry.

Accommodation

There is a big choice of 4- and 5-star hotels in big cities of Turkmenistan such as Ashgabat, Dashoguz, Turkmenabad and Turkmenbashi. In smaller cities and outside the capital, one can find mainly 2- and 3- star hotels. Regardless of the level of the hotel, we recommend you to check availability of hot water in the shower and a private bathroom when booking a hotel.

Cash and credit cards

It’s easier to trade currency in banks, hotels and exchange offices. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The most famous currency of trade is US dollars. Many currency exchange offices do not accept old and torn notes issued before 1996. It is advised to carry cash in small USD notes. There are ATMs for Visa Cards in Ashgabat. For foreigners, the import and sale of local currency is forbidden. The import of foreign currency is not restricted, but the sum of foreign currency should be announced. The quantity of export does not surpass the amount indicated on the declaration. In order to prevent complications with customs, it is advised that receipts be held from currency exchange offices and stores.

List of restricted medication in Turkmenistan

There are some drugs that are banned from being imported into Turkmenistan. As a general, the list consists of sedatives, analgesics and sleeping pills.

Departure from Turkmenistan

Preparation for departure

The departure process at the airport is simple: you need to check-in for the flight, check the customs and passport controls, go to the security checkpoint and catch the flight. For international airlines, it is advised that travelers arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before the flight. Check the availability of the visa, the immigration card issued by OVIR and the air ticket before leaving the hotel.

Hand-made crafts and souvenirs

At the checkpoint, a customs officer may ask to display homemade crafts and souvenirs that you have purchased to ensure that you do not deal with illicit exports of culturally important or antiquarian products. The export of precious metals, musical instruments, art and archeological exhibitions, antiquarians, etc. is practicable only on the grounds of the existence of documentation demonstrating the validity of the transaction. In order to export carpets from Turkmenistan, it is important to receive a certificate from the Museum of Carpets in Ashgabat that the carpet does not have any historical significance. In addition, a tax charge is expected based on the size of the carpet.

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