Turkmenistan is an eclectic country that oozes history and quirkiness, with warm inhabitants who enjoying extending a welcoming hand to visitors (even if the government is somewhat less effusive). Visit this eccentric nation to forge a path across windswept deserts and jagged mountains, through aromatic spice bazaars, along the ancient Silk Road, all the while encountering the distinctive faces of Central Asia.

Our Turkmenistan trips

Turkmenistan travel highlights

Turkmenistan holiday information

At a glance

Best time to visit Turkmenistan

Geography and environment

Top Picks

Health and Safety

Further reading

Turkmenistan travel FAQs

TURKMENISTAN VISA

All travellers to Turkmenistan require a visa. A Letter of Invitation (LOI) is also required before you can apply for the visa. We recommend all travellers plan to receive a Visa on Arrival at either the airport or land border, depending on your itinerary. Please follow the instructions below to have your LOI for visa on arrival issued before you travel.

We have partnered with The Visa Machine to provide your LOI for Turkmenistan. This service is included in your trip cost. We advise that you apply for your LOI no later than 3 months before your trip to allow time for processing. Turkmenistan LOIs are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan and usually take around 4 weeks to be processed, with up to 6 weeks in peak travel season not uncommon.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. To obtain your Turkmenistan LOI use this link: http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/

2. Use the Checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you start as you will not be able to save once your start filling in the application.

3. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for your Turkmenistan LOI click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.

4. If you have any trouble with the online form or want to check the status of your Turkmenistan LOI application please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.

NOTES:

- Turkmenistan Tourist Visas are valid for up to 10 days. Independent travel in Turkmenistan is not permitted and your visa will only be valid for as long as tour services (including accommodation, guides, transport etc) are provided.

- Make sure you have a print out of your LOI before boarding your flight or leaving for your trip.

- You will need to complete a migration card and pay a US$12 migration fee ($10 fee plus $2 admin charge) on arrival in Turkmenistan.

CUSTOMS:

- A number of medications containing tramadol, morphine, opiates or any other similar constituent component are banned in Turkmenistan and are considered narcotic drugs. Do not bring any medications containing these drugs into the country.

Although tipping isn't customary in Turkmenistan, establishments in tourist areas like Maputo are increasingly accepting (and expecting) tips. A tip of 10% in restaurants and cafes should suffice, although it's not entirely necessary. With many service workers receiving low wages, tipping waiters, porters and drivers is considered generous.

The government strictly controls internet access and internet cafes have all been shut down.

Roaming agreements are in place with some international phone companies, however mobile phone coverage is mostly limited to Ashgabat. Remember to activate global roaming with your service provider before leaving home.

Turkmenistan has a mix of squat toilets and flushable toilets. As a developing nation, expect to adjust to different levels of sanitation. Always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser as these are rarely provided.

Soft drink = 3-4 TMT
Bottle of imported beer = 5-6 TMT
Simple lunch = 15-20 TMT
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 35-45 TMT

Tap water isn't considered safe for tourists to drink and you should also be careful when eating salads and other uncooked foods that may have been washed in water, avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader and accommodation provider for local advice on where drinking water can be accessed.

Credit card usage - including cash advances - is only available in Ashgabat, and even then, mostly in hotels. Large hotels, restaurants and tourist service providers generally accept credit cards, but expect smaller operators and shops to accept cash only.

ATMs are difficult to find, even in Ashgabat. If travelling through rural and remote areas, be aware that there will be no ATM access.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

  • 1 Jan New Year
  • 12 Jan Memorial Day
  • 19 Feb National Flag Day
  • 8 Mar International Women's Day
  • 21 Mar National Spring Holiday
  • 22 Mar National Spring Holiday
  • 9 May Victory Day 
  • 18 May Constitution Day
  • 26 Jun Eid al-Fitr
  • 2 Sep Eid al-Adha
  • 3 Sep Eid al-Adha Holiday
  • 4 Sep Eid al-Adha Holiday
  • 6 Oct Day of Remembrance of the victims of the earthquake in 1948
  • 27 Oct Independence Day
  • 28 Oct Independence Day
  • 12 Dec Neutrality Day

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Turkmenistan go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/turkmenistan/public-holidays

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Water bottle

Top responsible travel tips for Turkmenistan

  1. Be considerate of Turkmenistan's customs, traditions, religion and culture.
  2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
  3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
  4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
  6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
  7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
  10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.