What to See in Turkmenistan for First Time Travelers?
There are 3 ancient ruins you should not miss in Turkmenistan: Nissa in Ashgabat, Ancient Merv Historical Park in Mary and Kunya-Urgench Historical Park near Dashoguz. These ancient ruins represent the splendid culture and unique civilization of the country. You will surely be impressed by the intelligence of the ancestors. Besides the historical spots, Turkmenistan is also famous for the Darvaza Gas Crater which has been burning since 1971.
For first time travelers, you could spend 8 days to explore the ancient cities along the Silk Road, enjoy the magnificent natural scenery and admire modern architecture in its capital Ashgabat. If time permits, you could also add Turkmenbashi, a city near the Caspian Sea, in your Turkmenistan packages.
Darvaza Gas Crater
Dehistan Silk Road Town
When is the Best Time to Take Turkmenistan Tours?
The climate of Turkmenistan is typically continental. Summer is hot and long, while winter is cold and short. More than 80% of this country is covered by the Karakum Desert, so it is also one of the driest countries in the world. In summer, the temperature is above 35°C (95°F) in a very long period, and it could reach 45°C (113°F) in the desert. In winter, the average temperatures are 11°C (52°F) in day time and 1°C (34°F) at night. But in the northern cities, the lowest temperature could reach -23°C (9.4°F).
Compared with summer and winter, spring and autumn are much milder, which are also the best time to plan your Turkmenistan tours. The spring starts from April and lasts until June. It is the most vibrant time in a year, not only because after the freezing winter, plants are coming back to life, and animals are active again, but also because lots of important festivals are held in this period. Autumn, from August to October, is another high season. The cool weather and various fresh fruits make it a very pleasant time to travel too. If you want to avoid the extreme weather and enjoy outdoor hiking, spring and autumn are the best choice.
Do I Need a Visa to Take Turkmenistan Packages?
Yes, every foreign traveler needs a visa to enter Turkmenistan. To apply for the tourist visa, the Letter of Invitation (LOI) is required, which is supplied by the licensed travel agencies in Turkmenistan. We could supply the LOI for you, if you travel with us. You could apply for the tourist visa at the Turkmenistan Embassy or Consulate abroad after receiving the LOI. Please kindly notice that it takes 3-4 weeks to apply for the LOI but it will be better to submit your documents for LOI 8 weeks in advance, in case there is any delay.
How to Get to and Travel around Turkmenistan?
For travelers entering Turkmenistan by flight, you could fly to Ashgabat first, which is the capital city of this country and where the most important international airport is located. There are regular flights from Moscow, London, Birmingham, Delhi and etc. For travelers who take a multi-country tour and enter Turkmenistan from its neighboring country like Iran or Uzbekistan, there are also several land borders, including Shavat crossing, Khojeyli crossing, Farab crossing, Gaudan/Bajgiran crossing.
There are 18 airports in main cities of Turkmenistan. You could find regular departure flights from Ashgabat to big cities like Mary, Dashoguz and Turkmenbashi easily. Since the airline system is well developed and flight tickets are cheap, it is a great choice to travel by flight. Besides, you could also travel by train if you like.
Are There Any Special Customs I should Observe?
Most citizens in Turkmenistan are Muslims. To show respect to their traditions and customs, females are supposed to wear a scarf to cover their heads and shoulders, while males should wear medium or long sleeve shirts, when visiting the mosques. Moreover, you are not suggested to wear tank tops or shorts on street, and some government buildings are not allowed to take pictures. Please rest assured, you guide will remind you of these during the trip.