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Our Top 5 Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan

Enigmatic Beauty of Turkmenistan: Journey into the Unknown

5 Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan
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Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, Turkmenistan is a land of enigmatic landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and futuristic cities that captivate the imagination. Despite being a lesser-known travel destination, this country offers a tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored.

Join us as we embark on a virtual journey to uncover the top places to visit in Turkmenistan, where ancient history and modern innovation seamlessly intertwine.

In Isolation – Turkmenistan

Map of Turkmenistan and Bordering Countries

Places to visit in Turkmenistan Map
Courtesy: wm

Countries Bordering Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is located in the southwest of the Central Asia region. Turkmenistan is bordered by 4 countries, Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south, and the Caspian Sea to the west.

Ashgabat, formerly Ashkhabad, Ashkabad, Askhabad, or (1919–27) Poltoratsk, is the capital of Turkmenistan. The population of Turkmenistan in 2023 is estimated at around 6.5 million people.

  1. Kazakhstan
  2. Uzbekistan
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Iran
  5. Caspian Sea
  6. Central Asia

Map Showing Turkmenistan Location in Asia

Places to visit in Turkmenistan Location Map
Courtesy: om

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Our Top 5 Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan

1. Ashgabat – The City of Marble

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Ashgabat
Courtesy: wp

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Ashgabat Location Map

Begin your Turkmen adventure in the gleaming capital city of Ashgabat, often referred to as the “City of Marble.” This modern metropolis is a testament to the country’s ambitious architectural vision, with stunning marble-clad buildings and futuristic skyscrapers.

Marvel at the grand Neutrality Arch and visit the Turkmen Carpet Museum, where intricate designs tell tales of the nation’s heritage. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with its golden glow, offering a captivating blend of tradition and modernity.

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İnci Şehir Aşkabat | Merjen şäher Aşgabat | (In Turkish). Translates to – ‘Pearl City Ashgabat | Merjen Säher Ashgabat’

2. Darvaza Gas Crater – The Gates of Hell

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Darvaza Gas Crater – The Gates of Hell
Courtesy: dm

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Darvaza Gas Crater Location Map

Venture into the heart of the Karakum Desert to witness an otherworldly phenomenon – the Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the “Gates of Hell.” This massive fiery pit has been burning for decades, creating an eerie yet mesmerizing spectacle that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Camp under the stars near the crater for a truly unforgettable experience.

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3. Merv – Where Ancient Ruins Whisper Stories

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Merv
Courtesy: tg

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Merv Location Map

Explore the ancient city of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once a bustling Silk Road oasis. Walk through the well-preserved ruins, including the grand mausoleums, mosques, and fortress walls that hint at the city’s former glory as a center of trade and culture.

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4. Köneürgench – Echoes of the Past

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Konye-Urgench / Köneürgench
Courtesy: zt

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Konye-Urgench Koneurgench Location Map

Step back in time in Konye-Urgench/Köneürgench, another UNESCO-listed gem. It is also known as Old Urgench or Urganj. This historical city boasts exquisite architecture from the 12th century, including the iconic Kutlug-Timur Minaret and the Turabek Khanum Mausoleum.

Wander through the ancient streets and let the whispers of history transport you to a bygone era.

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Uzbek Turkmen border crossing–Nukus (Khojayli)-Konye-Urgench

5. Avaza – The Seaside Sanctuary

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Avaza
Courtesy: av

Places to visit in Turkmenistan - Avaza Location Map Caspian Sea

For a relaxing escape, head to Avaza, a modern beach resort town along the Caspian Sea. With its pristine beaches, luxurious hotels, and a range of water sports, Avaza offers a tranquil contrast to the country’s historical sites.

Places to visit in Turkmenistan
Courtesy: bb

Places to visit in Turkmenistan
Courtesy: sb

Avaza – Türkmenistan
Avaza Turizm Bölgesinde Yaz Sezonu Açıldı (In Turkish) Translates to – ‘Summer Season Opened in Avaza Tourism Region’
Аваза Каспийское Море Туркменистан 2020 – Красноводск Туркменбаши (In Russian) Translates to – ‘Avaza Caspian Sea Turkmenistan 2020 – Krasnovodsk Turkmenbashi’

Did we mention the food? EAT!

Places to visit in Turkmenistan
Courtesy: cn

Turkmenistan offers a culinary journey that tantalizes the senses and reflects its rich cultural heritage. The food scene here is a blend of flavors, where traditional dishes have been shaped by nomadic traditions and regional influences.

One cannot miss the savory aroma of “plov,” a fragrant rice dish cooked with succulent lamb, carrots, and spices, often shared among family and friends during festive occasions. Samsa, flaky pastries filled with minced meat or pumpkin, are a delightful street food that provides a quick and satisfying bite.

The taste of “manty,” steamed dumplings filled with minced meat and onions, is another treat that showcases the culinary artistry of Turkmen cuisine. For those seeking a refreshing accompaniment, “ayran,” a yogurt-based drink, offers a cooling balance to the hearty flavors.

With a focus on simplicity and natural ingredients, Turkmenistan’s food is not just sustenance, but a reflection of its warm hospitality and cultural diversity.

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Spending $20 at a Turkmenistan Market

Places to visit in Turkmenistan
Courtesy: cn

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ On Bo Our Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan and Traveling There in General

FAQ About Traveling to Turkmenistan:

1. Do I need a visa to travel to Turkmenistan?
Yes, most visitors to Turkmenistan require a visa. It’s recommended to apply through the Turkmenistan Embassy or Consulate in your country before your trip.

2. What is the best time to visit Turkmenistan?
The best time to visit is during spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and comfortable for exploring. Summers can be scorching, and winters are cold.

3. How do I get to Turkmenistan?
You can fly into the Ashgabat International Airport, which is the main international gateway. There are limited international flights, so planning your travel in advance is advisable.

4. What currency is used in Turkmenistan?
The official currency is the Turkmenistan Manat (TMT). Credit cards are not widely accepted, so it’s recommended to carry cash in the local currency.

5. Is it safe to travel in Turkmenistan?
Turkmenistan is generally considered safe for travelers. However, it’s important to adhere to local laws and customs, and exercise caution in unfamiliar areas.

6. What languages are spoken in Turkmenistan?
The official language is Turkmen. Russian is also widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among the older generation.

7. Can I use the internet and my mobile phone in Turkmenistan?
Internet access can be limited and monitored. International roaming for mobile phones might not work, so purchasing a local SIM card is recommended if you need mobile data.

8. What are the must-visit attractions in Turkmenistan?
Some of the notable attractions include the city of Ashgabat, the ancient city of Merv, the Darvaza Gas Crater (Door to Hell), and the Kunya-Urgench archaeological site.

9. What is the local cuisine like?
Turkmen cuisine features dishes like plov (rice with meat and vegetables), manty (dumplings), and samsa (pastries). The food is influenced by Central Asian and Middle Eastern flavors.

10. Can I take photographs freely?
Photography of government buildings, military installations, and some public areas is restricted. Always ask for permission before taking pictures of locals.

11. How should I dress while visiting Turkmenistan?
Modest attire is appreciated, especially in rural and religious areas. Women might want to cover their heads when entering mosques.

12. Are there any cultural norms I should be aware of?
Respect local customs, including removing your shoes when entering homes, using your right hand for greetings and eating, and refraining from public displays of affection.

13. Can I bring back souvenirs from Turkmenistan?
Yes, you can bring back traditional crafts, carpets, jewelry, and other souvenirs. However, make sure to check customs regulations in your home country.

14. How do I travel within Turkmenistan?
Domestic travel options include taxis, buses, and shared minibusses. Hiring a local guide or using a tour agency might be helpful for navigating the country efficiently.

15. Is tap water safe to drink?
It’s advisable to drink bottled water to avoid any health issues.

Remember that information can change, so it’s recommended to check with official sources and travel advisories before planning your trip to Turkmenistan.

FAQ About Places to Visit in Turkmenistan

1. What are some must-visit places in Turkmenistan?
Turkmenistan offers a unique blend of ancient history and modern architecture. Must-visit places include Ashgabat, Merv, Darvaza Gas Crater, and Kunya-Urgench.

2. What is Ashgabat known for?
Ashgabat, the capital city, is known for its impressive modern architecture, including gold-domed buildings, grand squares, and intricate monuments. The National Museum and the Tolkuchka Bazaar are also popular attractions.

3. What can I explore in Merv?
Merv is an ancient Silk Road city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore well-preserved ruins, historical sites, and ancient fortresses that provide insights into the region’s rich history.

4. What is the Darvaza Gas Crater (Door to Hell)?
The Darvaza Gas Crater is a natural gas field that collapsed into a sinkhole and was ignited to prevent the spread of methane gas. The result is a mesmerizing and somewhat eerie flaming crater that has become a unique tourist attraction.

5. What is Kunya-Urgench known for?
Kunya-Urgench is another UNESCO-listed site, showcasing the remains of an ancient Silk Road city. The mausoleums, minarets, and other architectural marvels give a glimpse into the area’s historical significance.

6. Are there any natural attractions in Turkmenistan?
Yes, beyond the man-made wonders, Turkmenistan offers natural beauty like the Yangykala Canyons with their vibrant hues and the Kopet Dag mountain range for outdoor enthusiasts.

7. Can I visit the Karakum Desert?
Yes, the Karakum Desert covers a significant part of Turkmenistan’s landscape. It’s a unique opportunity for desert exploration and experiencing the country’s vast, rugged terrain.

8. Is there a traditional village to explore?
Nokhur is a traditional Turkmen village known for its distinct culture and architecture. The village offers a chance to experience the traditional way of life in Turkmenistan.

9. How do I access these attractions within Turkmenistan?
Domestic travel options include taxis, buses, and shared minibusses. Hiring a local guide or using a tour agency can provide more organized travel experiences.

10. Are there any precautions for visiting remote areas like the Gas Crater?
When visiting remote areas like the Gas Crater, ensure you have enough water, food, and necessary supplies. Inform someone about your plans, and consider traveling with a guide who knows the area well.

11. Can I camp in the desert or near attractions?
Camping in Turkmenistan is possible, but be aware of local regulations and safety concerns. It’s best to inquire with local authorities or guides before setting up camp.

12. Are these attractions easily accessible?
Some attractions may require off-road travel or longer drives, so it’s advisable to plan your routes and transportation in advance.

13. Are there any entry fees to these attractions?
Some attractions may have entry fees, while others might require permits. Check in advance and be prepared to pay accordingly.

14. Is it advisable to visit these places with a tour guide?
While some places can be visited independently, having a knowledgeable local guide can enhance your experience by providing historical context and navigating any language barriers.

15. Are these places safe for tourists?
These attractions are generally safe for tourists. However, it’s important to follow local customs, guidelines, and safety precautions during your visit.

Remember that circumstances can change, so it’s a good idea to research current travel conditions and advisories before planning your trip to Turkmenistan.

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Our Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Turkmenistan – Final Thoughts

Turkmenistan may be an unconventional travel destination, but its unique blend of ancient heritage and modern innovation makes it a captivating land waiting to be explored.

From the futuristic marvels of Ashgabat to the mystique of the Darvaza Gas Crater, the echoes of history in Merv and Konye-Urgench, and the serene beauty of Avaza, this country offers a myriad of experiences that promise to ignite your curiosity and leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

So, pack your bags and set off on an extraordinary journey through the hidden treasures of Turkmenistan, where the past and present dance together in a symphony of discovery.

Places to visit in Turkmenistan
Courtesy: bb

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Our Top 5 Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan – By David John

5 Best Places to visit in Turkmenistan Cover Image by dk

Places to visit in Turkmenistan flickr images licensed under CC BY 2.0

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