Turkmenistan Tours & Holidays
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
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Enjoying a somewhat unique reputation as, not only the least explored country along the old Silk Road, but also probably the most eccentric of the Central Asian republics, modern Turkmenistan is very much the product of its ex president, Saparmurat Niyazov, otherwise known as Turkmenbashi. Sporting a gold statue of its former ruler on practically every corner, the country is awash with towns and ...
Enjoying a somewhat unique reputation as, not only the least explored country along the old Silk Road, but also probably the most eccentric of the Central Asian republics, modern Turkmenistan is very much the product of its ex president, Saparmurat Niyazov, otherwise known as Turkmenbashi. Sporting a gold statue of its former ruler on practically every corner, the country is awash with towns and portraits dedicated to one of the world’s most flamboyant and repressive dictators.
Much of the country is covered by the large, empty and very hot Kara Kum or Black Sands Desert, which for centuries was Turkmenistan's best defence against a long list of outsiders, adventurers and encroaching armies. It is its people though who are its great draw. Descended from the nomadic tribes that once occupied the Altai Mountains to the north of Mongolia, the Turkmen of today are amongst some of the most engaging people in Central Asia. Dressed in traditional clothes of huge sheepskin hats, long coats and boots, these people have remained in large part true to their nomadic roots. Excellent horsemen, they are well matched by their wonderful Akhal Teke horses, distant ancestors of the famed Arabians.
A visit to Turkmenistan holds the promise of a journey into a rich and colourful land still totally untouched by tourism, where strangers are merely friends that haven’t been introduced yet.
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HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKMENISTAN
TOP PLACES TO VISIT
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
I thoroughly recommend this trip – it was a true adventure.
Merv & Gonur were extraordinary (hailed as the worlds 5th civilization) as were the caves and dinosaurs footprints and…
Great mix of the remote, the bizarre and the historic.
This trip is just bursting with contrast and variety! Legendary cities and remote, ancient archeological sites...
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the tour. I think it captured the spirit of the Silk Road with a good mix....
This was an absolutely fabulous tour. Wild Frontiers were superb...We cannot thank them enough.
Forget the White House....go to the White City aka Ashgabat!
For me, the highlights were The Darvaza crater and generally being out in the Turkmen desert...
A real eye opener and thoroughly recommended.
My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations away - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope travelling with other…
WHEN TO GO
THE SILK ROAD IN 60 SECONDSThe Old Silk Road goes through some of Central Asia’s most spectacular mountains, lively bazaars and ancient towns. Following the ancient trade route between Asia and Europe. Traversing parts of Kyrg…
An Encounter with Turkmenistan's Heavenly HorsesTour leader Carly Fillis has just returned from leading our Cities of the Silk Road group tour to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Below Carly reflects on getting up close and personal with Turkmenistan's iconic horses... We arrived at the Akhal-Teke stud farm late in the morning. As a horse rider…
Marble and Mud: The Extremes of Turkmenistan's ArchitectureTour leader Jude Holliday has just returned from leading our Journey Around the Caspian Sea group tour. Below Jude looks back on her time in Turkmenistan and the contrasts between its glittering capital and rural village life... Ashgabat has a new airport. It opened in September 2016 and cost …
Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Gas Crater Turned Into World’s Biggest BarbequeThe world’s biggest barbeque is to take place this summer at Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Gas Crater, to celebrate the country’s 25th year of independence. Located in the Karakum Desert, the natural gas crater, also known as “The Door to Hell”, is over 60 metres in diameter and has been burning continuous…
Health and Vaccinations
There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Turkmenistan though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. We recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Turkmenistan the official unit of currency is the Manat.
To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.
The first thing to say about travelling in Central Asia is that most areas, particularly the cities and towns, have a much more laid-back approach to Islam than their neighbours to the south in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, it should also be remembered that Turkmenistan is technically a Muslim country and therefore a little bit of caution should be applied in certain areas. Outside of the cities, people are quite conservative and so you should dress modestly. When visiting active mosques women should wear a head scarf, and both sexes should ensure their shoulders and legs (to below the knees) are covered.
Language & Religion
Following the ’92 constitution, Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan. Russian is still widely used within the cities and acts as the main means of inter-ethnic communication. Uzbek is also spoken by roughly 9% of the population.
90% of the country’s population follow Islam, with about 9% following the Eastern Orthodox Church. Islam originally came to Turkmenistan through holy men acting as missionaries during the Muslim conquests in the 7-8th Century AD.
Turkmenistan is 4 hours ahead of GMT
A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
The food in Turkmenistan is based around meat and rice, although the salads on offer are very varied. Shashlik and plov are very popular dishes.
With regard to alcohol, the choice tends to be limited to vodka or beer so anyone wanting something different - Scotch or Gin for example - should buy it duty free and bring it out. However, be advised that mixers, like tonic water, are extremely difficult to find in Central Asia!