Most Turkmens are very proud of their identity, and show you great respect as long as you mutually respect them. Women must dress in traditional, colorful headgear and nicely decorated dresses that reach the ankles. Like other nomads Turkmen are also very hospitable and polite.
Traveling to Turkmenistan
You may need to hire a private tour guide to get into Turkmenistan, but afterwards you should be able to move freely on your own. In addition, you are required to obtain in advance an invitation from a person (may be from a hotel) in Turkmenistan. The easiest way to enter, is to join an organized tour with a good tour operator who helps you with all this. Then, you can spend all your time on adventures, thrills and pleasures! KILROY cab help you find information and book tours with the popular tour operator Dragoman. Upon arrival there is a number of documents that must be filled, and pay particular attention to the documents ÿGreen Entry Passÿ and immigration document. As in all international airports you will have to undergo security checks, and on departure they can also demand to see pictures on your digital camera.
Local specialties and goods in Turkmenistan
The beautiful carpets ÿTurkoman Bokharaÿ are widely known and very popular. The red colored patterns are frequently copied in India and Pakistan, but derives from Turkmenistan. The Turkmenistan cuisine consists of typical Russian dishes, but you'll also find traditional Central Asian options on the menu.
Cities in Turkmenistan
Turkmens mostly live a traditional nomadic life, but the country also has several interesting cities that are worth visting. Ashkabad, the capital of Turkmenistan offers many cultural experiences. Catch all the wonderful marble monuments, palaces and golden statues that were built by the former president Niyazov. Visit the exciting bazaar Tolkuchka, and see the 15 meter high gold statue Turkmenbashi that rotates so that it always faces the sun. In addition, you can view the world's tallest flagpole here, Ashkabad Flagpole. Worth having in your photo collection, maybe
Experiences in Turkmenistan
For outstanding natural wonders, head towards Kow Ata - an underground lake of sulfur around an hour's drive from Ashkabad, where you can take a dip in the mineral-filled water. Karakum Desert Black Sand is also a lovely destination for nature lovers with its colored canyons, dinosaur footprints, lunar landscapes and flaming gas crater.
Darvaza Flaming Crater was formed in 1971 when geologists accidentally hit a hole with natural gas and when the platform collapsed it shaped a huge hole. To avoid poisonous gas injuries it was decided that the gas should be allowed to continue to burn, something it has done until today. The crater is often referred to as the Hells Gate. For those with an interest in history Gonur around Mery is a fascinating destination, as here you will find one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.
If you have an urge to go shopping simply head to Yimpas Shopping Center, one of the country's only western shops. Here you will find everything you need under one roof including shopping, dining and entertainment offerings such as bowling, tennis and billiards.
Climate in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan has a subtropical climate with little rainfall in summer. Winters are mild and dry in the south, and very cold in the north. Avoid traveling to Turkmenistan in the summer months of July and August when temperatures reach extreme heights of up to 50 degrees, and go in either April-June or September-October when the climate is more pleasant.
Transport in Turkmenistan
In Turkmenistan you can get easy and ridiculously cheap travel with local airlines at prices around 5 Euro per stretch! Hiring taxis is also possible, just agree on the fare with the driver in advance.
There are also rail services in Turkmenistan, but this is only for those with plenty of time and special interest in trains as they run pretty irregularly! KILROY recommends using the tour operator Dragoman - so you get a deep insight in Turkmenistan while traveling in a small group with other adventurous travellers of the world and you don't have to waste time to figure out the transportation, accommodation, etc.
KILROY travel tips for Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is a totalitarian state with vigorous police enforcement. Tourists should be cautious and not photograph anyone in uniform or government buildings. It is expected that you keep your opinions about the country's politics, president or people for yourself. President Niyazov outlawed satellite receivers, beard, long hair, ballet, opera and recording music while his descendant Berdimuhamedow is a bit more relaxed although still following Turkmenibashis footsteps.