Before you go
In preparation for your trip through Turkmenistan, please bear in mind the following:
- Bring cash USD bank notes (do not rely on EURO, credit cards or travelers cheques for your local expenses in Turkmenistan; visa, migration tax and vehicle transit costs can be paid in cash USD exclusively)
- Bring some paper copies of your passport, while our staff takes your original passport for the registration on arrival procedure, that is usually done on the first working day after your first night’s accommodation in a hotel or motel.
- Bring a mobile phone in order to contact our agency in case of unexpected delays in arriving at the Turkmen border; this way we can also contact you as soon as your LOI scan is waiting in your email inbox. A mobile phone is particularly useful for contact with us from Baku, in case you plan to take the cargo ferry to Turkmenbashi
- Bring some properly packed print copies of the
- Bring some properly packed print copies of the LOI, to be handed over to the visa authorities at the point where you intend to collect your visa on arrival. Or:
- Determine several possible locations on your way to Turkmenistan where you can access your email and print the Turkmenistan LOI, prior to your arrival at the land border where you intend to collect your visa and enter Turkmenistan
- Bring a head torch, flip-flops and a small towel for camp nights. A mirror and/or an inside sleeping sack (thin, silk) is recommended, too.
- Bring a scarf for accessing local mosques (women)
- Bring a medium- to long-sleeved shirt and trousers for accessing mosques (for men)
- Do not bring and wear tank-tops outside hotels (sleeveless shirts are fine)
- Do not bring and wear shorts outside hotels (knee-long trousers are fine)
- Bring appropriate (light but sturdy) footwear for travel in mountains, canyons and desert areas
- Bring your doctor’s prescription for any personal medication that you require and plan to bring with you
- Bring glasses as alternative to contact lenses, in case the desert sand irritates your eyes
To enter Turkmenistan all leisure travelers are required to have a transit or tourist visa. The tourist visas are delivered on the basis of an approved visa support letter, also referred to as a Letter of Invitation (LOI). OWADAN Tourism is a licensed tourism travel agency in Turkmenistan that can provide you with the Letter of Invitation. The LOI requires usually 10-15 working days to process. Once the LOI is has been issued/approved, we will send a scanned copy of it to you by email.
With an approved LOI you can apply for your visa at a Turkmen embassy or consulate abroad, or obtain it directly at the Turkmen land border at Gaudan (Bajgiran/Mashhad, Iran), Serags (Sarakhs, Iran), Farab (Bukhara, Uzbekistan), Shavat (Khiva, Uzbekistan), Khojeyli (Nukus, Uzbekistan), Turkmenbashi harbor (by ferry arrival from Baku) or at the international airport in Ashgabat upon arrival. Please kindly note that Garabogaz border post (Temirbaba, Kazakhstan) is temporarily closed and the only possibility to enter Turkmenistan from Kazakhstan is using a flight from Almaty to Ashgabat (3 times a week).
Next to the LOI, an Entry Travel Pass and country registration is automatically required. OWADAN Tourism provides you automatically with these services if you order a tour, or if you book as a minimum all transport and accommodation services through our agency for the full duration of your stay in Turkmenistan.
For information about obtaining the LOI, see the Section “Visa Support” under Services.
As we submit the LOI documentation in advance of your arrival we need this information preferably 8 weeks, but at least 4 weeks prior to your arrival date in Turkmenistan. This extended period allows us time to complete your itinerary and site visits, and to determine your type of transport and accommodation en route. If we do not have this information by this time we will not be able to supply you with the LOI for your visa.
You do not need to wait at home for the mail to arrive with your LOI; we will send you a scanned copy to your email address, so all you need is a place with access to Internet and a printer, in order to arrive at the Turkmen border with a printed LOI copy.
Transit visas are issued only directly at Turkmen embassies abroad. Please contact the relevant embassy directly for detailed information about prices and procedures.
Turkmenistan embassies abroad
Turkmen Embassies can be found in Armenia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Germany, Georgia, France, China, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey.
Check the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for the most recent information, and contact the embassies prior to arriving there to collect your Turkmen visa, as there may be differences between various embassies in terms of visa cost and duration, and processing requirements and their duration.
Turkmenistan airlines operate regular air connections from Ashgabat to five other major Turkmenistan cities (Turkmenabat, Mary, Dashoguz, Turkmenbashi, and Balkanabad). Infrequent flights operate between some of these cities as well. Flight and time tables are regularly updated; when composing itineraries our team will be able to suggest to you the use the most optimal air connections.
Domestic flights are inexpensive. Flights are serviced by 717 Boeing aircrafts. Air tickets can be purchased through our company. Turkmenistan Airlines authorities set up a maximum baggage allowance of 20 kg (this is including hand luggage).
These same five major Turkmenistan cities are also easily accessible by rail from Ashgabat. Turkmen State Railways has recently obtained new train compartments and locomotives, which allows for comfortable travel conditions in both summer heat and winter cold. Most trains operate night services. Tickets can be purchased through our company.
The Turkmenistan road network is relatively well-developed. Motorists have at their disposal a extensive network of fuel stations run by the Turkmen National Oil Company. Most stations, especially those on intercity routes, are open 24 hours. Almost all fuel stations sell a range of fuel, including standard (92 octane) and super (95 octane) as well as diesel and car accessories.
Owadan Tourism owns a vehicle fleet that is made up of several comfortable air-conditioned city cars, four-wheel drives, minibuses and buses. These are based in Ashgabat. Several additional city cars, four-wheel drives and buses are based in other large cities in the country, for easy response to last-minute travel changes, airport-hotel transfers, or border transfers.
The international airport of Ashgabat is one of Turkmenistan’s major gateways. The National Airline of Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan Airlines, abbreviation T5) operates regular flights to Frankfurt, Moscow, Sankt-Petersburg, Kazan, Minsk, Almaty, London, Birmingham, Istanbul, Ankara, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Delhi, Peking and Bangkok. Since independence the national airline of Turkmenistan has completely replenished its fleet with Boeing aircrafts.
Several foreign air-carriers operate flights to Ashgabat: Turkish Airlines, FlyDubai, Belavia and S7/Siberia Airlines. Turkish Airlines has daily flights between Istanbul and Ashgabat, and is most frequently used by travelers coming from Europe. FlyDubai has three flights from Dubai to Ashgabat, and is most frequently used by travelers coming from Australia, Japan and USA. For more details on these international flights, please check out the internet or contact us.
Tourists coming from Nukus, Khiva, Bukhara or northern Iran can reach Turkmenistan over land: from Khiva to Dashoguz (Shavat crossing), from Nukus to Kunya Urgench (Khojeyli crossing), from Bukhara to Turkmenabad (Farab crossing), and from Mashhad to Ashgabat (Gaudan/Bajgiran crossing) or Serags (Sarakhs crossing).
Turkmenbashi port is the sea gate to Central Asia. Tourists coming from Baku in Azerbaijan can reach Turkmenistan by crossing the Caspian Sea by ferry. The drawback of the ferry is that it has an irregular timetable, so you will have to have a flexible travel itinerary and spare time built in.
When to go
Turkmenistan’s climate is extremely continental with hot, dry summers. Midsummer temperature can reach 45 °C. However, such temperatures are quite bearable because of the very low humidity.
Winter is mild with average temperatures below freezing for only a few days in January and February. However, in the north of the country winter is severe. January temperatures in Dashoguz average - 23 degrees Celsius. Most rainfall occurs in March and April.
Spring (April-June) and autumn (August-October) are the best seasons to visit Turkmenistan.