Transport. Internal transport of Turkmenistan is represented by planes, trains, buses, minibuses and taxis. Long distance is most convenient to overcome on the wings of “Turkmenistan Airlines” and other local carriers: many flights daily connect Ashgabat with Dashoguz, Mary, Turkmenabad Turkmenbashi. The fleet consists of brand new “Boeing-717”, which makes the trip very enjoyable. Tickets are very cheap: no more than 10 USD one way for foreigners and even cheaper for the residents. The only drawback – the high demand for tickets with limited supply; reservations are needed as soon as possible. Officially, tickets for domestic flights go on sale 14 days before the date of the flight, but they are immediately swept away by speculators, so you will need to overpay by buying a ticket at a travel agency.
By train you can get from the capital to Turkmenbashi, Mary and Turkmenabat. There are no electrified lines there, trains run on thermal traction and move quite slowly: the journey from Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi, for example, will take about 12 hours.
Between the cities you can also travel by marshrutka (minibuses) and buses – it’s cheap and fast. The first traditionally start to move when all the seats are occupied, and the second run on a schedule. The trip from the capital city to Turkmenbashi by minibus takes 6 hours and cost about 6 USD, Mary can be reached in 4 hours and 3 USD. Tickets in intercity buses would not cost not more than 1-2 USD even for the greatest distance.
Taxis, most of which are represented by nonofficial private drivers – a convenient way to travel in cities. Tariffs by European standards are funny – 0,15-0,30 USD for a short trip and 0,50 USD for longer.
Car Rental. To rent a car in Turkmenistan requires international driving license. Driver’s age must be at least 21 years with at least a year of driving experience. The roads outside the capital and major cities are narrow, not illuminated and often unpaved, so when driving it is necessary to exercise extreme caution.
Ideal car rental in Turkmenistan is with a driver, it is very easy to find a taxi driver willing to drive you all day long. You can also hire a car with driver in the local travel agencies. Rent of the most affordable option will cost 50 USD per day.
Hotels. Turkmenistan Hotels are diverse: in the capital there are brand-new “five star” hotels and Soviet hotels with a very poor set of services and lovely private mini-hotels.
Cuisine and restaurants. As in neighboring Asian countries, the main dish of Turkmen cuisine – pilaf. It is made from rice, lamb, with different aromatic herbs, spices, dried fruits and nuts. With fatty food local people drink fermented milk “ayran” and “chal” of camel’s milk or yogurt. From soups are common shorba with meat and
vegetables, hot and spicy soup made from camel “gaynatma”, lamb soup with shredded solid bread with onion “dograma”. Everywhere you can taste Manty – steamed dumplings with lamb, pies “ishlekli” with meat and onions and “gutapy” – meat, potatoes, spinach and pumpkin. Turkmen complete meal with “Gok tea” – green tea with mint and dried fruit. Regarding alcoholic beverages you should pay attention to the Turkmen cognac, wine and vodka “Turkmenbashi”.
We are sure – every traveler will enjoy his holidays in Turkmenistan!
Photo from sources: dntours-business.com, photos.uncorneredmarket.com, ru.dntours-business.com, arabiangazette.com, infoabad.com