Turkmenistan Travel Articles and Photos

Turkmenistan Visas and Letters of Invitation (LOI)

Several people have asked us: “How did you get into Turkmenistan? Isn’t it closed to foreigners?”Turkmenistan is a special bureaucratic animal. But, with a little bit of advanced planning and an expanded daily budget, it really isn’t all that difficult, particularly if you don’t work for a media company or human rights organization. We believe our visit there … [Read more...]

Top 5 Experiences in 2007

Runnin

We are often asked "What were your best experiences? What are your favorite places?""All-time favorite places" is a difficult one to answer without writing a book, but if we limit the question to 2007 (as we did in our personal growth exercise last night), the answer becomes manageable and something worth sharing with our readers. … [Read more...]

Reflections: The Camel Chasers

One last thing about Turkmenistan before we move on: camels.No animal seems to capture the essence of grace while embracing its own awkwardness like the Dromedary camel. Though you'll catch the occasional loner wandering the open scrub or tracing the roadside, camels are actually domesticated. … [Read more...]

Reflections: Expectations and Delivery in Turkmenistan

While planning our itinerary through Central Asia last May, we dismissed Turkmenistan mainly due to Audrey's impressions of the place. She envisioned a dark, totalitarian state where people mysteriously die in jail. The outlandish whimsical declarations of its leader, Turkmenbashi, would be humorous if they didn’t encase the six million people living there in a … [Read more...]

Kicking Up 4000 Years of History in Turkmenistan

If a baby died, its bones would be kept in a ceramic jar in the house. -- Our guide Oleg providing another fascinating background tidbit on the ruins at Gonur Depe, Turkmenistan.Fifteen minutes later, one of us literally kicked up the fragmented top of an ancient ceramic urn encrusted with earth and filled with small bones. The bit about the bones may sound … [Read more...]

Reflections: Crossing the Caspian Sea

Your trip across the Caspian may provide some of the scariest and most fulfilling moments of your entire journey. -- A veteran journalist we met in Tbilisi, Georgia who had seen it all in the former Soviet Union.Although we are posting this from Pingyao, China, we dial back a few clicks to the beginning of our journey in Central Asia in an attempt to adequately … [Read more...]

Ashgabat, The City of Love: A Scavenger Hunt

Five Legs in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Ashgabat has been adorned by many beautiful buildings, which made unique architectural ensemble. – A quote on the reverse side of an “official” postcard of the main drama theater named after Turkmenbashi.One part Las Vegas, another part Pyong Yang, Ashgabat springs up out of the middle of nowhere in the Turkmen desert. You wonder how and you wonder why. … [Read more...]

No Beards, No Spandex: Rules to Live By?

Smiling Leader

No less idiosyncratic than its architecture, Turkmenistan's laws are the stuff of laughter and legend. Though locals may plead ignorance or flat out deny that some of these laws ever existed, here's what we discovered about some of the more notable whacky entries conjured up by the former president, Sapmurat Niyazov (otherwise known as Turkmenbashi, Leader of all … [Read more...]

Turkmen Photos Up

turkmen mosque

Check out our Photo Gallery for photos from Turkmenistan, a fascinating place by any measure. Images tell only half the story - stay tuned for more on the country that dabbled in banning beards, smoking and spandex. … [Read more...]

From One ‘Stan to the Next

A Helping Hand

As we continue along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, our minds often take us back to Turkmenistan, whose ancient history is longer and remains underground, unexcavated and unreconstructed.The few clicks across the Caspian Sea brought us to a world of visual stimuli significantly different than that of the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). This is what … [Read more...]