Turkmenistan Tourism

About Tourism in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan isn’t what you would consider a typical tourist destination, in no small part thanks to the country’s tightly controlled borders and paranoid government. However, Turkmenistan tourism is growing and this unique country is a fantastic destination for adventurous travellers!

A Note about Turkmenistan Tourism in 2021

As of June 2021 Turkmenistan’s land and Caspian Sea borders remain firmly closed due to the ongoing world health crisis.

According to the UK Foreign Office:

All international scheduled commercial flights to and from Turkmenistan have been suspended.

At present, entry to Turkmenistan is prohibited except for Turkmen nationals and accredited diplomats, permanently registered foreigners and some employees of international companies and organisations.

This page will be updated as soon as things change.

Does Turkmenistan even want Tourists?

Turkmenistan is not reliant on tourism for income thanks to its vast wealth from the Caspian oil fields and the sector remains very much in its infancy. As this report shows, the goverment seems unconcerned with increaing  tourist visitors to the country. This means if you are looking for a unique destination that few others visit, Turkmenistan should definitely be at the top of your list!

Visas for Turkmenistan

Visas for Turkmenistan are notoriously difficult to get and applications are routinely refused with no obvious reason. When I went, the tour company applied for four visas, and only two were granted (my friend and I were the lucky ones).

Turkmenistan Transit Visa

The Turkmenistan Transit Visa is valid from 3 to 7 days (usually 5 is given) and you must enter and leave the country at different border crossings; you CANNOT return to where you came from. You don’t need a letter of invitation (LOI) for the transit visa.

Documents Required:

  • Completed application form
  • Cover letter with a detailed route
  • Passsport with 2 blank pages
  • Copy of visa for onward destination
  • One passport photo

You can download the application form and covering letter template here.

Turkmenistan Tourism - visa fees

Turkmenistan Tourist Visa

Most visitors to Turkmenistan come on a tourist visa as the tour companies can issue a letter of invitation (LOI) and assist with the visa application process.

Documents Required:

  • Letter of Invitation (LOI)
  • Completed application form
  • Passport with 2 blank pages
  • One passport photo

You can download the application form here.

Turkmenistan VISA

How to get to Turkmenistan

There are three ways to reach Turkmenistan; by air, land and sea. Below we will outline each in more detail.

Turkmenistan by air: Turkmenistan’s primary international airport is located close to the city of Turkmenabat rather than the capital, Ashgabat. There aren’t a great deal of airlines flying to the country, with flights coming predominantly from Russia.

Turkmenistan by boat: there is a weekly ferry/cargo service from Baku in Azerbaijan to Turkmenbashi in the west of the country. You can read all about how to make this trip in the Caspian Sea Ferry article. 

Turkmenistan by land: There are border crossings with Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan. The border crossing between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan has been closed since June 2018.