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10 Fun And Interesting Things To Do In Turkmenistan

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The Central Asian beauty and neighbor to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan boasts of great culture and interesting history. From fire pits to ornate memorials and natural wonders to cultural centers, Turkmenistan has the charm of the desert, the soothing vibes of beaches, and the intriguing lanes of ancient ruins. Visit it and encounter a number of surprising places. Soak in its art and culture and learn about its bygone era. Get driven by the endless loveliness of Turkmenistan. Read on this piece that reveals the top things to do in Turkmenistan. Go ahead and add these to your Turkmenistan tourism itinerary.

Top Things To Do In Turkmenistan

1. Welcome the Gates of Hell

top things to do in Turkmenistan - Gates of Hell

Lying in the hot Karakum desert is the 230-feet wide crater that has been burning on fire for about 40 years now. The crater is officially known as the Darvaza gas crater; however, the people living in the region call it ‘Gates of Hell’ due to its fiery look. It was created in 1971 by the Soviets when they accidentally drilled the natural gas cavern which resulted in the fall of the entire rig. Consequently, poisonous fumes started leaking out. Since then, it has been a centre of attraction in Turkmenistan. The glow is so strong that it can be seen from miles away.

Entry Fee: No entry fee

(However, $40 – $50 for hiring a car and $10 – $15 for hiring a bike)

Ideal Timings: 07:00 am to 07:00 pm

Pro Tip: Visit it late in the evening for catching the best photographs.


2. Marvel at the Yangykala Canyon

Yangykala Canyon

The Yangykala Canyon is a natural wonder of Turkmenistan and is not very popular amongst international tourists. Hence, it is a must-visit place for those who are into offbeat travelling. However, the canyon is popular amongst local travellers. Explore its vast landscape featuring pink, red, and yellow rock walls that have heights up to 100 metres. As per records, the canyon was created about 5.5 million years ago and was once a sea. If you are in Turkmenistan, you should not miss out on visiting this wonderful place. It is a great site for trekking and hiking.

Recommended for: Adventure lovers

Timings: 09:00 am to 06:00 pm

Pro Tip: Get yourself to the viewpoint ‘Jaws of a Crocodile’ as it is the best place here to get the best shots.


3. Explore the Marvels of Ashgabat

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

There have been very few cities in the world that were wiped out at one point in time but rose from ashes and became strong. Ashgabat, the Capital of Turkmenistan is undoubtedly one of them. The place was awfully destroyed in the year 1948. The calamity took the lives of about 10,000 people, thereby leaving the city broke. However, it stood up strong like never before and today, it is home to numerous modern marvels and great Turkmenistan’s tourist attractions. Visit it and explore its impressive monuments. The city has fountains, shopping places, business centers and more.

Entry Fee: No entrance fee

Timings: Anytime

Pro Tip: Visit Altyn Bazaar for the best hand-woven carpets!


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4. Learn About the Significance of Merv

Merv, Turkmenistan

Once an important centre in Turkmenistan, Merv lied on the Silk Road and hence, was popular across the Central Asia for being a significant place of trade and culture. However, after its destruction by Genghis Khan and his army, the city never recovered. Today, it is lying in ruins and is a popular spot for history lovers and offbeat explorers. Take a walk around the place and explore its ancient alleys. Merv is one of the greatest archaeological sites in Turkmenistan and hence, a must-visit place.

Entry Fee: No entry fee

Ideal Timings: 06:00 am to 05:00 pm

Pro Tip: Visit the northern parts of the ruined city and you come across two Iron Age settlements namely Yaz Depe and Takhirbaj Depe. Do explore them!


5. Have Some Fun time at the Disneyland

Disneyland Turkmenistan

The Disneyland is named after the former dictator of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov. It was opened in the year 2006 and has 54 attractions including log rides, a Ferris wheel and roller coasters. Get welcomed by different characters from Turkmen tales and that makes visit more beautiful. The decorations of animal scenes throughout the park also grab the attention of children. That’s why it is one of the best places to visit in Turkmenistan with kids. Take a tour of this beautiful world and relax in its fun-filled atmosphere.

Entry Fee: $2 – $4

Timings: 10:00 am to 05:00 pm

Pro Tip: Be aware of taking pics as photography isn’t allowed here.


6. Take Photos at the Independence Monument

Independence Monument

The Independence Monument is one of the largest and most extravagant monuments in Turkmenistan and is one of a kind in the world. It is located in the middle of a park and is surrounded by numerous pools and fountains. That’s why it makes for a great weekend spot to enjoy with family and friends. There are about 27 statues across the entire place. The tower is highly decorated with gold within a dome below it. Visit and capture great photos.

Entry Fee: No entrance fee

Timings: Open 24 Hours

Pro Tip: The park around the monument is a great picnicking spot. Bring along your kids and have some fun in its green lawns.


7. Learn About Carpet Culture at Carpet Museum

Carpet Museum

The Turks are well known for their hand-woven carpets in the world and there is no doubt about it. The Turks are some of the best artisans when it comes to carpet weaving. They produce the best of the carpets and hence, get great respect across different worlds. Visiting the Carpet Museum is one of the best things to do in Turkmenistan. In the museum, you would find an unlimited number of rugs. It also has the world’s largest hand-woven rug on display and that’s quite a treat to every artist’s eyes. Visit it and come across great Turk designs.

Entry fee: $12 per person

Timings: 09:00 am to 06:00 pm

(Closed on Sundays)

Pro Tip: Do check out the small shop inside the campus where you can buy souvenir carpets.


8. Visit the Arch of Neutrality

Arch of Neutrality

If you looking for the best things to do in Ashgabat, then an excursion to the popular Arch of Neutrality is surely recommended. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ashgabat. This three-legged arch stands at a height of about 256 feet and was built in the year 1998 on the orders of the country’s president to show its position upon neutrality. The monument is built in the shape of a tripod and boasts of a gold-plated statue of the then country’s president Niyazov. Today, it is a popular place in Turkmenistan, and people of all age groups visit it.

Ideal Timings: 08:00 am to 07:00 pm

Pro Tip: Get to the top after sunset and watch the entire city looking like a radiating heaven.


9. Step into an Underground Lake

Underground Lake Turkmenistan

It can be quite a challenge to find a beautiful place for swimming in Turkmenistan. However, to your surprise, there’s an underground lake in Turkmenistan where you can avoid the hot environment of the country and relax in calm soothing waters. It is located in the Barkharden Cave and is led by a long metal staircase. The waters here have high amounts of salt and minerals. And hence, it makes for a perfect place for swimming and taking bath. Experience this unique place in Turkmenistan and bring home a bundle of beautiful memories.

Average cost: $5 – $8 per person

Ideal Timings: 07:00 am to 05:00 pm

Pro Tip: If you are not comfortable with climbing down, then avoid visiting it as you would have to get quite deep under the ground.


10. Explore the UNESCO Site of Old Nisa

Nisa Ruins

If you are into history and ancient ruins, then the Old Nisa in Turkmenistan is your place. Once a settlement of the Parthians and a significant trade centre, Nisa is located on the outskirts of Ashgabat and is a perfect place to learn about the country’s past. It is here you would encounter places that would take you back to the medieval era. And it is here you would feel history speaking ancient legends to you.

Entry Fee: $7 per person

($3 extra for camera)

Timings: 09:00 am to 06:00 pm

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