Being the southernmost region of the former Soviet Empire,
Turkmenistan has by far the highest temperatures in Central
Asia, but owing to the low humidity even in summer, this
can be bearable. In the south the climate is also slightly
less continental than in the north and temperatures seldom
drop below -5°C. Northern areas on the Uzbek border
and Khorezm (Dashogus) can become very cold in winter
with temperatures dropping below -20°C. The best months
for moderate temperatures are April and May for beautiful
blossoming deserts and mountains. September and October
are great for an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables
due to the harvest season. There is snow in the north
and above 1,000 m in the mountains in January and February.
Medical & Health
Medical care in Turkmenistan is limited. Due to the partial
privatisation of pharmacies, availability of non-prescription
drugs has increased, but there is still a shortage of
some medicines. Two western style clinics in Ashgabat
can conduct consultations and / or operations performed
by foreign (German and Turkish) specialists.
Travellers are advised to take medical insurance. No vaccinations
are obligatory, although Hepatitis vaccinations are recommendable.
Turkmenistan is a cash-only economy. However, several
new hotels in Ashgabat and a few restaurants accept credit
cards. Vnesheconombank cashes traveller's checks and accepts
Visa, Master Card and Eurocard for USD cash advances charging
5% of the amount for this service. Travellers are advised
to take only new, clean U.S. dollar bills (1993 and newer)
with them. Except at the relevant borders exchange rates
for other currencies such as Euros and Pounds are not
The local currency, the Manat comes in 50, 100,
500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Manat bills and 500 and 1000
Manat coins and is freely exchangable throughout the country
at a variable market rate. Like elsewhere in Central Asia
it is not recommendable and illegal to exchange money
on the street.
The official exchange rate has been fixed at 5,350 for
one USD while the black market rate fluctuates between
20,000 and 22,000 Manat.
Rugs & Jewellery
In order to take Turkmen rugs or jewellery out of the
country you need to present an official receipt and registration
form from the State or Hotel shop where you bought the
items to customs officials. Items purchased otherwise
such as those bought at Tolkuchka Bazaar) are subject
to a documentation procedure that requires our assistance
and takes at least one full working day. Many antique
souvenirs, especially silver, and items dating back as
little as 20 years are entirely restricted from export.
Upon arrival and departure from Turkmenistan you are requested
to fill out a Customs Declaration
in duplicate. You should declare the exact amount of foreign
currency you are taking in/out of the country as well
as all electronic items carried (cameras, telephones,
computers, etc) and valuable souvenirs bought before or
during your trip (especially rugs and handicrafts). You
should keep one copy of the stamped declaration for exit
or onwards travel within the CIS in order to facilitate
smooth customs procedures throughout your trip.
Click here to download a Turkmen
Customs declaration in
PDF format (96 kb). Note that the declaration will only
be accepted in A5 Format printed on front and back.
X-rays at the Ashgabat International airport are film-safe;
for other airports and borders you should keep your film
and camera in a special bag or present them for visual
Turkmenistan is a very safe place for travellers. Nevertheless,
all foreigners should carry their passport with the valid
visa at all the times. Like anywhere else in Central Asia,
while travelling overland and at airports & railway
stations you may become subject to routine police registration
checks. Please respect that you should not take any pictures
at police controls, customs facilities, airports, railway
stations and bridges.
Clothing & Practical
Turkmenistan is a Muslim country and it is advisable to
wear long sleeved clothes for both men and women especially
in rural areas. Nevertheless women are not expected to
wear headscarves (let alone veils), but a head covering
and sunglasses (bring a spare pair!) become essential
during summer. When trekking wearing high boots is preferable
to sandals as a protection from snakes, spiders and the
sun. On off-road trips bring a light scarf to protect
against dust and bring dust-proof bags for your cameras.Bottled
water and soft drinks are freely available throughout
the country and you should drink as much as possible to
avoid dehydration. In rural areas check the seal on plastic
bottle lids to ensure the bottles have not been refilled
and do not drink tap water unless boiled.
There is good and safe restaurant fare available throughout
the capital and at some restaurants in the larger cities.
Otherwise it is preferable to eat cooked food (as is local
custom) and to avoid unpeeled fruit and vegetables. Hepatitis
A&B immunisations and plenty of mineral and vitamin
substitutes are strongly advised.As a rule carry toilet
paper, wet napkins and a small flashlight for some of
the less attractive toilet facilities and preferably use
the countryside on overland trips.Most foodstuffs and
toiletry are available in Ashgabat, and a few basic items
throughout the country. Nevertheless you should rely on
your own batteries and film.
The local mobile phone network (BCTI) works throughout
the city areas, but some international GSM systems do
not work in Turkmenistan. Long distance calls are available
from the better hotels, some private homes and at the
post / telegraph office. Public phones are scarce throughout
the country and usually not suitable for international
calls. There are several internet-cafes in the capital.
STANTOURS can arrange for your Hotel
bookings, deal with your visa
requirements, flight reservations
and ticketing throughout Turkmenistan and Central
Asia at competitive rates and for a minimal fee.