Turkmenistan Airlines flies nonstop to Ashgabat from Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Amritsar, Bangkok, Beijing, Birmingham, Delhi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kiev, London, Minsk, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg. At the front of the cabin, look for a picture of Sapamurat ‘Turkmenbashi’ Niyazov. The timetables are often inconvenient, and there is no website for the airlines with flights listed. To discover the timetable, it’s generally easiest to go to the airport’s website from where you’re leaving.
Turkish Airlines travels from Istanbul to Ashgabat. Lufthansa operates flights from Frankfurt to Ashgabat. More information may be found on the Ashgabat page. FlyDubai operates flights from Dubai to Ashgabat.
Although there is a railway link between Russia and Iran, no train crosses the border at any point in the nation.
If you wish to drive into Turkmenistan, you must have liability insurance. Turkmenistan does not recognize the green International Insurance Card. In addition, depending on the distance you drive in Turkmenistan, you must pay an extra tax for government-subsidized gasoline costs. This tax must be paid in US dollars at the border. Be prepared for lengthy lines at border crossings. You may enter by car via Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.
The route between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is in disrepair. The journey from Zhanaozen to the border may take up to 3 hours if you don’t have an SUV. The journey from the border to Garabogaz may take another three hours. Because the border station is very remote, be sure to carry plenty of supplies. Paperwork may take some time, but everything is really simple, and everyone is very pleasant and helpful. There are very few visitors that cross this border.
Visitors with visas are permitted to visit Turkmenistan from all neighboring nations. Border checks often take one to two hours, if not more. Border crossings are open everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m.
Because no public transit crosses the Turkmen border, the most expedient way to travel to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan from Mashhad in Iran is as follows:
- Take a bus to Quchan: every 2 hours beginning at 06:30. The cost is 8000 rials. Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Take a private cab from Quchan to Bajgiran (village at the border). Cost: 60,000 rials for two, or less if possible. Duration: about 1 hour.
- Go to the border at Bajgiran (opening time: 07.30-15.30 Iran time). It may take up to two hours to cross the border. Turkmen police will want a $10 entrance charge (per individual) plus $2 in bank fees (per group), to be paid in US dollars exclusively.
- Take a cab to Ashgabat from Turkmenistan, which may cost up to $15 per person. Duration: about 1 hour.
Each crossing may take a 15-minute walk over no-land, man’s but sharded cabs are occasionally available. There are three border crossings between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan:
- From Bukhara, take a cab to the border (USD8) or a shared taxi to Uzbek Olot (Qarakul) and then a taxi to the border. Turkmenabat is approximately 45 kilometers from the border. A cab ride should cost about USD5, and a seat in a shared taxi should cost less than USD1.
- Dashgous from Khiva or Ugench: Take a cab from Khiva or Urgench to the border for around USD10, then another one from the border to Dashgous on the Turkmen side for about USD1.
- Khojeli from Nukus in Karalpakstan: Use a cab for approximately USD10 for the 30 minute trip from Nukus to the border, or take public transportation from Khojeli for about USD1 and a taxi for about USD1 for the 10 minute travel to Konye Urgench.
It takes two hours to travel from Zhanaozen to the Turkmen border, then another 40 minutes on a dirt road to the city of Karabogas (previously Bekdash). The final 50 kilometers on either side of the border are extremely poor dirt roads. (about USD100 for a single vehicle or KZT10,000 for a shared automobile). There is a decent route from Karabogas to Turkmenbashi with beautiful views of the Caspian Sea. The route passes a bridge across the canal linking the Caspian Sea with the interior gulf around 60 kilometers south of Karabogas.
Several famous travel books describe crossing the Caspian Sea via “ferry” from Baku, Azerbaijan, to the port of Turkmenbashy in western Turkmenistan. Some individuals have encountered difficulties while trying to get to Turkmenistan by water. Passengers should be informed that these “ferries” are really cargo ships that take on passengers as an afterthought to their main purpose. On these ships, passengers are usually not supplied with food or drink, and sleeping and sanitary facilities are likely to be basic. Travelers should be advised that ships arriving in Turkmenbashy’s port sometimes have to wait days offshore for outgoing ships to leave the pier so that new ships may unload. Some passengers have remained more than a week offshore while their ship waits for authorization to approach the port, and they have run out of food and water, or their Turkmen visas have expired before they could use them. Travellers, particularly those planning to enter Turkmenistan by water, are discouraged from utilizing transit visas for these and other reasons.