Darwaza’s ‘Door to Hell’
While in Central Asia, why not visit Turkmenistan – one of the most closed countries in the world! The land of white marble, carpets, ancient ruins, Akhalteke horses, Karakum Desert and the Door to Hell.
Turkmenistan was one of the earliest countries to close their borders in February 2020, before the COVID pandemic. And after more than three long years, the country is open for tourists again!
Turkmenistan doesn’t have a visa free agreement with any country. To get a tourist visa, visitors should book a tour through a travel agent, who will arrange the Letter of Invitation (LOI). With this LOI, tourists will get their visa either at Turkmenistan embassies or upon arrival at the Ashgabat airport or any land border. The visa will be issued for the days of the confirmed tour.
A Covid vaccination certificate must be submitted while applying for the LOI and an express PCR-test needs to be taken upon arrival.
We recommend a minimum of 5 days for traveling in Turkmenistan, ideally in combination with Uzbekistan. Once you are in Uzbekistan, you can easily cross one of the three land borders and have a side trip or loop to Darwaza, the ruins of Koneurgench, the capital city of Ashgabat and an ancient Merv settlement.
The highlight of any trip to Turkmenistan is the Darwaza gas crater (Door to Hell), located in the Karakum Desert. In 1971, geologists set fire to this “hole” to burn gasses harmful to humans and animals, thinking that the fire would go out in a few days. But it has been burning non-stop ever since!
Trips to Turkmenistan can be booked in conjunction with Uzbekistan so please contact ICS Uzkekistan for more information.