TURKMENISTAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia bordered by the Caspian Sea and largely covered by the Karakum Desert. It’s known for archaeological ruins including those at Nisa and Merv, major stops along the ancient trade route the Silk Road. Ashgabat, the capital, was rebuilt in Soviet-style in the mid-20th century and is filled with grand monuments honouring former president Saparmurat Niyazov.
Turkmenistan is a very unusual regime. The government is in firm control of nearly everything. Officially tourism is welcomed, but the requirement for expensive guided tours may discourage visitors. The presence of police and military personnel which will watch your every move and prohibit photographing of even mundane objects, make Turkmenistan the least friendly of the Stans.
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TURKMENISTAN QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Ashgabat
- Currency: Turkmen manat (TMT)
- Area: 488,100 km²
- Population: 5,851 million (2018)
- Language: Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, Kazakh 7%
- Religion: Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
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TURKMENISTAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 12 January, Memorial Day
- 19 February, Flag Day
- 8 March, Turkmen Women’s Day
- 20/21 March, Nowruz
- 9 May, Victory Day
- 18 May, Day of Revival, Unity, and the Poetry of Magtymguly
- 6 October, Earthquake Commemoration Day (1948)
- 27 October, Independence Day
12 December, Neutrality Day
Also, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
TURKMENISTAN WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Turkmenistan experiences a continental climate. Winter months can be extremely cold and by contrast, July and August are boiling hot, particularly in the desert regions. Ashgabat can soar to well over 40°C in July and drop to -5°C in winter. You might catch a shower in early May or November, but Turkmenistan is typically very dry. Nights in the desert can be chilly, so be prepared with extra layers if you’re camping.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN TURKMENISTAN
The best time to enjoy outdoor activities in Turkmenistan is from March to May and again from September to November, when the temperatures are somewhat more moderate. The winter months can be extremely cold and in contrast, July and August are boiling hot, particularly in the desert regions.
BEACH OPTIONS IN TURKMENISTAN
Despite its location on the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan is not a beach holiday destination!