Border Crossing Turkmenistan

Home Route Border crossings Border Crossing Turkmenistan

We visited Turkmenistan beginning of April 2024.

Turkmenistan with guide or transit visa

Since we wrestle traveling overland and we love to travel independent we tried to obtain for a transit visa. We emailed with Yerevan, Tehran, Mashad and even the consulate/embassy in Brussels but never found any possibility to travel on our own. At the end we gave up and booked a guided tour with https://www.instagram.com/turkmenistan_tours and payed $ 450,- for a week. To split costs we travelled together with the lovely couple Ruben and Mathilde who also hosted the guide in their car.

Entering overland via Bajgiran from Iran

The border opened at 8:00 hours and beware of a time difference with Turkmenistan. (We left the border at 13:00)

Passing the Iran border was very easy and then we stopped at the first Turkmenistan gate. We had to show our pasport and Letter of Invitation. Without this LOI you will not be allowed to enter.

After this we had to drive the truck through a water basin to disinfect the truck from Iranian infections.

After sitting for more than an hour at the customs desk our guide came to do our paperwork. You will receive many forms and even more stamps on these forms. Another hour of waiting and walking from one desk to the other we went to a desk to pay:

  • PCR test, Visa for a month and tax $ 106,-/ person
  • Des-infection of our truck $ 5,-
  • Entry and passage fee $ 105,-
  • Fuel compensation costs (??? What is it for??) $ 174,-
  • Third party car liability insurance $ 100,-
  • Processing documents $ 5,-

Be aware that only uS$ is accepted in cash. After this we needed to go to different other rooms and finally our truck got inspected. The inspection took not even 5 minutes and we did only have to open a door to have them look in the unit. No searching or nothing like that.

Leaving Turkmenistan

Because we wanted to travel Mangystau area in Kazachstan we choose to exit via Garagobaz. The more than 200 km long route is terrible and I would really advise against it. It was the first time our guide took this road and he promised himself to never do it again.

BUT, if you give yourself time and drive very slow it might be okay. Mangystau is exceptional beautiful. The landscapes are something else and the roads through the desert and the steppes are like the ones in Turkmenistan, so you are used to these already 😂

And then…

  • Internet: only available in a hotel and then you still need a good vpn. No sim cards for tourists.
  • Diesel: cost around us$ 0,50/liter
  • Roads: other then the road from Ashgabat to Turkmenbasi the roads are horrible. Potholes deep enough to drive in with your car
  • Drone: not allowed to bring with you
  • Drugs: also strong painkillers are considered drugs and you will go to prison for 25 years if you get caught with them.
  • Money: ATM won’t work four you and euro’s are almost not accepted. So money for the border, guide and expenses needs al to be payed with cash US$. There is only one bank where you can get US$ with your credit card. We used Mastercard in Ashgabat. All payments are cash in local currency. There are no payment terminals in stores or at gasstations. Official Exchange rates are terrible, so inform yourself before you exchange. (We have an unofficial adress in Ashgabat)
  • Be aware that the government knows exactly where you are and what you do. Your guide has to call in, and every city has a checkpoint at entering and exiting. we where not bothered even once
  • Formerly you are not allowed to sleep in your car, but only in hotels and yurts provided.

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Kirstin & Vincent

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