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Turkmenistan for overlanders

Personal Documents
  1. Passport required
  2. Visa required - valid 3 months from date of issue for stay of 15 days
  3. Visa support letter (Letter of invitation) required to obtain a visa.
    Available from travel agents - cost approximately $35 per person. The letter must show the following details :
    Exact dates of entry and exit from the country
    Name of every place you intend to stay overnight
    Full passport details
    Home address, place of work and position
  4. Vehicle information required - reg no, model, and colour
  5. Custom declaration - 2 copies -keep one copy for departure
  6. International driving permit - advisable
Vehicle Documents

No documents required - but see Entry Costs below

Entry Costs

There does not seem to be a specific category of vehicle recognised in Turkmenistan as a motorhome. The most likely categories to be applied are either a car for small vehicles or bus for larger ones. Costs in US $

  Car Bus
Transit fee 30 50
Insurance 50 60
Bank fee 2 2
Documents Fee 5 5
Disinfection 10 10
Fuel difference per km    
Diesel 0.04 0.13
Petrol 0.06  

Check points

There are numerous checkpoints on main routes. There are 12 between Turmenbashi and Ashgabat and 13 between Ashgabat and Farab (Uzbekistan border)

LPG and Fuel

Adequate but not frequent filling stations on the main routes. Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat 9, Ashgabat to Mary 6, Mary to Farab 8 Fuel costs are 300TM per litre for diesel and 400TM per litre for petrol. No information about LPG


The unit of currency is the Turkmen Manat or TM
The rate current rate of exchange is 19500 TM to the $US or about 27800 TM to the . The currency is devaluing at a high rate. Usually only $US exchanged - if other currencies accepted the rate is poor.

Border crossings

There are border crossings at Turkmenbashi (via the ferry from Azerbaijan or Russia), Konye Urgench in the north, Dashoguz, Farab near Turkmenabat (Uzbekistan), Gaurdan and Saraghs (Iran) and Gushi (Afganistan). The Farab border involves crossing a floating bridge for which there is a charge of $30.


The ferry from Azerbaijan runs from Baku. There is about one ferry daily which sails when it is full. There is no schedule. The crossing takes 12 to 14 hours depending on the weather. Space is shared with railway rolling stock. Ferry costs are quoted variously from $45 to $300 for a car. Accommodation varies from $45 for an economy chair (5th class) to $100 for a double A class cabin. No information about sleeping in the motorhomes. Tickets can be obtained from the Port Office on the promenade almost opposite the Aspheron hotel. The pier for the ferry is about 1 km east.


Turkmenbashi to Ashgabat - 575 km, Ashgabat to Mary - 360 km, Mary to Farab - 277km

When to go

April - June are pleasantly sunny. Very hot in July and August - up to 50C in the southern desert. Autumn very pleasant with the bazaars loaded with fruit.

Where to go
  1. Nisa (ruined city of ancient Parthian Kingdom)
  2. Anau (the Seyitjemal mosque and sardoba)
  3. Baghir (the Shikh-Alov mosque)
  4. Bakharden underground lake "Kov-Ata"
  5. National Carpet Museum
  6. Carpet Factory
  7. National Museum (Berzenghee Settl.)
  8. Oriental bazaar
  9. Ancient Merv (ruined land of Marghiana in Mary)
  10. Kunya-Urgench (arch. monuments in Tashauz)
Permits are needed to visit some parts of the country - mainly in the south


Roads in general are all well kept and in good condition. Some roads are not made up - in particular the road from Turkmenbashi to Kunya- Urgench


Follow Muslim convention and cover up - no shorts, no bare arms or legs.

Maps and Guides

There is very little mapping, and what there is, is around 1:750,000 scale. Russian Military maps are available erratically and extremely expensive but are accurate and large scale.


Try the local library, the American Center in larger cities and travel agents

Travel Agents

Khoudaiberdiev 36a, Ashgabat 74400
Phone 41 40 87 Fax 41 90 39
E-mail latif@cat.glasnet.ru or latif@online.tm
Contact : Djora Samedov

Prospect Magtumguly 14, Ashgabat 74400
Phone 35 29 14 Fax 39 33 55
E-mail ayan@cat.glasnet.ru or ayan-admin@online.tm
Contact : Artur Osipian
Note: Ayan were the agents who organised the Turkmenistan leg of the London to Peking rally

Written by Clive Barker in preparation for UK to China and back. (October 2000)


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