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Travel Advice for Turkmenistan

British ConsulateIf you are travelling to Turkmenistan then note that you should carry identification at all times. The police often carry out checks as you need to report your location to State Migration Service if you have been in the country for more than 3 days. You also need to apply for a visa before entering the country. If you need assistance then call the British Embassy in Turkmenistan.

Safety and security

You are best advised not to go out at night as a woman unless in a large group. Muggings are rare however and you are again advised to stay away from any border area. The border areas are designated restricted zones and require special permission to enter. If you are going to travel outside of the main cities then speak to a local guide or the hotel staff for advice.

The roads in the country are in a poor condition. There are licensed taxis which are clearly identified and yellow in colour. The taxis have meters however like most countries taxi drivers will usually ask foreign nationals for a set fee of around 5 to 10 Manat. Also note that the taxis from the airport cost more and drivers usually ask for US$. Most taxi drivers do not speak much English. Don’t use unlicensed taxis.

If you are traveling by rail then never compartment unattended and always lock your door from the inside at night. Air travel is not advised for the country. See here.

Local laws and customs

Dont do drugs as it is a very serious offense in the country. Note that male homosexual activity is illegal and it is punishable by a custodial sentence. Dont show affection outdoors. There are also sensitivities around relationships between foreign men and local women and this could get you a fine or deported.

It has been against the law to smoke outside in Turkmenistan for several years. Since January 2014, this law has been extended to restaurants and other communal spaces.

On arrival, you must complete a migration card and pay a US$12 migration fee ($10 fee plus $2 Admin charge). The authorities will retain the card.

Health

The quality of medical services and medical care in the country is very poor. There are a few diagnostic facilities in the country particularly in Ashgabat however any medical treatment may be unreliable or even unwise due to poorly trained staff, limited facilities and a lack of drugs and equipment.Outside the main city it is best avoided. Always ensure that you have medical insurance. The emergency services can be contacted on emergency number 03 however English may be non-existent.

Money

Ensure that you have US dollars as money is very difficult to exchange. There are very few international ATMs in Turkmenistan. Visa cards are accepted in some of the main hotels, and can be used to obtain cash at the Vnesheconom Bank in Ashgabat. Mastercards may be used at Senagat Bank in Ashgabat.

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