Ashgabat Travel Guide

  • City Hall
    City Hall
    by JessieLang
  • Things to Do
    by JessieLang
  • Things to Do
    by JessieLang

Ashgabat Things to Do

  • Arch of Neutrality

    Of all the many monuments erected by President Niyazov, the Arch of Neutrality is perhaps the most outrageous. It looks rather like an alien rocket ship, topped with a gold statue of President Niyazov. There were rumours that President Niyazov's successor was having it dismantled, and I thought I might have missed my opportunity to see it, but it...

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  • The National Museum

    The National Museum of History and Ethnography is impressive. The exhibits begin with dioramas of Stone Age scenes, and then wind through the centuries in a circular pattern on each floor. The center of the building is open, with 5 big columns rising up to a dome at the top of the building. All the items excavated from Nisa are here. Another...

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  • Turkmenbashi's Mosque

    Turkmenbashi’s personal mosque is in the nearby village of Kipchuk, his hometown. He built the enormous mosque (10,000 person capacity) in 2004, with public money, at a cost of $168,000,000. The family mausoleum next to it—also built with public funds—contains the body of Turkmenbashi and members of his family.Mosques usually have verses from the...

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  • Niyazov Family Mausoleum

    The mauseoleun of the Niyazov family is built of imported Carrera marble. Photography is not permitted inside.

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  • Nissa

    The Parthian site of Nissa, near Ashgabat, is probably best not visited in the snow. However, as our time was limited, we had little choice in the matter. It was treacherously slippery on the site, particularly because we couldn’t see what was under the snow. What looked like heaps of snow were actually column bases.Nissa was founded in the 3rd...

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  • Carpet Museum

    Carpets are an important part of Turkmen culture and a visit to Ashgabat's carpet museum is therefore a must, even if, like me, you are not particularly interested in carpets. I found this museum far more interesting than I expected. Yurts did not have furniture – they used bags made from carpet for storing cooking utensils, clothes etc. There are...

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Ashgabat Hotels

See all 5 Hotels in Ashgabat
  • Hotel President

    Archabil Shayoly str. 54, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • Hotel Nissa

    I stayed at Nissa Hotel for two weeks. Service and food are good. Nice facilities including: -...

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  • Sheraton Grand Turkmen Hotel

    This hotel is no longer run by Sheraton, and the five stars on the sign outside may be overstating...

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Ashgabat Restaurants

  • Altyn Dan

    The second day in town we visited in the cytrcentre the Altyn Dan Restaurant. It was a a pleasant place with international food. I didn't see many restaurants in town. No terraces outside anyway. All happens inside in airconditioned rooms. As starter we had several tasty salads ( see picture 3). The main course with rice I can't remember very well....

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  • Best restaurant in Ashgabat and...

    I have eaten at the Coffee House many times and have never been disappointed. The staff is friendly and attentive. It is more relaxing than many of the larger restaurants you might choose. Try it!Very nice place! good food, relaxing atmosphere, very nice pictures of Turkmen talent artist on the walls, artist's name Mamet, and you can buy some of...

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  • Restaurant at the Russian Market

    At the entrance of the Russian market you can go down the stairs to the Gülüfar restaurant. It was the only place I saw in the citycentre with tables outdoors, though undere the huge roof of the markethall. I visited the Russian market in the morning just after breakfast, so it was not the right time for a meal, but only for a drink. Besides tables...

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Ashgabat Nightlife

  • There are many...

    There are many night clubs in Ashgabat. I visited the one in Hotel Nissa. On weekend it starts at 9 pm & works until 5 am next day. It is totally crowded on weekends. On weekdays there is not much crowd. Casuals!

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  • Peace Corps Hangout

    This bar seems to redecorate every time about 20 of us end up there...It's cheap and there is outdoor seating. 10,000 manat beer and the Mexican pizza is pretty good if you don't mind dill. The shashlyk is pretty good too.If you want to run into the only Americans in the entire country, it's pretty much guaranteed that there will be a group of them...

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  • The Hospitality of the Locals

    Turkmen love several things more than most people: food, drink, women and horses. About the first two, food leans heavily to carrot and beet salads and shashlikh, kinda like shishkebab. The amount of food put in front of me on a nightly basis would gag a camel.Then came the drink. Vodka is cheap, phenomenally so. A fifth of a pretty serviceable...

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Ashgabat Transportation

  • Flying to Ashgabat

    You can travel to Ashgabat via either:- Turkish Airlines from Istanbul- Lufthansa, departure from Germany with a small stop in Baku, Azerbidjan.You can also travel via Turkmen Airlines, but it is not highly recommended since they are not member of IATA.

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  • No Taxi in Ashgabat !

    There are no official Taxis in Ashgabat. Every car can be considered as a Taxi. Just wave your hand and a car would stop. When you use a car waiting outside the hotel, the driver will ask you for something around 50,000 Manats (~ 2 USD), which is considered expensive. 20,000 Manats (less than 1 USD) will be more than enough for a ride.

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  • Taxis

    The taxis can be scary but are very cheap. Petrol costs about $1 for 60 liters.Most trips around town will cost less than $0.50. From the city to the airport (which isn't too far from the city centre) cost me 15,000 Manat (about $0.60 changed at black market rates).

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Ashgabat Shopping

  • For food, drinks, clothes and more

    In the south part of town between all the white marble buildings is also a huge shopping centre, called yimpas. If you have a car this is the best place to go for doing your huge shopping.We went here to buy food for our stay in the desert and in the nighttrain. And we bougth many bottles of mineral water. Besides fresh vegetables, fruits, bread,...

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  • Carpets

    The Turkmens are warm and friendly and are very proud of their nomadic culture and their ancient ceremonies. The world knows Turkmenistan for its magnificent carpets, there is a market very near to the center of the city where you can bargain and choose good examples .Be careful because some of the carpets are not allowed to take out of the...

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  • Made in Turkmenistan

    The shop includes Turkish and Turkmen clothes. Clothing made in Turkmenistan, especially cotton products. Although they are not of high quality, you can still find some very nice and cheap items. You will also find a wide range of jeans of very good quality at the cost of 150,000 Manats (~ $ 6). I bought around 50 items in $65.

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Ashgabat Local Customs

  • The Flag

    There are 5 main tribes in Turkmenistan (Teke, Yomut, Arsary, Chowdur, and Saryk.) The flag has a vertical stripe featuring the traditional carpet designs of each of these 5 tribes.

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  • Women's clothing

    Women's traditional dresses are ankle length and usually have long sleeves. An embroidered panel is sewn on the front and around the neck. Many of the fabrics are darker colors, and temperatures were over 100º here. Wearing these dresses (with high heels) was mandatory under Turkmenbashi. Most women still wear them, although I don’t think it is...

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  • New Year Celebrations

    We visited Ashgabat in late December, and since Turkmenistan is a predominantly Muslim country, were rather surprised at the number of Christmas trees we saw lining the streets on the way from the airport to our hotel. We later learned that these were in fact New Year trees, as New Year is a major holiday in Turkmenistan.All the public buildings...

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Ashgabat Warnings and Dangers

  • Big Brother is Watching

    Before we arrived, our guide said “Your hotel room will be bugged, there will be cameras in the airport and on the streets in the city, and the internet is monitored—a guy in the next room will read what you send out, and list the sites you viewed.” When it says no photos, they mean it. Security guys in plain clothes will be watching you.

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  • Internet access and mobile phones

    Internet access is limited in Turkmenistan - though not as limited as we were led to expect. There is an internet cafe on the top floor of the Yimpas Shopping Centre in Ashgabat, which we used. I also saw one in the departure lounge at Ashgabat airport, but didn't try that. It's necessary to deposit your passport at the desk, and some sites...

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  • Photography

    It is not permitted to take photographs of certain buildings. These include the Presidential Palace and government buildings, as well as airports. This can be irritating in a city where every second building seems to be a Ministry, and everything is white marble and gleaming domes that ask to be photographed, but there are plenty of other things to...

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Ashgabat Tourist Traps

  • Paying a Bribe

    At the airport, during luggage check up, you might be asked to pay $10 to facilitate your passing. If you wanna pass quickly, a $5 bill will be more than enough. You can also offer a few packs of cigarettes. This will make your pass much easier. Don't pay anything and wait for your turn in the row.

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  • Bring 1$ bills with you !

    When paying at the Airport in Ashgabat, make sure to carry $1 bills. If you don't have the exact amount for the Visa cost ($61), they will pay you back the change in local currency exchanged at the official rate ($1 = 5,000 Manats).

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  • Ashgabat Hotels

    5 Hotels in Ashgabat

    6 Reviews

Ashgabat Off The Beaten Path

  • Mud Bubble Bath... Not!

    This is the second crater that you can go see on your way to Hell's Gate in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan. Probably the biggest of the lot, and this one oozes gas which results in mud bubbles brewing at the bottom of this pit. There is a metal barrier which was put up recently (apparently camels and other large items have met with unfortunate...

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  • Go to Hell!

    Turkmenistan is filled with awesome stuff to do which most travellers may not get to see due to lack of time or info... and actually many locals don't really travel all that much to the hinterlands either. My latest adventure as seen in this pic was a short excursion to the Karakum Desert in search of the Darwaza well, locally known as the "Gate to...

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  • Water Well

    This is the first Darwaza crater in the trilogy of abandoned gas wells in the middle of Karakum Desert situated north of Ahal Wilayaty, Turkmenistan. Smallest of the lot, but still pretty deep, with a metal barrier installed to avoid cars and animals from going too near the edge, but it didn't seem to stop us as we peered over to find amazing...

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Ashgabat Sports & Outdoors

  • bdwoot's Profile Photo

    by bdwoot Written Jan 8, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I find incredibly curious that so much in public funds gets put into monuments, far beyond what would be considered acceptable in more "normal" countries.

    Consider the soccer stadium. It seats 40,000, as at the time of my visit, it was two years old and only used twice. There is a national team, but it seems that is lags far behind horsemanship in popularity.

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Ashgabat Favorites

  • Kiosks for money change

    In former years you could change you money at the black market or at the bank with huge differences in the rates. It was not easy to change money at the bank, I heard. They were hardly open and your rate was really bad. So the only option was the black market with good rates. How easy it was to find someone I don't know.Now the system has changed....

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  • Visa and other papers you get.

    For Turkmenistan you need a visa. Turkmenistan was part of my Silk Road trip visiting 5 different countries. Because of the time needed to get all the visa in advance and the extremily long time it took the get the Turkmen visa, the travelagant decided to get it first at the airport of Ashgabat. The costs were 95 euro (july 2008).It took some time....

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  • Yomut Carpet

    The Yomut carpet is a type of carpet traditionally handwoven by the Yomut, one of the major tribes of Turkmenistan. A Yomut design, along with designs of the four other major tribes, is featured on the coat of arms and the flag of Turkmenistan.

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Explore Deeper into Ashgabat
Azadi Mosque
Things to Do
National Museum
Things to Do
Tolkuchka Bazaar
Things to Do
Ruhnama Monument
Things to Do
The Walk of Health
Things to Do
Ferris Wheel
Things to Do
Earthquake Memorial
Things to Do
Lenin Memorial
Things to Do
Independence Monument
Things to Do
Arch of Neutrality
Things to Do
Your Documents
Warnings and Dangers
Every Building in the center is worth seeing
Things to Do
Arch of Neutrality
Things to Do
Turkmenbasi palace
Things to Do
Kipchak Mosque
Things to Do
Monument for 10 years of independence
Things to Do
Piling up, higher and higher...
Local Customs
For a good lunch
Restaurants
European or African atmosphere
Restaurants
Russian market
Things to Do
Monument for 11 years of independence
Things to Do
Independence Monument Garashyzlyk
Things to Do
Ertogrul Gazi Mosque
Things to Do
Nisa, remains of the old capital
Off The Beaten Path
Nisa, old walls
Off The Beaten Path
Nisa, ancient Parthian capital
Off The Beaten Path
Earthquake Memorial and Museum
Things to Do
Arch of Neutrality
Things to Do
Akhal Teke
Local Customs
Turkish Investment
Restaurants
Akhal horses
Things to Do
Goktepe Mosque
Things to Do
Koroglu Bey
Things to Do
Selcuk Bey
Things to Do
Demirel Mosque
Things to Do
Blue Mosque
Things to Do
Fountain
Things to Do
earthquake
Things to Do
Independent Monument
Things to Do
Official and Unofficial Exchange Rates
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Ashgabat

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