Railwaystation in the desert
After our stay in the desert village 120 km north of Ashgabat we had to take the train to Dashoguz in the upper north. Not far from the villages Bokurdok and Kekirdek was a local railway station where we could jump into the train. The bus from Ashgabat which has brought us to Kerdirdek, could bring us to the station. I saw that ost of the local people used motobikes as taxi.
It was extremily hot, I suppose about 50C or more. Luckily we could find some shelter in a stripe of shade close to the building. When we arrived we put our regular luggage already at the edge of the platform in the burning sun. Our foodsupplies and water for 2 days we left in the shade of the building just untill short before the moment the train would arrive.
We knew that after the train arrives we had to cross one pair of rails and move forward to wagon nr. 18. Usually the train stops here only 3 minutes, but because they knew we had to board with a small group they would stop 5 minutes extra, but not more.
We made it, though it was hard work to bring all the luggage, water and foodsupplies into the train in time by crossing the rails and moving forward along the train a few times. And that all in the extreme desert heat.Related to:
Nighttrain to Dashoguz
For travelling from the deep south (Ashgabat) to the upper north (Dashoguz) going by train is a very comfortable way. The traintrip is about 16-18 hours. I think the trip by road will take about the same time. In the train we could eat, drink tea, sleep and travel by night in an easy way. The scenery was desert and more desert of the same type. Only in the north the landscape changed, Here I saw cultivated land and more people in the early morning before arriving in Dashoguz.
In the train you can get hot water evry moment you like. So you can make tea or coffee yourself anytime. We also made instant soup and noodles with the hot water. We brought our own cups, just in case. But in our compartment we found a teapot, two glasses and two small bowls. We shared the compartment with four people. There was enough space to store our luggage, under the benches and there was a open storage places above the corridor.Related to:
In order to get a visa for Turkmenistan, you need a letter of invitation. These can be organised by local travel agencies.
Arrangements for our tour were made by Ayan Travel, and I can definitely recommend them. They arranged internal transport, an English-speaking guide, sightseeing and accommodation. They also dealt with the formalities of visitor registration on arrival.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Border crossings are a real challenge—tour vehicles DO NOT go across them! Our mini-bus pulls up to a gate and all the luggage gets unloaded. We wheel or drag everything to the customs office where the luggage is screened, our visas are inspected, and various paperwork is checked. Then we cross a “no-man’s land” to the customs office on the other side of the border and do it again. Eventually we reach a parking lot with a different bus and driver.
The border crossing between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan now has a shuttle for hire. (None of the other borders had one.) This is the longest crossing (over a mile) and it is very hot, so the shuttle is worth whatever it costs! (I think it was $10.)
NOTE: It is there most days, but not always.Related to:
Archabil Shayoly str. 54, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
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