Country guides Asia
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs are in use.
Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan. Russian is widely spoken in cities though as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". Turkmen is spoken by 72 percent of the population, Russian, Uzbek, other languages by a lesser degree.
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Tipping is common in restaurants and bars, and is usually 5-10 percent. Some tourist hotels, restaurants, and upmarket institutions will usually include service charge in the bill.
No vaccinations are required by visitors to Turkmenistan. However, there is a risk of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, so the relevant vaccines are recommended.
It is also recommended that all travellers to the country get vaccines for Rabies, especially for those spending a lot of time outdoors, as well as for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and typhoid.
Visitors should only drink bottled water. Hospitals offer adequate basic medical care but serious cases will usually be treated outside of the country. Visitors should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance.
Travel to Turkmenistan is generally problem-free. But foreigners should take normal safety precautions, such as avoiding travel after dark or in deserted and unfamiliar areas. Occasional muggings do occur.
A general threat of terrorism exists, particularly in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Planned demonstrations should be avoided and it must be noted that visitors should carry passports/identity documents with them at all times. Otherwise, there is a chance of detention.
Etiquette in Turkmenistan is governed by Islamic principles, though the state is officially secular. Conservative dress is required at all times and neither women nor men wear shorts. Respect for elders is considered very important. Do not refer to Turkmens as Russians or Soviets and avoid criticising the country in front of locals.
Office hours are generally Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Men greet each other with handshakes.
Travellers to Turkmenistan over the age of 21 years can import 2 litres of any alcoholic beverage without paying duty; those over 16 years of age may import 200 cigarettes or 200g of tobacco and personal belongings up to a reasonable value. All narcotics, firearms, ammunition and accessories, and antiquities are prohibited from either import or export. The customs declaration, filled out upon entry to Turkmenistan, should be retained. When leaving, this form may be used to audit items for export.
The international dialling code for Turkmenistan is +993. An increasing number of hotels and restaurants offer free wifi but connections are often poor. Though the situation is improving, a more reliable way to use the internet is to buy a local SIM card.
Passport & Visa
Visitors to Turkmenistan and transit passengers are required to hold sufficient funds and onward/ return tickets and documentation for the duration of their stay in the country. Tourists' visas can be obtained through embassies or consulates of Turkmenistan, or on arrival at the Ashgabat airport. These visas can be obtained if the visitor has a letter of invitation from a travel company licensed in Turkmenistan. Visas obtained on arrival are generally more expensive than other visas.
Visas issued are for the whole of the territory of Turkmenistan, however special permits are required for the following places: Atamurat, Cheleken, Dashoguz, Serahs, and Serhetabat.
All visitors to Turkmenistan must pay a USD 14 migration fee on arrival, and register with the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan within three days of their arrival. Registration is for the period of their visas and can be carried out on their behalf. Visitors who are not staying in Ashgabat should register at the local department of Migration Service. It is highly recommended that visitors' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens require a valid passport. Visa required.
UK citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
Canadian citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
Australian citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
SA citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
Irish citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
NZ citizens require valid passport. Visa required.
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