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Turkmenistan Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Turkmenistan
Capital City: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
Language Spoken: Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

Turkmenistan Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

40 00 N, 60 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note - Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya (the lake has dropped as low as -110 m) highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m

Land boundaries

total: 3,736 km border countries: Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km

Natural hazards

NA

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt

Land use

arable land: 4.51% permanent crops: 0.14% other: 95.35% (2005)

Environmental current issues

contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water-logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; desertification

Climate

Turkmenistan has an extreme continental climate: temperatures in Ashgabat vary between 46°C (114°F) in summer and -5°C (23°F) in winter, although it has been known to reach -22°C (-8°F) in extremity. Temperatures in the desert in summer can reach 50°C (122°F) during the day before falling rapidly at night. During the winter, it can reach -10° to -15°C (14° to 15°F). Required clothing For those intending to visit the desert in summer, lightweights are vital for the day with warmer clothing for those intending to spend the night in the open. Heavyweights should be taken for winter visits.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+5

Population

5,042,920 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.2% (male 913,988/female 863,503) 15-64 years: 60.7% (male 1,501,486/female 1,557,155) 65 years and over: 4.1% (male 79,227/female 127,561) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 21.8 years male: 20.9 years female: 22.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

1.83% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

27.61 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

8.6 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 61.83 years male: 58.43 years female: 65.41 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.37 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business is conducted formally and suit and tie are normally required. Business cards are usually exchanged and appointments should be made in advance. Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan; however, Russian is widely used in government and business. The government has declared that English is to be taught widely, but as yet a very limited number of people in Turkmenistan speak English. For those who seek interpreter services, local free lance interpreters can be arranged. Office hours are 0900-1800 Monday to Friday.

Crime

Turkmenistan has a low rate of violent crime, but common street crime has increased, especially in markets and after dark. Most of the reported crimes against foreigners have been opportunistic rather than premeditated. Visitors, especially women, should not walk or take public transportation or taxis alone, especially after dark. There have been a number of incidents involving taxi drivers who attempted to molest female passengers. In general, avoid taxis at night and engage them during the daylight hours only when accompanied by a trusted companion. In Ashgabat, police are a visible force on the street, but security forces are poorly trained, underpaid and inadequately equipped. Additionally, a traveler must speak Russian or Turkmen to communicate with the local police. Russian and Turkmen speakers may dial 110211 to contact the police. Those who do not speak these languages should contact their embassy for assistance.

Hotels

Turkmenistan is largely cash-only economy, although several new hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. Ashgabat is home to about 30 first-class hotels and government guest houses which offer comfortable rooms, conference and meeting facilities, business services, recreational activities, satellite TVs, casinos, and international dining facilities. The Ak Altin Plaza Hotel offers Western-style amenities. The Kolkhozchy Hotel in central Ashgabat is a basic, clean property that cooperates with Fair Winds Trading Company. The Kolkhozchy's room rates are between US$60-$160 per night. The main hotels in Ashgabat are the Hotel Ashgabat (the main tourist hotel), the Hotel Oktyabrskaya and the Hotel Turist. The Hotel Jubilienaya houses both the US and German embassies and reservations are difficult to obtain. Every provincial center has at least one hotel, but visitors should not expect Western standards of comfort, amenities or security. The exception is a new hotel that recently opened in Turkmenbashi; however, as it only has 40 rooms.

Communications

Telephone IDD from Ashgabat is not yet available, but calls can be booked through the international operator, who speaks English, or made at the Main Post Office. Direct-dial calls within the former Soviet republics are obtained by dialling 8 and waiting for another dial tone and then dialling the city code. Country code: 7 (3632 for Ashgabat Calls within the city limits are free of charge. Fax services are available in the main hotels for guests only. Post office hours: 0900-1800 Monday to Friday.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round 2-pin continental plugs are standard. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are standard.

Plug Types

C,F

Food And Dining

Turkmen food is similar to that of the rest of Central Asia. There are a number of good Western-standard restaurants in Ashgabat, although they rarely have an extensive menu. In general, hotel food shows strong Russian influence: borcht is cabbage soup, entrec?te is a well-done steak, cutlet are grilled meat balls, and strogan is the local equivalent of beef Stroganoff. Pirmeni, originating in Ukraine, are small boiled dumplings of meat and vegetables similar to ravioli, sometimes served in a vegetable soup.
National specialties:
? Plov - pronounced 'plof' - is the staple food for everyday (but is also served at celebrations) and consists of chunks of mutton, shredded yellow turnip and rice fried in a large wok.
? Shashlyk (skewered chunks of mutton grilled over charcoal which come with raw sliced onions) and lipioshka (rounds of unleavened bread) are served in restaurants and are often sold in the street
? Manty are larger noodle dumplings filled with meat.
? Shorpa is a meat and vegetable soup.
? Ka'urma is mutton deep-fried in its own fat and churban churpa is mutton fat dissolved in green tea.
? Ishkiykli are dough balls filled with meat and onion which are traditionally cooked in sand that has been heated by a fire.
? On the shores of the Caspian Sea, seafood is often substituted for mutton in traditional dishes such as plov.
? In the west of Turkmenistan, there is a specialty in which mutton is roasted in a clay oven fired with aromatic woods. National drinks:
? Green tea is very popular and can be obtained almost anywhere.
? Beer, wine, vodka, brandy and sparkling wine (shampanski) are all widely available in restaurants.
? Kefir, a thick drinking yogurt, is often served with breakfast.
Nightlife
Ashgabat has an opera and ballet theater, which shows both Russian and European works and a drama theater. There are also a few restaurants offering dancing.

Entry departure requirements

Note Visa regulations within the CIS are liable to change at short notice. Prospective travelers are advised to contact the nearest Turkmenistan Embassy well in advance of intended date of departure.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Valid passport required by all.

Visas

Visa required by all.

Note

Special permission must be sought by those wishing to visit border zones.

Types of visa and cost

Dependent upon nationality and duration of stay, contact the Embassy for details of prices (see Passport/Visa Information).

Validity

Subject to the nature of the visit and the discretion of the authorities in Turkmenistan.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Note

a) For those coming from countries without

Embassies

or Consulates of Turkmenistan, entry visas may be obtained for a maximum of 10 days on arrival, provided holding an invitation from a company in Turkmenistan; (b) Tourists should normally book through a recognized tour operator, who will obtain visas on their behalf; (c) Visitors intending to stay for more than three months must produce a certificate stating that they are HIV-negative.

Application requirements

(a) Two completed application forms; (b) Two passport-size photos; (c) Passport with at least one blank page, valid for six months from date of departure from Turkmenistan; (d) Covering letter explaining purpose of visit; (e) Fee; (f) Stamped, self-addressed envelope; (g) Letter of invitation approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan (not needed by visitors seeking a transit visa only).

Working days required

Three to seven.

Temporary residence

Applications for temporary residence to carry out business are handled by the Interior Ministry; those wishing to obtain temporary residence for other reasons should apply to the Consular Affairs Office at the Foreign Ministry.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone staying longer than 3 months

Departure tax

US$25. Nationals of CIS countries pay US$15 and nationals of Turkmenistan pay US$5. Embassies

Embassy of Turkmenistan in the UK

131 Holland Park Avenue, Kensington London W11 4UT
(previously 2nd Floor, St George's House, 14-17 Wells Street, London W1T 3PD, UK)
Website: https://uk.tmembassy.gov.tm/en/consular-services/visa-info
Tel: (020) 7255 1071.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 1000-1800; 1000-1700 (visa section).

Embassy of Turkmenistan in the USA

2207 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 588 1500.
Website: www.turkmenistanembassy.org
Travelers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets including places frequented by foreigners.
Travelers should carry an identity document at all times. Requests to produce proof of identity, for example by the police, are frequent.
Travelers should not overstay their visa. They should also register with the State Service of Turkmenistan for the Registration of Foreign Nationals if staying for more than three days.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkmenistan

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Turkmenistan.html

 

Currency

Turkmen Manat (TMM) = 100 tenge. Notes are in denominations of TMM10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 tenge.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited for foreigners. Import of foreign currency is unlimited subject to declaration, and export is limited to the amount declared on import.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0930-1730.

Currency exchange

The preferred hard currency is US Dollars and visitors carrying other currencies may find it hard to change them. It is advisable to take new, clean US Dollar notes in small denominations. Foreign currency can be changed at banks and major hotels. Foreigners are expected to pay all travel and hotel bills in hard currency, and prices bear little relation to what locals are expected to pay. Most packages are all-inclusive and extra payment for accommodation and meals is unnecessary.

Credit cards

Not generally accepted.

Travellers cheques

Should be in US currency, but are generally not accepted.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Ailandi(8)343+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Akdepe(8)344+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Annan(8)137+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Asenguli(8)245+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Ashgabat(8)12+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Babadaihan(8)136+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Baherden(8)131+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Bairamali(8)564+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Boldumsaz(8)346+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Buzmein(8)138+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Charjou(8)422+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Charkshanga(8)440+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Cheleken(8)240+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Darganata(8)445+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Daskho(8)322+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Djenev(8)446+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Dostluk(8)465+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Eloten(8)560+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Farap(8)448+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Garabekevul(8)443+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Garrigala(8)248+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gavandjik(8)247+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gazachak(8)438+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gekdepe(8)132+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gipchak(8)139+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gizilarbat(8)246+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Giziletrek(8)242+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Govurdak(8)431+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gubadag(8)345+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gulanli(8)559+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gumdag(8)241+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gushgi(8)561+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Halach(8)441+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Hodzambaz(8)442+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Jahti-el(8)557+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Kaka(8)133+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Keneurgench(8)360+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Kerki(8)444+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Kizilatrek(8)432+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Mary(8)522+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Mollanepes(8)558+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Murgap(8)565+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Nebit-Dag(8)243+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Niazovsk(8)348+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Sajat(8)447+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Sakar(8)449+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Sakarchagi(8)566+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Saragat(8)134+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Seidi(8)461+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Tagta(8)340+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Tagtabazar(8)568+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Tedjen(8)135+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Turkmenabat(8)428+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Turkmenbashi(8)349+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Turkmengala(8)569+ 5 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in Turkmenistan as the standards of care are low and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available the quality cannot be guaranteed

Blood supplies

Screening is inconsistent in Turkmenistan, therefore blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Medical care in Turkmenistan is limited. Due to the privatization of pharmacies, availability of non-prescription drugs has increased, but there is still a shortage of some medicines. Two clinics can conduct consultations and/or operations performed by foreign (German and Turkish) specialists.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

CDC reports a severe shortage of vaccines to combat diseases such as measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis - along with increased incidence of those diseases. Diphtheria occurs. Cases predominantly occur in urban areas, but increasing numbers have been reported in rural areas. Shortages of vaccine, antibiotics and diphtheria antitoxin are contributing to the problem. While proof of diphtheria immunity is not required for travel, travelers to areas where diphtheria is occurring should be up-to-date for diphtheria immunization. AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hikers should take protective measures against ticks.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Hemorrhagic fever (Crimean-Congo) - occurs Leishmaniasis (visceral) - prevalent Sandfly fever - prevalent Tick-borne relapsing fever - common Typhus - common Food-borne and water-borne illness: many are common throughout the area, in particular cholera and other watery diarrheas, the dysenteries, typhoid fever, viral hepatitis, and helminthic (parasitic worm) infections. Brucellosis - common Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Trachoma - common

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for all foreigners suspected of being HIV positive. A positive test result may lead to deportation. Foreigners with AIDS or who are HIV positive are prohibited from entering Turkmenistan. Foreign test results are accepted under certain conditions. Contact Turkmenistan's embassy for details.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

Media

Turkmenistan has an incredibly poor record when it comes to press freedom. Reporters Without Frontiers has said the President uses the media solely to "promote his own glory". The Turkmen Government controls all media, monitoring media outlets, operating printing presses and laying down editorial policies. Programs from Russian TV stations are censored. The Government controls Internet access, banning or censoring what it considers inappropriate sites and restricting use.
Press: The main newspapers in Ashgabat are Turkmenistan and Vatan (both in Turkmen) and Neitralnyi Turkmenistan (Russian).
TV: State-owned Turkmen TV operates four channels.
Radio: Two stations are operated by state-owned Turkmen radio.

Need help?

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Open Mon - Fri 8:30am - 6pm.
Sat 8:30am - 4pm.
(Calls may be monitored or recorded)

Contact details can be found in your policy documentation

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