Join My Turkmenistan Tour, including the GATES OF HELL in October 2024!

Turkmenistan Tour time! Ever since I first visited Turkmenistan, and made a very shaky youtube video about the Gates of Hell, I’ve had people email me asking if I could finally organise a onestep4ward trip there, so after waiting for them to be the LAST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to finally open after COVID, I did just that, in 2023. And it was f*cking amazing! What can I say? These kinda cool countries attract epic groups of people. So yeah, burning craters, night trains, cheap Russian cognacs, and the trip of a lifetime.

When I did my ‘every country in the world’ trip, I got rejected multiple times from Turkmenistan. FINALLY, I met a legend who had some contacts and he got me in. I stayed in contact with him, and now we organised a couple of group trips there. And he had a 100% success rate for our visas! So, we’re going back, this time for the October 2024 Turkmenistan tour. JOIN ME!

  • If you wanna book before it sells out, and can’t be bothered to read all the fine print – you can book IT HERE
  • https://tri.ps/5YNdq
Turkmenistan tour
Here is a few of us on our Turkmenistan tour, just as the sunset by the Gates of Hell

One of the least visited countries in the world

Turkmenistan is actually the 10th least visited country in the world, with a tricky visa situation and a government who couldn’t care less about tourist dollars. So historically it hasn’t been the easiest place to visit. That’s where I come in though folks, so jump on board and let’s go together.

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Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan (can you spot me in the middle?)

Why visit Turkmenistan?

For hardcore travelers, there are 2 main reasons.

  1. It’s one of the least visited countries in the world, which is already pretty cool.
  2. And then of course, Turkmenistan is famous for their Gates of Hell. So my Turkmenistan tour, of course, focuses on that. But that’s not the only reason to visit Turkmenistan. For me there are 3 epic places to visit in this secretive central Asian nation.
  • The Gates of Hell. Come and see them soon! The rumours are that they’re due to close it any time!
  • Ashgabat, the futuristic capital city. One of the strangest cities in the world. Just wait and see.
  • Yangy Kala Canyon. Central Asia’s answer to the grand canyon, and including a very, very cool old soviet sleeper train overnight, traversing the country (and possibly accompanied by some cheap booze), to the coast of the Caspian Sea, to reach it!

There are some other spots around the country that are historic, and hold cultural significance too. But my trips are more focused on crazy adventures so I’ve tailored this tour to include the 3 coolest places and try to keep the cost, and time, down. I know a lot of the people who travel with me have the same outlook, so I hope this works for all you guys too!

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

What are the Gates of Hell?

The Dervaza gas crater, also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, is a natural gas field in Turkmenistan that collapsed into an underground cavern in 1971, creating a large crater approximately 70 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep.

In an effort to prevent the release of toxic gases, Soviet scientists set the crater on fire, hoping that the gas would burn off within a few weeks. However, the fire has been burning continuously for over 50 years, creating a spectacular and eerie sight that draws visitors from around the world.

The area around the crater is now a popular tourist attraction and has been dubbed the “Gates of Hell” due to the infernal flames that never go out.

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Me last year, at the Turkmenistan gates of hell

TURKMENISTAN TOUR DATES

October 2nd* to October 7th, 2024. (6 days, 5 nights).

October 2nd* means that you’ll have an airport transfer and hotel room waiting for you when you arrive in Ashgabat in the middle of the night on OCTOBER 3RD (which you will, as there are only 2 flights at the moment, one from Dubai and one from Istanbul and both land at those times!).

The actual trip briefing and tour will begin at breakfast on OCTOBER 3RD morning.

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TURKMENISTAN TOUR PRICE

$1799USD.

  • The non-refundable deposit to secure spot is $180.
  • Full payment due on August 1st, 2024.
  • Price based on per person sharing (don’t worry, you can come solo and I’ll match you up with a buddy)
  • Single supplement available at $399, for those who want their own room.

What’s included?

  • Letter of invitation for the visa, and registration. And application, and all paperwork for the visa. We do all this behind the scenes, so you simply turn up at the airport and pay the visa fee ($80).
  • All transport. A/C transportation service as per program & group (car, minivan, bus)
  • 4WD cars for off road parts. *4 WD cars based 4 passengers in a car
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Western guide (me!)
  • Sites tickets at Akhal Teke horse farm
  • Overnight Soviet Sleeper train tickets Ashgabat – Turkmenbashi
  • Domestic flight ticket: Turkmenbashi- Ashgabat
  • All accomodation
  • All breakfasts
  • All activities
  • Camping at the Gates of Hell crater
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The famous Ashgabat ferris wheel on your Turkmenistan tour

What’s not included?

  • Visa consular fee (cost depends on nationality, paid at the airport on arrival, normally around $80 payable in cash at Ashgabat airport, upon arrival)
  • PCR test cost, other COVID regulations as per government regulations ($31)
  • Photo/video fees
  • Additional Meals (expect $10 or so per meal)
  • Gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above
  • Additional hotel nights (if you arrive in the middle of the night, you may want to book an extra night before).

HOW ABOUT THE TURKMENISTAN VISA?

We’ve got you! Visiting Turkmenistan is amazing but getting a Turkmen visa is not. It’s one of the toughest visas IN THE WORLD. And often gets rejected.

BUT…. you avoid all those headaches by going on a Turkmenistan tour with me. My guys will register us, organise the LOI (letter of invitations), process all our documents and all-being-well, we simply turn up at the airport and pay the fee. We have yet to have any rejections, and long may that continue.

I was previously rejected twice when I tried to apply solo. Eventually I cracked and used my fixer, and got in the country with no problems. We, as a group, now use the same team. Perfecto.

HOW TO GET TO TURKMENISTAN TO JOIN THE TOUR?!

Don’t worry, it’s easy.

You can fly via Istanbul or Dubai (maybe there’ll be more options by October 2024, but right now, that’s it). They all land at horrible hours, between 2am and 4am (similar to my Mauritania tours). This makes the itinerary sound a little confusing, but bear with me, it’s honestly not! Check our the Turkmenistan Itinerary below to make sense of it all.

Also, don’t worry, my team will be there with airport pick-ups, regardless what time you arrive!

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MY TURKMENISTAN ITINERARY

Day 1 (October 2nd, 2024):

Ok, due to the weird flight arrivals times (at 3am) this can get a little confusing, so here we go.

Even thought DAY 1 OF THE TOUR IS OFFICIALLY OCTOBER 2ND (we have a hotel booked for Oct 2nd night as part of the trip), YOU WANT TO BOOK THE FLIGHTS THAT LAND ON OCTOBER 3RD, AROUND 2AM. My team will pick you up from the airport, and you’ll be in the hotel by 4am. 6 hours sleep. And then the tour starts properly on the morning of October 3rd.

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Monumen Arch of Independence in sunset. Ashkhabad. Turkmenistan.

Day 2 (October 3rd)

Wakey wakey. After 5/6 hours sleep, we have a morning briefing in our hotel in Ashgabat where you can here my drone on about toilets, health and safety and money for 20 minutes.

Then we have a quick morning Ashgabat city tour, before we transfer to the main event the Darvaza Crater AKA the Gates of Hell!

250KM through the Turkmeni desert, the Central Karakum Sands, in our private 4WD vehicles. We will arrive at the ancient Inguz line of the desert where we’ll explore the various craters. One full of water, one full of mud, then we’ll make our way before sunset to the fiery crater.

We’ll pitch up, maybe have smuggled a bottle or 2 to share, and enjoy sunset at one of the world’s most unique destinations, the Gates to Hell. We’ll camp here all night, so bring warm clothes!

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My 2023 Turkmenistan tour

Day 3; October 4th

Brekkie in the desert. Then we drive back to Ashgabat. We’ll head back to our hotel where they kindly allow us to shower (they even have an old school sauna and gym). We’ll take a shower here after a night by the crater, have a spot of lunch in a fancy Ashgabat cafe.

We then head to the train station for one of my favourite things to do in unique countries, an overnight train across the whole country towards Turkmenbashi in an ancient Soviet train. God this is fun. Alcohol is illegal on the trains (cough, cough).

Ashgabat | Turkmenistan
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Turkmenistan tour, NIGHT TRAIN!

Day 4; October 5th

We’ll wake up in Turkmenbashi and have a short sightseeing tour where you’ll get a chance to have your first sight of the Caspian Sea.

We’ll then hop back in 4WD vehicles and make our way to Central Asia’s proud answer to the Grand

Canyon, Yangy Kala. This canyon was the former floor of the Tethys sea, and over time, millions of years created the current ‘design’ of unusual forms and multicolor pictures. We’ll chill here for a bit, soak up just where in the world we are, before we head back to Turkmenbashi to overnight in our Caspian Sea resort.

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Me at Yang Kala Canyon

Day 5; October 6th

Back to the airport folks (god it feels like we live in these places!).

We fly back to Ashgabat, check out the UNESCO world heritage site of Nisa Fortress, and the world famous Turkmen horses, then we check into our hotels once more. We have a free afternoon to explore the city, or recover from a fast paced few days. Then this evening we’ll have dinner in Ashgabat’s fanciest restaurant (don’t worry, due to the black market, this will cost about $10!).

Overnight at our Ashgabat hotel.

Day 6; October 7th

We’re out of here. Again, the way the flights work, we will check out of our hotels around 2am for an early transfer for the 4am flights on October 7th. Airport time.

IS TURKMENISTAN SAFE?

Safe doesn’t even come close. One of the safest countries in the world. Perhaps even THE safest country in the world.

I’ll avoid getting political as the permits are hard enough to get, but let’s just say everyone obeys the law in Turkmenistan, and leave it at that. As we say in Ireland, “safe as houses

HOW TO BOOK YOUR SPOT!

You can either DM me directly on instagram.com/onestep4ward, email me on johnny ‘at’ onestep4ward.com or simply use the famous ‘WETRAVEL’ platform to instantly reserve your Turkmenistan Tour spot HERE, that way you can use credit card etc.

Please note, to confirm your spot, there is a 10% non-refundable deposit, of $180USD.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY TURKMENISTAN TOURS

I hadn’t been back to Turkmenistan since 2016, until I ran my 2 group tours in 2023. I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought, I’ll repay my fixer by bringing a group and sending some money his way. But then we went, and had probably the best group trip of my life. SOOOO MUCH FUN! Very little sleep, but epic times all day every day!

It’s closed to most people most of the time, furthermore it’s been closed for more than 3 years thanks to their pretty heavy-handed COVID restrictions. It literally just opened Q3 2023 so even coming in 2024 we’re be amongst the first people to get back in this secret nation. So let’s do it, see you in Ashgabat!

Please not, should any of us have your visas rejected, or the country close again due to Covid, I’ll give back all the money that our fixers give back to me. So most of it, minus visa costs, letters of invitation etc. But, on the off chance they fill in the Gates of Hell in the meantime, there’s nothing we can do, so hurry hurry!

SIGN UP FOR MY TURKMENISTAN TOUR HERE:

https://tri.ps/5YNdq

turkmenistan tour

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