What To Expect On A Turkmenistan Tour
By far the most secretive and unexplored of Central Asia’s 'stans, Turkmenistan became famous and trendy destination for the truly bizarre dictatorship of Saparmyrat Niyazov, who ruled as ‘Turkmenbashi’ (‘head of the Turkmen’), until his death in 2006. Niyazov enclosed this little-known desert republic with magnificent monuments and golden colour statues of himself. Although several of these statues have since been pull to pieces, plenty of visitors still think of Turkmenistan as a sort of totalitarian theme park. But the least-visited of Central Asia’s countries is far more than this and has much to offer in terms of entertainment – it's an ancient land of great spirituality, beautiful tradition and natural beauty.
Why you should go?
Think Middle Eastern friendliness – after having three shots of vodka. Being well off the tourist track, you’ll find honestly curious people, proud to let you in on their captivating history and amazing traditions, and layer you with the best things in life.
Central Asia tour has long been the junction of empires from the ancient Persians through Genghis Khan, imperial Britain and Russia, and most freshly as the southernmost tip of the Soviet Union. If you are thinking about best Turkmenistan holiday package which would provide you the best experience then go for Central Asia Guided Tours; best place to steal the right deal.
Type of Culture!
Turkmen culture is far more than just Niyazov and his successor, current president Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, although there’s adequately of informative books describing their culture and more that you can buy to remember them long after you’ve left.
Here you’ll find pilgrims’ shrines scattered all around the country, with locals stopping to worship, leave stuffs for luck, and joining the rituals, like walking around towers in circles.
Bread is sacred to the Turkmen, so it’s only touched and broken by hand, and never, ever thrown out. Towards Niyazov’s last, furious days, he even renamed it Gurbansoltan, after his mother.
While there are lots of local cuisine, like plov (very tasty Uzbek rice dish), and Russian picks including caviar from the Caspian Sea, open-coal barbecued meat, Turkmenistan’s specialty is shashlyk, and vegetables that take on an almost magical delectable, washed down, of course, with beer and vodka.
What to expect?
With such a rare history, be ready for a few rough travel moments. The border crossing is a different experience in itself, and the protectors will almost certainly go through your luggage – my friend and I even found ourselves having to represent the role of the contraceptive pill, and let the guards play with our iPhones and show them photos of life back home.
In a repressive political climate, it won’t come as much of a wonder that the police can be sensitive about taking pictures, mainly around government buildings in Ashgabat. So it would be better to ask your travel guide first, if you have any doubt about the small things.
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