Turkmenistan is a Muslim country in Central Asia bordered by Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea to the west. Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan is the largest city with a population of over 5.5 million. You can get to the country by air and land. There is some more information about public transport in Turkmenistan and the capital.
Public transport in Turkmenistan: Air flights
The only international airport is Saparmurat Turkmenbashi airport in Ashgabat. The terminal was built in 1990, now it is a modern building that is rarely overcrowded. Limited amenities are available for passengers. Commercially important persons’ lounge for 20$ offers additional facilities and comfort for passengers. Still, to get access to CIP lounge the passenger should get permission in advance. National Turkmenistan Airlines offers direct flights to London twice a week, Abu-Dhabi, Bangkok, Dehli, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris, etc.
The flights to large cities of Turkmenistan like Turkmenbashi, Mary, Dashogus and Turkmenabat are very cheap and most crowded. Turkmenistan Airlines also provides regular flights to the capitals of Central Asian countries. Because of the low price, the flights are of high demand and the tickets need to be bought in advance.
Public transport in Turkmenistan: Train
One of the most popular and budget ways to travel about the countries of the Great Silk Road is train. Recently the country got brand new trains from China that are clean, modern and perfectly suitable for long trips. Railway connects all the major cities of Turkmenistan. The trains have dining and sleeping cars with hard and soft seating.
The part of the North-South Transitional Corridor that stretches for 677 km connects Turkmenistan with Kazakhstan, Iran and the Persian Gulf.
Public transport in Turkmenistan: Car rental and taxis
A couple of years ago there were no official or licensed taxi services and only private cars served as taxis. In 2018 the situation has much changed. The official taxi service almost completely replaced private taxis. For passengers, it was safer yet the price was fixed while with private taxis there was a chance to bargain. Another innovation in Ashgabat was online taxi service “TIZ.TAXI”. The mobile application has all the functions of similar online taxis like tracking the route, checking the current tariff for the route and contacting the driver.
It seemed the innovations would ease the life of residents and guests. Yet recently there are more and more complaints about the shortage or even absence of taxis. Moreover, according to a new rule, official local taxis are forbidden to drive out of Ashgabat. This has brought to overcrowded buses and intercity transport. The situation is much better in other large cities; official and private taxis are always available.
Car rental is available in Ashgabat. An international driving license with at least a year of experience is required when renting a car. The roads connecting major cities are mostly narrow and poor illuminated so the drivers should be ready for extreme rides. For safety, it is advised to rent a car with a driver that is experienced on local roads.
Public transport in Turkmenistan: Bus, trolleybus, and marshrutka
Urban and intercity transport is in better condition. There are 70 routes with more than 800 modern blue, white and green buses in Ashgabat. In spite of the number of buses, the local transport is often overcrowded especially during rush hours. Local transport is available from 6 am to 10 pm.
Intercity transport between the major cities is also provided by modern vehicles while the remote areas are provided with older mini-vans and marshrutkas. All in all, it is cheaper and faster to get from Ashgabat to other cities by bus rather than by train.
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