According to statistics, Turkmenistan is the most expensive country in Central Asia for tourists. The country requires either a transit visa (35$) or a tourist visa (96$) to enter. If you are planning to visit the country during your tour in the region, check the information about the prices and currency in Turkmenistan.
Currency in Turkmenistan
The official currency of Turkmenistan is Turkmenistan New Manat (TMT) that was put into circulation in 2009. Before TMT the country used Manat. Current denominations of TMT are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. There is often a confusion with old and new manats. The prices are often indicated in old currency so one should always specify it before paying.
The country is a cashed-based society so it is highly advised to keep the cash. Most services are paid in the national currency and only a few large hotels accept US dollars and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard). International ATMs are found only in Ashgabat. The withdrawal charge is 3% for each transaction so this is not the good option either.
US dollars are the best choice for Turkmenistan; still, euros can also be converted. Exchange offices are located in large cities. Euros can be exchanged only in Ashgabat. One more thing to keep in mind is that sometimes marked or damaged notes are refused in exchange offices. The black market is quite popular in Turkmenistan that offers attractive rates. Still, there is always a risk for currency exchange in the black market. The last tip to keep in mind is that Turkmenistan accepts only new 100$ bills released in 2013; the older version is not converted.
Prices in Turkmenistan
One of the most expensive things in Turkmenistan is cigarettes. The government has started a new project to reduce the number of smokers. Currently, Turkmenistan has the lowest rate of tobacco use in the world. Cigarettes are very expensive and hard to find; tourists are allowed to import no more than two sealed packs.
The prices for accommodation are higher than expected. There are very expensive and overrated hotels that are not quite suitable for budget travellers. The cheapest option is a place in a hostel for 10$. A double room in a cheap hotel will cost 50$, the price for a decent hotel room is about 70$ and a double room in a good hotel costs 300$.
The prices for food rose over the past year; still, for tourists restaurants and cafes are cheap in Turkmenistan. Combo meal in fast food costs about 9$, McMeal at McDonald's costs 6$. Lunch in a business district is 17$, a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant with drinks is 49$. One-way ticket of local transport in Ashgabat is 0.14$, tariff for taxi is 0,85$ and 0,40 for 1km.
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