Turkmenistan (and the Gates of Hell)


John Ward
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Oct 18 - 23, 2023
Group size: 1 - 22
Turkmenistan (and the Gates of Hell)

John Ward
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
  • LinkedIn verified

Oct 18 - 23, 2023
Group size: 1 - 22

About this trip

Join My Turkmenistan Tour, including the GATES OF HELL!

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 here it is. 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. 

Why visit Turkmenistan?

For hardcore travelers, there are 2 main reasons. It's one of the least visited countries in the world, which is already pretty cool. And then of course, Turkmenistan is famous for their Gates of Hell. And 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 cool overnight train to traverse the country, 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!

What are the Gates of Hell?

The Derweze gas crater, also known as the Door to 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.


You're welcome to land any time on October 18th (or morning of the 19th, with me) and my team will meet you at the airport. 

Flights to Turkmenistan are super limited. And the few that do exist arrive at awful times. Most of us will probably fly via Istanbul or Dubai, and land at a god-awful hour, similar to my Mauritania trips. 

Don't worry, airport pick-ups are still organised even if it's the middle of the night!


Safe doesn't even come close. 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"

What’s included

  • Letter of Invitation
    And all help with the visa, so you can get it when you land in the airport
  • All transport
    Includes buses, over night trains, and even a domestic flight!
  • Local guide
    Artem, my buddy from my first time here
  • Western Guide
  • Night train
    Ashgabat to Turkmenabashi sleeper train
  • Domestic flight
    The train one-way will be enough, we're cheating on the way back.
  • All accomodation
    It can be a little rough and ready but it's in hotels
  • Camping
    One night by the crater (tents and sleeping bags provided)
  • Visa fee
    Pay on arrival depending on nationality. $50-$100 for most people
  • COVID costs
    Right now, Turkmenistan is requiring testing for flights etc, so we may have to test occasionally.
  • Video/Photo fees
    Officially you need these when asked, you may have to pay a fee (I've never had to though)
  • Lunches and Dinners
    We'll eat in local places, expect maybe $10 a meal or so. Can be less if you're on a budget.

Available options


DAY 1 (October 18)
Arrive in Turkmenistan

Strictly speaking the actual tour starts on Day 1, on October 19th. 

However, due to the nature of flights, I think everyone will probably arrive late on the evening of the 18th/early AM on on the 19th. 

I am flying on the Turkish air flight from Istanbul on the 18th, landing on the 19th at 02.10. I'm sure you will all be on that flight, or the Dubai one landing at 3am. See you at the airport!

Your Organizer

John Ward
Irish blogger @ onestep4ward.com. Every country in the world (yaay!), now onto the Seven Summits!