Turkmenistan (and the Gates of Hell)


John Ward
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16 reviews
Sep 16 - 21, 2024
Group size: 1 - 24
Turkmenistan (and the Gates of Hell)

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

Sep 16 - 21, 2024
Group size: 1 - 24

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 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 September 2024 Turkmenistan tour. JOIN ME!

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!

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.


Don't worry, it's easy.

You can fly via Istanbul or Dubai (maybe there'll be more options by September 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!


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"

What’s included

  • Letter of Invitation
    And all help with the visa, so you can get it when you land in the airport. THIS IS THE REAL VALUE OF THE WHOLE TRIP to be honest
  • All transport
    Includes buses, over night trains, and even a domestic flight!
  • Local guide
    Artem or Aziz, 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 and flying to Ashgabat (it's included too!)
  • All accomodation
    3* hotels in Ashgabat and Turkmenibashi
  • Camping
    One night by the crater (tents and sleeping bags provided)

What’s not included

  • Visa fee
    Pay on arrival depending on nationality. $50-$100 for most people ($80 for most)
  • COVID costs
    One covid test when you land in Ashgabat ($31)
  • 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 Packages

Trip Price
9 left
Deposit: $180

Available options


DAY 1 (September 16th)
Arrive in Turkmenistan

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 SEPTEMBER 16TH (we have a hotel booked for SEP 16TH night as part of the trip), YOU WANT TO BOOK THE FLIGHTS THAT LAND ON SEPTEMBER 17TH, AROUND 2AM. If, by a miracle, more flights become available, by all means land anytime on the 16th if you wish. 

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 September 17th.

Your Organizer

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


Everything about Mauritania was perfect; the group, the experience, the country and its people. Nothing that I expected but everything that I wanted. Thank you Johnny and team.
By Aavishkar M for Mauritania & The Iron Ore Train on Dec 30, 2023
I absolutely loved this tour of Mauritania. The people in our group were phenomenal, the locals are probably the most kind and welcoming people I’ve ever met. And the train was epic of course :) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
By Courtney J for Mauritania & The Iron Ore Train on Dec 18, 2023
Amazing in every way!! Spending time exploring an amazing country with fantastic people. We always felt looked after so well. Brilliant trip!!
By Janice B for Mauritania & The Iron Ore Train on Dec 14, 2023
I admittedly don't usually love tours, but Johnny nailed every part of this trip once again and he has a brilliant skill in making everyone feel included while having one of the wildest adventures in a friendly and fun country.
By Anthony M for Mauritania & The Iron Ore Train on Dec 14, 2023
A jam-packed trip that took us through the capital, a night train and other fantastic cities in Turkmenistan. Johnny managed to keep it casual and fun while making sure we were all on time. This trip is way more than just The Gates of Hell, it's a crash course into Turkmen culture.
By Anthony M for Turkmenistan (and the Gates of Hell) NOVEMBER on Dec 14, 2023
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