Turkmenistan is world’s second most closed country, just after North Korea. I have no idea what it has to offer except amazing failed soviet experiment darvaza crater and interesting capital Ashgabat. Tourist visas are offered for thefty price and you are accompanied all the time, but you might have a small change of getting a 5 days transit visa.
Apparently this year approval rate for Turkmen transit visa dropped from 50% to 10%. I met heaps of people applying for visa and only 3 with visa approved. You have relatives there? This is your problem, we just don’t want other people to visit our sacred land. Bikers, motorbikers, overlander … WHY DON’T YOU FLY??? Why you want to cross Turkmenistan?? WE HAVE DON’T WANT ANYONE HERE!
When I dropped my papers in Bishkek, for a route Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan via Caspian sea (which is not a Uzbekistan to Iran where “you have a tiny bit bigger chance to have it approved”); they were more than clear, there is another route I can take:
– “Why don’t you take a ferry from Aktau?”
– I need a visa for Kazakhstan also, so why not to take a ferry from Turkmenistan? I have also been to Kazakhstan recently …
– “So what you want to do in Turkmenistan?”
Luckily, they allow to pick a visa at another embassy. They told me to call back in a week:
– “No answer about your visa, call tomorrow”.
This went on for another week. After a week they changed to:
– “No answer about your visa yet, call in one hour”.
After a day less than 3 weeks I was finally told my application was denied with no reason (like all other people) …
Looks like the Turkmen embassy in Bishkek was the closest I’ve ever been to Turkmenistan.
I’m pretty sure next time I’m gonna apply for Turkmen visa:
– Have you ever been denied to enter Turkmenistan?
– Why were you denied?
– Denied with no reason.
– Oh, if you can’t tell us the reason of our denial – YOU ARE DENIED ALREADY!
I love you also, Turkmenistan!
Time to get Kazakh visa again!
Pretty much all embassies in Central Asia are OMFG level, like they are giving some free stuff in front of their doors. It is not so much about bureaucracy (this can be just as much annoying as you let it to be), than getting to the embassy and deliver the papers. Yes, they do ask for some ridiculous papers, but I literally give no shit about them. Luckily I’m designer 🙂
Thank you sPAIN for a good training what a bureaucracy can be like, even Central Asians can’t reach your level when it comes to papers or sometimes even queues/waiting! I know that FRIDAY means FRIDAY and there is no way to convince consul for Thursday. Sorry mate, you are just losing everyone’s time.
Photo is from Turkmen mansion in Taskent, Uzbekistan.