Turkmenistan is a big shock. Especially coming from Iran. At first you feel like you are entering a country of the future, but later you realize this is one of the least tourist-friendly countries in the world, where everything is forbidden and where people are even scared of going out from home. The capital, Ashgabat, is mostly a pile of white marble buildings with no people on the street, whereas Turkmenabat has no appeal at all. The only feeling after spending 5 days in the country is just being sorry for the people living there. However, it has been interesting experiencing a totalitarian country similar to North Korea, if just to feel lucky not being Turkmen.
The taxi from Quchan dropped us on the Iranian side of the border. After a painless passport control and getting the stamp out of Iran, we crossed to the Turkmen side. Only 10 meters but you already felt you were entering Central Asia, as the police officers were all with Asian features. On the Iranian side there were no people at all, but on the Turkmen one quite a lot of people were waiting to cross as all the procedure was stopped due to some unknown reason. Anyway, after some 2 hours everything got normal, we payed 11 USD as an entrance tax (yes, besides the 55 USD you pay for your 5-day transit visa you still have to pay more at the border), we went through the gate and got a Turkmen stamp on the passport.
Born in Barcelona and raised in Olot, I've been interested in travelling since I was a child, when every Summer I crossed Spain from coast to coast with my parents. Listening to my siblings' stories about their trips all over the world also helped, as well as watching Around the World with Willy Fog on TV :)
As I grew up, and while I was still studying... read more