Q&A: Door to Hell

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A&M
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby A&M » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:49 pm

Has anyone opted for the yurts recently? We plan to go there by November 25, but I'm a bit afraid of potential low temperatures at night...

Thanks for your feedbacks!
Alan
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bigbeka
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby bigbeka » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:57 pm

Hi Alan,

I've heard there are houses along the highway which runs near the Door. And you can stop at those houses. Price is something like $10 a night for a bed in shared room. (Very high price, due to high demand and low supply). A friend of mine travelled last summer from Uzb to Iran.

You might wanna check on this again, just to make sure a spot to sleep in.
Google Earth Shows building within 3/5 radius from the Door, if you have your sleeping bag, people should be kind enough to let you into some room. Just my personal experience and when I don't wanna pay and test my luck. Always worked for me in Central Asia!

Best,
Beck
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steven
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby steven » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:44 am

Hi A&M, the yurts have decent sleeping bags, and they can give you 2 or 3 pair to make sure you stay warm. It will be cold, but you should be able to handle it. I would prefer it to the chaikhanas bigbeka mentions - you would still need to pay for transport, you are further away from the crater and they can be busy at night. There is no privacy there, it is just a pillow in a corner.
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zizi4
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby zizi4 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:13 pm

Quick summary (September 2016):
1. It's really NOT DIFFICULT to get to the crater. You can either walk, taking the only (and clearly visible) path on the right (driving from Ashgabat) before rail tracks, or rent a car.
2. sleeping is possible in one of the multiple chaichanas (tea-houses) along the road. There are approximately 10 (or slightly more) chaichanas there. We've asked our driver from Ashgabat to take us to one of them and he took us a bit farther from the path to Darvaza (it was 2nd or 3rd chaichana from the end on the right side of the road). We've been a bit angry at the beginning, but then blessing him, as apparently he knew what he's doing - our "hostess" was extremely helpful and let us sleep there for free (in contradiction to what some people are reporting about chaichanas closer to the crater, charging you 10-20 USD per person).
Also, our hostess arranged a car for us. Honestly, I don't remember the price exactly, but it might have been 80 manats per car (after bargaining, of course :-), which is around 20 USD. We've asked the driver to take us to the crater before dusk and wait with us there for about 1.5 h.
On the other hand, the lady running the chaichana suggested we could walk to the crater from her place, across the desert (2h walk, according to her) - she really didn't mean to make any business on us. Before coming to Turkmenistan I've put waypoints indicated by some other travellers into my map and it was perfectly matching:
beginning of trail to Darvaza: 40.194647 N, 58.41366 E; Darvaza crater: 40.252611 N, 58.439389 E.
If you decide to walk from the main road, you cannot get lost. There is basically only one path across the desert, I'd say max 5 km long, and since there are cars driving there every single day, the surface is quite hard already (not as paved road, but walking is possible). The path is dividing just before the crater, so you should keep left, but even if you take the wrong one, you can't miss the fire hole!
There is possibility to sleep in the tents close to the crater (you can simply rent them, they're already set up there - it's the only thing visible in the crater's vincity, next to the "yurt", so you cannot miss it). Unfortunately I don't know the price, but according to the locals, you don't need any reservation upfront.
In summary, I suggest to go to the chaichana first and arrange details via locals (BUT keep away from the chaichanas closest to the crater). BTW, they even had perfectly frozen vodka for some funny money, and the best shashlyks we had during our trip! They've started to prepare them only in the evening, when drivers stopped for a rest.
Hope it helps! Darvaza is not that difficult to get to on your own, and definitely the most "touristic" place in Turkmenistan - people are already used to tourists and you can meet approximately 5 other foreigners there! ;-)
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rakeshogi
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby rakeshogi » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:14 am

A rather trivial question. I've heard about poisonous spiders near the crater. Is it safe to camp near the crater, given the spiders?
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby steven » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:18 am

I happened to have a conversation about that with a guide with 10 years experience. He said he hadn't heard of anyone getting bitten yet.

Tarantulas and black widows are to be found in most of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan's remote deserts. There are also snakes and scorpions. Best not to consider it too much and zip up the tent properly!
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Wahlsted
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby Wahlsted » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:49 pm

I'm planing a trip to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in May/June and will cross the border at Dashoguz and want to visit the gas crate on the way to/from Ashgabat.

I have been looking at the Turkmen railways timetable, and there is two trains a day Ashgabat - Dashoguz stopping in Ishoguz, which I have understood is close by the Darwaza gas crater. The first train goes Ashgabat 12.50 - Ishoguz 18.23 and the second Ishoguz 02.03 - Dashoguz 09.48. In opposite direction the times are Dashoguz 12.00 - Ishoguz 18.33 and Ishoguz 22.58 - Ashgabat 05.15.

That seem to be a good time to arrive to see the "door to hell" around sunset, and then continue with the sleeper train instead of camping by the crater. Well, a little to early arrival in Ashgabat southbound, or a little to late departure northbound but still ok.

Does it seem reasonable? Have you heard anyone do it that way?
Is it far to walk from the station to a place where someone offers a drive to/from the crater? And is 18.33 - 22.58 or 18.23 - 02.03 enough time to get there see it and get back?

/Johan
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steven
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby steven » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:59 am

Hi johan,

I haven't heard of anyone do it, but I also have looked at the train table and thought: that is an idea! So I think, yes, it is a good idea. Getting into Darwaza by car is easy, getting out is difficult, you have to be lucky with a car passing by who wants to pick you up.

So train is a very good alternative, I think.

The train station is close to the place where cars are standing to get you to the crater, GPS points are mentioned on the site. Let's say it takes you 1 hour to get off the train and negotiate a car. The drive to the crater is only 10 minutes.

This means you still have 3 hours to look at it before the train leaves again. Plenty of time, I think.
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GiacomoLuppi
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby GiacomoLuppi » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:39 am

Wahlsted wrote:I'm planing a trip to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in May/June and will cross the border at Dashoguz and want to visit the gas crate on the way to/from Ashgabat.

I have been looking at the Turkmen railways timetable, and there is two trains a day Ashgabat - Dashoguz stopping in Ishoguz, which I have understood is close by the Darwaza gas crater. The first train goes Ashgabat 12.50 - Ishoguz 18.23 and the second Ishoguz 02.03 - Dashoguz 09.48. In opposite direction the times are Dashoguz 12.00 - Ishoguz 18.33 and Ishoguz 22.58 - Ashgabat 05.15.

That seem to be a good time to arrive to see the "door to hell" around sunset, and then continue with the sleeper train instead of camping by the crater. Well, a little to early arrival in Ashgabat southbound, or a little to late departure northbound but still ok.

Does it seem reasonable? Have you heard anyone do it that way?
Is it far to walk from the station to a place where someone offers a drive to/from the crater? And is 18.33 - 22.58 or 18.23 - 02.03 enough time to get there see it and get back?

/Johan


I was looking for this information, thank you!
I will do this trip in the end of March, from Dashoguz to Ashgabat and stop in Derweze. I will keep you informed about the situation :)
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GiacomoLuppi
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Postby GiacomoLuppi » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:04 am

Sorry, Turkmenistan denied my Visa request, so I changed my plans
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