Q&A: Door to Hell

All about Turkmenistan
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by yun »

Oh no GiacomoLuppi, I was looking forward to your update.. It seems like they are really strict in granting transit visa. Mind sharing your transit points (Entry and exit borders), and where did you apply at?
GiacomoLuppi wrote:Sorry, Turkmenistan denied my Visa request, so I changed my plans
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by brigante32 »

Cheap accomodation (10 manats near Darvaza). Aprox. 40.196333, 58.411648 is czajchana (I don't know how to translate to English)). There is typicall place to eat and rest in Central Asia. Owners near Czajchana have a small trailer with two places. It's nice beacause you can eat and prepare to walk to Darvaza and after trip sleep there).
Near (aprox. 150 metters) is a bus station so you can get a bus Dashogouz-Asghabat. In Czajchana told us it will be 10 a.m on a bus station told us around 12 am.
We choose hitch-hiking.
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by galax »

Just came back from Door to Hell this morning, some updates

In Ashgabat I could not find the transport to Derweze from Dasoguz bazaar, asked around they told me to try 3 blocks away road side, failed to find anything. Asked around again, locals told me to go international bus terminal, however when I got there the last bus (12 noon) was gone. I went back to Dasoguz bazaar to try my luck again, by luck a guy (who worked in Derweze before) told me to go somewhere away from city, where shared taxi gathers. It is along the same road to international bus terminal, after about 1.2km same left side, there is a building, Google map it's exactly opposite to 'Rd of 9th Km' (not sure if that's the old bus terminal? But I didn't see any bus), in the carpark all private cars gather, drivers shout out destinations and they are not unfamiliar with foreigner. I jumped on one who offered 80 manat (the local guy told me 30 to 40 max), with 4 ppl I think it's easy to bargain down for whole car, but after searching for hours and it's already 4:30pm, I finally accepted 50

Surprisingly it took only 2h15m to arrive Derweze, road side hut arranged transport to crater USD10, stayed in the small hut walkable from crater USD10 (there are 3 huts all owned by the same old man Baci phone 865113891, a nice old man, he can also arrange pickup from road side to crater / his hut too)

The other morning tried to catch passing by taxi but at 7:45am traffic was light, hut lady told me bus at 10am, finally hitchhiked a heavy load truck back to Ashgabat
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by aroch200e »

Hello all, i am looking for fresh info on darvaza crater. Is it still burning? I heard that it should be lit out one day and haven't seen recent tourist reports. Is the track to go there complicated to drive? We have a Land Rover but we are not hardcore desert sand drivers! How long is the trip from Ashgabat? We will be there on the 18th of july, are other caravanistan travelers around at that time? Cheers!
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by centralasiafun »

An update, early August 2017.

Visited by public transport, on a 5-day transit visa. Buses leave from the shiny new Ashgabat International Bus Station in the north of the city.

Two morning busses from Ashgabat pass Darwaza each day:
07:00 to Daşoguz
08:00 to Konye-Urgench

Price is 13.5 manat, buy tickets the day before at the station. The 08:00 bus arrives in Darwaza at 10:55.

The bus stops for toilet/lunch/dropoff at a chaikhana (40°15’37.9”N 58°23’13.8E), a few kilometers north of the Ichoguz train station/crater vehicle turnoff. From this chaikhana it’s a 1.5 hour walk east-southeast. Used GPS. Brought LOTS of water and food. It was hot, and an umbrella for the sun was FANTASTIC.

I was prepared to walk back to the chaikhana on the road to sleep if there was nobody at the crater — but there were tour groups present & I was able to get dinner, a sleeping place in a yurt, breakfast and a ride back to Ashgabat for $25.
Last edited by centralasiafun on Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by bigbeka »

Nice plan, thanks for sharing. Will give it a try.
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by Roobens »

Bad organization I know, I could have spent less... I was on a transit visa, I was in Ashgabat, and I had to leave the country the day after. I found two other people at my hotel who were also going to Darvaza that day, and they were also leaving the country the day after at the same border! We asked our hotel if they could arrange anything for us.

We paid $120 each. A guy came at the hotel, picked us up, drove to Darvaza, had a tent for us and set it up. Dinner was incuded (bread and chicken basically). The day after the same driver drove us to Konye Urgench.

We paid the price but we didn't have to go through all the hassle (find a shared taxi, walk from Darvza to the crater (or find a jeep), buy a tent, buy food and drinks, find a car going to Konye Urgench the day after, etc...)
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by elmayablanco »

I entered Turkmenistan in Dashoguz on a 5-day transit visa with the intention of going to the gas crater and Ashgabat before getting to Turkmenbashi to take the ferry. There was a mandatory shuttle across no-man's land (8000 Sum or $2). Turkmenistan entry tax was $14. $2 taxi to the train station/Ashgabat taxi stand in Dashoguz.

I decided to try taking the night train from Darvaza (Ichoguz) to Ashgabat, so after exchanging money at the nearby bazaar ($1=6.8 manat) I went to the train station ticket office (closed for lunch from 12-1pm). I bought a ticket for train 94, which is the 3pm train to Ashgabat. They weren't able to book a ticket from Ichoguz, so I bought a ticket from Dashoguz to Ashgabat (46 manat for kupe). No English was spoken at the train station.

I then went to the shared taxi stand (100 meters down the road to the right when you leave the station), where I was mobbed by drivers. I paid $15 for a seat in a car to Darvaza, which was probably a bit high, but I was short on time and wanted to get going.

After about three hours, the car dropped me off at the chaikhana just south of the turnoff for the train station, which is across from the road to the train station. I arranged for them to take me to the station to see what time the train would stop, then to the crater, then pick me up from the crater and take me back to the station for $20 (again, I think this could be lower, but sunset was approaching and I wanted to get there quickly). I also got a few cups of tea.

I spent about 3.5 hours at the crater, which was enough for me. I was picked up from the crater at 10:30 and arrived at the train station at 10:45 (the station manager had told me to arrive by 11:00pm). The train arrived at just after 11, I got onboard with no problem, and the train left the station at 11:25.

We arrived in Ashgabat at 5am. I slept a couple hours at the station before buying my ticket on to Turkmenbashi for the same day at 19:00 (ticket office opens at 7:00, "ques" start forming by 6:45), 45 manat in kupe.

After spending the day walking around Ashgabat (if you need to go online while there, go to the Oguzkent Hotel and have a five star breakfast (70 manat/$20) and/or use the wifi which you can access using username: white Password: city), I got on the train. We arrived in Turkmenbashi at 9:50 the next morning (we were delayed about an hour at some point during the journey). I went straight to the passenger ferry terminal and had my name on the list by 10:15. Luckily, there was a boat (one of the new ones with a capacity of 300 passengers) scheduled for that day. There were theee other foreigners there, one of whom had been waiting two days, the others one day.

We boarded the boat at 2:20am (they let us through immigration at 11:45pm, as the visas of the other foreigners were expiring and I stuck to them to avoid the chaos of the waiting room). I paid $80 for a bed in a shared cabin. We were able to buy soup, pasta, coffee, and tea from the boat's kitchen (11 manat for soup and coffee). We remained docked until sometime in the morning. We arrived in the port of Baku at 10:30 pm, but didn't get off the boat until 12:30 and finally got through immigration at 3:00am.

Overall, I was legally (excluding time waiting around after being stamped out) in Turkmenistan for about 60 hours and saw what I wanted to see. I think the train from Ichoguz is a great time-saver for those looking to get through the county quickly.
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by zamou »

We had approx the same journey then Elmayablanco.
But from Dasogus we book two train tickets to ashgabat (on friday) the one at 3pm and the one at 6.55pm. It was hard to be sure that the train would stop at isoguz, but we had confirmation from a women (not the seller one) who called i don't know who to confirm that the first train would stop in isoguz around 11.30pm and the second one at 3.20am. I think Dasogus is the best rate we had to exchange money and i see it's still inflating!

SO the plan was to go to isoguz, go to the crater, and come back for the next train. and if we had to walk we would sleep there in our tent and get a bus or whatever to go ashgabat the day after.
When we arrived in Isoguz in the night, we were the only passenger to stop there and this stop is mainly for maintenance and crossing trains, so stay awake!
We ask to one of the station's worker how we can go to the crater (we can see the light from the station) and after bargaining for the price (10$ each) two rangers on bikes took us to the crater. I think it was the most exiting and crazy adventure we had of all our trip!
Finally in the crater the party was going on, with a big meeting of the mongol rally! Unexcpected! ahah
We stayed there for an hour and half approx and then came back to the station waiting for the next train.

to be clear about the trains :
Dasogus / Isoguz / Ashgabat
3 pm / 11 pm (20mn stop) / 4.50am
6.55 pm / 3 am / 8.40am (but very long stop in the first station)
platzkart : 25 mnt quiet hard conditions!
kupe :45
vip: 96

For the ferry in turkmenbashi (ask parrom) the first day we arrived the ticket office said no ferry today maybe tomorow, and nobody was waiting ( 9am) so we went to Awaza, woaw! another world! it was start of august, so a lot of people. we slept on the beach, but a women show us her hotel, price was 200mnt or 100$! ahah the best rate ever! so if you pay with black market rate at this moment it was around 35/40$ for a double room... it's close to the attraction park (Gami maybe)
but anyway we can freely use the toilets, the swimming pool, the beach deckchairs,... there is only one expensive supermarket with a bankomat, restaurant, internet café(?) and restaurants in the hotels.
there is a bus wich pass on the big road along the port to the train station, and final stop at the bazaar (to exchange money and see a very cosmopolitan place). N°2
there are two buses from the bazaar (and probably from the train station) to awaza N°5 & 6, they make a big loop along the awaza resort so take your time to choose the place you wanna stop.

In the port there is nothing for eating, so we join our forces wih the others people to buy some food at the train station. There is a new (bouygues?) port in construction.
We had the very old azeri ferry (russian army originally) the day after, while the turkmen new one was waiting in the port for unlimited time... a lot of people just arrived a few hours before embarking thanks to the marine traffic app (but for the 5 days we were in turkmenistan we weren't able to connect to internet).
60$ to pay on board with food, but no AC wich was very tiring. The captain was very nice, he invited us for a chat, we had tea, sweets, and a shower! so less confort than the turkmen ship but cheaper and nice people.
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Re: Q&A: Door to Hell

Post by Roos »

We made the trip to the crater on 16 may 2018 and it was very easy!

We started in Ashgabat. Here we went to the busstation (we stayed in Kuwwat Hotel, from here it is bus 33, last stop. The busstation is near the airport). Getting the right tickets was the hardest part because the girl at the counter couldn't speak English. First we got a ticket for the 16 from Asghabat to Konyeurgench (or exitborder). But we wanted to go 16 may Ashgabat - Darweze, 17 may Darweze Konyeyrgench and we were afraid that with only this ticket we couldn't enter the bus on the 17th.

After a long talk and calling multiple Engish speaking Turkmen, we got 2 tickets: 16 may Asghabat - Darweze (20 manat pp), 17 may Ashgabat - Konyeurgench (45 manat pp). They can't book a ticket starting from Darweze.

with this ticket we went to Darweze the next day. The bus will always stop at Darweze as this is also a break for everyone in the bus to eat someting. Here you can eat and talk to the owner to bring you to the crater (we payed 15$ for 2, but we didn't negotiate very well I think)

At 3pm we were brought to the crater, they dropped us at a yurt where 2 guys where waiting for the tourist (the ones who book a tour). Here you can buy a tent and they wil also provide matras, sleepingbag and pillow. We could also eat dinner and breakfast with them (we got the leftovers from the grouptour, but this was more than enough and very good as well) We payed 20$ for the tent (they wil place it for you) and 5$ for dinner+breakfast for 2 persons.

The next day we were picked up by the driver (9pm) who also brought us there. They know you need to be picked up and didn't even ask for money untill we where back on the 17th. Back at the little restaurant we got some soup again (15 manat pp) and waited for the bus to arrive.

Without any trouble we could get on and they didn't even check our ticket untill we where on the road. I even think maybe it's not really necessary to have a ticket as a lot of Turkmen people were also hitchhiking (they sat on the aisle/stairs in the bus) I don't know this for sure tough!

Around 17pm we arrived in Konyeurgench.
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