My experiences with visiting the door to hell:
After staying 2 days in Asghabat, I bought a train ticket at Asghabat train station to Ichoguz. Price is now 22 Manat!
Departure was 15:40 and scheduled arrival was 20:53. Actually the train arrived there 21:45.
Make sure to have a powerbank with you, as the outlets in the train are not working. The only option to charge a device in the train is the outlet located at the toilet.
Be aware: During my trip a local smoked a cigarette at the toilet and got arrested for that!
After arriving in Ichoguz, the crater is about 8km far away and to walk there takes approx. 2hours.
There was a motorbike guy, who hardly spoke any english, offering to take me to the crater and back for 10 USD.
I declined and started to just walk to the main road.
As it's been already night, the heat was gone and I was ready to walk all the way to the crater.
After 10 mins of walking, the bike guy caught up with me and now offerend to bring me to the crater for 20 Manat.
I agreed on that as it was only 10% of the original fare!
Therefore, I definetily advice you to negotiate properly, just by walking away the price for the ride will drop!
Arrived at the crater 22:20 and got a Yurte for myself for 20 USD (Initially the guy asked for 30). Toilet and shower facilities are available!
Sleeping outside I wouldn't recommend although it would be possible regarding the temperature (summer times).
Inside the yurte, its pretty warm! But at least I had a place which I could lock and some kind of "bed" to sleep in.
The same night, I met some Swiss guys travelling with their own car, who took me with them to Konye Urgench the next morning.
Yes, the Urgench-Hotel is unfortunetely the only option to stay in this town.
Price as already mentioned is 130 TMT for foreigners. As it was already too late to cross the border the same day, I basically had to stay there for the night.
The owner-lady wanted to keep my passport (at her office) during my stay:
It took me 10mins to convince her that I wont agree on that.
My knockout-argument was that I will be going out now and police is most likely to control a forgeiner so I need my passport to identify myself!
She showed me my room but as I tried to close the door, the door itself didnt fit into the crossbeam! The door was too tall and/or the crossbeam was to low.
I called the lady again and she tried closing it but of course it didnt work out.
I said: either new room or I get 50% discount.
Thus, finally I got a new room (after she had declined my requests for a different room prior to the above mentioned incident).
Generally, in this hotel you can lock the door from inside but when you leave, they won't give you any key.
Given that the crime rate is almost non-existend in Turkmenistan, it still could be safe to go out to the city and leave the door unlocked.
I didnt do so, instead charged my phone at the one and only available outlet in the room and went to sleep early.
Furthermore; I'd highly recommend not to take a shower in this hotel! You will understand why if you are there...
Border Konye-Urgench / Nukus opens at 9am. It's a very short ride with a taxi, but as I run out of TMT, I offered 1 USD to a taxi driver and got there on time.
A shared taxi inside Konye-Urgench is 1 TMT.
Border crossing was quite hassle free, didnt get searched and either while exiting Turkmenistan nor entering Uzbekistan. Just the regular bag screening and my temperature was measured before entering Usbekistan by a "doctor". Took 30secs and with 36,0*C I was good to go.
As I was the first one to pass that morning, I decided I would wait a little and see how the local ppl leave from the border.
There was a young guy waiting offering a ride in his car for 20USD. Also a money exchanger who offered 8000Som for 1 USD.
Both I declined.
The driver offered then 15USD. I still didn't think it would be worth it, as it's quite a short ride to Nukus.
As the next passengers were exiting the border zone, I offered the driver 5 USD to get me to Nukus.
He accepted and I finally arrived in Nukus before noon that day.
Total costs for 5 days Turkmenistan: 101 USD (including all taxes and fees) + 35€ for the Visa, which I got in advance at Frankfurt consular.