Visit the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan
Visiting the most unexplored of the ‘stans requires them to obtain a “letter of invitation” to visit, but it’s worth the work. The Silk Road and ancient traditions still characterize the strange beauty of the country and its rich nomadic history. It is possible to travel independently on a short-transit visa, though trips beyond three days require your day-to-day travel plan to be approved.
Arranging a tour is your best bet, and will yield opportunities to trek the country in the most traditional way possible: by the back of an Akhal-Teke horse, a Turkmenistan national treasure. Book a five or eight day Akhal-Teke tour with OrexCA. You can ride one of the metallic-coated horses through the Karakum desert in the spring, when the weather is at its best and festivals are taking place, says OrexCA manager Lola Bekmuratova. Spend the beginning of the tour camping and visiting nomadic settlements and oases; and be sure to see “The Door to Hell” in Darwaza. The flaming cavern is a former Soviet gas drilling site that collapsed and began releasing gas. Rather than extract the poisonous gas, engineers lit it on fire, expecting it to burn out in a matter of weeks. That was in 1971.Back to top