Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.
For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Turkmenistan – April 2020: all international commercial flights to and from Turkmenistan have been suspended, the seaport at Turkmenbashi is closed to passengers, and all road borders have been closed. In an unusual turn of events, the word "coronavirus" has been banned. Plus, wearing facemasks in public could also get you in trouble with authorities.
Official statements claim there is no crime in Turkmenistan, yet no country in this world is completely crime-free. Turkmenistan is a safe country to travel in, with very low incidents of violent crime and occurrences of pickpocketing, mugging and property theft are rare. Given the country's tourism is relatively new, scams aren't widespread or lucrative business for the local crims compared to more long-standing tourism in other countries.
If it does happen, opportunistic thieves tend to make their moves on overnight trains or in crowded locations such as markets. Bandits also operate in more remote locations in Turkmenistan.
Some travelers have reported being robbed while using unlicensed taxis. Ask your accommodation or restaurant to book you a yellow licensed taxi to avoid the hassle. Avoid public transport at night.
As you would anywhere, use your common sense. Keep your belongings secure, avoid flashing anything valuable and be aware of your surroundings. As the country is predominately a cash economy, take caution to secure your money while traveling around.
Turkmenistan has a local 11pm curfew which helps to keep street crime down at night.
Currently, Turkmenistan does not suffer the scourge of terrorist groups that neighboring countries are working to combat, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), al-Qa'ida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, however it does suffer from ‘vodka Terrorism.'
This may sound funny, but it is a real threat for visitors. Vodka, like in the rest of the region, is the tipple of choice, and low employment rates and poverty have led to a boom in alcoholism, leading to violent brawls and incidents.
‘Vodka terrorism' is a name given to the phenomenon where a local Turkmen either wants to fight o rob you, after drinking too much vodka. This can happen during the day as well as at night, and is most likely to occur on trains – steer clear of obviously drunk men.
Due to ongoing conflicts and terrorism, the border between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan is considered by several advisories as a do not travel location.
Do not walk alone through the areas to the north-east and east of the capital Ashgabat, especially after sunset. These are the most recognized areas for drugs and violent crime.
Women should not walk alone at night in the capital – or anywhere in Turkmenistan- a local woman would not do so and, regardless of whether it's fair or not, you will be eyed with suspicion.
In the capital Ashgabat, you will, like everyone else, have to observe the curfew which means strictly no strolling about after 11pm.
During the day, it pays to watch your belongings at large bazaars, such as Tolkuchka (good for picking up a reasonably priced Turkmen rug), and, your wallet, passport and camera should be tucked away safely under your clothes on in a zipped bag.
Keeping your money safely hidden is important as the country has a cash economy (the national currency is the Manat) which means you are likely to be carrying far higher amounts than you might at home.
The other places to be on your guard in the capital are in nightclubs – check your change and note that local vodka and beer aside, imported drinks will be very expensive.
Prostitutes frequent the infamous Florida Disco opposite The Grand Turkmen Hotel on Gorogly Street, so steer clear of there. Foreign men seen in the company of alleged prostitutes – have been subject to police harassment, detention, and deportation.
If you are the victim of crime in Turkmenistan, or if you are suffering from police harassment, to add to your woes you'll need to find a translator (ask for assistance from your Embassy, friend or hotelier) as police officers speak only Turkmen, making communication difficult for English or Russian-only speakers. Bribery by the police is common and is a fact of life for many Turkmens.
Several zones in Turkmenistan have been declared ‘no travel zones, or restricted areas' by the Government – these are mainly the border areas next to Iran, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, the region of Dashoguz (including Dashoguz city), and areas of the Caspian coast.
Special permission from the Government of Turkmenistan may be possible if you're really determined to visit, but also note that Turkmenistan Airlines, the national airline, will not sell a ticket to any traveler who intends to travel to a restricted zone without verification of permission from the government. The wait will be long – the processing time for such permits is 10 working days.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.