Turkmenistan Travel Information
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Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs are in use.
Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan. Russian is widely spoken in cities though as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". Turkmen is spoken by 72 percent of the population, Russian, Uzbek, other languages by a lesser degree.
No vaccinations are required by visitors to Turkmenistan. However, outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, meningitis and diphtheria occur, and there is a risk of malaria, so the relevant vaccines are recommended. It is also recommended that all travellers to the country get vaccines for Rabies (for travellers spending a lot of time outdoors), Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and Typhoid. For any adult traveller who completed the childhood series of vaccines for polio but never had the polio vaccine as an adult, a booster is recommended.
Visitors should only drink bottled water. Hospitals offer adequate basic medical care, but serious cases will usually be treated outside of the country. Visitors should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance.
Tipping is common in restaurants and bars, and is usually 5-10 percent. Some tourist hotels and restaurants, and upmarket institutions will usually include service charge in the bill.
Travel to Turkmenistan is generally problem-free, but foreigners should take normal safety precautions, such as avoiding travel after dark or in deserted/ unfamiliar areas. Occasional muggings do occur. A general threat of terrorism exists particularly in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Planned demonstrations should be avoided, and it must be noted that visitors should carry passports/identity documents with them at all times; otherwise, there is a chance of detention.
Etiquette in Turkmenistan is governed by Islamic principles, though the state is officially secular. Conservative dress is required at all times, and neither women nor men wear shorts. Respect for elders is considered very important. Do not refer to Turkmens as Russians or Soviets, and avoid criticising the country in front of locals.
Office hours are generally Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Men greet each other with handshakes.
The international dialling code for Turkmenistan is +993. The outgoing code is 8-10 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 8-10 44 for the UK). City codes are in use, e.g. (12) for Ashgabat. International taxophones, using phone cards, are the cheapest way to make calls. A GSM mobile network covers the cities, and Internet usage is growing in the major cities.
Travellers to Turkmenistan over the age of 21 years can import 2 litres of any alcoholic beverage for without paying duty; those over 16 years of age may import 200 cigarettes or 200g of tobacco and personal belongings up to a reasonable value. All narcotics, firearms, ammunition and accessories, and antiquities are prohibited from either import or export. The customs declaration, filled out upon entry to Turkmenistan, should be retained. When leaving this form may be used to audit items for export. Video camera are allowed for personal use, but must be declared on arrival.
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