Specific question about a specific road in Turkmenistan
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Nov 4, 2012 8:55 AM Last Post By: jillback
Oct 1, 2012 10:01 AM
Specific question about a specific road in TurkmenistanHi everyone: we are couple planning a 7 months trip by 4x4 to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; when crossing from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan we find it two ways to go down to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan;
1. from Konye-Urgench to Ashgabat via Darvaza
2. from Bukhara (in Uzbekistan) to Ashgabat via Merv.
We would like to know which of these two roads do you consider more feasible. The 1st one seems interesting because there is a castle in Konye-Urgench worth a visit, but we wonder wether this road is a lonely dirty track of 500 kms. through the desert and therefore maybe dangerous. We like deserts, but have never been to the central asian ones travelling alone. We will need to make this in two days, sleeping near Darvaza, whchi seems to be only a gas crater (does anyone know if its worth a stop?).
Road number 2, seems to cross less desertic extensions, with more villages and consequently is perhaps "easier"; the cons are that Merv seems to have nothing to see and that we will have to enter Turkmenistan via Bukhara, renouncing to the castle near Konye-Urgench.
Do you find reasons to disencourage the 1st road, or has anyone done it already? Is it with asphalt or just a track in the sand? We would very much appreciate your comments on this,
With many thanks for your effort and help,
Tomás and Beatriz
Oct 1, 2012 7:11 PM
1Ashgabat to Dashoguz has paved road in very good condition for the first half starting from Ashgabat. The second part is a rough sandy desert road, with a lot of road works. If you want to see the gas crater, you need to go 5 km of the main road through a heap of sand. You will need a gps to find it if you’re going without a guide.
A 4WD is not necessary unless you want to drive into the desert (i.e. to the crater). The locals drive Ladas, Opels and Toyota Corollas, there aren’t so many 4x4s.
More info about driving in Turkmenistan .
More info about Merv (should you decide it's not so boring).
Oct 1, 2012 11:34 PM
2Thanks a lot for your answer, hopper00. We didn't know Caravanistan, but it's really helpful.
From what you say we get the idea that the road from Ashgabat to Dashoguz is not dangerous nor difficult —is that correct?
When you talk of a "heap of sand" to go to the gas crater, do you mean we have high probablities of getting stuck? I mean, with normal 4x4 driving capacicities, would you describe this "rough sandy desert road" + the "heap of sand" as a tricky road where most of drivers would get stuck? Is it an area where we will find other people/cars for help in case of need or is it a no mans land where we will not see a soul for weeks?
Is it possible to get a guide in Konye-Urgench? I don't ask for the fares because I guess that would be too much to ask for, but it woudl be nice no have an estimation… ;-)
Thanks again for your interest and help… Turkmenistan seems to be a fascinating country, anyway…
Keep in touch!
Oct 2, 2012 3:56 AM
Oct 2, 2012 4:10 AM
4Hi ahmd: your post is not visible, but in the mail alert I received to view it I guess you are asking for tran connections between doshguz and Asgabad. I am sorry but I don't know if there is one.
Anyway, for anyone answering my previous post, please keeo in mind that my wife and I will be travelling with our own car (a Toy HZJ78).
Thanks again to all of you; that's great forum indeed!!!
Oct 2, 2012 4:25 AM
5I am Sorry. I was looking for updated information about the train and bus service between Dosgouz and Ashgabad but than I thought it was unfair to distract your thread to something different so I tried to delete it. I have posted the question but got no response
I do Apologize again
Oct 2, 2012 4:34 AM
6Thanks a lot for your consideration. I appreciate. Hope we both will get an appropriate answer. I wish I could help you more than that.
Anyway i've put, straightaway in Google this question: is there a train connection betwwen ashgabat and doshguz and got some possibly interesting answers for you:
1. There are regular bus services from Ashgabat (12 to 18 hours, US$ 4 to 5 one… http://wikitravel.org/en/Da%C5%9Foguz
2. Some one asks for a train between Turkmenbasi to Ashgabat in http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293965-i9795-k5364019-Accommodations_in_Ashgabat_Konye_Urgench_and_Dashoguz-Turkmenistan.html
Perhaps you should have a look and see
Hope this helps
Oct 2, 2012 6:52 AM
7I drove fron Tashkent via Bukhara, through Mary to Ashkabad. Watch out for camels! They are big and dumb and will kill you, I saw 3 dead on the road (hit by trucks). The road is/was the main trucking artery from the Iranian port into Central Asia so there were hundreds of semi trailer trucks. They clog the check points and delay your travel times. I do not know about the other road you mentioned, but if you have mechanical trouble IMHO it is better to be on a busy road.
I lived and worked in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for several years. I bought an older (before computers) desiel mercedes because you can always find fuel (agriculture fuel), and any mechanic can work on the older engines (tractors). Fuel is important and the local road-side merchants do water down their products. I'm just saying, I never used the last liter of fuel in the can. If the fuel comes out of a pump there is nothing you can do about it.
Oct 2, 2012 8:18 AM
8A thousand thanks for your comments. Concerning the fuel our Toy has an autonomy of 1.600 km to say the least at 100 km/h. We also have two fuel filters, so there should be no problem. Everything is mechanical too (and that means reliability).
For what you and hopper00 have said it looks better to take the Konye-Urgench to Ashgabat road via Darvaza and the gas crater, because you have said that the road from Ashgabat to Dashoguz "has paved road in very good condition for the first half starting from Ashgabat. The second part is a rough sandy desert road, with a lot of road works" (from where we infer its not a no mans land where we will not see a soul for weeks).
Unless anyone would tell us the road Bukhara-Ashgabat via Mary is better we think we are going to take the one via Darvaza, because you have said we have to watch out for camels and trucks clogging the check points and i've seen somewhere in the net that the asphalt is bad, like 30 km/h bad…
What advice would you give us if we asked for some?
Thanks a lot again to all…
Tomás and Beatriz
Oct 4, 2012 12:34 PM
9I did this route in 2008, starting south. Road conditions are as hopper00 described. The gaz crater is absolutely amazing. We only one hour to stop by night, had to rush on because our visa to Uzbekistan was about to expire.
If you have time, staying overnight close to the crater was our plan. Personally I would consider this 100% save. There is nobody around. There is a village a few km away, local people hardly know the way to the crater and our guide was there the first time. People have other worries then watching the gaz burn...
See some more info and pictures on www.centralasia2008.com and search on youtube for "centralasia2008". We have some minutes from the crater and you see night driving behind the guides Toyota through quite deep sand.
We did the stretch from the capital to the border in one night, including 3 hours trouble with the guides car. We had a chance to see the most amazing firmament every. The air is dry and there is not light pollution for hundreds of km around.
Oct 6, 2012 11:45 AM
I took the Dashoguz-Ashgabad road three days ago. It is asphalt all the way now, no sand anywhere anymore. The last 70 km to Konye Urgench (after you leave the Dashoguz road) is old battered asphalt full of deep potholes. Expect some 5 hours from Konye Urgench to Darvaza and 3-4 hours from Darvaza to Ashgabad. The path from the main road to gas crater is easily doable in normal 4x4, however your chances to find it yourself are not very high. That said, anyone from reataurants on the main road will gladly show you the way for a few dollars. Finding the help in case you get stuck is a matter of minutes ... no need to worry.
Oct 6, 2012 12:01 PM
Thanks for the update. what was the time required to make the trip between Dashoguz-Ashgabad?
Oct 18, 2012 2:13 PM
12hullo there, we are a couple from SA and planning a 4 month trip from Shenzen through the Stan's to Iran and Turkey. we have an old Land Rover. wondering when you are planning your trip? we are hoping to leave in April n ext year. lots of planning still to do....
have some people who have done the trip, who have been wonderful with advice. hope to make contact with you on thorntree
Oct 18, 2012 11:31 PM
13Hi jillback, we also plan to leave the 1st April next year… Lots of planning too… We are now focusing on the nightmare of visas and still don't know of to avoid the fact that a visa is only valis for three months after you get it, since, for example, in the case of Iran we will be out of delay if we get it in Spain (we will take more than three months to arrive from Spain to Iran via Poland-Ukraine-Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan… Anyway we will surely will find a way to make it possible (probably getting the visa in Astana or Almaty, if this is possible for non residents there). We will be glad to meet you on the road if you wish and perhaps make a bit of it in convoy, should you think it interesting…
¡¡have a great experience (love Land Rovers, by the way)!!
Oct 20, 2012 12:14 AM
14Hullo there!! so glad to get your reply!! We live in South Africa so will ship our LR to China and go from East to West and end in UK. We decided to do it this way due to the advice from the people who did it, and also the weather and snow/heat issues. I am not sure but it sounds as if maybe you will be driving fromEast to West? We would be so happy to meet- and talk about this. I am a crazy Land Rover lady and my family has given up on me as this is the only vehicle for me. What are you driving in? It will be only me and my husband and then the guide who in China and the Stans they wil not allow us to drive without. I think Iran as well?
Please write back I look forward to hearing and which way you will drive?
Chat again soon!
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