Turkmenistan was one of the earliest countries to begin shutting down at the start of the pandemic in February 2020 when they restricted entry and began to cancel flights. From August 2020 the Turkmenistan government made unofficial announcements that the earliest they would open up would be the second half of 2022 , then in early 2021, it was made clear that they wouldn’t begin allowing tourists again until 2023 .
It has been clear from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially to those who know Turkmenistan, that there was no chance this would change and that they would not be opening up earlier. We haven't been advertising any Turkmenistan tours during this time, in the knowledge that they couldn't and wouldn't go ahead.
Recently very small steps have started to take place, including resuming some flights, reducing quarantine requirements on locals, and even talking about returning international flights to Ashgabat, since international flights have not been allowed to land there since March 2020. They’ve also increased the number of Turkmenistan citizens who are allowed to return and began allowing international delegations. Domestic rules have also started relaxing, including for example when masks are required to be worn.
Furthermore, speaking to local officials it seems that 2023 is still the planned time frame for opening the borders to international tourism. Of course, it’s unknown how tourism will look and what restrictions will be in place , whether there are caps on numbers, quarantine requirements, negative PCR testing or vaccine requirements.
With all the information we have at our disposal we’ve decided that 2023 is when we will start offering our famous tours to Turkmenistan again . With that being said, nothing has been officially announced and Turkmenistan is notoriously slow when it comes to these types of changes, so while we’ll be taking bookings, we won’t be taking deposits in order to save you transfer fees. The last two and half years has been hard, so the last thing you need is to be spending money on transfers for tours that might not go ahead. Once your visa application has been accepted and we are sure our tours can go ahead, then we can work out financial aspects.
If, as we have had it suggested to us, there are caps on groups, then we would of course give preference to those who booked earliest .
This was a relatively serious piece compared with the great blogs and information we usually put on our website and social media, however we’re really excited about the prospects of Turkmenistan opening back up and this is the most optimistic we’ve felt since the beginning of this pandemic.
Next year we’ll be offering three tours to Turkmenistan, Easter Tour , Summer Tour and the original and most popular Independence Day Tour . Our Easter Tour which we’ve been running since 2015, will also have an extended version, as we know there are quite a lot of you who want to explore Turkmenistan much more in-depth than usual, as well as those who have been waiting to return. We’re really excited about the tours we’ve got next year and can’t wait to get back to the country we know best and are the most passionate about.
We’ll be the first back when Turkmenistan opens, come and join us!
Turkmenistan will probably open in 2023, but definitely not earlier.
We have three tours planned for next year: Turkmenistan Easter Tour, 5 Stans Tour, The Original Independence Day Tour.
SAIGA tours will not be taking deposits for any Turkmenistan tours until it is confirmed that the tours can go ahead.
There may be caps on numbers, so first in best dressed!