Turkmenistan is an almost landlocked country in central Asia if not for its coast in the Caspian Sea. It is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran to the South and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the North.

Although it is known as a Stalinist country like North Korea where everything is controlled by the government, tourism is very welcome in Turkmenistan as long as visitors do not openly talk about politics and their omnipresent army.

Turkmenistan is a fast-developing country and the government has taken several steps to enhance the country’s tourism. They have started construction of a multi-billion dollar “national touristic zone” project in Avaza where they plan to build more than 60 world-class hotels, malls and a new and modern international airport. This is expected to boost the country’s tourism by drawing in visitors from many countries.

Aside from future attractions at Avaza, the country of Turkmenistan also has other popular tourist destinations that already exist, like the Darvaza Flaming Crater. In 1971, an oil rig hit a large pocket of natural gas by accident, causing the rig to collapse into the cavern creating a large crater filled with flames. Instead of putting out the fire, which will let poisonous gas escape and reach the nearby towns, the Turkmen have decided to let it burn, which eventually turned the spot into a famous tourist destination. It burns to this day, causing some people to mistake it for the gates of hell.

When planning a vacation to Turkmenistan, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly suggest that tourists get vaccinated against common diseases which can easily spread, such as hepatitis A and B, mumps, polio, measles, rubella, tetanus, typhoid, vermicelli, rubella and diphtheria. For those planning to stay in the country longer, it is also advisable to get shots against rabies, tuberculosis and meningitis.

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