Getting into Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is one of the most secretive and inaccessible countries in the world. Only fitting then that they don't make it easy to get in to. This is 2013 Rally team Detour's account of how you negotiate the bureaucratic minefield to get in.

This is a picture of the two rooms with the booths numbered. We didn’t understand what happened in every booth but we tried to count the stamps, fees and papers.

This is a picture of the two rooms with the booths numbered. We didn’t understand what happened in every booth but we tried to count the stamps, fees and papers.

Step 1. In booth 1 a kind guy checks our passports and wrote some notes in a book. We got a slip saying how much we needed to pay the girl in the booth next to him.

Step 2. In booth 2 we paid 12 USD per person for something and got a nice piece of paper filled in and stamped. The girl in the booth also gave us a receipt with double stamps and signature.

Step 3. Sent back to booth 1, the guy filled in the paper that we got from booth 2 and we got an entry stamp in our passports.

Step 4. In booth 3 our passports got checked and details were handwritten in a book. We told two guys about our route and where we were planning to stay each night. They checked our car documents and we got three handwritten papers with the info about our car and route. On each paper we got two stamps and signatures.

Step 5. In booth 4 some guys checked the documents from booth 3 and stamped them again.

Step 6. In booth 5 one officer checked our passports again and we got two new stamps on the same three papers and one copy stayed with them.

Step 7. In booth 6 there were another control of the car documents and passports.

Step 8. In booth 7 a tired officer calculated out the tax we needed to pay for all the fuel during our trip and gave us a stamped paper about it.

Step 9. Back to booth 2 where We paid 170 dollars in road/fuel tax and got two documents + two stamps on the same documents that went through booth 3, 4 & 5.

Step 10. In booth 7 they checked the stamped papers and gave us three small notes stamped and signed. We also had to pay a 2 dollar bank fee.

Step 11. In booth 8 our passport info was once again written down on a piece of paper and we now had to declare luggage amount and how much currency we were carrying.

Step 12. In booth 9 they hand wrote all the car info into two books. One more stamp was added to document from booth 3 and a new paper was filled in and clipped on.

Step 13. In booth 10 our passport info was once again written down and four different papers we'd collected were stamped, they also took copies of our passport.

Step 14. In booth 11 one more stamp were added to the paper from booth 3. Yes, this piece of paper is becoming a piece of art/awesomeness with a total of 7 stamps.

Step 15. Back to booth 10 to hand in a copy of the document we have had since booth 3.

Step 16. We finally were able to leave the building. They had a quick check of the car and luggage. The papers were quickly checked again and we were finally off.