06.10.2014 - 07.10.2014 26 °C
Buses: A new long-distance bus station opened just outside the city in September. It's a fantastic, airport departure lounge type of place, with everything super organised for the ten of buses that depart here every day! We got a taxi to the bus station but there is a local bus (maybe route 93?) and there is an 8am bus that heads for Mary and Turkmenabat every day.
That bus left about 7 minutes late only and arrived pretty well on time in Mary, and it's very cheap (about the only thing in Turkmenistan that was cheap). But it's your only bus every day to do that journey. Trains are even more sporadic; we were unlucky since the ideal train for us left only on odd numbered days and we were on an even day!
Other than our find of the bus station, we have no practical tips, and would have loved it if some other travellers had posted theirs in a place like this.
We paid a lot for everything: taxis, shared taxis (where we paid about ten times what locals paid), hotels (our hotel in Ashgabat was a decent western hotel you'd stay in if you were keynote speaker at a big conference but it was our most expensive night of the whole journey so far, including Paris and Vienna).
We avoided taking photos in the space age looking government area, and since we were only in town for a (late) afternoon and left next morning, we didn't get to find out if there is a more normal part of the city centre.
The roads round the government area are empty - no cars, no pedestrians, and there are complicated underpasses which we constantly took and constantly found ourselves on the wrong side of the road from where we wanted to be.
A complicated place to navigate your way around and no maps, no directions. Even our hotel staff had no advice to offer us.