Instruction for tourists in Turkmenistan
Here is some useful information before traveling to Turkmenistan.
It is strictly forbidden to photograph buildings considered to be strategic, as well as the guards assigned to their protection (eg: presidential palace, ministries, airports, military or police installations, etc.).
Before taking any pictures, it is best, as a courtesy, to make sure that there are no particular restrictions by talking to the police and guards on the streets and near official buildings.
Uses and customs:
Turkmenistan is a secular state where Sunni Islam, the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church are legally registered.
It is recommended to adopt an attitude respectful of local customs and to keep in mind that cultural differences can lead to an erroneous interpretation of certain behaviors.
The USD / Turkmen manat exchange rate is fixed: 1 USD = 3.50 new manats.
It is advisable, before entering Turkmenistan, to bring dollars in cash, preferring recent banknotes in good condition. It is possible to change money at official exchange points, hotels, banks, as well as some stores. However, it is very difficult to change euros.
International vending machines are rare in Turkmenistan. It is only possible to withdraw money with an international card at the following locations (with a commission).
The use of bank cards as a means of payment is very limited (outside of hotels). Payments are usually made in manat, with the exception of hotel rooms and airline tickets (USD). Entrances to museums and historic sites are to be paid in dollars for non-residents.
Money transfers are possible via Western Union.
Tourism development in Turkmenistan is still limited and infrastructure is still scarce.