View from the cable car in Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Flying to Vinh, Vietnam on February 24th.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Another adventure coming up!

About two months ago, we signed up for a trip to Turkmenistan. But I haven't talked about it very much because we had to apply for visa approval in advance, and Turkmenistan has a totalitarian regime that doesn't care about tourism, so many visa applications are rejected without any apparent reason.

We woke up this morning to an email... visas approved!

So, we are going to another one of the world's oddball countries. 

Ashbagat, the capital city of Turkmenistan.

"Where exactly is Turkmenistan?", you might ask.

Turkmenistan shares its southern border with both Iran and Afghanistan. The western border is on the Caspian Sea. And the northern border is shared with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.


It's a bit of a whirlwind trip. We arrive on October 19th at somewhere around 3:00am. I haven't booked the flights yet, but probably will this weekend.

The day of the 19th we do a morning tour of the capital city of Ashbagat. Then a long drive through the desert to the Darvaza Gas Crater. This was created when they were drilling for natural gas in the 1970's, and an explosion created the crater. They expected it to burn out in a couple of weeks, but here we are sixty years later and it's still burning! We camp beside the crater that night.

October 20th we visit a Turkmen horse ranch where we will see the rare Akhal-Tekebreed. Less than 3,000 exist in the world. Then back to Ashbagate where we take the overnight train to the Caspian Sea.

October 21st we visit the spectacular Yangky Kala canyon. Hopefully time for some hiking there! Overnight at a resort in Turkmenbashi.

October 22nd We take a local flight back to Ashbagat and visit Nisa Fortress. Overnight back at the hotel.

Most flights depart very early on the 23rd.

However, our visa was approved for nine days, which is odd because I had read that you were only allowed a five day visa, with the option to apply for another five days once you were there. So this is actually good because we were hoping to spend a couple more days there.

After which, we will make a plan to visit some of the other "stan" countries over the five weeks or so following.

There are 22 people on the trip including our group leader. Five others of those people were also on our crazy Mauritania freight train ride back in January.

So, this weekend will be full of research! I've been putting off spending any time on planning this trip until we got the visa approval. But now I know that we land in Paris October 15th, and have to be in Ashbagat the early morning of the 19th. Most flights go through Istanbul, but there are other options I want to explore.

We're excited!

Nice deal on this Indoor/Outdoor Doormat. There is a 50% off coupon showing on the product page.

And in Canada...


  1. Living vicariously through you! Can't wait to see the new countries!!!

    1. Lol, neither can we! It is going to be an interesting few weeks as we make our way through these countries.

  2. Hello to the Reid’s
    Had you considered gifting your camera to either Cameron or Sadie? Cameron is such an adventurous young man and would likely love the opportunity to follow in his grandparents footsteps! When opportunity knocks, open the door so to say!

    1. We do not believe that Cameron would have any interest in the camera. When he was traveling with us he had his tablet with him for pictures and even then he only wanted to take a few pictures with it. Maybe if he were older, he may have shown an interest but definitely not now.

  3. Our son's best friend is a Marine who has spent this tour as an Embassy guard. His first post was Uzbekistan, which we knew nothing about. He said it was a beautiful country, the people were kind and it got really, really cold. He taught us that not every "stan" country was bad. He want to India for a year and just posted to Norway. Looking forward to your adventures.

    1. Your son's friend has had a chance to see some beautiful places in this world of ours. We are definitely looking forward to seeing Uzbekistan, we have heard good things about it as well as Kazakhstan and we have no doubt that the other "stan" countries will be just as good. We think that only Turkmenistan has a reputation for needing to be very careful in, not for safety reasons but for other reasons, so no we agree that not every "stan" country is bad, in fact we think the opposite, they are just different. It is definitely going to be interesting and that we are going to learn a lot through our visits there.


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