Scenery east of the town of Trai Mat near Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

It's all about the adventure!

I've been spending a lot of time planning how we are going to get to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

We arrive in Paris October 15th. And we need to get to Ashgabat by the morning of the 19th at the latest. Turkmenistan is one of the least visited countries on the planet, so there aren't many flight choices to get there. The most common is a Turkish Airlines flight that departs from Istanbul.

And the next most common is a FlyDubai flight from Dubai. 

But they are both fairly pricey, and they both arrive at silly o'clock... around 3am in the morning.

I did a bunch of research as to other options. Maybe like flying into Uzbekistan and taking a bus or train into Turkmenistan, but none of those options made any more sense.

However, I read a few references to a flight on Turkmenistan Airlines... the state owned flagship carrier of Turkmenistan. There was very little information available online. I found two different websites for Turkmenistan Airlines, but neither one of them worked properly. 

I tried a couple of local travel agents, but when I mentioned the airline, they said they weren't interested in spending the effort needed to book. I called the popular Flight Center travel group here in Canada, and the girl at least made an effort. She could see the flight schedule, with times and everything. But no prices, and no way to book.

I also came across an Austrian Travel Company that said they could definitely book the flights, but you had to pay a €69 fee to arrange it. It's actually an interesting company... https://www.tripplanner.at/

I found a couple of youtube videos from other travelers who had managed to fly on this airline. And I found references to one guy on a "Every Passport Stamp" facebook group I belong to who said he had managed to book a ticket recently. I contacted him and he replied, giving me an email address to try.

It turned out to be a London based travel company who is the authorized sales agent for Turkmenistan Airlines. Sure enough they got back to me about 24 hours after I sent the email. 

Flight number T5902 from IST to ASB departing at 9:35am and arriving at 3:35pm on October 18th.

Perfect!

Turkmenistan Airlines.

I checked the flight tracker websites to confirm that this flight does in fact run on schedule... and it does.

The price was £328 ($551 CAD, $407 USD) each for the one way fight. Not cheap, but we knew in advance that this was not going to be a cheap trip. Traveling to oddball countries is rarely cheap! But, this flight was still cheaper than the Turkish Airlines flight that arrived at a goofy hour.

So I booked it. I couldn't pay by credit card. The whole thing was done very old school. I had to do a money transfer from my Wise account, then wait a half a day, then there was an email waiting for me this morning when we woke up.... with PDF tickets attached!

Reviews on Turkmenistan Airlines are mixed... it's going to be an adventure, just like when we flew with Mauritania Airlines.

So, that's done. The next project is to get from Paris to Istanbul. Quite a few choices in that regard, we just have to decide if we will spend our extra time in Paris or Istanbul. We haven't seen Paris yet, but we have a friend who lives in Istanbul. We'll make a decision today.

On another note, our new cellphone that I ordered has arrived at the DHL outlet in Ottawa. Pretty amazing! I ordered it Monday morning, and it was shipped from Hong Kong. It was fun watching the tracking info as it was shipped... Hong Kong to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to Montreal, and Montreal to Ottawa... all in three days! It should be ready for pickup at the DHL depot this afternoon.

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Nice deal on this 17" Vevor Flattop Griddle.

And in Canada...

6 comments:

  1. What a fount of information you are for anyone who wants to travel to out of the way places! It really is going to be a fantastic trip.

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    1. Lol, Kevin is good at this stuff, me not so much! I think that Kevin almost enjoys doing the research as he does when he finally gets to travel to that destination.

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    2. (Sharon Parker) He has WAY more patience than I would!!

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    3. Lol, he has patience for stuff like that but not a lot of patience for other things!

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  2. Glad you got your flight to Turkmenistan. Would it have been easier to contact your travel host....he had said he could help do the travel arrangements. Just wondering.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it would have been easier but we already knew what flight Johnny was taking into Turkmenistan because he is taking the flight in that everyone else is taking in that arrives at 3am in the morning and we really didn't want to come in on that flight. We wanted to arrive in the day before so that we had a proper night's rest before starting our first day of the tour rather than a few hours of sleep. Very few people actually realize that Turkmenistan has an airline and that they also have a flight that can be taken from Istanbul. The problem is trying to purchase the tickets for this airline, it took a little work on Kevin's part but he figured it out.

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