Camp out in the desert for Turkmenistan’s most famous sight, the Darwaza gas crater, aka “the Door to Hell”. Although blogs aimed at viral success have drenched the crater in flaming hyperbole, fact is, it’s still an amazing place to be.
At night, in an empty desert with only the stars for company, red light emanates from the ground in the distance, and a distant rumble presages the crater. Shooting flames and fireballs across its undeep hole, like a volcano, the crater must be viewed at night for full effect. In the morning, wake up to a desert sunrise.
The Turkmen government neglected the gas crater for a long time, wrongly thinking it gave the country a bad name, However, now it embraced the crater’s fame. As a first action, a fence has been put up.
How to get there
Note: If you got here straight from BoredPanda or the Daily Mail and know absolutely nothing about Turkmenistan yet, check the visa section first before trying to book a flight.
Darwaza, the former village (it was razed in 2004) close to the crater, is located halfway between Ashgabat and Dashoguz, and fits nicely in a transit visa itinerary between Iran and Uzbekistan. It’s a 3-hour drive from Ashgabat, and a 5-hour drive from Dashoguz.