About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Monday, 21 August 2017

Day 03: Khiva, Uzbekistan - Darvaza, Turkmenistan

"Travel is the healthiest addiction..."

Day 03: 13 August 2017 (Sunday)
Route: Khiva - BP Shavat – Dashoguz - Darvaza – Ashgabat
Distance: 440 km
Hotel: Grand Turkmen Hotel, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

By 7.00 am we boarded the bus and headed to the Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan border. The road to the border was bumpy and full of potholes. We reached Uzbekistan Border Point Shavat around 10.00 am.

(Overland border crossings with heavy luggage)

Passport checks and luggage scan were done simultaneously but still it was a long tiring process. We had to wait under the shades in no-man's land in between borders for the rest to clear border formalities Some had a go at the makeshift toilet in the bushes while waiting.

(A park in Dashaguz)
(The upcoming Indoor Asian Games)

We made three trips from Uzbekistan border to Turkmenistan border on the one and only shuttle bus operating between these two borders for a fee of USD3/trip. Border clearance at Turkmenistan was again long and tedious. There was only one counter and one scanner. We had to rush as there was another big Italian group behind us eager to push through. There was no queuing system and the locals were merrily jumping the queue. We cleared border formalities at 12.30 pm. Beyond the border, our chubby, cheerful Turkmen guide Miss Ilyana and the bus was already waiting for us.

(A 5-star hotel in Dashaguz)
(Beautiful interior decor)

From Border Point Shavat to Dashaguz town is only 36 km. We had lunch at a posh Myhmanhanasy Hotel and performed our prayers there.

(Lots of salads and fruits)
(The main dish, flattened whole chicken)

Our initial plan was to visit Kunya Urgench but the only road to Kunya Urgench was in a very bad state. The tour guide advised us to skip this trip and she would change the itinerary to replace the attractions missed.

(Riding the undulating and bumpy road to Darvaza) 
(Driving across the Karakum Dessert)

From Dashaguz we were transported by 10 4x4 vehicles 180 km away to the gas crater in Darvaza also known as ‘The Gate of Hell’. The Gate of Hell is situated in the hot, expansive Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, near the village of Darvaza. It is a crater of 230 feet wide that has been on fire for over 40 years. Its glow can be seen for miles around.

(The sun was setting at the horizon)
(The tents and Yurt at the campsite)
(It was burning hot near the crater)

The Gate of Hell was created in 1971 when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in. Having punctured a pocket of gas, poisonous fumes began leaking at an alarming rate. To head off a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets set the hole alight. The crater hasn’t stopped burning since. The Soviet drilling rig is believed to still be down there somewhere, on the other side of the Gate of Hell.

(Our Yurt on top of a hill)
(A BBQ dinner in the middle of the dessert)

We had chicken BBQ and lots of fruits for dinner while watching the sunset over the burning crater. After photo taking of the crater and the surrounding desert, we drove out of the Karakum Desert around 9.30 pm towards Ashgabat 267 km south. The road was not in the best of condition and it took us nearly 4 hours to reach the city.

(Reflection of the sunset on a hill)
(Standing close to the The Gate of Hell)

We checked in the Grand Turkmen Hotel around 1.30 am and stayed overnight there.

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