Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

“Don’t kill your dreams” – Adam Topolski.

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

The sea air eased my corporate soul back in 2007 as I smoothed my way for eternity out of daily office work, nothing against the wonderful Bite Communications company I worked for at the time, but I’d barely backpacked the globe and life was as stale as Turkmenistanian bread. That was 11 years ago. It didn’t help matters though, who was right or wrong? Nobody knew. Here 11 years on as I landed in my 165th country, I had a black dog on my shoulder again. Depression wouldn’t shift. But I found a cosy bed and a superb hotel (at least from the outside) to rest my wandering heart.

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

As hotels go, the Bagt Koshgi ranks as easily one of the most stylish I have ever stayed in. I mean, are you serious here? This is the exterior of it! Situated on the edge of Ashgabat, this is a wedding palace. Bagt Koshgi translates as The Temple of Happiness in the local Turkmen language. I was shocked at the external facade of the building upon check in and although the hotel looks amazing from the outside, it wasn’t all incredible as you will read. But I still think it was a great place to stay.

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

Why to stay here at Bagt Koshgi?

Because it’s wacaday. It’s as simple as that. It is a break from the normal. Hats off to the insane as Northern Irish rock band Therapy? once said. A few quick reasons here as I’ve no time for going into too much detail anymore. If I did, none of my 1,500 blog backlog will ever get written.

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

1.Elaborate Exterior
A simply stunning building to be admired. I loved Turkmenistan for the sheer peculiarity of the buildings and structures. Ashgabat is magnificent.

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

Backpacking in Turkmenistan: Staying at the Swanky Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat

2.Wedding Palace
As a bonus, you are staying in a wedding palace, and will be told there are weddings here everyday. I saw one wedding and was able to get a sneak view of the palace and wedding function rooms.

Wedding rooms

Wedding rooms

Wedding rooms

3.Friendly Staff
Turkmenistan people are nice in general. This came as a slight surprise, as I remember having some big issues in bordering Uzbekistan with the people there. Military dictatorships aside, this country is playing the game well. I didn’t take photos of the staff as they didn’t really like that, but you may see them in the background of some of my photos here.

Reception, lobby, bar and restaurant.

 

Local dancers at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel

4.Cosy Rooms
I was pretty tired after a long sleep. I had visited my beautiful nephew for the third time just before this, as well as watching the Polish Cup Final and meeting Mum and Dad so I needed a good sleep. I got cosy in my bed, watched some local pop music on TV, had a beer and drifted to sleep on my first night here. The next morning my backpacking buddy Paweł arrived. The room and bathroom was cosy and clean.

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

My cosy room at the Bagt Koshgi Hotel and Wedding Palace in Ashgabat Turkmenistan

5.City Viewpoint
Head up the steps for a viewpoint over Ashgabat, a very modern city with some truly amazing buildings.

City views from our hotel

City views from our hotel

City views from our hotel

City views from our hotel

6.Bar
Well there is a bar here, with cold beer. My room mate Paweł and I had our first beer together here. In fact it was our first beer together since we backpacked in Paraguay back in 2010 and had drinks at the Britannia Pub in Asuncion. We drank mostly the Berk1 beer but they also had Zip4 and Zip5 beer. All beers in Turkmenistan seemed to have a number after their name.

A Berk1 beer

A Berk1 beer

A Berk1 beer

A Berk1 beer

A Berk1 beer

7.Live Turkmen Music and Dancing by Night
I have no idea if we were just lucky to catch this or whether it is regular, but one of the three nights we were here, there was live Turkmen music and dancing. The videos are below the article.

Live Turkmen Music and Dancing by Night

Negative Points
1.No Wi-Fi.
Well OK, they had Wi-Fi in the lobby which worked on the first day but when there is no Facebook, YouTube, slow BBC, unrecognisable PayPal and no Instagram, it can be frustrating. It took me almost an hour to send my parents and email! I shared some of the websites that are banned in Turkmenistan here.

Website not found

2.Out of city Location
Sadly, the Bagt Koshgi was out of the city, up a hill. Despite initially thinking we could walk to the city, it turned out to be a double bus run to most of the places we wanted to backpack.

Out of city but with views

3.Average Breakfast
I cant complain too much about the breakfast, as it was included and our other breakfasts in Turkmenistan were similar. Blandly average. Yes, I ate it, but I won’t be in love with this sort of hard bread, runny egg, odd sausage and tastleless tea.

Average breakfast

Average breakfast

Here are the details for booking your Turkmenistan tour with Silk Road Explore, just ask them to stay in the Bagt Koshgi Hotel:

Here are the details for booking a tour to Turkmenistan:
International Agent – Silk Road Explore
28 Minbulakskiy Lane, 720042,
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
+996 550 914 408
info@silkroadexplore.com
https://silkroadexplore.com/destinations/turkmenistan/

Local Agent – Owadan Tourism
207 Oguzkhan Street Office 335
744027 Ashgabat
TURKMENISTAN
Telephone – +993 12957673, +993 12957681
info@owadan.net (for agents and operators)
sales@owadan.net (for backpackers and independent travellers)
http://www.owadan.net/

Here are some videos I made while staying at the Hotel Bagt Koshgi in Ashgabat:

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