I was recently backpacking in Turkmenistan, where I visited Ashgabat, Mary, Merv, Darvaza, Dashogus and Konye-Urgench amongst some other cool sites. It is by far the strictest country I have been in in terms of website banning. I was shocked by how many websites have been blocked by the government there. Although since depression kicked in, I haven’t blogged or relied on social media as much as I did a few years ago.
That said, I was offline for almost 6 days here and this gave me an excuse to stop updating my Instagram feed as I simply couldn’t access it. Of course with a VPN you could gain access easily, but having a new laptop now, my VPN was lost when my previous laptop broke.
Facebook was completely blocked here. This wasn’t too bad as I took the Don’t Stop Living Facebook page offline and cut back on using it in the wake of severe depression, but there is a possibility I will backdate my posts on Facebook.
Two years ago, in 2016, I was travelling (not backpacking! As I had no backpack!) in Senegal and The Gambia. It was a crazy adventure and I used mostly Twitter for it, with the hashtag #MSMLostLuggage . This time, in Turkmenistan, I was unable to use Twitter sadly as it was blocked.
Although it is a majority Muslim state, Turkmenistan does have gambling. However many of the online gambling sites are simply blocked. This means locals will find it difficult to earn online via bingo sites deals and doing football bets. There are lots of local markets for bartering though – sheep, goats and camels can be bought and sold!
Sadly the world’s most popular video streaming website is also blocked in Turkmenistan. However, making videos is fine and I have now uploaded lots of videos from Turkmenistan onto my YouTube channel. I have some great vidoes of two of the UNESCO sites in the country, as well as the Darvaza Gas Crater, we camped beside it.
And the fifth website on my list that was blocked happens to be Instagram. No hashtagging and uploading selfies from the Palace of Turkmenbashi or the Darvaza Crater. Ah well, I will just have to backdate my photos if I ever want to show them on my Instagram feed.
Finally, the Turkmenistan visa is a difficult one to get, go through an agent like I did, use Silk Road Explore to secure that visa.
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
Local Agent – Owadan Tourism
207 Oguzkhan Street Office 335
Telephone – +993 12957673, +993 12957681
[email protected] (for agents and operators)
[email protected] (for backpackers and independent travellers)
8 thoughts on “5 Websites Blocked in Turkmenistan”
Out of curiosity, did you notice if gmail still blocked in Turkmenistan? I needed to print off an email and could not for the life of me get into it! Ended up finally finding a VPN to work around it (this was back in 2016). All your recent posts make me want to go back and visit!
Hello!! Great articles!!
I’m going there in November if everything goes smooth. May I ask if you were able to purchase a 3G simcard? Or, better yet, do you know if foreign tourists can even buy a simcard?
Awesome blog post. I appreciates your work. Thanks for sharing keep it up good work.
Hi Bingo, thanks for the comment. Safe travels to Turkmenistan. Regards, Jonny
I have a friend who is a tour guide in the “Stan”-countries, but even he was denied a visa for Turkmenistan in 2018 so he could not join do his job there on one particular tour. Luckily you can visit Kazakhstan, kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan without a visa. The tricky countries are the one that starts with a “T”
Hi Peter Thanks for the comment. Yes there are a few tough ones for sure in the Stans. Pakistan has just been made easier but Podjistan is not welcoming tourists any longer. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi Nicole, I was there in 2018 and I rarely use gmail, I am hotmail loyal. But hotmail worked but very very slowly. It took ages to load up, I guess it would be the same for gmail. Not the sort of country I would want to live in while working online, even though I enjoyed my time there. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi Lee, thanks for the comment. I backpacked Turkmenistan and every country with a 3G simcard, I have never bought one, nor do I know how to, so I am totally the wrong blogger to ask!! However I am laptop loyal and I know that a VPN would be helpful on your laptop here. But it was probably the second worst country I backpacked in for Wi-Fi. The worst was North Korea. Stay safe. Jonny