If your next travel destination is Central Asia's least discovered country-Turkmenistan, then here are some important travel tips regarding money and currency that we would like to share with you. Turkmenistan's foreign policy and the isolation from the international banking system can make your time a bit challenging here. However, it can be easily overcome if you go there already well-informed. Here we collected information on the Turkmen national currency, currency exchange, banking system and some tips not to spend more money than intended.
Currency Exchange in Turkmenistan: Turkmen National Currency
The national currency in Turkmenistan is Turkmenistani manat, which can be divided into 100 tenges. In the country, the banknotes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 manats. On the international currency market manat is referred to as TMT. In 2009 Turkmenistani new manat bills have been issued, which was approved by the country's current president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The images on the bills portray prominent representatives of Turkmen culture, important figures, architectural monuments of the country.
One of the important things to remember before coming to Turkmenistan is to bring all the money you intend to spend in the country in cash. You can bring US dollars with you. It would be useful also to have 1 dollar bills with you because with them you can pay for little things. You might be asked also to pay with dollars in hotels, for a travel agency or touristic visits.
Currency exchange in Turkmenistan: Money exchange and exchange offices
US dollars and euros can be changed into manat. However, the dollar remains the first currency choice in the country. There is a fixed rate of 3.5 manats to the 1 US dollar. Due to this currency control, there is a black market, where the rate for the dollar is higher than in banks. However, changing money on the black market is illegal and dangerous. You can change your money in the banks to be on the safe side. You can also ask your hotel staff or the tour operator to help you with the exchange. Make sure to bring clean and new bills in low denominations, as even the official exchange offices don’t accept marked, damaged ones. You can’t exchange manat outside of Turkmenistan, so make sure to change your money back into dollar when you’re inside of Turkmenistan.
Currency exchange in Turkmenistan: Banks in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is a cash-based country, os often it's not a good idea to rely on the credit cards. You can use VISA card in some restaurants or hotels, but Maestro or MasterCards are practically useless. Being disconnected from the international banking system, the ATMs in Turkmenistan have a limited number. ATMs are only available in a few banks and hotels, where you can use your Visa or MasterCard.
Here is a list of ATM’s you can find in Ashgabat:
- In the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs-32 Garashsyzlyk St.
- Near to Magtymguly Monument- 22 Asudalyk St.
- Berkarar Mal (near to the entrance to the Kamil Supermarket on the ground floor)
- In the arrival hall of the Ashgabat Airport
- Nusay, Ak Altyn, Grand Turkmen and Yyldyz Hotel
Here you can also find a list of the central banks and their websites. The information about the branches and their addresses you can find on the official websites presented below. The websites of the banks also provide information about the current TMT rate in relation to foreign currencies. However, some of them have only Turkmen and Russian versions.
The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan
Address: 32, Garashsyzlyk Str., Ashgabat
Tel.: (+99 312) 40-60-40
The State Commercial Bank of Turkmenistan «Turkmenbashi»
Address: 54, H.Annadurdiyev Str., Ashgabat
Tel.: (+99 312) 44-71-19
Website: https://tbbank.gov.tm/ru (in Russian)
The State Commercial Bank of Turkmenistan «Halkbank»
Address: 154, Hero of Turkmenistan Atamyrat Niyazov Ave., Ashgabat
Tel.: (+99312) 44-48-37, (+99312) 22-73-23
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