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The gate of hell is the biggest attraction in Turkmenistan, but how is it in reality? Influencers are always hyping it a lot and saying that it is one of the best things they have been experiencing so far. 

What is the Gate of Hell?

It is a crater in the desert of Turkmenistan. Gas was running out there in 1971, when the earth collapsed into a crater. It was set on fire in the 1980s to prevent emission of poisonous gases. Since then the crater is basically on fire and hasn’t stopped.

Where is it located?

As mentioned, it is located in the desert of Turkmenistan, around 4-5 hours drive from the capital Ashgabat. Also it is 4-5 hours away from the border to Uzbekistan. It is near Darvaza.

The roads there are very bad, it always feels like the tire must explode every second. When being nearby you will also drive through the desert sand without a real road. 

When coming from Ashgabat you are also able to see two other crators.

One crater is full of water and trash and the second one is also having some fire in it.

What can you do around the gate of hell?

Basically there is nothing to do, you can check out the crater and walk through the desert. There is literally nothing besides the crater and the desert.

Where I was staying there was a yurts camp of yurts in which you were able to do some BBQ and cooking in general. 

Where to sleep at the gate of hell?

One of the two yurt camps out there

Due to the fact that you have to have a guide you will probably stay in a cool looking yurt in either the small or the bigger camp.

Inside of the yurt is a mattress, sleeping bag and an oven. 

If you would be by yourself also sleeping in a tent and camping is possible, then you just need to be careful so don’t put your tent up too close to the fire. It can be probably dangerous for you when inhaling gas the whole night. 

Is the gate of hell as cool as everyone says?

Short answer: hell no! I personally liked it there, but it is for sure overrated. When thinking about needing to drive 8-10 hours on the road just to get there, it’s just not that worth it. 

It is interesting, the fire is heating you up and especially during the night it’s quite romantic, but it is easy to compare it to a normal bonfire which you could do yourself. 

It is mainly burning on the sides of the crater, so most of the crater isn’t even on fire. Especially during the day it is a pure disappointment. During the day it is actually not nice at all. At night the whole region is lightened up red, you can see it from a distance and don’t even need a light or a map to navigate there. 

It literally looks like an entrance of hell from a distance, but the roads are more hellish than the crater. 

Can I recommend the gate of hell?

I can’t fully recommend it and not say it’s something you should not visit. I believe it is probably the best thing about Turkmenistan, so when you are there and you only see Ashgabat you for sure will be more disappointed. 

Gate of Hell during the day

If you only want to visit Turkmenistan because of the crater and not because you want to visit every country in the world, then for sure I will tell you to not go, it is not worth it the high amount of money and the whole hustle in general. 

You will have more of an easter fire in Germany, or a bonfire or when just going to Guatemala for volcano eruption if you want to around fire.

The gate of hell is for sure cool, but not to the degree what people online are praying for, I sadly can’t tell you the same. Also all the people who I met there said the same thing. There were even some people who just went there for five minutes and left again.

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Written by

Nico Koch

I am Nico Koch from Hamburg in Germany and happy that you are interested in seeing the world through my eyes and want to join me on my journey.