A practical currency and money guide to travel, living and doing business in Turkmenistan and the Turkmenistani manat (TMT).
What's in this Turkmenistan currency guide:
The official currency of Turkmenistan (country code: TM) is the Turkmenistani manat, with symbol m and currency code TMT.
The Turkmenistan manat (TMT) is the official currency of Turkmenistan, a country located in Central Asia. Here are a few things to know about the Turkmenistan manat:
By far the most mysterious and unexplored of Central Asia’s 'stans, Turkmenistan became famous for the truly bizarre dictatorship of Saparmyrat Niyazov, who ruled as ‘Turkmenbashi’ (‘leader of the Turkmen’) until his death in 2006. Niyazov covered this little-known desert republic with grandiose monuments and golden statues of himself. Although many of these statues have since been dismantled, plenty of visitors still think of Turkmenistan as a sort of totalitarian theme park. But the least-visited of Central Asia’s countries is far more than this – it's an ancient land of great spirituality, tradition and natural beauty.
The ancient cities of Merv and Konye-Urgench inspire visions of caravans plodding along the ancient Silk Road, while the haunting beauty of the Karakum desert and other quirky natural phenomena are equally mesmerising. The full Turkmen experience is ultimately about mingling with the warm and fascinating people themselves, whose hospitality is the stuff of legend.
Air transport is well priced and generally reliable, and well worth considering if you're in a hurry. Domestic Turkmenistan Airlines flights are heavily subsidised for locals (although not foreigners). Consequently demand is high and flights need to be booked in advance. Turkmenistan Airlines serves the country's main cities with a fleet of modern Boeing 717s. As the main hub, most flights go in and out of Ashgabat, though there are also flights from Dashoguz to Turkmenbashi, Mary and Turkmenabat; from Mary to Turkmenbashi; and from Turkmenbashi to Turkmenabat.
Marshrutkas and minibuses are the most effective way to get around, though they're cramped for long journeys and you'll often have to wait for some time until they're full for them to depart. Shared taxis are a good alternative to marshrutkas, being faster and more comfortable (and you can even buy the remaining seats in a vehicle if you're in a hurry to get going). Buses are a slow but cheap way to get around. The Ministry of Motor Transport lists routes, timetables and fares – all, rather remarkably, in English: http://www.awtomenzil.gov.tm.
Driving through Turkmenistan is perfectly possible if you arrive with your own vehicle, but it's expensive and full of hassles (road blocks, poor roads) and extra charges. Significantly, there’s also a road tax calculated by the kilometre for your route through the country.
Trains are slow but comfortable and a great way to see the countryside and meet people. Train fares are likely to be charged in US dollars, although some travellers have reported paying in manat. You can expect to pay US$15 to US$20 for a journey of around eight hours.
The Door to Hell is also known as the Darvaza crater, named after a nearby village. It originates from the 1971, when Soviet geologists were prospecting for gas. They accidentally hit an underground gas pocket, causing the whole thing to collapse into a deep sinkhole. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, they had the brilliant idea to set the whole place on fire hoping it would burn out quickly. But here we are, almost half a century later, and the thing is still burning. Not surprisingly, Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves in the world.
When the USSR crumbled in 1991, the five Central Asian states became countries in their own right for the first time, and replaced communism with burgeoning national identities. Turkmenistan soon became known for the bizarre personality cult of the late President Niyazov, who died in 2006, turning the capital Ashgabat into a shrine to himself, including a golden statue that rotated with the sun.
Turkmen culture is far more than just Niyazov and his successor, current president Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, although there’s plenty of propaganda books you can buy to remember them long after you’ve left. Descendants of nomadic desert tribes, the Turkmen infuse their Islam with animism. You’ll find pilgrims’ shrines dotted all around the country, with locals stopping to worship, leave items for luck, and attend to rituals, like walking around minarets in circles.
With such an unusual history, be prepared for a few wild travel moments. The border crossing is an experience in itself, and the guards will almost certainly go through your luggage. In a repressive political climate, it won’t come as much of a surprise that the police can be sensitive about photography, particularly around government buildings in Ashgabat.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Turkmenistan:
Understand Turkmenistani manat currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the TMT exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local Turkmenistani manat bank account: A local TMT bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Turkmenistan. It may also be more convenient to use a local TMT bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Turkmenistan. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Turkmenistan. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Turkmenistan, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.
The exchange rate of Turkmenistani manat (TMT), or the amount of TMT that can be exchanged for a foreign currency, can fluctuate rapidly based on a number of factors, including economic conditions, interest rates, and political events. Below you can check the latest TMT/USD rate plus recent trend, chart, and historic rates.
15 May 2023
28 Feb 2023
29 May 2022
30 May 2018
31 May 2013
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make an International Money Transfer to Turkmenistan or planning a trip or maybe living there, so will need to exchange and spend Turkmenistani manat.
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It is important to note that the exchange rate of the Turkmenistani manat can change rapidly and that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. It is advisable to carefully consider the risks and factors that may affect TMT exchange rates before making any financial decisions.