Turkmenistan: The New Shopping Mecca (No, Really!)
If you want bargains in Ashgabat, you’re going to have to venture out beyond the landmarks (Photo: Corbis Images)
Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, whose name means “city of love,” has a lot to love for the serious, bargain-hunting shopper. You can buy babydoll lingerie, furnish a house, entertain a toddler, and satisfy your taste buds with local food fare all in one spot.
But to find a bargain, you’ll have to travel beyond the pristine white marble buildings that comprise the new city of Ashgabat — a safe, modern and somewhat sterile metropolis.
The Russian Bazaar is a popular spot for adventurous bargain hunters (Photo: David Stanley/Flickr)
The Russian Bazaar
There are several bazaars where you can experience how the locals shop for groceries and everyday household goods. They include the Teke, Daşoguz, Mir, and Jennet bazaars. The most popular and oldest of these is the Russian Bazaar in the Ashgabat city center on Azadi Street. The two-story, open-air covered bazaar is also known as “Gulistan.” You can get there in a gypsy cab, which is the normal mode of transportation in Ashgabat. A one-way ride anywhere in the city costs about 1-2 manat (one manat equals about $1.25).
Taxi Tip: Negotiate your fare before the ride (Photo: Corbis Images)