The Derweze gas crater is located 260 kilometres from Ashgabat. It is a collapsed natural gas cavern which was lit to burn-off poisonous gas, this was all in 1971, and today it is still burning as brightly.
We negotiated a ridiculous $150 taxi ride from Ashgabat, mainly because I initially planned to go to Konye-Urgench and then Turkmenabat, but realised this route passed through Uzbekistan and we didn’t have that entry-point on our visa, when I worked this out I informed the driver to go back to Ashgabat instead.
The main road lies about five kilometres west of the crater, the driver, with his sedan car, attempted the dirt tracks, but we nearly got bogged. We found a small local site with a yurt and negotiated with a local to take us to the crater in his four-wheel-drive for a further ten dollars.
We approached the crater after sunset, but not dark enough to experience the full effects. I did expect it to be bigger, but was not disappointed with the heat and power felt when standing near. As with all exciting things, Sonya warned me whenever I stood too close. Our taxi driver enjoyed it as well, I don’t think he even knew it existed prior to our visit.
- Derweze gas crater