There is a fiery crater in the desert that has been burning since 1971, and it smells like a gas grill.

While the many dramatic photos and videos of the Darvaza gas crater bring the aberration to life, little can properly portray the sound: a whipping, low, persistent hum from hundreds of flames – almost industrial.

The Door to Hell isn’t the most amenable site in Turkmenistan; it’s in a desert far from the city, uncomfortably cold at night, and smells, obviously, of gas. But, those who see it never forget.

The isolated crater is around 274 kilometers from Ashgabat on bumpy roads through empty Turkmenistan desert scrub, and the key to a pleasant Door to Hell experience is getting there for sunset. The drive takes only three hours under normal conditions, but we were keen to see a little more of Central Asia’s most undiscovered country.

5 mins reading time
Travelogues Logo

Travelogues is an Asia-focused online magazine brought to you by Remote Lands

There's More