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This is my son Brandon at “The Door of Hell” – the Darvaz Gas Crater in Turkmenistan, one of the “Five Stans” of Central Asia, the ultimate in the remote, the exotic, the unknown full of wonders.

Here you will find the ancient cities of the Silk Road still in all their splendor, and one of the glitziest cities you’ll ever see built yesterday in the middle of nowhere. Here you will find the Mountains of Heaven, the Door of Hell, and the Seven Pearls of Shing.


We explored all five in 2018 and 2019, but then came the Covid Lunacy with the world going wacko over a flu bug.  Finally we were able to explore four of the five last September (2022) but Turkmenistan remained closed.

Now we just received word that Turkmenistan is reopening at last – so our Heart of Central Asia 2023 this September will soon be revised – for crossing the Kara Kum Black Sand Desert to spend overnight in a yurt at the Door to Hell, and on to Turkmenistan’s marble capital Ashgabad.

It’s All Five Stans again!  Hope you’ll be joining us.  (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #259 photo ©Jack Wheeler)