Tajikistan border crossings

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tajik border guards

Posing with Tajik border guards

Tajikistan shares borders with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and China. Due to conflicts, natural disasters or diseases, the border crossings close often and unpredictably. Ask around before you set off and check our forum for latest updates.

Border crossings generally open 9am to 6pm. The best strategy for success is to come early in the morning and be patient. To see the location of the border posts, check the Central Asia border crossing map. For more information on getting in and out of Tajikistan, see transport in Tajikistan. For more info on registering yourself and visa requirements, check out the Tajikistan visa chapter.

Read this if you are worried about the Ferghana valley enclaves.

Tajikistan – Uzbekistan border crossings

Vehicles with Tajik registration are not allowed to enter Uzbekistan, and vehicles with Uzbek license plates entering Tajikistan are subject for tax. In practice, this means there is no cross-border transport. You will have to get transport to the border, cross it on foot and get another vehicle on the other side.

Oybek:  Generally straightforward crossing, but guards on the Uzbek side can be troublesome at times, checking your registration, luggage, etc.

From Tashkent, you can get a minibus going to Bekobod and get off at Oybek (Chanak). Once across the border, you can take a taxi to Buston, then a minibus to Khojand.

From Khojand, local minibus 33 goes directly to the bus station from where taxis and minibuses depart to Buston. Minibus is 7 Somoni, another 4 Somoni for a shared taxi from the Buston bus station to the Oybek border. Bribes may be asked, but you should simply refuse and play dumb.

On the Uzbek side of the Oybek border taxi drivers are waiting and offering their services for 50$ in the beginning. 10000 som for a ride to Tashkent is a more reasonable price. A bit further away on the main road, marshrutkas await.

Denau – Tursanzade: Open and generally hassle-free border crossing in the middle of wild Central Asian rocky plains. Public transport and shared taxis are available on both sides. Updates in this post.

Konibodom: On the Khojand – Kokand road heading to Fergana Valley. There are plenty of share taxis going from Khujand to Konibodom. From Konibodom, you can take Mashrutka #114 to the border post, which is the end of the line.

July 2012: At the border, the Tajik and Uzbek staff were both friendly and helpful. On the Uzbek side in particular there was an English speaking woman who helped us fill out our customs declarations. Even with our slightly irregular visas (the Uzbek embassy in Bishkek screwed up the dates and fixed them by hand on our visas) there wasn’t a hint of anyone asking for a bribe or anything like that. Once in Uzbekistan you’re really out in the middle of nowhere. We paid $30 for a taxi to Kokand, which was FAR too much, but when there’s only one vehicle there you’re kind of at their mercy.

Penjikent: On the road to Samarkand. This crossing has been closed for some time.

To get there with public transport, a minibus Dushanbe – Penjikent is about 7-8 hours. At the border crossing, there are taxis (and marshutkas) on the other side of the border. From there, it’s approx 45 mins to Samarkand. The road is bumpy, and the terrain mountainous.

Bekobod: Currently closed for foreigners.

Tajikistan – Kyrgyzstan border crossings

kyzyl-art

Kyzyl-art

Kyzylart – Bor Dobo: On the road from Sary Tash to Murgab. You will need a GBAO permit to travel the Pamir Highway. Osh – Murgab takes between 17 and 30 hours in a shared jeep. The price for a ride fluctuates between 20 and 50$. Take your precautions if you are traveling over this high pass; especially in wintertime intrepid Westerners have had to be rescued here in the past.

Tajik guards are corrupt here. Customs, narcotics and registration are fine but the passport control guards are known to take your passport and mess with the immigration cards. It is a well-rehearsed scam, bribes will be asked (10-20$ usually). Don’t let them take your passport inside without you going with it!

Kyrgyz side should be a breeze. Friendly guards with no hassle.

Karamyk/ Jirigital – Daroot Korgan: Closed again. It was briefly opened during the unrest in Khorog in summer 2012. While the road between Sary Tash and Dushanbe is being upgraded, it is scheduled to open in 2014.

Following report dates from August 2012:
Dushanbe – Jirgatol: 150 som, 200 for Karamik border. This seems much too high in hindsight as the road is very smooth and flat following a river all the way. There is a section in the middle that is gravel, but still very smooth going, no need for a 4wd. Border is in the midlle of nowhere and pretty empty apart from heaps of trucks. It’s about 10kms along a dusty road between border posts. We started walking and managed to hitch a ride on a truck after 20 mins. Got through kyrgz border without visa no worries, though took about 30mins for them to stamp our passport. There is limited transport: quotes from 200 somoni to 600 Kyrgyz som for the ride from the border to Osh. Road on the Kyrgz side of the border is very good ashpalt all the way. Absolutely no need for 4wd. A few roadworks between Sary Tash and Osh is all. Scenery from Karamyk to Sary Tash was beautiful.

Batken – Isfara: Easy crossing. A seat in a marshrutka from Khojand to Isfara takes 2 hours and costs 10 Tajik Som. A seat in a shared taxi from Isfara to Batken takes half an hour including border formalities and costs 10 Tajik Som. There are no marshrutkas or buses from Isfara to Batken. A seat in a shared taxi from Batken to Osh takes 5 hours and costs 1000 Kyrgyz Som(4 passengers). A shared taxi from Isfara to Osh costs $35 but don’t count on this as the taxi driver will drop you at Batken and leave. Updates in this post, or find out more about enclaves.

Kulundu – Ovchi Kalacha: On the Khojand – Isfana road, this is a valid multilateral border crossing.  Driving north out of Isfana (N.B. not Isfara), the first border crossing you encounter is actually bilateral only, but keep going a few km and you will find the multilateral border, which is much busier.

Tajikistan – China border crossing

qolma pass

The road leading up to the Qolma pass

Qolma pass: The Qolma Pass is open for foreigners, but only from China to Tajikistan. Tajikistan – China is only bilateral (for Chinese and Tajiks).

Tajikistan – Afghanistan border crossings

Shir Khan Bandar - Panji Poyon: The Friendship Bridge connects Dushanbe with Kunduz. It’s an important crossing from freight coming from China through Tajikistan into Afghanistan (and then to Iran). There has been talk about a railroad connecting Kashgar in China through Dushanbe with Kunduz, but it has not materialised yet.  Public transport should be available on both sides.

Ishkashim: Coming from Afghanistan, you will need to show a GBAO permit to enter Tajikistan. Coming from Tajikistan, you will need a Wakhan permit if you plan to travel past Sultan Ishkashim, which can be arranged by a tour operator once inside Afghanistan. A tour operator can also pick you up from the border if you don’t have your own transport.

The Tajik border opens at 0800-12.00 and then opens again at 14.00. The Afghan border is closed on Sunday. Opening times 09:00 – 11:30, 14:00 – 16:00.

Beware that it can get very hot there in summer, and the border is a 3km walk out of town on the Tajik side. Ishkashim is about 3 hours from Khorog. On the Afghan side, the border is about 5 km from the city of Sultan Ishkashim.

The Tajik control may ask for several bribes for not having an immigration card, which you are not given at the Kyrgyz border. Stand your ground. Afghan formalities should be fast. A Russian traveler asked for his passport to be stamped on another page so he could try to use the visa twice, and the border guard agreed.

The border is open for Mujahideen Victory Day.

bridge over pyanj

Bridge over the river Pyanj

Khorog – Shegnan: A bridge connects Tajikistan with Afghanistan here, also known as the Tem – Demogan bridge. The border opens Monday to Friday from 9am-12am and 1pm-4pm. The road goes on to Shegnan Bazaar, and from June to the start of the winter snows, you can drive down to Shiva Lake  in about 2 hours and then onwards to Baharak (another 4 hours from Shiva to Baharak, bypassing Warduj)…again, only when the snow melts after June.

Langar: Not open for foreigners.

Darwaz: Bridge over the Pyanj river connecting Afghanistan with Tajikistan. Not open to foreigners.

Tajikistan border scams

Some travellers have reported that on crossing the border into Tajikistan the officials on the Tajik side try to make some extra money by asking for a fee for the health declaration and customs forms. Just smile and pretend that it’s all a joke, but don’t pay the fee.

Comments are closed. If you have questions or reports, head over to our forum’s border crossings section.

20 Comments

  1. I entered Tajik via Bor Dobo (Kyzyl Art Pass) on June 4, 2013. The border guards were super friendly. They didnt want to let me go very fast as they were soooo thrilled to see a womanwant to talk to me…LOL…Thru my research, I udstd that I hv to pay th sum of USD15 to bring my vehicle into the country, but when I was there, it was FOC.
    I exitted Tajik via Tursanzade. Spent about 40mins for the process, but hassle free.
    Both crossings were done in the morning around 9am.

    • >>They didnt want to let me go very fast as they were soooo thrilled to see a woman riding a motorbike alone, so they wanted to talk to me for a while…

  2. I’ve decided to give it a shot and try cross through Kulma pass. I’ve passed all of the tajik check-post but the guys at the chinese side weren’t even willin to listen. They said it is open only to tajiks and chinese. the way, though, is beautiful :)

    • Thank you! Finally an answer!

  3. Hello! This summer (August 2013) I’ll enter Tajikistan from Uzbekistan with my own car. I’ll leave Uzbekistan from Samarquand. I would like to pass to Takikistan from Penjikent but seems it’s closed.
    1. Could you confirm that this pass is closed?
    2. In case which pass do you suggest me? I would like not to use pass in the South of Samarquad (Tursanzade i.e.), also which alternatives could I follow? Bekobod would be the first North from Penjikent? Or Chanak?

    Thank’s for suggestions!

    Simon

    • Most people go through Oybek, otherwise Konibodom. Penjikent and Bekobod are closed as it says in the article.

      • Is the Chanak/Oybek border passable with own car? I’ve a station-wagon car. To know if the street is enough good without having a jeep 4×4. Thank you!

        • Yes, you can!

          • Thank you Steven!

  4. According to http://www.pamirs.org, Kulma pass is at last open for foreigners. Anyone can confirm this?

    • It’s been open for more than a year but no foreigner has actually been there to confirm it. If you are the first we can finally lay this topic to rest!

  5. In July I will go to Tajikistan from Osh in Kyrgyzstan.
    I hope to obtain a Turkmenistan transit visa(Uzbekistan-Iran)
    so, I`ll apply a visa in Dushanbe.(During issue a visa, I hope to trip Pamir area) But, it` a problem that route is complex(I think).

    - Osh-Batken-Isfara-Khojand(or Dushanbe)-Dushanbe-Khorog-Ishkasim-Khorog-Murgab-Khorog-Dushanbe-Khojand-Tashkent(by Oybek border)

    Can I trip by this route? Because I have to pass the Pamir highway twice, I worry about expensive cost and hard schedule.

    And, Is it right that Batken-Isfara border is fastest way from Osh to Dushanbe?

    • You are right that this will be expensive and quite a long way to go, but if you want to apply for your visa in Dushanbe and go somewhere in the meantime, I guess this is an option. Batken – Isfara is indeed the shortest way to Osh (but still very long).

      • Thank you. Steven.
        Is it okay that I have just Uzbek single visa?
        If I need a multiple visa, how many times?(double visa ok?)
        There are Uzbek borders through the main road in the map.

        • Just avoid going through Uzbekistan more than necessary. Your driver will know what to do.

  6. The Tajik-Kyrgyz border via IsfaNa is open, at ”international” (village). Very cool and relax. Coming from Isfana, you simply have to skip the first border post (only bilateral) and 15 kms away there is the good one.

  7. I crossed the border at Oybek a couple of days ago (from Tajikiistan to Uzbekistan), so I can confirm that the border is pretty hassle free and friendly. Also, before I went I was told that you had to walk 3km between the borders. It was nothing like as far, and so while it is hot even in the late August afternoon when I crossed, it is pretty manageable with all your luggage.

    • Thanks! Good to know!

  8. Re the Uzbek enclaves between Batken and Osh:

    It is NOT true that local taxi drivers want to avoid these enclaves. Yesterday (August 10, 2012) I had a driver who in spite of pretending to understand “no Uzbekistan” in Tajiki, Russian, and English, attempted to pass through the enclaves. He tried to bribe an Uzbek border guard to let us through (two Kyrgyz nationals were in my car as well), which failed. Then he went around on the dirt road but idiotically came back to the main road between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek border posts on the other side of the enclave. The Kyrgyz border guard there insisted that my single-entry visa was not valid since I had left Kyrgyzstan (even though there was no evidence of this in my passport) and I had to pay a $40 bribe to get him to let me through. The driver then had the gall to ask me for more money to pay for the cost of going around the enclave. I basically told him (with the help of a fellow passenger translating from Tajiki to Kyrgyz) to shove it, and he didn’t ask again. His license plate number is S5768E. I would advise fellow travelers in this situation to avoid him.

    • Thank you for the valuable information, Matt, will add that to the main article!