Turkmenistan shares borders with Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Borders generally open between 8 and 9am, and close between 4pm-8pm. To see the location of the border posts, check the Silk Road border crossing map on the overview page. For more info on how and where to get your visa, check out the Turkmenistan visa chapter.
On entering Turkmenistan you have to pay 12$ entry tax, to be paid in dollars only. The borders are usually closed for lunch. Take about 2 hours to cross any border. Note that Turkmenistan has a habit of closing its borders unilaterally around election time and around National Flag day (February 19th).
People should keep an eye on their valuables, especially when self-driving. Mongol Rally teams have reported getting robbed by the Turkmen border patrol guards. Somebody lost an iPhone and another team lost $4000 cash.
Note that you can bring in a maximum number of cigarettes into Turkmenistan: 2 packs, or 40 cigarettes. Reports seem to indicate no one is counting at the border, though. It is worth taking cigarettes as gifts even if you do not smoke, as a pack of cigarettes now costs around 30 manat (~4$) in Turkmenistan.
Like in Uzbekistan, reports from Turkmenistan have started coming in of people being searched and detained for illegal medication: painkillers, anxiety blockers and sleeping pills. It is best not to have them if you can avoid it – especially codeine.
Turkmenistan – Kazakhstan border crossing
Temirbaba: Remote border crossing on the (very bad on both sides) Zhanaozen-Turkmenbashi road. There is no public transport available, and taxis can be expensive: 6000 tenge to Zhanaozen, 45$ to Turkmenbashi. Take 3,5 hours for 180 km on the Turkmen side. Expect a long wait on either side of the border when driving, it’s still quite busy. A 4WD is preferred.
Turkmenbashi to Garabogaz/Bekdash: pure desert. There is a hotel in the main square next to the beach should you wish to stay overnight. Shared taxi to the border from Garabogaz: 10$, 1 hour drive Without transport, you can walk to the Kazakh side of the border, some 3km. Very hot in summer. You can buy water and some shitty food at the border. The first 50 km of road are really bad, then it gets slightly better. Hitchhiking this road is possible, but might take some time, and perseverance to wait for someone willing to take you for free.
Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border crossings
All crossings to Uzbekistan require a cruel march across no man’s land for about 1 km if you are not driving your own car.
Farap – Alat: Connecting Bukhara with Turkmenabat. Opens at 9am, closes at 8pm. Lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. Shared taxis are available on both sides of the border. It’s about 1 hour from Turkmenabat to the border. The pontoon bridge is that used to cause delays is gone.
On the Uzbek side, taxi drivers want 1 dollar to take you 500m to a shared taxi stand. You can just walk this. A taxi to Bokhara from the border will cost around 25$ for the whole car (you can share this with others).
The border itself: taxis cannot drive up to the gate, and you need to take a marshrutka for the last kilometer. Between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan there is a long hot walk, about 1.5km – no transport. On the Turkmen side it’s another (hot) 1.5km walk to where vehicles are allowed to pick up people.
If you don’t want to spend the night in Turkmenabat, you can sleep at the border (some pay, others manage for free). You can cross when the border opens at 9 and be in Bokhara well before noon.
Shavat – Dashoguz: Connecting Khiva and Urgench with Dashoguz. Border opens 09.30. There is an obligatory 1$ shuttle in the no man’s land between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Updates welcome here.
Uz -> TM: There is no cheap way to get from Khiva to the border, it costs 20$ for the car. On the Turkmen side, shared taxis run between the border and Dashoguz: 5 manat (1$) is a good price.
TM -> UZ: From the border, a taxi to Khiva can be had for $10 for the whole car, but you need to patience if you want to drive down the price. Taxi drivers start at 30$ and are tough negotiators.
Hojayli – Konye-Urgench: Connecting Nukus with Konje-Urgench. Reopened in 2016 after a reconstruction in 2015 kept it closed for most of the year. There is no longer a large “no-man’s land” area between checkpoints. All updates posted here.
Shared taxis from the border to/from Hojayli, Konye-Urgench and Nukus are available.
UZ -> TM: Shared taxis are available from Nuqus, and once across the border, to Konye-Urgench.
TM -> UZ: A short taxi ride from Konye-Urgench to the border costs 1$. Once across the border it’s a half-hour drive to Nukus by shared taxi (10 USD?).
Talimardzhan: Bilateral crossing open only for Uzbek and Turkmen citizens. It’s located between Qarshi (UZB) and Atamurat (TRM).
Druzhba – Gazadzhak: Small, little-known border post near Khiva. Not enough information available.
Turkmenistan – Iran border crossings
Sarakhs – Saraghs: Mashad to Sarakhs is about 3 hours by road or train. Taxi driver Rafi Khankhajeh comes recommended (0098 (0) 937 213 76 69 or 933 434 74 88). Opening hours of the border are 8am to 5pm. No transport goes right across the border, so once through the immigration on the Iranian side get a shuttle (about IR4000) to the Turkmen Immigration post. From there, once immigration formalities are complete, buses and shared taxis (max. 15$) run occasionally to Mary (2 to 4 hours). Transport links are random though, and definitely slow later in the afternoon, so come early.
Gaudan – Bajgiran: Has reopened after closing in summer 2016. Post and read updates here. Open 8am-4pm (7.30 – 15.30 Iranian time). Slow: count 1-3 hours to clear the border.
Iran -> TM: By public transport it’s 1,5 hour from Quchan to Bajgiran (every 2h from 6.30am, 8$). From Bajgiran to the border it’s only about a kilometer up the hill and you can walk this. On the Turkmen side, it’s 3$ to go from the border to Ashgabat by taxi, or 1$e for a bus to the suburbs of Ashgabat. From there you can get a taxi.
TM -> Iran: Take a taxi from Ashgabat to the border. Once cleared, take a transport from the border to Bajgiran village (2$). From there, there may or may not be a bus to Mashad (20$, 4h, confirmation needed). Most people seem to get shared taxis to Quchan, from where there is a bus to Mashhad.
Lotfabad – Artyk: This border was previously only used by travelers with their own transport, but with the current closure of Gaudan-Bajgiran, those on public transport need to come here too. In this case:
From “Iran khodro taxi stoyanka”, a shared taxi to the Artyk border costs 15 manat. Crossing the border involves hopping on a mandatory bus shuttle, 3 manat.
A share taxi from the border/Loftabad to the nearest town of Dargaz should cost 80,000 rial. From Dargaz, there are direct buses to Mashhad taking around 4 hours and costing 120,000 rial.
With your own transport this border becomes somewhat more convenient. Report from July 2016: Iran Police and Border Customs Office don´t stamp Carnet de Passage – it took us 2 hours to get a stamp – we recommend a Persian translation for every word. The last building at the border can stamp your Carnet de Passage, wait there until they give you a stamp.
At the Turkmenistan border, they ask us for Carnet de Passage (but we didn´t unterstand Russian, so they said “no problem” – we could enter without Carnet). We had to pay Registration and for the car Registration = 24$ (you can pay also in Manat)/ than we had to pay for insurance = 45$, desinfection (we didn´t had) = 3$, Entry entrance passage = 25$, fuel price Diesel = 29$, processing entry = 5$, Bank Service = 7 Manat. Car inspection was very exact (no problem with food, medicine).
It took us 3 hours to enter Turkmenistan. We can only drive the main route, at first they didn´s allowed us to go to Ashgabat, but we told them we have to fix our car (car repair) and so we can go to Asghabat-Mary-Farab.
Gudurolum: If you are planning to visit the mausoleum of Gonbad-I Qubus, this is convenient. You will most likely need a 4×4. No public transport as far as we know.
Summer 2013: Uncomplicated, but only one problem: if entering from Turkmenistan the Iranian authorities request you to get a vaccination against polio at the border. no matter if you can proof that you are vaccinated. We managed finally to get the vaccination waved, but it cost us about an hour of discussions (and the guys spoke farsi only).
Turkmenistan – Afghanistan border crossings
Torghundi (Tawraghudi ) – Serkhetabat (Kushka): The main border between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, on the road to Herat. The security situation near the border is not good, so if you decide to take this route, do it in daylight hours and make yourself known to the police. The road is perfect asphalt, but in the winter, it may be closed because of snowfall. A shared taxi from Herat to the border cost anywhere between 200 afghanis and 30$ in 2011, depending on haggling skills. From the border to Herat, it is unsure if transport will be waiting for you (mixed traveler reports), but maybe the border guards will take care of you. From the border it is a 1,5km walk to Torghundi in the worst case. On the Turkmen side, it should be no problem to find a shared taxi heading to Mary, if you are on a transit visa.
Imam Nazar – Aaqina: A remote border crossing near Andkhoy that sees little traffic, but is definitely open to foreigners. The road is a dirt track that will require a 4WD and good preparation. There is no settlement on either side of the border, so you will likely continue straight to Atamyrat (previously Kerki) or Andkhoy, if you find transport quickly. There is no public transport going to the border.
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