WARNING! Many common painkillers, sleeping drugs and anxiety blockers are illegal in Uzbekistan. See the peculiarities chapter below to make sure you do not get arrested.
Uzbekistan shares borders with Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Due to conflicts, natural disasters or diseases, the border crossings can close unpredictably. Ask around before you set off and check our forum for announcements.
A tricky time is always around Independence Day (September 1st). Borders get (sort-of) closed and LOIs and visas may or may not be refused for the 2 weeks surrounding this holiday. There is no clear line to be distinguished here, no hard and fast rule: it all depends. A forum thread details the different experiences travelers had around this time in 2016.
To see the location of the border posts, check the Silk Road border crossing map on the overview page. For more info on registering yourself, check out registration in Uzbekistan and the Uzbekistan visa chapter. To learn more about getting around Uzbekistan, see transport in Uzbekistan.
Many common painkillers, sleeping drugs and anxiety blockers are illegal in Uzbekistan. Codeine is a common component of many painkillers but is highly illegal in Uzbekistan. Benzodiazepines and sleeping drugs you own are probably also illegal. The full list of substances illegal or restricted is available here. Make sure you do not have any of these substances in any medication, and to have the right boxes and usage manuals for all your medication. Prescriptions are a must if it is anything outside of a standard pill.
Make sure to declare all foreign money when you enter Uzbekistan. Taking out more foreign money than you brought into Uzbekistan can lead to heavy fines. You will need to fill in 2 customs forms for that, one for them and one for you. Make sure to keep the second one. When leaving the country you will need to fill in another form with your current amount of money, and hand it over together with your old form.
Books can be tricky. Don’t bring religious literature of any kind, or books about Uzbek politics or history. A travel guide is fine. They know how an e-reader works.
Pictures: Don’t have pictures that could be deemed controversial on your camera, mobile phone, usb stick, memory card or laptop. Government buildings, bearded guys, military stuff, naked girls, … Border guards tend to look for porn most of all.
Usually, things go smooth and you are not thoroughly checked, but immigration officers have been known to count money in detail, to look at your books, check hotel registrations, go through your medicine box pill by pill and look up the names online, open your laptop and search for porn, or ask questions about every Uzbek on your pictures.
One girl had to undress in front of some local women and a female Uzbek border guard. It is really difficult to predict: sometimes, passing the border is a breeze, at other times, you get stuck for hours.
Drones cannot be brought into Uzbekistan by foreigners.
Random deportations through no fault of your own do happen. We had 2 reports in 2017: one of a woman who did not notice her visa on arrival was filled out wrongly (her LOI was in order) and was detained for several days and finally let go with a 7 million som fine. The other was of a backpacker who registered every third day as required but was still arrested and deported.
This map is schematic and only depicts the main border crossings of Uzbekistan. For all border crossings and their precise location, see the map at Border crossings of the Silk Road. Status (open or closed) is detailed below.
Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan border crossings
Tejen: On the Beyneu – Kungrad road; the roads are getting better, but still quite bad in places. There is also a daily train between Kungrad and Beyneu, which takes approximately 10 hours. Border opens at 9am. Shared taxis drive between Kungrad and Beyneu and can also be caught at the border. An example price: 2700 tenge for a seat in a shared taxi from the border to Beyneu. Updates reported here.
Chernayevka/Zhibek-Joly: It is the main road and rail link between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, connecting Shymkent and Tashkent. Generally straightforward crossing nowadays, but there can be considerable waiting time with fisticuffs breaking out occasionally due to the stressful circumstances. If it’s busy, try to stay calm and wait your turn. Many Uzbeks cross the border every day. The border is open 24h with a few breaks daily.
If you are self-driving, you can take this border. Before you could only cross further west at Yalama. This is no longer necessary.
From Tashkent: There are no marshrutkas going cross-border. From Tashkent you can take a whole taxi for 20 000 sum from the city center, or a taxi or Damas marshrutka for a miniature sum to the border, leaving from the bus stop at the Yunusobod Univermag supermarket. Marshrutkas to Shymkent are possible during the day, however shared taxis are more likely to be found. 1500 KZT would be a reasonable price for a seat in the car.
From Shymkent: You can pick up a shared taxi to the border here, but make sure it is going to Zhibek Zholy, not Yalama! After the border, plenty of transport awaits.
B. Konysbayeva / Yalama: Formerly the place to cross for self-drivers coming to Tashkent. It’s not as convenient as Chernayevka, but should you be here without your own transport, at a guess the simplest route from Uzbekistan would be to get to Chinaz and jump in a car to Yalama. Money change is available, but nothing else. There are shared taxis waiting on the Kazakh side for locals. Updates posted here.
Shardara: According to Kazakhstan Migration Police, this is a multilateral checkpoint. There are no accounts of travelers passing this way, however. Advised to use the main Shymkent-Tashkent highway or Yalama.
Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan border crossings
Uch-Kurgan: Currently reported closed. We think it might have opened up again, but haven’t found confirmation yet – we are looking for further updates.
Border crossing on the road between Karakol and Namangan. Open daily from 8am to 8pm. Guards on both sides are generally friendly and relaxed, few people pass here. Still, it will take an hour to pass through. On the Kyrgyz side, you can get any transport going along the main Osh – Bishkek road to drop you off there, the border is located at the roadside. Once cleared, it’s a 10 minute, no shade walk (if you don’t have a car or bicycle) from the Kyrgyz side to the Uzbek side.
On the Uzbek side, minibuses pass by on their way to Uch-Kurgan town center for 1500 som (if you have Uzbek som, there are no money changers). Otherwise, taxis are waiting who can change money (if you ride with them) and can drive to Uch Kurgan or Namangan. A ride to Namangan costs 10$ for the car.
Dostyk/Dustlyk: Main border crossing on the road between Osh and Andijon. Public transport and shared taxis are available on both sides. Open 24/7, closed for lunch 13.15 to 13.45. Could be very busy: ask to skip the queue as a foreigner or be prepared to wait for hours. Updates and experiences in this post.
UZ -> KG: From the border, big bus #2 goes to the bazaar.
Khanabad: Border crossing on the road between Jalal-Abad and Andijon. Update: May 2013, Jalalabad- Khanabat border is closed.
Izboskan/Manyet: This border crossing was discovered when all other border crossings with Kyrgyzstan were closed in September 2015. We are not sure if it is continually open to foreigners, or if this was only emergency procedure. Shared taxis run on either side of the border.
Read this if you are worried about the Ferghana valley enclaves.
Uzbekistan – Tajikistan border crossings
The immigration card when entering Tajikistan has been abolished, and thus, the immigration card scam is finished as well.
Cyclists will be asked on exiting where their import document is for the bicycle – you do not need one, of course. Just smile and pretend that it’s all a joke, but don’t pay the bribe. Stand your ground. This post has a good round-up.
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.
How to get from Samarkand to Dushanbe with the Penjikent border closed
An issue that confounds many people is how to get from Samarkand to Dushanbe. The 2 cities are close on the map, but due to the closure of the Penjikent border, you need to make a long detour, either north (Oybek border) or south (Denau border). The Denau border is by far the quickest way – it takes around 9h of driving (experiences at the Denau border forum post). The northern drive only makes sense if you also want to see Khujand, Istaravshan, Zerafshan, etc. Self-drivers can post their tips for this route here.
Since April 2017, a flight has started operating between Tashkent and Dushanbe.
Generally straightforward crossing, but guards on the Uzbek side can be troublesome at times, checking your registration, luggage, etc. Open 24/7.
Uzbekistan -> Tajikistan: The first thing you need to do is get to Kuyluk (Kuluk, Kulyuk, Koylok, Qo’lok) Bazaar in Tashkent. Bus #12 runs from the train station to Koylok bazaar.
From the bazaar to Oybek you have two choices: You can take a taxi (including shared taxis – 15000 sum for a seat, 60000 sum for the car) or a bus going to Bekobod for 5500 sum (you get off at Oybek, aka Chanak). After buying the ticket, this might be a good time to change your remaining money back into usd. At the border the rate is lower, and in Tajikistan you will get nothing for your som.
A marshrutka ride to the border takes 2 hours, 1,5 hr by taxi. Once across the border, you can take a shared taxi to Buston (5 somoni), then a minibus to Khujand (7 somoni).
Tajikistan -> Uzbekistan: From Khujand, 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. Taxis from Khujand to the border start from 80 somoni for the car.
On the Uzbek side of the Oybek border taxi drivers are waiting (10$/car). A bit further away on the main road, marshrutkas pass by occasionally.
There are no money changers outside the border post on the Tajik side. However, there is a ‘Duty Free’ hut inside the Tajik border post where you can apparently change money. There are money changers on the Uzbek side. Updates in this post.
Konibodom – Beshariq
On the Khojand – Kokand road heading to Fergana Valley. Updates in this post.
Taj – > UZ: There are plenty of share taxis going from Khujand to Konibodom. In Khujand, get any marshrutka south bound on Linen street to avtostansia. From the bus station to Konibodom (also Isfara for Kyrgyz) it’s 8 somoni/one hour journey. From Konibodom, you can take Mashrutka #114 to the border post, which is the end of the line. The small shop nearby can change somoni to Uzbek som.
Once in Uzbekistan you’re really out in the middle of nowhere, taxis may or may not be waiting. From Beshariq, a bus goes to Kokand.
Uz -> Taj: Taxi from Fergana to the crossing takes about an hour, around 15000 sum for a seat. Once out, you may or may not be able to get a marshrutka to Konibodom bus station, otherwise you need to catch a taxi ride. From there, you can negotiate a taxi or minibus to Khujand, 1 hour.
On the road to Samarkand. This crossing has been closed for some time. For people who write to me to double-check, yes, I am sure it is still closed. There is no quick way to do Samarkand – Dushanbe. Quickest is if you go south via Denau-Tursunzade. Count on 9-12h with shared taxis.
Denau – Tursanzade
Uzbek border guards at this crossing are the worst in the country. Definitely check your medications. Border works 24/7. Public transport and shared taxis are available. Direct transport to the border from Samarkand or Bukhara is expensive for solo travellers as route is lightly travelled. Updates in this post.
Uzbekistan -> Tajikistan. Samarkand to border: Shared taxi at the Grebnoy Kanal/Betonka stop outside of the city. 50$ direct to the border for the entire car (7-8 hours). Other taxis will charge 80-90$. Border to Dushanbe: 5-10$ per person direct to hotel in Dushanbe, around 1h drive.
Tajikistan -> Uzbekistan. Zanisar bazaar in Dushanbe to Tursanzade: marshrutka 70mins, 5 TJS, or taxi for 50 TJS whole car. Tursanzade to border: shared taxi, 10 mins, 7 TJS. After immigration, there are limited options, not many people. Border to Denau: shared taxi, 2$. Denau to Samarkand: long wait for a shared taxi, 8hrs. A taxi straight from the border can be had starting from 50$ (whole car) but likely you will pay more.
Ilyos (+998 91 585 74 06) is a taxi driver who lives near the border and comes recommended.
You can also take the train. The Tashkent-Samarkand-Denau service takes about 15 hours (11 hrs from Samarkand) and runs from Tashkent on odd days, and from Denau on even days. From Denau, it’s 40km to the Tajik border by taxi, and then another hour to Dushanbe.
Bekobod: Currently closed for foreigners.
Khatynrabat: In the south, connecting Shahrtuz with Termez. Bilateral border crossing only open to residents of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan – Afghanistan border crossing
Termez – Hairatan: On the main road to Mazar-i-Sharif. People generally report a laid-back, easy-going atmosphere on the Afghan side, possibly coupled with a bribe request. On the Uzbek side, you will get the full treatment – see Uzbek border peculiarities – it is good to start before lunch to arrive before dark in Mazar. From the border, it’s about 1 hour to Mazar. Updates reported here.
UZ -> AF: A taxi from Termez to the border costs 40 000 sum. At the Uzbek border taxi stand, there is an obligatory shuttle bus, you might have to pay 5000 sum for this. After the border, it’s a 1 kilometer walk without shade over the Friendship Bridge. Once across the Afghan side, make sure you have an address ready in Farsi in case your taxi driver doesn’t know the hotel. To get to Mazar-e Sharif, a shared taxi should cost no more than $4/seat.
AF -> UZ: Same thing, but border guards are even more thorough on the Uzbek side when coming from Afghanistan. Expect questioning and thorough checks of your phone/camera/laptop/medicine box.
Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan border crossings
Farap – Alat: Connecting Bukhara with Turkmenabat. Opens at 9am, closes at 8pm. Lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. Shared taxis are available on both sides of the border. It’s about 1 hour from Turkmenabat to the border. The pontoon bridge is that used to cause delays is gone.
On the Uzbek side, taxi drivers want 1 dollar to take you 500m to a shared taxi stand. You can just walk this. A taxi to Bokhara from the border will cost around 25$ 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. Updates posted in the Farap – Alat forum topic.
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.