Trains between Tashkent and Turkestan + border formalities

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
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Trains between Tashkent and Turkestan + border formalities

Post by KimV »


I've read there are Russia bound trains leaving Tashkent in Uzbekistan just after midnight and going to Turkestan in Kazakhstan (arriving just before noon). Can anyone confirm this information is correct?

How does border crossing go when you take a train? Does the train wait for all passengers to complete immigration? Do you have to change trains? Can you take the train across the border as a foreigner?

Also when I look up the timetables of the trains it says it's impossible to buy online unless you pick up the ticket in Russia?
Now I happen to travel to Russia before I travel to Uzbekistan, so I could pick up my ticket in Moscow a few weeks before.
Does anyone have experience with this? Can you pick up the ticket as a foreigner in Russia or does it mean you have to be Russian citizen? Can you pick them up in just any station?

I'm still wondering if I should take this train across the border, or better to cross in Chernayevka towards Shymkent by marshrutkas/taxis?
Don't know what would be more convenient?

Thank you so much for your help,
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Re: Trains between Tashkent and Turkestan + border formalities

Post by steven »

Hi Kim,

sorry for the late reply. A lot of your questions have already been answered at

In your case, I would not take the train. It will be much quicker to take a shared taxi to Shymkent and another one to Turkistan. Long border crossing and slow train is the main issue. You can do it in 6 hours by public transport. By train it will be longer I think. Just the border crossing alone takes 6 hours I think.
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Re: Trains between Tashkent and Turkestan + border formalities

Post by Klwilso »

At the risk of 'flogging a dead horse'... I just want to add to this post to assist when others are googling 'Turkistan - > Tashkent'.

We just took the 006ф 'Uzbekistan' train from Turkistan (0951) to Tashkent. The price was 11500 Tenge. Bought at Turkistan station.

The ride itself was pleasant. Managed to get a whole two booths to ourselves. Had endless tea and ramen (with the free boiling water).

However, there was an 80 min wait at the Kazakhstan border and a further 80 min wait at the Uzbekistan border. You stay on the train whilst customs and immigration board the train. We were given a visa on arrival once we reached Uzbekistan. The immigration took our passport (along with everyone else's) and returned it stamped, 80 mins later. No major issues with customs. They just had a quick look at our medications. Asked a few questions had a bit of a chat via Google translate.

Total travel time took approx 8 hours.
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Re: Trains between Tashkent and Turkestan + border formalities

Post by pitypie »

We did the same train — Klwilso, you beat me to flogging this horse, since before going I had wished there was some more recent advice on this route! — but in the other direction just yesterday. Ride was actually super pleasant, a great way to save some money on a hotel and get a decent sleep. But yes, the border is a pain when you’re up at 3am already. On the Uzbek side, they collected our passports and disappeared; after a while, a guard and some dogs came and the guard asked us a few questions. (He was excited we spoke French in addition to English, so we let him practice a bit with us.) Passports eventually got returned to us with stamps in them. After about 90 minutes, the train left the Uzbek side and drove for about 30 minutes. It stopped again on the Kazakh side. We didn’t have to get off the train, but we did need to leave the car to sit with the border agent in an empty berth in our car — he had a little portable cube-shaped laptop that could read passports, and he asked us the typical questions. They also use the cube computer to take your picture, like they do when you do a typical “land” crossing — they hold it to your face up like those people who use iPads for vacation pictures. (It’s a bit comical since the cube is so clumsy and big, but I got chided for laughing.) If you like trains and aren’t a fan of shared taxis, the Tashkent-Turkistan option is actually really lovely.

The only caveat: we almost didn’t get to board the train since we had bought our tickets from Kazakh railways instead of Uzbek. I posted in detail on another thread so I won’t belabour it here, but in short, buy your Tashkent-Turkistan leg from Uzbekistan railways and you won’t have any problems.
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