Torugart pass crossing Q&A

All about China. Expert: bwv812
Post Reply
steven
Admin
Admin
Posts: 4280
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3743
x 591

Re: Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by steven »

We welcome all your questions and reports about the Torugart crossing below.

We gather all travel intelligence in the Torugart crossing travel guide article.
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

samsung
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:49 pm
x 9
x 8

Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by samsung »

Did a quick road trip Bishkek-Kashgar-Osh with flight back to Bishkek rhis month.

Local Bishkek driver dropped me in Naryn Sunday 15th of Sept. Intourist was 800 som, 1000 with BF. Working wifi.

Following day used local driver to CN border. 6500 som. As long as you have CN visa no need for border permit.

Left 0630. 5 min stop at first KG border zone barrier. Then some 30 min at KG border passing 300 hundred trucks after 3 days closure. Arriving at CN gate 0930, opening at 1030 ish. First one there. Starting filling up No passing before your CN guide shows up at Torugart. A RTW motorbiketeam of 12 bikers were the only ones who managed to pass before lunch break. I passed as the next around 1400. Caught up with the bikers 5km down at the first checkpoint, as they had loads of red tape. I travelled solo, with burner phone only and no luggage at all, making it all quick. First one to arrive in Kashgar that day in time for a great Uighur dinner by old town some 18ish+.

Contrary to Erkeshtam where you can cross wth no arrangements you must have a a prearranged guide at CN side at Torugart. 2 independant bikers had been stuck in between borders for 1 and 3 days (Swiss and Russian), and as well a german couple arrived making the stranded group 4- Last I heard when I left was that the border officer tried to help with some local guides to arrange the borderzome permission and guide. It looked good, but the same officer stasrted by saying impossible earlier on, si it remains to be seen. Not a situation I would put myself in. Given the remoteness and weather, as it started snowing on spot while waiting.

Exiting at Erkeshtam was a breeze. Left Radisson Kashgar 0630 KG time (and local time, while they howver officailly use Beijing time 2 h ahead). Checked out of CN precisely 1110, where lunch break starts 1130. With a non pro pick up he had to waut for me at the border zone gate about 18 km from border. From CN exit where I was the first I walked about 2-3 km to KG main passport control. The local taxi mafia claimed 1000 som to take me to last gate. They said my pick up should pay so not to worry. I declined started walking and offered 500 som. It came down to 700, and I offered 600 som last offer which was accepted. The Uzbek driver waiting for me drove like a maniac. Worst Ive ever had. He and his english speaking imam buddy, had to despite this driving stop for prayers at a local mosque. Got to Osh 17ish for some great sashlik, stayed private, and flew back to Bishkek the next day.

Main lessons are make sure your drivers can go to last gate at both sides, have guide in CN for Torugart (def makes Erkeshtam easier as well), and try to make the CN lunch break. My guide said going out he normally made it with small groups. Reason he was late on meetup was allegedly some power/computer issue at main customs . These hickups occur, and I talked with other guides during the 4h wait with different stories.
Last edited by samsung on Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x

samsung
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:49 pm
x 9
x 8

Re: Sept 19 Torugart/Irkeshtam report

Post by samsung »

Main thing was that they only checked my cell phone briefly at main customs upon entering. No spyware, and according to my guide they stopped doing that 1 month ago after complaints.
2 x

fuzzyfurs
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2024 2:17 pm
x 2
x 11

Re: Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by fuzzyfurs »

Reviving this thread:

I just crossed the Torugart border, 9 May, 2024.

There are buses that run twice every week from Kashgar to Bishkek but the schedules are not fixed and prone to change. So unfortunately, you will just have to ask around and check when they do. Luckily for me, I only had to wait two days for the next departure. Note that the border is closed on weekends.

From the main bus terminal in Kashgar, we left at 10am and were told that we would arrive in Bishkek at around 1 to 3am the next morning, depending on how smoothly things proceed at the immigration checkpoints. There were only 17 passengers on the bus. It was a fairly old bus but still comfortable (by my standards, at least). I was the only foreigner: I hold a Singaporean passport and speak Mandarin.

There were at least 3 or 4 checkpoints during the journey: two of them required me to exit the bus and show my passport while the other locals waited. Your bags will be scanned and manually checked. There was a lot of waiting time on both sides. At the Chinese border, we spent 6h (!!) waiting because there were other passengers who were not able to cross due to visa issues but thank god we finally left them behind and moved on.

Happy to report that there were absolutely no issues for me at all and border officials were kind and friendly to me.

Due to the delay, we ended up reaching Bishkek at 7am (Kyrgyz time: set back by 2h).

Additional info:
- the bus journey is cold as the checkpoint is high in altitude so be prepared. However, they do provide blankets on the bus. There was one meal stop and a few "restroom" stops.

- Upon arriving in Bishkek I took a mashrutka (#285, cost 30som) to the Korday border which was very speedy and easy, then finally a shared taxi that cost 5000 tenge and took 3.5h to Almaty.
Last edited by fuzzyfurs on Mon May 27, 2024 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
3 x

Renner94
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 22, 2024 10:47 am

Re: Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by Renner94 »

Hey Fuzzyfurs,

Thanks for this useful information!
Do you know if the bus stops at other destinations before Bishkek?
By the end of next month I want to cross China from Pakistan to Kyrgyzstn.
The plan is to take a bus from Pakistan to Tashkorgan, hitchhike to some spots of interests and finally to Kashgar.
As you mentioned there are really view information about how to get around in this area so we were thinking about hitchhiking to Torugart but with the bus it might me less complicated and more official for the chinese checkpoints :lol:
0 x

fuzzyfurs
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2024 2:17 pm
x 2
x 11

Re: Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by fuzzyfurs »

Renner94 wrote:
Wed May 22, 2024 11:29 am
Hey Fuzzyfurs,

Thanks for this useful information!
Do you know if the bus stops at other destinations before Bishkek?
By the end of next month I want to cross China from Pakistan to Kyrgyzstn.
The plan is to take a bus from Pakistan to Tashkorgan, hitchhike to some spots of interests and finally to Kashgar.
As you mentioned there are really view information about how to get around in this area so we were thinking about hitchhiking to Torugart but with the bus it might me less complicated and more official for the chinese checkpoints :lol:
Hey, no the bus does not stop at other destinations: it's direct to Bishkek but there were a few passengers (locals) who wanted to get off earlier at the Kyrgyz border instead and they told the driver so. So you can possibly do the same if it's on the same route.

I don't think hitchhiking is allowed in the Xinjiang region or it will be very closely monitored by the police who are likely tell you to take the bus... That's my take. It's a strict region after all. Besides, there is only one road from Tashkurgan to Kashgar and there is nowhere else to go from Tashkurgan really. We did pass by Karakul lake which was beautiful and you could make a stop here but I'm not sure how you can get to Kashgar after.
0 x

ivyde
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 31, 2024 12:18 pm
x 1

Re: Torugart pass crossing Q&A

Post by ivyde »

We crossed the Torugart Pass on 16 May 2024, from Kashgar to Naryn by private taxis.
We asked several tour companies and only 3 companies had the right permits.
For the 2 of us, on the Chinese side we paid 2300 RMB and on Kyrgyzstan side US$170. If we had found more people making this journey we would have been able to share this cost to make it cheaper.
We really liked/chose the Torugart Pass because of how beautiful the scenery was and because the route was more convenient for our plan.

Chinese side:
Overall it was friendly except the last checkpoint/officers who were stern. No one checked through our phone.
We got picked up at 9am and arrived at the first checkpoint at 9:50am. Unfortunately the work hours start around 10:20-10:30am.

There are several checkpoints on the way to check luggage, take down our passport number and phone number, check visa and stamp the passport. The fourth and final check is at the border, which is at the pass itself, was to check the stamp and let you walk to the Kyrgyz side only if someone with the right permit picks you up.
Due to road works, the journey was very bumpy and took longer than they expected, but we were told they no longer close for lunch breaks.
We arrived at the border at 1:50pm Beijing time.

Kyrgyz side:
Only 2 checks but a lot more stern. The officer saw us take a photo which caught a building in the corner; they took real issue with it so went through our phone's photos individually, demanded their deletion and reprimanded repeatedly.
2 hrs behind in timezone so arrived at 1st checkpoint just before 12:00, which happened to be lunchtime, and had to wait till around 12:20 to pass through.
1st checkpoint was for the passport.
2nd checkpoint was a military checkpoint after a long, beautiful ride. The scenery and the climate on the Kyrgyz side is very different from the arid desert on the Chinese side. We did not need to get out of the car. Our guide took our passports to the military shack.
We paid $15 extra to take a detour via Tash Rabat which was about an hr extra, but very worth it.
We arrived at Naryn at 6pm.
1 x

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post