Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

All about Turkmenistan
rcabecos
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby rcabecos » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:21 am

CianoH wrote:We had our letter of invitation prior to our arrival but it took about 4 hours to get our visa. Priority given to locals with local passports. A lot of confusion and waiting around, you go to the first booth and give your passport, then get called into second booth and get asked some strange questions by some head border guy, then get called into third booth to pay for the visa. Then eventually called back to the first booth to get your passport and visa. Once that process is finished if driving through you stop at a number of other rooms where border guards will ask for dollars etc, just play dumb and move on. We were also issued with a tracking device for the car but never actually turned it on or used it which didnt cause any problems when leaving.

Drive from the border to Ashgabat is really easy then!


That happened at the bajgiran/Howdan border right? Can you confirm this?
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Granite2018
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Granite2018 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:24 pm

Crossed this border in early December 2018, Iran to Turkmenistan. I turned up around 08:15 and it took 30-45 minutes. Exiting Iran took ten minutes, with a bag scan, and passport checks by two separate officers.

I'd already collected my Turkmenistan visa beforehand and simply had to pay the 14 USD entry tax. I then had my temperature taken by a doctor, who also asked me if I was in good health. Then onto passport control, all standard questions asked and fingerprints taken.

I had to unpack my whole bag at customs and was asked a few questions about items in my first aid kit, tobacco and firearms etc.The officers were very professional and friendly throughout.

There are no taxis from the border to Ashgabat (unless your hotel has sent one for you by prior agreement), only a bus that runs around every half hour to a checkpoint on the outskirts of Ashgabat. The driver took 1 USD. From there, you can get a taxi into town.

On the subject of tobacco duty free allowance, a local told me that the allowance is two sealed packets (40 cigarettes) and one open packet with no more than 17 cigarettes in it. I encourage everyone to bring their allowance in with them, smoker or not.

A packet of decent cigarettes (e.g. Kent, Parliament, Malboro) is worth around 70-80 Manat in Turkmenistan, which is already a lot on black market exchange rates (1USD = 17 Manat in December 2018), compared to neighbouring countries, but hugely expensive for locals who do not have dollars to exchange. Despite the strict tobacco laws introduced a few years ago, plenty of people smoke, so cigarettes make for a great gift. They can also be used as a bartering tool, particularly with taxi drivers.
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patuszak
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby patuszak » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:29 pm

CianoH wrote:We had our letter of invitation prior to our arrival but it took about 4 hours to get our visa. Priority given to locals with local passports. A lot of confusion and waiting around, you go to the first booth and give your passport, then get called into second booth and get asked some strange questions by some head border guy, then get called into third booth to pay for the visa. Then eventually called back to the first booth to get your passport and visa. Once that process is finished if driving through you stop at a number of other rooms where border guards will ask for dollars etc, just play dumb and move on. We were also issued with a tracking device for the car but never actually turned it on or used it which didnt cause any problems when leaving.

Drive from the border to Ashgabat is really easy then!


CianoH - where did you get LOI? Did you buy some trip from a local travel agency? Thanks for info!

A quick question to those who crossed this border with their own vehicle in 2018/2019 - what about fees? Any changes?
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Trip 2019 on a motorbike: from Poland to Kazakhstan through: Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Slovenia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

SHappe
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby SHappe » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:21 am

We (two Australians) crossed over from Iran -> Turkmenistan on the 14th of March. Very quick and easy - all done in around 45min.

We caught a cab from Mashhad. 2 million rials ($18USD), without bargaining (we were tired).

Arrived at the border at around 10am. Changed our remaining rials into Manat on the Iranian side. There's a guy there who stamps the cabs dockets, and he does it for a pretty fair rate (works out to be 15manat to a dollar). Exiting Iran in around 10mins - lots of looking at passports and writing our names down in triplicate. They seemed to be in the process of installing or fixing their bag scanner, so we opened our bags - they looked at it and waved us on (didn't touch a thing in the backpacks or anything).

Crossed into the Turkmen side - there were lots of soldiers, but they were all excited to practice their English and wanted to talk to us about what they knew about Australia. We were waved to take a seat and we waited for 10min until a woman came and efficiently took our $14USD each, and gave us our receipts. There was a Turkmen family filling out forms and they waved us to the front of the group. Passport control took 5min - they asked where we were staying, how long we were staying in Ashgabat, took our thumbprints, and photos. Went into the side area for a bag check - they have a scanner we stuck our bags and shoes in. They opened my husband's bag and had a two second look, and didn't touch mine.

There was no doctor or anything there. Quick and painless. The only other people there were the Turkmen family. The shuttle bus came after 45min, cost 10manat each (or $1USD). Once you get to the bottom, you are shown to another desk where they write down your details, and then you're out. Only thing to remember is that there is that time difference between Iran and Turkmenistan (TM is one and a half hours later), so 'lunch' is actually earlier when you're leaving from Iran.
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togreiser
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby togreiser » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:42 am

I need some advise.

I going from Tehrān, Iran -> Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in September and it looks like the Bajgiran/Ashgabat border would be the best option.

My plan is to take the the train Tehran @07:05 to Neyshabur @13:52 or maybe to Mashhad. Then a taxi to the border. Is Neyshabur or Mashhad better? Any advise about taxi?

Where is the best place to stay the night somewhere close to the border? I would like to be at the border as it opens in the morning.

Edit: FYI As I did not get any respond on this post, I have decided to take the train to Mashhad from Tehran. And from there take taxi to the border. I have contacted the Taxi driver the on Caravanistan, and the communication so far has been very good.
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Graindum
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Graindum » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:20 am

We crossed that border in a van and it was ok. People were nice (even though speaking of coffee, I think it was trying to get some bakhchich, but I said I didn't understand and they let me). As said before, we paid 12$ per person to a girl in an office, and gave our digital prints, but not so much formalities for going by foot.
As for the car, we paid a lot of money for the taxes : about 220$, including kilometric tax and a lot of others. They hardly checked the car and didn't give any GPS (even though we paid for it). They said we would say we weren't given any at the next border, what we did, and we had no problem.
No need to registrate in the country.


From the iranian side, even though we didn't understand anything - didn't know where the cars could cross the border - it was quite easy. The border is open every day until 4 PM (what we were told) and the customs didn't look at our van, just the chassis number. They opened a door locked and we could go to Turkmenistan.
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Felix
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Felix » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am

Border is open and free of problems for foot passengers. Keep to restrictions and have your papers and all is OK. 20 km Bus ride on TM side costing 10 Manat or 1 USD. Vehicle crossing appears to also be possible, but since I was on foot I cannot report on any difficulties. Having a Tour company on Turkmen side is advisable if you need hotels, as you are not allowed to book yourself. Yyldyz in Ashgabat is a splurge, but woth at least a visit as it has reliable, unrestricted and password-free WIFI. Probably your only chance of this in Turkmenistan.
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TwoItalians
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby TwoItalians » Tue May 14, 2019 9:29 am

We crossed April 16 from Iran to Turmenistan. Only on the Iranian side you can change Rials and USD for manat at reasonable 15 manat for 1 USD. In Ashgabat it's 17 or 18. Bus to near Asgabat is 10 manat. From there to the City centre we paid 50 manat for a taxi, after bargaining down from 200. They take finger prints and compared it when we leaved 5 days later at Farap.
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janbrand
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby janbrand » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:46 pm

I crossed the border today from Ashgabat to Iran.
There is a cheaper option to go:
From the center take bus number 16 for 0.5 Manat. This will bring you to a few km from the border. Just ask the bus driver or other passengers. The bus went into a small street to the right and a van and a white (like every car) Opel Astra were waiting there. The van driver and the Astra driver both said the van is not going to the border - but it is ;-) A woman from the bus helped me. This van costs 10 Manat to the border. After the checkpoint there is a bus for 10 Manat (also for foreigners), which is going through beautiful landscape to the real border. This was pretty straight forward.
On the Iranian side taxi drivers will tell you, that the bus, which is going to Bajgiran is not going to Bajgiran - they even grabbed my arm and hold me... But they change money for a quite bad rate. Just change something for the transport to wherever you want to go. The bus to Bajgiran was 50.000 Rial.
I took a private from Bajgiran to Quchan for 400.000 Rial. Which was too much I think. But he said for 700.000 he will bring me all the way to Mashad. But I took a bus from Quchan, which was less than 100.000 Rial I think. I don't really remember, because I got tired of everybody who tried to cheat on me on the way. But good news: In Mashhad the people were nice and the cheating ended ;-) But the bus will drop you off a few km from Mashhad at a bus stop. Another local bus (10.000 Manat?) will bring you to a close by bus stop and another bus (again 10.000) brings you to the famous shrine.
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AlbertoBoero
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby AlbertoBoero » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:17 pm

We crossed the border from Iran into Turkmenistan in 45 minutes. They went through our medicines pretty quickly and did not search our bags.

You pay 10$ tax per person and 4$ bank fee per group. We were with 2 Dutch and 1 Chinese, so at first the lady didn't accept us as one group. But we said we knew eachother very well etc. and then we just had to pay 34$ (so group up!)

To get to the border we took a taxi from Meraj Terminal in Mashhad (there were no busses going any time soon). We paid 2 million Rial, but I think you can get a better deal (but 14€ isn't bad right for such a long ride).

At the border we found the famous taxi guy to change money, but there is another guy too. Their offices are right in front of each other. I let them compete with eachother and got 17 manat per dollar, which is also the rating I used to change my leftover rials (about 40 dollars worth of Rials).

At the Turkmenistan side we took the bus out of the border zone. Nobody had to pay anything. We then took a taxi to the city centre for 45 manat.
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