Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

All about Turkmenistan
Rohan
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:58 pm
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Rohan » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:38 pm

We crossed this border yesterday with 15 Dutch members of a tour group.

From Mashad to Bajgiran - 3 hours by bus
Bus could come up to to the Iran side of the border.
There were two money changers at the border. USD/ Rial to Manat. Rate 1 USD to 15 Manat (18 in Ashgabat!)

First passport check by immigration. Exit stamp on visa paper and they keep the visa paper.
Next bags through the scanner.
A Second passport check and registration by Iran military by recording passport details in a big book manually.
Iran side procedures completed!

Cross the border fence (10 meters) / casual passport check by Turkmenistan soldier.
registration payments : 10 USD per person + 4USD for the group as bank charges.
Passport/ Visa check by immigration: Finger prints of both thumbs / photo. Entry stamp on visa
Bag scanning and medications check (random and easy)
Take the bus to Ashgabat (50 minuets)

It took about 1 and half hours to complete all the checks at the border from both sides for 15 of us. No issues.
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sleil
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:00 pm
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby sleil » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:05 pm

Crossed the border Bajgiran/Howdan 25th June; all in all it took my just 30 mins.

Got a taxi to Bajgiran for 1.300.000 Rial (less than 9€) from Mashhad.
Then walked to the border crossing (approx. 30mins); at iranian side they kept my e-visa and I was free to go.
The only other ppl crossing that border were from Turkmenistan who bought goods cheaply in Iran in order to sell them in Turkmenistan.

At turkmenistan side, I paid the $14, they took my finger prints and stamped my visa.
My bag was scanned and although I had too many cigarettes with me (6 packets and 2 are allowed), it didn’t cause any problems.
Doctor stuff with measuring temperature was not done.

After exiting, there is a bus that brings everybody 20km further to another „office“ where passport details are written down again.
Price for the bus: 10 Manat; I gave 1 Dollar and got 5 Manat back.
On the bus, I luckily met a turkmenistan guy, who had lived in germany for 5 years and it’s been great to communicate in my native language some time.

He had a driver and offered to take me with him to Asghabat, which I gladly accepted.
I wanted to stay at Kuwwat Hotel (10 US$) and they dropped me there.
maps.me with turkmenistan map is a must have for „transit“ travelers!

Internet: wifi is hardly available, even at the 2 cafes that I visited it was shown but didn’t work.

I suggest to go to one of the bigger Hotels and ask there for the wifi code.
Been to grand-turkmen hotel (5*****); entered the lobby and they provided me with the password-code without hesitation.
It’s: 04062019
but may change sooner or later!
Make sure to have downloaded a vpn to use whatsapp etc, because regularly it’s all blocked.

Regarding sim card:
Local price: 10 Manat
Foreigner price: 30 US$

as 1 Dollar is approximately 18 Manat; they charge foreigners more than 50x the original price. For 5 days it’s hardly worth it.

Asking a local to buy a sim card for you isn’t as easy as you think. Most of them don’t speak english at all.
BUT: I still managed to get one.
Went to Asghabat Cafe the first day; asked the best english speaking waiter for help and offered him 10US$ if he manages all the paper stuff and get a sim on his name.
He told me to come next day again; I did and luckily received a TM Cell sim card.

You can easily charge your phone with money at one of the many payment boxes that are standing across the city.
Still, 10 Dollar is quite much but only 33% of the original fare for foreigners.
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JulienFR
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:42 am
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby JulienFR » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:55 pm

Hi!

We crossed the border at Howdan-Bajgiran coming through Sabzevar and Quchan.

Our amazing Couchsurfer in Sabzevar (be sure to check Maziyar on CS!) bargained for us a private ride straight to Bajgiran for 1,5 million IRR. It took us 3h30 (location of the savaris in Sabzevar: 36.216683, 57.69247).

We slept at the "Hotel and Camping Complex" in Bajgiran, difficult to find the owners and after 30mn we could get in. The guys where adorable and the room was 1,6 million IRR (around 10€). Don't expect something really nice, it's basic and not the cleanest we experienced! They changed our remaining rials in Turkmen manats and we changed dollars for 1$/16TMT.

We tried to hitchhike to the border and ended up being taken for free by the local bus.

The border crossing was smooth and quite fast.
Iranian side:
- 1st passport check at a desk.
- Bagage check (easy, didn't really look the screen).
- 2nd "handmade" passport check before crossing Turkmen side.

Turkmen side:
- 1st "handmade" passport check just after the Iranian one.
- 2nd passport check on the go.
- 3rd passport check at a desk.
- Paying at the "bank", 24$ for two people (she checked really fast, not sure she really wants dollars above 2009!)
- 4th and proper passport check, fingerprint and pictures taken.
- 5th passport check on the go.
- Bagage check (easy).

We took the bus to the last checkpoint 20km further down the road for 10TMT each. We met a guy who spoke really good English who tried to make us pay 50TMT to take us to the center but we declined several time saying that we'll try to hitchhike. He ended up dropping us for free at the Kuwwat hotel (the room was 30$ for a "Lux" dirty room...).

Overall, we really feared it could be a difficult crossing but everything went smooth and Turkmen guards where actually quite friendly (and Iranian as always too!)! We left the hotel in Bajgiran at 9am and arrived at the hotel in Ashgabat at 11:30am.

Regards

Julien & Sarah
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Kanter
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Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:56 pm
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Kanter » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:23 am

Border crossed on August 14th coming from Iran. French passport.

Started from Teheran the day before at 5 30 PM to reach Quchan by bus. VIP bus very comfortable, taken in East Terminal (metro Teheran Pars). Around 850 000 rial.

NB : Pharmacy not far from terminal has his boss who speaks a good English and a quite good French

Arrived Quchan bus terminal at 5 30 AM. Terminal was not opened, and I ask to a bus driver how to reach Badgjiran by bus. Told me there was no bus (true ?), only shared taxis (Savari in Farsi). Then he called one of his friends, to take me to the border for 400 000 rials. Think was a pretty good price for more than 1 hour driving. Friend came, try to take me for 500 000 rial but I said 400 000. Deal.

Landscape is nice, guy driving a bit too fast for me, always on left lane but I was in Badgjiran at 7 30 PM. There is a small shop were I exchanged my Rial in Manat, rate 1 : 14.

Not too bad. Some guys from Mongolian rally just slept in front of the police station, where border area starts.
So at ~7 45 AM I started walking in border area, there is no control at police station, policeman just told me to go ahead. A guy with motorbike took me up to the hill for free, nice. Then waited for opening, Iranian guys not in a hurry. I forgot some Rial in my pocket and changed it in an office in customs building, bad rate 1 : 10 but I did not care (100 000 rial).
X ray, passport control and gave my VISA, they kept it despite my : « Can I keep it" ?
Then, there is a control by Iranian soldiers. Took my name. End of Iran.

First control of Passport and transit visa (done in Paris) by Turkmen guys, English spoken. Then, had to pay 14 $, woman refused two bills as not clean and a bit torn. Then, a custom guy took fingerprints, photo of my face, ask me which hotel I was going in Ashgabat. Said Kuwwat Hotel even if I did not book (tried to call them and to speak English and Russian, did not work). Then, X ray and question : « Do you have weapons, Kalash ? » No, but have shawn my Swiss knife, they did not care. Border finished.

Waited bus till 9 AM, took it and paid 1 dollar and an old woman just explained me it was too much :D

After 30 min of road, bus dropped us off in front of police office, last control by guards, same questions : where are you going ? Etc. No problem.

Took a taxi with old woman for 20 manats, to Kuwwat Hotel. Driver did not know where it was, had MapsMe
but he was asking all drivers where it was. Boring…
To sum up : no major problem. I think bus for Quchan is good option, rather than go to Machhad and come back to Quchan.
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dalec.si
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:19 pm
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby dalec.si » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:38 pm

Crossed September 4 with a car from Iran to Turkmenistan.

Iran side:
- nothing to pay
- use right "lane"
- get your carnet stamped on second floor (go up stairs), ask people they are very helpful
- no vehicle check at all

Turkmen side:
- passport check
- get visa stamp and pay (12 or 14 usd for entry per person). Price stated on bill is 10usd and 7 manat. I paid 14usd, my girlfriend paid 12usd. (We went through separately, but I think its easier if you go together)
- they ask you roughly about itinerary ( no reservations needed )
- back to car, they assigned me a guard who was guiding me to all different offices. If you know some Russian it helps, but usually they know some English. You will visit around 5-6 offices.
- paid 119usd total for car. Desinfection (1usd), petrol tax (24usd), insurance (35usd) and some other mumbo jumbo fees. All paid at bank at once with receipt needed.
- for petrol tax they didnt even see the car, i think they dont care if its full or empty or how big is it. I think they have standard fees for bike, car, truck, but you might be able to argue as this tax is pretty high (amount is same as 350L of diesel in Ashgabat, 1.35manat per L)
- they like to ask for tip, we didn't give
- we got gps tracker at police station, there is NO deposit fee
- they asked me about animals in car few times, we don't have them
- customs vehicle check was very thorough, opened prettymuch all compartments and even flipped through clothes and also through rooftop tent
- they asked for weapons and drugs multiple times
- there was no doctors check and they didn't check medicines
- no issue about tinted windows, stickers, color (its silver anyways)

Whole procedure took us 2 hours and 40 minutes.
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togreiser
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:14 am
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby togreiser » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:29 am

Crossed September 2019 from Iran to Turkmenistan.

Easy and fast crossing. Took taxi from Mashhad to border. Took about 4-5 hours including picnic with taxi driver. Taxi driver drove me all the way to border

Iran side very fast. max 3 minutes
Turkmen side: I picked up my transitvisa at the border i payed 73 dollars. I only had 75 dollars. I only got 20 manat change. Bank lady said she did not have dollars change. Turkman side took about 30 minutes

waited also for bus for about 20 minutes extra

everyone was friendly
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friederike0509
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Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:48 am
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby friederike0509 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:55 pm

Crossed 30 September form Turkmenistan.

First, we took a taxi from Ashgabat to the first border point for 40 Manat (2 people). Our passport was quickly checked, to ensure that we have a visa for Iran.

Then 10 Manat each to be brought by bus roughly 20 km to the border point. This took about 30 min, to ensure that all places on the bus been taken. After the 20 km, we arrived at the border house. (Try to avoid being there during lunch, cause they take breaks then.)

We got our passport stamped and then left for Iran. (roughly 10 meters away from the Turkmen border house). In Iran two idiots using google translate asked a couple of questions and searched despeartely for Israel stamps in my passport. Missed apparently, that Israel does not stamp for European citizens.

Took again 10 min and off we went. Took a taxi to Maschad for 20 Dollars for 2 people.
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Clairethedon
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:14 am
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Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Clairethedon » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:02 am

TM to IR. Irish woman, late 20s, 10th October.


Left my hotel around 10am. Hotel said the price to the border is 30 manat. Considering I had a pile of manat left, I didn't bother arguing. I hailed the taxi on the street, agreed 30 manat and off we went. I said Bajgiran as the destination and he knew exactly where to go. Took maybe 20 minutes. Arrived at the checkpoint, and tried to change manat to rial. Could only get dollar so I declined. Passport checked and got on the bus. Got a seat but they do pack the bus. The border was busy on the Turkmen side. The bus took a while to climb the twisty road. It costs 10 manat. Got out at the Turkmen border, and it was very quick to get through. Met 2 other tourists also crossing so we decided to share a taxi with each other to Mashhad.

Once at the Iranian border, they speak English and are quick. I bought insurance for 9 dollars once I got through all the checks. I think it would be easy to forget this as no one reminds you or asks for proof of insurance when you cross. As soon as I got through, a man approaches you to change money and offer a taxi to Mashhad. He will follow you around so there's no avoiding him. He gives a price of 20 dollars for a taxi to Mashhad. He gives 5,000 rial to 1 manat which is absolutely pathetic but when you're stuck, you're stuck. He gives 100,000 rial to the dollar. The rate that day was 114,000. We took our chance and refused his exchange and taxi. They didn't hound us too much.

We walked to the village, again got offered a taxi. We argued for a while on the price of the manat but again, 5,000 rial to the manat. I swallowed my pride and changed 600 manat to rial, giving an equivalent conversation of around 89,000 rial to the dollar. So pathetic.

We didn't see any buses so we priced the taxi for 1,500,000 rial. Split 3 ways it worked out at about 12 dollars. I paid rial, my buddies paid dollar. The taxi driver took us all the way to the hotel. Staying true to form, he asked for more money once we got out and were about to check in. My buddies went for their wallet to pay. I stopped her. I got very angry and stood my ground and defended the 3 of us from this rip off. I made quite the scene in the hotel lobby. It took a while, but he sulked off and didn't push anymore.

Later I told this story to another tourist in the hotel. He's been to Iran 3 times and each time he comes back, he noticed more and more people are trying to rip him off.

One thing I will say about the border, when you get to Iran, it's very quiet. This would be a pretty bad border to hitchhike from or depend on public transport. I think I got lucky, as I happened by chance to come across other tourists crossing. Maybe I came as a quiet time, I don't know. Based all other reports, use the crossing south from Ashgabat. It seems busier.
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Halloumi
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:21 am

Re: Bajgiran/Ashgabat border updates

Postby Halloumi » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:21 pm

I also crossed yesterday (about an hour earlier, I should’ve waited!). Taxi guy initially wanted $30 to Mashhad but accepted $20. Driver change in Quchan which made me a bit suss but the second driver kept the price $20... at first. Once we got to the outskirts of Mashhad i asked the driver to drop me off at the railway station, at which point he pulled up at the nearest metro station and told me that going to the railway station would be another $7 or I’d have to take the metro. I protested how unreasonable that was but he couldn’t have cared less and held his ground. The metro was easy enough to work out though once I’d taken a guess at the fare (turned out to be 15000 rial). Disgraceful behaviour from the driver; worse than Cairo and that’s saying something.

As an aside I tried to get the minibus to Bajgiran, but the driver refused and pointed me towards the taxis. A bit of egg on face as I’d laughed when the taxi vultures told me it wasn’t possible.

Same loss with the manat/rial conversion, but I didn’t have any luck finding money changers while wandering around Teke Bazaar the previous afternoon.
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