Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

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isracoifman
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby isracoifman » Sun May 05, 2019 4:13 am

Ferry Alat - Kuryk (Baku-Aktau)

Firstly, as mentioned on this page, the trip is between Alat and Kuryk. And I can guarantee that the crossing isn’t a nightmare anymore. Perhaps it never was like that. A bit of patience and using the right approach is more than enough to make this adventure become a nice experience.

I’m traveling by bicycle. I arrived in Baku to fix my bike and I asked to the staff of Zion Hostel to helping me to call to the port to get informations about the next ship.

In April of 2019 the things worked like this:

Yeah, there is no timetable. But it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world or the port is a mess. It seems there is only one ship making the crossing Azerbaijan- Kazakhstan. So you have to wait for its arrival and it can changes all the time due the weather, loading or other issues. So you have to call everyday to ask when will arrive the next ship. They speak English but if you speak Russian is better or asking for an Azerbaijani make the call, is even better.

After 3 days in Baku calling everyday they said that the ship called as Professor Gul would arrive at 6am of the next morning.

I decided to ride my bike in that afternoon and wait for that there, just to avoid surprises.

65km is the distance from downtown to the entrance of the port.

It’s a cargo port, although there is many campers and bikers doing that every year, so the security will test you, so provide them that you have the necessary information about the next ferry. And don’t rush and be kind. They will be too.

The guards will ask for your passport and then will show you where is the ticket office. They are finishing a new building where everything will be in one place, but till my experience, the ticket office was in a container.

A young and serious man also tested me how I knew that the next ship was arriving, and then I explained I called last days to get this info. And the number is exactly to his office. So after break the ice he also was very kind.

I paid 70 dollars in another container and returned to him with the receipt. It includes cabin and meals. No extra fee for the bicycle. He took my phone number and said he would call when the ship would be ready for boarding in the next morning.

I asked if I could camp there, just in front the container and he allowed.

There is toilet there and a small kiosk where you can buy some crackers, soda and fruits. But I brought many kilos of food and a lot of water, once the prior articles was scary.

When I was cooking after pitch my tent a Customs Officer approached. After a few minutes of talking he invited me for tea in the customs building. Later he said I could sleep inside the CUSTOMS BUILDING, because is warmer. Unbelievable!

So I packed my tent and put my mattress in the main saloon of the building and I slept there.

In the morning they invited me for breakfast and also gave me some food for the trip.

Of course I had an over standard experience but it just shows that the people there are nice and if you behave well be patient, everything will be ok.

I boarded around 1pm but the ship left the port perhaps 8pm. The trip takes less than 24h and I waited around 3 hours more or less until have my passport stamped and get ready to leave the ship.

The cabin is for 4 and I shared with just two more. We 3 were the only tourists on board. The rest was truck drivers. The cabin is pretty comfortable and the meals very simple but enough. You’re not going to starve. But It’s a good idea to bring snacks, sandwiches, etc..

When you board, you have to leave your passport at the entrance of the ship. In Kazakhstan waters, the immigration process will be on board. The officers come into the ship and your passport will be there, don’t worry.

Was a great experience!

Here is the phone of the port in Alat to ask about the ship:

+994 55 999 91 24
1 x

alarencontredumonde
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 11:54 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby alarencontredumonde » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:25 am

Just wanted to share our wonderful journey between Baku and Turkmenbashi.

Before leaving, we met 2 others travellers to share the journey. 4th of June we started to contact Oktai: +994 502140413, using an other number in this forum who put us in contact with him. Uses WhatsApp, speaks English. There were almost boats everyday, but we were not ready yet. On the 9th, they told us the boat was coming and that we should be at the port at 3 pm. We took a taxi for 25 Manats and arrived at Alat port at 2h30. At the same time another tourist arrived, we were 5 now. What I understood, is that Bergyar and Berkerer boats are also now leaving from Alat. But I don't know where and when you can buy them. I think that the contact we had was more for Azeri boats than Turkmen boats.

Passeport control at the entrance of the port. We then went at the office. Paid 60$ US per person, travelling on Professor Gul. They told us to wait. Hopefully, the boat would be arriving around 6 pm, InchAllah. We waited in a small restaurant (with AC) for 3 hours, the wifi was not working. On Marine tracking, the boat was still not at the port. We figured that we should wait somewhere else. Someone talked us about a waiting room. It was hard to find, but we managed to find a really big waiting room, close to the port entry. We waited there for few hours and rested a bit.

At 3:45 a guard came to say that we could board. We walked to the customs. Stamped out Azerbaijan. Small search with really nice border officers. Boarded the ship at 4:20 am. They gave us 2 cabin of 4 beds: 2 girls in one and 3 boys in te other one. They loaded the ship around 10 am and we left the port at 4:30 pm on the 10th. We spent 25h at the port in total.

The journey was nice: nice sunset, comfortable cabins, really nice crew and 4 meals included! Not 5 stars, but very nice experience! We docked in Turkmenbashi at 10:30 and exited all the process at 15:10.

Hope this will be helpful!
2 x

nielba
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:46 pm
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby nielba » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:01 am

Successfully crossed from Baku (alat) to aqtau (kuryk).

first, how to get to alat from baku: hitchhiking I think is quite doable, otherwise u can catch bus 125 from near old city and then bus 195 which will drop you around 2.5km from the port. total price 1.35 manat, 2.5/3 hours.

second, how to know when to go there: u can call, but it won't be very helpful. they basically don't know, no one probably really does.
we have called for a couple of days from baku, at last they told us the ship was probably leaving the day after and to avoid surprises we spent the night before at the port.
During the day no one really gave us any info, we were asking from time to time but they kept postponing, midday then 3pm, 5, 8, 11 even if everybody knew the ship was already there since hours. at the end we boarded around 11.30pm and left the port at 3.30am, arrived in kuryk at 1am.

third, what you will find and get for the price:
now the good news! the port is 24/7 open, including ticket office and ATM/bank.
u can camp for free, u will have toilette and shower, WiFi, water in the waiting room close to the entrance (where u can also sleep if u don't mind people talking until late in the night) restaurant and a "minimarket" where to buy essential food for cheap. the police and guards are very gentle, they opened for us their restroom to escape the heat and offered çay and chocolate.
on the boat u will share a 4 beds bedroom, all meals are included and in my opinion more than abundant to keep your stomach full during the trip (approx 24 hours)

forth, how to escape kuryk port:
on the Kazak side the custom building is finished, nice and clean. if u don't want to pay for a taxi (1000 tenge to kuryk, 25km) your best option is talk in advance with truck drivers, most of them are at least going to beyniu, a lot straight to Uzbekistan or even Tajikistan. also possible to find a ride to Almaty.
the only problem is that you might will have to wait several hours until they finish the paper work, and God knows what the hell they check.


it is not a bad experience, u have everything u need through the whole journey, just tiring for the waiting and waiting and waiting.
2 x

Julia
Kazakhstan expert
Kazakhstan expert
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Julia » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:31 am

Hi nielba,

And how much did the ferry cost?
Thanks.
0 x

nielba
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:46 pm
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby nielba » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:10 am

one person, 4 beds bedroom, 70$.. for a 2 beds 80$.. plus vehicle if u have, even bikes are supposed to pay..
2 x

gplaye
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby gplaye » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:20 pm

Hi !

I took the ferry Kuryk/Alat (Aktau-Baku) 10 days ago and wanted to share infos since I have not seen many here and it seems the situation changed a bit.

First, we (my girlfriend and I) came from Beyneu where we left the train from UZ (Nukus). There's a weekly train from Tashkent. The situation is really not what was described here before. We had our beds, everything was calm and good. Only annoying thing is it takes 2 hours to leave Uzbekistan (between 00:45 and 3:00), and again 2 hours to cross into Kazakhstan (from 4:30 to 6:30), so you don't get so much sleep. We arrived early in the morning, around 6:30, and quickly found a shared taxi to Aktau : 5000 tengue each. As said before, the road is very good and it took us around 4.5 hours to Magistau train station where the taxi dropped people off. He offered us to drive us to Kuryk port which we mentioned before, saying we were taking the boat to Baku.

We heard about the Kuryk port hotel that opened last summer, but not many infos about it... You have to pass some sort of security and get inside the port to get to the hotel. People from the port escorted us there. The price is about 3500 per person per night. The rooms are relatively clean and good. Inside the closed port area where the hotel is, there's also :
- 1 canteen area opened for breaky/lunch/dinner
- 1 passenger service terminal where you can find another canteen opened all day, ticket purchase counters, passenger information, money exchange, and ATMs.

The food is cheap and fine in both canteens, but not great.

You have to pay the hotel with a credit card, and you have to pay for the boat tickets in cash (USD of Tengue). Boat was $80 per person IIRC. We were lucky, the Mercury-1 arrived the day after we arrived at the hotel, around 5PM. They open the ticket counters about 2 hours before the boat arrives and docks. We boarded around 7PM and were out of the port by 9PM. The sea was very calm, it was a nice crossing. We arrived in Alat the next day around 5PM, and were out of the port by 7PM. So it was 24 hours between boarding the boat in Kuryk and leaving the port in Alat. In the boat, the cabins were OK and so was the food. There was really nothing to complain about.

To sum up, everything was great for us. We did not have to wait more than a day for the boat, crossing was fast and inside the boat things were fine. We met people on the boat who had to wait about a week before the boat arrived, so we definitely got lucky with the waiting time in Kuryk... I think we would have gone a bit crazy if we had waited for days in that port since there is really nothing to do. I know that in Aktau there is a travel agency (I don't know which one) that can call the port for you and tell you when the ferry comes, there were people on the boat who did that. We chose to go directly to Kuryk because we were afraid to miss the boat since we had no information about when it would come.
2 x

Cami30
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Cami30 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:38 pm

We took the ferry from Alat to Kyryk 5 days ago and we were fortunate enough to wait only for 20 hours. We arrived in Alat at 7pm and went to get info. The guy at the ticket office told us that the ferry might come that night or the next morning. So we paid for the ticket but because we told him that we had a room booked in Baku he didn't give us the ticket and told us to call. He doesn't speak much English but he gave me Amil's whatsup number, who speaks good English +994 50 746 29 62 and told me to ask for more info around 11 pm. So we rushed to Baku, had a shower and called Amil who told us the ferry would come at 2 am. We got back to the port, got the ticket and put up our tent. The ferry came the following day and we left Alat T 8 pm. The crossing took less than 20 hours, the boarding procedure was fast.
The only problem was the heat in the port though there is a shop in the port and you can buy water. No Internet.
În Kyryk make sure that you get all the stamps on the vehicle's papers. There is a final gate at the port and they won't let you out unless you have 5 stamps or so. We forgot one and nobody spoke English. Make sure you have cash to pay for insurance and bridge tax because the ATM might not work and you cant pay by credit card.
1 x

ericv
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby ericv » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:13 pm

alarencontredumonde wrote:Just wanted to share our wonderful journey between Baku and Turkmenbashi.

Before leaving, we met 2 others travellers to share the journey. 4th of June we started to contact Oktai: +994 502140413, using an other number in this forum who put us in contact with him. Uses WhatsApp, speaks English. There were almost boats everyday, but we were not ready yet. On the 9th, they told us the boat was coming and that we should be at the port at 3 pm. We took a taxi for 25 Manats and arrived at Alat port at 2h30. At the same time another tourist arrived, we were 5 now. What I understood, is that Bergyar and Berkerer boats are also now leaving from Alat. But I don't know where and when you can buy them. I think that the contact we had was more for Azeri boats than Turkmen boats.

Passeport control at the entrance of the port. We then went at the office. Paid 60$ US per person, travelling on Professor Gul. They told us to wait. Hopefully, the boat would be arriving around 6 pm, InchAllah. We waited in a small restaurant (with AC) for 3 hours, the wifi was not working. On Marine tracking, the boat was still not at the port. We figured that we should wait somewhere else. Someone talked us about a waiting room. It was hard to find, but we managed to find a really big waiting room, close to the port entry. We waited there for few hours and rested a bit.

At 3:45 a guard came to say that we could board. We walked to the customs. Stamped out Azerbaijan. Small search with really nice border officers. Boarded the ship at 4:20 am. They gave us 2 cabin of 4 beds: 2 girls in one and 3 boys in te other one. They loaded the ship around 10 am and we left the port at 4:30 pm on the 10th. We spent 25h at the port in total.

The journey was nice: nice sunset, comfortable cabins, really nice crew and 4 meals included! Not 5 stars, but very nice experience! We docked in Turkmenbashi at 10:30 and exited all the process at 15:10.

Hope this will be helpful!



Hello mate!

Thanks so much for this update! I am looking to do the same trip in a few weeks.

Can I ask: what port did you arrive at in Turkmenbashi?

On the Turkmen visa application, you need to select a Port of Entry. The two options are "Turkembashi Deniz Yuk Porty" and "Turkmenbashi Yolagcy Porty". I'm not sure which one to select. Could you confirm?

Thanks!
Eric
0 x

AdventurousHermit
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:47 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby AdventurousHermit » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:13 pm

We took the ferry from Kyryk to Alat a couple of weeks ago. When we arrived in Aktau I called Ilgar on this number +7 707 292 99 55. He speaks English. He said there would be a boat leaving the next day. Later on he called back and said the boat is leaving early and we should go to the port at Kyryk for 1am. We got a taxi to the port but it was deserted. Everything was closed. The security guard let us into a waiting room where there was nothing but a toilet and some metal chairs. We waited 13 hours. It’s not possible to get to the hotel on the other side when the entry to the port is closed. Once it opened, everything happened quite quickly. We were able to buy the tickets for $80 USD cash each for a 2 person cabin.
The crossing was smooth and fun. It took around 30 hours. The cabin was comfortable and you can open the porthole but there’s no aircon and it gets very hot and stifling. There’s hot water for tea and coffee always available. Three meals per day were provided. They’re basic but fine. We had no problem being vegetarian (tell the cook) but vegan would be a bit more difficult.
We were woken in the middle of the night on arrival in Alat and kicked out of our cabin. We waited a couple of hours until we got off. It was 4am by the time we came through customs and again everything at Alat was closed and deserted. We walked a few kms to the highway (in the dark) and hitched to Baku (70km).
I enjoyed the whole experience though and it’s worth it I think.
Last edited by AdventurousHermit on Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MirasBazarov
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby MirasBazarov » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:40 pm

Hello, Eric.
"Turkembashi Deniz Yuk Porty" - means "cargo port" in Turkmen language
"Turkmenbashi Yolagcy Porty" - means "Passenger Port" in Turkmen language.

Its sure information, cuz Im turkmen native speaker and live in Turkmenistan.
Feel free to ask anything more.

With best regards, Miras

ericv wrote:
alarencontredumonde wrote:Just wanted to share our wonderful journey between Baku and Turkmenbashi.

Before leaving, we met 2 others travellers to share the journey. 4th of June we started to contact Oktai: +994 502140413, using an other number in this forum who put us in contact with him. Uses WhatsApp, speaks English. There were almost boats everyday, but we were not ready yet. On the 9th, they told us the boat was coming and that we should be at the port at 3 pm. We took a taxi for 25 Manats and arrived at Alat port at 2h30. At the same time another tourist arrived, we were 5 now. What I understood, is that Bergyar and Berkerer boats are also now leaving from Alat. But I don't know where and when you can buy them. I think that the contact we had was more for Azeri boats than Turkmen boats.

Passeport control at the entrance of the port. We then went at the office. Paid 60$ US per person, travelling on Professor Gul. They told us to wait. Hopefully, the boat would be arriving around 6 pm, InchAllah. We waited in a small restaurant (with AC) for 3 hours, the wifi was not working. On Marine tracking, the boat was still not at the port. We figured that we should wait somewhere else. Someone talked us about a waiting room. It was hard to find, but we managed to find a really big waiting room, close to the port entry. We waited there for few hours and rested a bit.

At 3:45 a guard came to say that we could board. We walked to the customs. Stamped out Azerbaijan. Small search with really nice border officers. Boarded the ship at 4:20 am. They gave us 2 cabin of 4 beds: 2 girls in one and 3 boys in te other one. They loaded the ship around 10 am and we left the port at 4:30 pm on the 10th. We spent 25h at the port in total.

The journey was nice: nice sunset, comfortable cabins, really nice crew and 4 meals included! Not 5 stars, but very nice experience! We docked in Turkmenbashi at 10:30 and exited all the process at 15:10.

Hope this will be helpful!



Hello mate!

Thanks so much for this update! I am looking to do the same trip in a few weeks.

Can I ask: what port did you arrive at in Turkmenbashi?

On the Turkmen visa application, you need to select a Port of Entry. The two options are "Turkembashi Deniz Yuk Porty" and "Turkmenbashi Yolagcy Porty". I'm not sure which one to select. Could you confirm?

Thanks!
Eric
1 x
If You would like to visit Turkmenistan, You can ask me... :idea:


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