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Caspian Sea Ferry Q&A [archive]

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:39 pm
by Jeremyreed
Have looked on the site but can see no mention of boats from Baku to Aytrau.
I am cycling from the UK to Australia starting next March 2014. Am aiming to go from Baku to Aytrau around middle/end of June then cycle to Dossor, Oktyabrsk, Emba, Shalkar, Aralsk, Kyzylorda, Shymkent before crossing into Kyrgestan.
Have also planned that I may need to take a train before visa runs out.
Any advice?

Re: Ferry from Baku to Atyrau Kazakhstan??

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:16 pm
by steven
Hello Jeremy,

there is no ferry to Atyrau, only to Aktau. From there you can take a train if you don't want to cycle the whole stretch through the desert.

Everything you need to know about the caspian sea ferry to be found here:

Re: Ferry from Baku to Atyrau Kazakhstan??

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:08 am
by Jeremyreed
Thanks Steven.
I have looked at your excellent web site and found it most useful.
I intend getting a 30 day visa for Azerbaijan and then a 30 day visa for Kazakhstan (have been told I cant get a longer visa for Kazakhstan.) Assuming there are no significant delays in Azerbaijan I would catch the ferry from Baku to Aktau.
Is it better to get the train from Aktau to Shymkent/Taraz or cycle to Beyneu and catch the train from there?

Re: Ferry from Baku to Atyrau Kazakhstan??

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:34 am
by steven
First off, have a look at the visa pages for Kazakhstan, you can get a visa for more than 30 days to Kazakhstan, just have to exit after 30 days on a tourist visa, or get a business visa.

About cycling in the desert, many people do it. I personally would take the train from Aktau, since there is nothing to see or do, there are few people in between, and it is incredibly hot in summer (no shade).

But that's just me. The dirt track from Beyneu into Uzbekistan is very popular with cyclists I noticed.

Re: Ferry from Baku to Atyrau Kazakhstan??

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:53 pm
by Jeremyreed
Many thanks for your quick advice. Much appreciated.

Re: Ferry from Baku to Atyrau Kazakhstan??

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:29 pm
by bubus

since 1963, the ferry line Baku (Azerbaijan) - Turkmenbashi, former Krasnovodsk (Turkmenistan) connected both cities across the Caspian Sea.

Up to 8 vessel of the Class "Dagestan" are operated on the line in the presence of freight: "Ak. Topchubashov", "Azerbaijan","Dagestan","Ak. G. Aliev", "Prof. Gul", "Nakhichevan", "Mercury-1" and "Mercury-2". Two latter ships are rather new, they were built in Kaliningrad. All vessels are in operation under the flag of Azerbaijan. Each ferry capacitates 27 railcars and 200 passengers. The cities lay practically on the same parallel at the distance 306 km. Time on the route is 12 around hours. For comparison, planned term of delivery freight from Baku to Ashgabat around the Caspian Sea, via RZD, Kasakhstan and Uzbekistan Railways exceeds a week. :D

Directions in Baku: Go to the ferry office. Follow the main street - Neftchilar Prospekti (the one next to the major hotels and the Caspian Sea)towards Marine Passenger Terminal (you will pass it, you head for cargo port) north until you arrive at the bridge. The main street will turn left then right before you arrive at the bridge. Walk alongside the bridge (not over it) on the right side. When you get about half-way along the bridge turn right onto one of the streets going to the port (towards the Caspian). Follow the street past the railway tracks and ask someone where the ferry office is located. It's not very well marked, but someone will show you where it is located. You don't have to speak much Russian (just ask 'Parom' - which is ferry in Russian); the people have seen foreigners and know what you're looking for.

Boarding the ferry. The police at the boom gate near the dock will not let you through until cargo is loaded and only couple of hours left before the ferry leaves. When you pass the gate, they will write your details down in a book, and then you must head through to customs and passport control (next to each other), and then you can walk on the dock itself and up the gangway to your waiting ferry. Passport control will check some proof that you will not be turned back at Turkmenbashi port (visa or LOI).

On the ferry. You'll sit around in a waiting area with other passengers until someone comes to show you to your cabin, give you a key, sheets, etc. You will need to surrender your ticket and passport to an official member of crew when asked. When the ferry docks go to captain's cabin to regain your passport.

Practical Details:

Daily apartments in baku center by 35 AZN -

Ferry from Baku to Turkmenistan on tight schedule

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:43 am
by Daze55556
Hi all,

I am riding a motorbike from the UK to UB starting in May next year and trying to work out the best route.

I have some fellow travelers who are looking at meeting up in Samarkand around 8 June.

My options are:

1. Enter Iran on about 31 May, pay 1600 pounds for Carnet plus visa and make my way across Iran and Turkmenistan in 7-8 days...not appealing.

2. Get a ferry from Baku to either Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan on around 1 June.

3. Go via Ukraine and Russia (least preferred).

The big question is, if I get to Baku around 30/31 May what chance do I have to get to Turkmenistan by 2-3 June at the latest?

If I get a 5 day transit visa for Az. what chance do I have to get a ferry in that time?

Will I get a Turkmenistan transit visa going via the ferry with a motorbike? Can I get the transit visa in advance or should I given the ferry is unreliable?

Is there any sort of timetable for the ferry in summer?

Sorry for so many questions.


Re: Ferry from Baku to Turkmenistan on tight schedule

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:50 am
by steven
All your questions are already answered in these 2 articles: and

To sum up

1. 80% chance
2. Yes
3. You have to get it in advance, they won't let you onto the ferry without a visa.
4. No

Re: Ferry from Baku to Turkmenistan on tight schedule

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:51 am
by Daze55556
Thanks steven

Turkmenbashi-Baku ferry update

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:21 pm
by anyone
Just did the crossing on the Akademik Topchubashov (or something like that). $90 for the ticket, $15 for the cabin. Have small-denomination notes, as they don't have much change.

The crossing took 24 hours (no waiting time), and the ferry goes to Alat now. Customs and immigration took another 2 hours. Apparently this change happened about 6 months ago. The port is in the middle of nowhere. There are taxis that will take dollars -- $50 to Baku, and there was also a minibus. There is nowhere to change money, and no ATMs. The good news is there's supposed to be a real passenger ferry service starting in early 2015, and hopefully that one will go right to Baku.