Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

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BakuBound
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby BakuBound » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:10 am

The QQ departed Aktau Port (not Kuryk) a bit before 9pm Aktau time on Saturday, July 28, and docked at Alat a bit before 8am on Monday, July 30, carrying roughly a dozen foot passengers plus a few drivers and cyclists.

Waiting onboard the docked ship, passport control, changing money, taxi negotiations (50 manats), and then heading into Baku meant arrival in the city centre a bit after 11am.

This was apparently the first passenger departure from Aktau or Kuryk since the July 14 departure mentioned above. (Yes, some folk had been waiting almost two weeks.) Although the ship did not sail until around 9pm, passengers were told to be at the dock at 6am, though most showed up around 10am.

General observations:

-- Be very flexible if taking this route, especially east to west. Not days but weeks of waiting are possible, and Aktau is boring. Various rumours abound: Ships don't take passengers unless there are enough passengers boarding. Ships don't take passengers when carrying oil or similar cargo. All subsequent sailings will be from Kuryk. Etc. Again, rumours just.

-- Deal with Hamid, named above. But have a Russian speaker handy when calling him, and remember that the ship is definitely sailing with passengers ONLY when Hamid starts selling tickets. Anything beforehand is just conjecture. Ticket sale will start suddenly with no advance warning.

-- Don't ask when the ship will sail! Don't ask when it will arrive! It goes when it goes. It gets there when it gets there. On this sailing, the QQ held steady at about 15-16km/h. YMMV.

-- Food was OK. The mess hall on the QQ, and only the mess hall, had A/C, and it was a good refuge from the muggy cabins stacked with six bunks each. The crew was agreeable and fellow passengers very sociable, so the sailing passed quickly.

-- If heading west to east, be aware that trains to Almaty are booked weeks in advance, during summer at least. Online train booking is possible from overseas, but difficult to time right because ship arrivals are so unpredictable.

All considered, a trip only for those who are very committed.
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aussietraveller7
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby aussietraveller7 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:54 am

kimomydog wrote:Hi, everyone!

I'm trying to find more information about the Turkmenbashi to Baku/Alat ferry.

I remember seeing the two passenger ferries, the Berkarar and Bagtiyar, on the company's website, but now when I click on that particular page, it is completely blank. Does anyone know if these ferries are still running? And if so, how long should I expect waiting at the Turkmenbashi port for them (for visa reasons)? Should I budget about 1 day at the port? 2 days? 1 week? From what I understand, the Turkmen officials will no longer stamp you out at the port to save you if your visa is about to run out. Thank youuuuu!


They are still running. Only a day or two. I did a post on this if you go back a couple of pages only a month ago which will help with the new port terminal as it's changed quite a bit.
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BakuBound
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby BakuBound » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:25 pm

If you're looking for others waiting for the ship, try the Dostar Hostel. It's the nearest place to stay near Aktau port and attracts a good number of travellers.
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kimomydog
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby kimomydog » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:38 pm

aussietraveller7 wrote:
kimomydog wrote:Hi, everyone!

I'm trying to find more information about the Turkmenbashi to Baku/Alat ferry.

I remember seeing the two passenger ferries, the Berkarar and Bagtiyar, on the company's website, but now when I click on that particular page, it is completely blank. Does anyone know if these ferries are still running? And if so, how long should I expect waiting at the Turkmenbashi port for them (for visa reasons)? Should I budget about 1 day at the port? 2 days? 1 week? From what I understand, the Turkmen officials will no longer stamp you out at the port to save you if your visa is about to run out. Thank youuuuu!


They are still running. Only a day or two. I did a post on this if you go back a couple of pages only a month ago which will help with the new port terminal as it's changed quite a bit.


Yes, I saw, aussietraveller7! It was super detailed and helpful, but I just wanted to make sure as again, the details were erased online when they were there previously. Thanks again!
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timeoutdoors365
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby timeoutdoors365 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:28 pm

Hi there, we are currently waiting for the next ferry leaving Alat to Aqtau. We arrived this afternoon and bought our ticket. We are traveling by car. We were asked to pay 7 USD parking fee including one wifi voucher :lol: Everything worked out well. Tonight a guy from Port Authorities approached us and asked us to pay 40 USD port fee :x We read already about paying 7 USD bridge tax which would be alright but we've never heard of paying 40 USD port fee. We told him we will pay tomorrow. Does anyone know about this? Did someone had to pay as well? Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.
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BakuBound
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby BakuBound » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:50 pm

See the July update on this site:

"Then there is the 48 dollar port fee to pay in the third container."

http://www.ioverlander.com/places/49307 ... rkmenbashi
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Hsinclair
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Hsinclair » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:56 pm

So more updates on taking the ferry from Turkmenbashi:

Finding the port:

From the motorway, follow the signs to the International Seaport. Continue past the cargo terminals until you see signs for "ro-ro vehicle and ro-ro pax". That will lead you to a large plaza with a control tower. (You can see the control tower from the motorway, you can't miss it)

The building you're looking for (the hotel and ticket office) is across from the control tower (adjacent to the entry gates)

Getting your tickets:

The system was clearly new so all this is subject to change. I was lucky enough to arrive while two big overlander groups were there so I got to take advantage of their guides.

Enter the left side of the building and look for the two windows with metal grates. One is labeled "Kassa". They can tell you if there's boat tickets for sale. If there are and you have a vehicle they'll send you to the man in room 140 who needs a copy of your passport and vehicle registration. He'll write you a ticket which you bring back to the Kassa. I paid $100 for me and $100 for my motorcycle. There were no cabins left but someone told me that would be $30 more.

Then you go to room 142 and get your information logged again, and they send you to the gated window to the left of the Kassa. They write you a ticket to pay $13 and take to the bank PAST the vehicle entry gates. Don't drive. Walk. It's the white building on the left

Pay your $13 (they don't have change and freak out if you suggest changing to manats or keeping the difference) then go back to the window you got the ticket from. Pay 4 manat for a bike (I think 10 for a truck, according to the Turkish truck drivers) and she'll give you a ticket that lets you pass the gates with your vehicle.

Once you pass the gates you can't go back. There's no food or water so prep! You could be in for a long wait!

Go back to the building you paid your $13 and go to customs. They send you to another room where you surrender your vehicle entry permit. Back to customs then they say you're done. You can stamp out at passport control (there's rarely anyone manning passport control - just stand around until someone shows up.) Get stamped out and you're out of Turkmenistan!

The hotel:

When I got there the rates were $30 for a single and $60 for a double, with $2 tax. There's only 26 rooms and seemingly few singles so I got put in a double. Luckily they were nice enough to only charge me for a single. The hotel number is +993 243 49610. I'm not sure if you can use that to book in advance. NOTE they said they wouldn't call me if the boat was in, but I don't know if that was a failure of English or due to the fact that people had been waiting 4 days for a boat due to unusual circumstances.

Loading:

At some magic point the truckers will start queuing up for inspection. Follow them, get inspected (you might get sent back for more paperwork) then drive into the boat

The boat

I was on the Berkarar. It was nice enough. One breakfast and one lunch were included as part of the ticket. (The "lunch" was served at 6pm). If the boat is delayed past that you're on your own! Bring lots of food and water (and toilet paper)

A note on visa expiry:

Once you have your ticket you can enter the waiting area and get stamped out and NOT be deported. But again there's no facilities on the vehicle side (and few on the foot passenger side)

Good Luck!
-
Heather
https://www.instagram.com/improbablyadventuring
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Hsinclair
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Hsinclair » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:30 am

kimomydog wrote:Hi, everyone!
And if so, how long should I expect waiting at the Turkmenbashi port for them (for visa reasons)? Should I budget about 1 day at the port? 2 days? 1 week? From what I understand, the Turkmen officials will no longer stamp you out at the port to save you if your visa is about to run out. Thank youuuuu!


When I got to Turkmenbashi there were people who had been waiting 4 days... and the Oasis travel group didn't even get room on the boat I was on so I think they might STILL be waiting! (The president came into town to inspect the new port and that apparently caused everything to grind to a halt)

For visa timing as I posted above once you have your ticket you can enter the waiting area and get stamped out, BUT while they seem very motivated to get you a ticket ASAP if your visa is about to expire try to give yourself a full day (starting when the guy gets in at 9am) to actually buy the ticket. It's a long drive from Ashkabat so when I got in at 7pm they had no interest in selling me a ticket then - I did meet a guy who got in the next day from Ashkabat at about 2pm and bought the ticket same day but I think that was fairly exceptional as the boat was loading that afternoon.
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jirik.dobi
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby jirik.dobi » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:49 am

Hi!
Is there anyone in Baku/Alat waiting for a ferry to go to Kazakhstan now?
I'm now in Baku and was told at my hostel, that there was a ferry yesterday, or at least they sent some travellers to Alat yesterday.
According to MarineTraffic it was Nakhchyvan.
Mercury 1 and Gara Garayev are in Alat and P. Gul is in Kuryk.
If anyone has some news, let me know please.

By the way, at the Baku ticket office I was told that I can buy ticket just in Alat, not in Baku anymore.
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timeoutdoors365
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:12 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby timeoutdoors365 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:13 pm

BakuBound wrote:See the July update on this site:

"Then there is the 48 dollar port fee to pay in the third container."

http://www.ioverlander.com/places/49307 ... rkmenbashi


Thanks a lot for your fast help BakuBound!

These are the fees we had to pay taking the ferry from Alat to Aktau with a car:

Alat:
300 USD car
80 USD / person
7 USD parking fee including wifi and taking free showers
40 USD port fee
21 USD road tax

Aktau:
6500 Tenge ?
13800 Tenge car insurance 30 days
Fees are also payable in USD.
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