5 days transit in Kazakhstan

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Dylanvienet
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5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby Dylanvienet » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:49 am

Hello Guys,

I am making my first trip to Central Asia and am very excited about visiting this beautiful part of the world!

I have booked flights to Shymkent via Almaty on the 10th of October and am planning to get to Almaty by the 13th, as I have already booked accommodation.

I would like to spend the next two nights in Taraz and Bishkek respectively before I make it to Almaty on the evening of the 13th. While in shymkent, I want to travel to Turkistan to visit the famous mausoleum before returning to spend the afternoon Shymkent look around and the make my way to Taraz where I will stay the night. Then head for Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek the next day.

I know it is a tight schedule and am hopeful I can complete it. As an Australian, both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are now visa free. Do you have any advice on the best modes of transport between the cities (and countries) and how long it will take to travel between them?

I am also prone to suffering from anxiety and am prescribed Lexapro (Escitalopram), would this be a problem visiting these countries or do I need to take a prescription?

Regards,
Dylan.
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steven
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby steven » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:54 am

Hi Dylan,

neither of these countries are difficult with medication, only Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and apparently now Russia as well, make trouble over medication.

Buses and shared taxis/marshrutkas are the best/only way to get around for you. You could have taken the train between Shymkent and Taraz but it will have been booked out long ago.

If you would be so kind, post us a report of your border crossing between Taraz and Bishkek, we don't get many people doing that crossing, especially not by public transport, so I am interested.

Bon voyage!
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Dylanvienet
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby Dylanvienet » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 pm

Thanks for your prompt response.

Yes, I remember hearing Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in particular can still be very bureaucratic about certain things! It's a shame as I hope to get there at some stage too. I am also hopefully heading to Iran as well, what are they like with meds?

Looks like I'll be doing the buses and marshrutkas. As long as they are frequent and easy enough to find as I am under a pretty tight schedule. I could end up bypassing Taraz, only passing through for food, and doing two nights in Bishkek instead, as I also want to do the Burana tower in Tokmok (unless that could be done in a few hours from Bishkek).

Either way, I'm most likely using the Chaldovar border crossing, so will let you guys know how that pans out.

Thanks again.
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby steven » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:19 am

Hi Dylan,

Iran is fine with medication.
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby daway » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:15 pm

Burana is possible in 4-5 hours not factoring transport waiting time. 1.5 hours to Burana via marshrutka and then taxi. The site is not that large, an hour should be reasonable.
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby Dylanvienet » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:54 am

Hello All,

I did use the Chaldovar border crossing between Taraz and Bishkek, like I initially planned. It was certainly an interesting story.

I had hired a driver to take me from Shymkent to Taraz the night before and had a driver from Kyrgyzstan pick me up to take me to Bishkek the next day. As you may know, this was in the middle of the Kyrgyz elections which lead to a diplomatic spat between the two countries. A few things were said about Nazarbayev from the Kyrgyz side which lead to the border being closed to traffic! So unfortunately my guide was stuck in Bishkek being unable to cross between border. So my Kazakh guide and I were able to arrange alternate transport to the border. I hitched a ride with a security guard from my hotel and he drove me to the border in from Taraz to Merke for 5000 tenge, which included stopping for petrol.

The border itself was much quieter than Korday but there was still a backlog of trucks and cars waiting at the border (apparently the cars were banked a few kilometers at Korday) but still unable to cross. There were a few Kyrgyz nationals travelling back to Kyrgyzstan by foot but I was ushered to the front of the line with my Australian passport. The border crossing was painless and took about 5 minutes as I didn't need any visas or registration.

When I got through, I changed money at the bank to the right of the border crossing and arranged a lift to Bishkek for about 800 som, I think. I was travelling on my own, so had to pay a bit more. The drive to Bishkek was about 1 and a half to 2 hours, if I recall correctly.

I ended up meeting my guide the next day and he took me to Burana. He also drove me to the Korday border crossing, where I returned to Kazakhstan and onwards to Almaty. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to the front of the line and it was much busier than Chaldovar. I took me two hours to cross the border, stuck with my luggage in a crowd of irate Kazakhs! The cars and trucks were also struggling to cross too. The actual crossing part was a breeze and again, was very quick and efficient and the guards were all amused by my Australian passport.

Sorry for my late report. I did say I would post, but have been busy with work at home and have also continued traveling. In fact, I loved Kazakhstan so much I am returning in July! As well as a few days in Russia and Uzbekistan too. Will be flying into Kazakhstan from Russia this time though. But I will be making the interesting and amusing Uzbekistan border crossing at Shymkent-Tashkent too, I have heard some funny stories from the Uzbekistan side of the border.

Cheers,
Dylan.
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Re: 5 days transit in Kazakhstan

Postby steven » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:21 am

Thanks Dylan! These things do happen...:-)
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