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Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:37 pm
by Gratsi and Jan
@hornet74: Yes, the Kyrgyz-Chinese borders at Torugart and Irkeshtam will be closed from June 15-18. The borders will open again on June 19. Maybe see you at Irkeshtam on the 19th. ;)

See the official announcement here: http://www.gps.gov.kg/ru/news/show/604

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:45 pm
by Zuton34
2 french people coming from Kirghizstan to Kashgar and traveling by bike.

Immigration control at the border are a little bit long, but no specific issues. They check all luggage, they kept knife (hide it) and they check phone memory.

You cannot bike until Ulugqat 146km away from the border. Taxi wait for you in the final hall of immigration office to transfer you to Ulugqat. We succed to put our tandem in the van. We paid 400 yuans for 3 people plus the bike (you can change dollars just after the first immigration office). We were just with the driver, no guide, no travel agency. The driver kept our passeport. There is a second check point after 100km, quite fast.

Ulugqat immigration office is also quite fast.

After that, there are 100km to Kashgar. Quite difficult to reach by bike the same day you pass the border...Hotel in Umqia or (illegal) camping.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:26 am
by gold
Hello,

we passed the border last wednesday (8.8.2018), four people:

We arrived at 9 at the Bus station next to the trainstation and tried to get a ticket for a shared taxi to Wuqia (as many people here advised). But when we arrived at the counter, they said, there are no shared taxis. I don‘t know if it was some trick, but by chance one man next to us overheared that we wanted to go to Wuqia and offered us to drive us for 250 RMB (which is supposedly too expensive). We said yes and he bought tickets at the counter, lead us through the bus station and brought us to his taxi. So apparently there are taxis that go to WUqia and you can buy tickets, but we didn‘t understand, why they idnt‘t want to sell us tickets at the counter... Anyway, we found a ride and drove off at 9:30.

10:45 - Arrival at checkpoint 1 before Wuqia, long pass control, driver waited for us
11:30 - Departure from checkpoint 1

11:45 - Arrival checkpoint 2 (Wuqia kou an, immigration center and costums), passport check, our names where put into a list
12:00 - Departure checkpoint 2 (a new driver took us who already awaited us behind the checkpoint)

12:15 - Arrival checkpoint 3, big immigration center, passport and luggage check, we got our stamp out
13:00 - the same driver from checkpoint 2 offered to drive us the 180 km to Irkeshtam for 400 RMB
13:15 - an extra checkpoint for pass and luggage

15:00 - Arrival at checkpoint 4 (Irkeshtam border), we had to wait until the lunch break was over, there is a little restaurant next to the border
16:30 - Lunch break was over, our driver passed before all the trucks, our passports were checked and off we went

17:00 - Arrival checkpoint 5, this is the last chinese checkpoint, a guy sits on a table in the mountains and writes your names into a list, our driver couldn’t go further, so we walked

17:15 - First checkpoint on Kyrgysz side - a guy checked our passports and offered to call a taxi for the 3-4 km to the actual border, we decided to walk though (30 - 45 minutes)

18:00 - Arrival at Kyrgysz border, passport and luggage check, very quickly

Then we had to bargain hard with the taxi drivers, two of us wanted to go to Sary Tasch, two to Odh and they wanted us to pay 10.000 Soms all together. We said we would rather hitchhike, stopped a car who wanted to take us for 5000. The taxi driver came to the guy and talked with him in kyrgysz, then the guy went off. This happened a second time. I asked a local guy what is the normal price, he said 1000 p.P. to Sary Tasch and 2000 to Osh. After 30 minutes of hard bargaining (almost fighting), we managed the taxi driver to take us for 6000 Soms all together - I guess that is the normal price, still too expensive though... Don‘t let yourself be tricked!

noboy wanted to install spy software on our phones by the way, contrary to what has been told here a lot.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:15 am
by steven
gold wrote:noboy wanted to install spy software on our phones by the way, contrary to what has been told here a lot.
Spyware will be installed when entering China from Irkeshtam, not when exiting China. But good to know they don't install it when entering at an internal border.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:46 am
by cristiano
steven wrote:[...]Spyware will be installed when entering China from Irkeshtam[...]
I don't know if things changed, but I would suggest to substitute "will be" with "may be".
When I entered China from Irkeshtam in august 2017 nobody installed anything on our phones. 8 people, 8 phones.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:42 pm
by steven
Is that a typo when you wrote August 2017? If you meant August 2018 I need to update. If you meant August 2017, then indeed, things changed.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:17 am
by cristiano
Not a typo: my experience is from 2017.
Don't know if things changed, but already in 2017 people sayed to us that they would have installed spyware on our phones, but nobody did it.

I'm always very cautious in writing about rules in Asia: from my experience it's never a "will be, for sure".
Things changes so quickly that I always prefer to say "it usually happens this way, but things are never set in stone"

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:03 pm
by steven
cristiano wrote:Not a typo: my experience is from 2017.
Don't know if things changed, but already in 2017 people sayed to us that they would have installed spyware on our phones, but nobody did it.

I'm always very cautious in writing about rules in Asia: from my experience it's never a "will be, for sure".
Things changes so quickly that I always prefer to say "it usually happens this way, but things are never set in stone"
You will have noticed that Caravanistan operates according to the same principle, ie. in the embassy reports. In this case, it seemed clear to me that this is the standard rule, but happy to change my mind.

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:32 pm
by us3r777
We are a couple of french travellers. We crossed the Irkeshtam border from Kyrgyzstan to China in October 2018.

- Hitchhiking to the border
We joined the border by hitchhiking with a truck.

- Irkeshtam, deadzone
We are no planning kings (but we like it this way)
So we arrived in Irkeshtam a friday evening :the border was close the week-end and on monday because of the Automn day in China. Therefore we had to wait 3 days in Irkeshtam.

Irkeshtam is like a dead town.

The town is made of a few dozens of container-houses. Big part of the population there is actually truck drivers. No tap water. Toilets and shower are outside.

You can find a place to sleep with local people. You can find food with a very little shop and 2 very small restaurant (only rice, potatoes and goat) but it is very very basic.

We highly recommend that you wait in Sary-tash if you have to.

- Crossing the border
On thuesday, we needed one day to cross the border.
Kyrgyz control was easy.

Chinese side
- First check
First check with chinese services was long. They checked our backpacks and our phones.

- No forbidden book
No problem for us, but another couple had a book about hapiness written by the Dalai Lama in their backpack. The guard told them : "You will have a sanction." But after one hour of interview, and many pictures of them with their passports, they just kept the book and the couple was allowed to entered with us in China.

Don't bring anything related to Tibet or Xinjiang.

- Spy application
The officers took our phone to "check" it. When they returned it, they were a new chinese application running on the phone. We don't know for sure what this application can do on your phone but at least it grabs you sms and contact and send it to a remote server.

- Taxi
After the first check, you must take a taxi to go to the second check office. We tried to argue because we prefer hitchhiking and hiking when it's possible.

It dit not work, taking taxi is mandatory. Taxi is 15 dollar per person.

There is 146kms between the first and the second checkpoint. If you pass during lunch time 12-16h you will have to wait.

- Second control
We then had to fill a small form. They took our fingerprints and pictures of us. They controlled our backpack again.

- Last control
They took a picture of our passport and of us. They entered some information in their application.

18pm. It was finish ! We were free, or almost free. We were now in Xinjiang...

We crossed this region in 6 days by hitchhiking. We were controlled 30 times, sometimes during more than 1 hour, sometimes we were escorted by the SWAT to go out of the town.

Soon we will post pictures an articles about China on our blog : Apprentis-Vagabonds

Re: Irkeshtam pass report – Kashgar, Xinjiang to Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:25 am
by edblax
steven wrote:
gold wrote:noboy wanted to install spy software on our phones by the way, contrary to what has been told here a lot.
Spyware will be installed when entering China from Irkeshtam, not when exiting China. But good to know they don't install it when entering at an internal border.
Four of us had the apps installed on our way out in May.