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.
- 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.
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