Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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steven
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Re: Iran Pakistan border crossing

Post by steven »

Kathi.Ihtak wrote:
Maybe the situation in balutchistan is calming down as well. It was pretty tensed as 10days before i arrived, two chinese were kidnapped and killed and therefore there was extra attention for foreigners.
It seems the 2 Chinese rejected security and were preaching Christianity to ISIS. In other words, not exactly your everyday tourists.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl ... 123181.cms
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl ... 191145.cms
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padfoot
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Re: Iran Pakistan border crossing

Post by padfoot »

So the only border open is Taftan? Then going to Karachi, one has to go through Quetta?
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SPR11
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Re: Iran Pakistan border crossing

Post by SPR11 »

Yes.
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michael_moto
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Re: Iran Pakistan border crossing

Post by michael_moto »

I just crossed Balochistan in last few days. My experience was pretty much as others have described, only a little bit more drawn out as I arrived to Pakistan at the start of the Eid ul-Adha(?) Holiday (would strongly recommend against crossing during any holidays like this)

It seems no matter what time you arrive in Taftan after getting through the usual border checks, they want you to stay the night in the Levies station and leave the next morning. In my case I had to spend 2 nights in Taftan because of the Muslim holiday! They cooked meals twice a day in the station and shared it with me free of charge (except asking for the odd "gift" here and there). Theres a shop around the corner from the station if you need basic supplies.

I left Taftan at 8.00am on Sunday and was told it was possible to reach Quetta that night but after 6 hours of driving and many escort changes I was told in Dalbandin that the levies had finished work and I had to spend the night there in their hotel. I protested for 30 minutes but to no avail. The cost was 1,000 Rupees for single room. You can always say you have no money and you'll sleep at the police station.

I did met another traveller in Quetta who said he made the journey to Taftan to Quetta in one day.

The next morning we left at 8.00am. The head of security in Dalbandin did something quite clever, he had printed around 10 copies of a document containing all my information in a table; name, passport number, date of arrival, visa number, date of expiry etc. This was then passed from escort to escort as I travelled to Quetta and one sheet was taken each time they needed to record my details. At some army checkpoints they required you to sign a book and fill in your details, but with these copies they usually just handed it out the window and we kept moving.

As you get closer to Quetta the escort changeovers become more frequent until you're about 20 kilometers from the hotel. There, the levies will pass you to the local police, and you might wait up to 30 minutes until a new wave of escorts takes you to the hotel.

Again, you can say you have no money and stay at the police station. If you do have money, or you are travelling by vehicle and its therefore slightly more difficult to pretend you don't have money, you'll be taken to the bloomstar hotel. The hotel charges 2,500 (25$) for a single bed! 50$ if you want a room with AC. Its a complete tourist scam. Maybe try calling before you arrive to agree a better price. The only other option is $300 5-start hotel.

You must get a NOC from some government department before you can leave Quetta. Ask at the hotel to arrange the escort to take you there. I received my NOC in 30 minutes and it was stated to start on the same, so theoretically I could have moved out of Quetta but the police and the snake of a hotel manager told me it wasn't possible to move until the next day.If you have energy and are willing to make up a story about flight connections or expiring visas you can probably convince them to let you leave that day, I was in no such mood unfortunately.

Sooo in summary, I believe the best case scenario (if the stars are aligned and the wind is blowing in the correct direction) for crossing is this:
Arrive to the border at 7.00am and get delivered to the levies by 8.00am. Get escorted some 13 hours to Quetta in the same day.
Next day, go the NOC department in the city early in the morning, get the NOC dated to start on the SAME DAY, and then leave that afternoon for Sukur where the levies will leave you to your own devices.
I haven't met anyone who got this lucky but different people have gotten the individual parts so if you're really lucky you can get them all. I speak from a solo motorcyclists perspective so it might be different for others.

My crossing took me 6 days and 5 nights.


Final Recommendations for crossing:
-Bring toilet paper
-Change your money in Iran
-Cross on A Sunday or Monday (others have suggested Friday but if you arrive to Quetta on a Saturday or Sunday you'll have to wait till Monday to get your NOC, and then potentially stay another night after that. If however, you arrive to Quetta in the afternoon from Dalbindan on a Monday for example, you can get the NOC that evening and be gone the next morning.)
-print out 30 copies of a document with your name, passport, all passport and visa details etc if you want to speed faster through checkpoints and changeovers (not essential)
-Call the bloomstar hotel before arriving IN Quetta, or research other hotels so you have an idea of what you'll be paying.
-Smile and wave and remember that you a part of only a small handfull of people that are crazy/determined enough to undertake such a journey that literally every person you tell about will say its too dangerous.

And on that note I'll leave you with a quote from from Aldous Huxley:
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
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georgestravelsasia
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by georgestravelsasia »

If you're considering crossing this border you might be interested in reading my post about security situation in Pakistan/Balochistan
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4102

I crossed the border on January 8 (Monday).
I had arrived in Zahedan (hitch-hiking) on January 6 (Saturday) and slept in a park. At sundown on January 7 I decided to start walking towards the border and find a safe-ish place to sleep out so I could start hitching the next morning already out of Zahedan. The idea was to avoid running into the police and getting the escort. On the way out of Zahedan a man spontaneously offered me a ride out of town on his bike. When he suggested bringing me to a hotel, I told him I had no cash and wanted to continue walking. As I was trying to get him to understand me a police man popped up and I was not sure what they told each other, but I wasnt asked for my passport or asked any question. When the police man left, the driver insisted on me following him to the hotel and I thought he would negotiate for me to sleep in the yard as it was pretty huge and empty. I ended up being treated a room by the hotel management. The next morning I checked out at 6.30 and I was told to wait for police escort and offered breakfast. Could not think of a better way to say goodbye to lovely Iran :)
We changed cars in total 5 times, including one ride from a car the police had stopped and asked to give me a lift, and one from a truck in the same manner. We waited around for up to 45 min between escorts. At all times my passport was moving between officer's hands and not in my own. At one point the border police had no vehicle to escort me and called a taxi and asked me to pay for it. I had the struggle of my life convincing them that I was genuinely out of cash and only had enough to buy my train ticket out of quetta, and in the end I think they still didnt believe me (the taxi driver had left looking at me like a total cheapskate), but they agreed to stop a truck for me.
I arrived at the border around 11.30 am.
For the rest of the story in Balochistan, it's pretty much same as mentioned before. Stayed over at the border, the levies offered food somehow reluctantly (lunch and dinner, no breakfast), so I would recommend bringing some supplies.
Also I suspect bringing passport photocopies (as suggested above) would have been useless. It seemed like at each stop the officers wanted you to enter your details in their register by hand and I suspect many of them were not good with latin characters.
Temperatures in the night dropped to 0 or negative 1 and while in the back of pickup trucks the wind was quite chilly even in mid-day sun. If crossing in the winter bring some warm clothes.
In Dalabandin I explained I had no money and stayed at the police station, no questions asked.
We arrived in Quetta next day around 5.30 pm, too late to get a NOC. Turned bloomstar down and was brought to police station, which proved to be much more hospitable. Second day I pushed the police to bring me to home department early so that I could catch one of the morning trains out of Quetta. It proved useless as we ended up waiting for the head boss to check in at 11 am and approve my NOC. However the clerks were keen on giving me a NOC for travel by bus the same day and said there would be buses running later in the afternoon. Escort came to pick me up and we still tried our luck at the train station in case one of the trains was leaving late, but they had all gone.
We then went to the bus station and booked a ticket for the next bus at 6 pm. The ticket officer was reluctant to give the ticket because he said the many military checkpoints would take extra time to check me up and that would delay the bus. My police escort pushed him and I ended up getting a ticket for 700 rupees. Went back to another police station to wait for the bus, where the same police man helped me to order some food from outside. Went back at 5.30 to get on the bus. All was good but as the bus was about to leave the police came on the bus and asked me to come back. The police man asked for my ticket and went to the counter and came back to hand me 700 rupees. Either the bus company or the police freaked out last minute that I would be sent back to Quetta because night was coming (the NOC did state clearly that I was not allowed to travel after sunset and before sundown).
Went back to the police station where I was asked if I wanted to go to Bloomstar (it was a different station that the one I had stayed the night before). I told them it was too expensive and they let me stay at the police station where I was invited for dinner, tea and offered to sleep in a room.
Next morning my escort was super duper early and we waited at the train station one hour before the booking office opened. I was handed out to the railway police . I pushed them to bring me to the booking office before it opens so I would have my stand in queue and a chance to get a ticket out before they sold out. The officer preferred to take his time and then play it VIP at the ticket office. I was put on Akbar express to Sukkur and left at 10.30 am (400 rupees, economy). For updated info pakrail.gov.pk is very fine.

On the train I was asked for my passport and/or details at pretty much every stop, but it didnt delay the train or cause any trouble and the officers were always very pleasant, as pretty much everyone else in Pakistan for the exception of Bloomstar's manager (he's a rude punk).

Arrived in Sukkur and was picked up by my CS host and we rushed out in case police would ask any questions or mandate me to get security, but in the end I think our concern was unnecessary.
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dublintodelhi
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Iran - Pakistan (Taftan) border crossing

Post by dublintodelhi »

I've heard rumours lately about the Taftan border being closed. I was told it was closed by the newly elected president of Pakistan and that nobody knows when it will reopen.

However, I can't find any information about the border being closed when I search online or on this site and this page https://caravanistan.com/border-crossings/ from this site shows a green marker suggesting it is currently open.

Has anybody crossed this border into Pakistan in the last few days, or does anybody have any more information on the border or how to find reliable information about it?

Thanks!
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dublintodelhi
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by dublintodelhi »

Just wanted to update in case anyone else heard the same as me. The embassy in Tehran have told me that the border is open.
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Julia Lei
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Julia Lei »

Crossing in October 2018, 2 cyclists

The border/immigration procedure was straight forward and not very time consuming. Even though it was still early in the morning, maybe around 10am, we ended up staying at the Levies station in Taftan that day and the night.

Day 1
The next morning we were woken up early and reach Dalbandin the same day. Staying at the police station was no option, they told us they would get into troubles if they let us stay with them, so we had to go with the hotel option (we paid 1000 Rupees).

Day 2
On the second day the escort brought us to Quetta and this time we could actually stay at the police station, though there was one officer who seemed to be higher in the hierarchy who definitely didn't want us to stay there. He said it was too dangerous and that the police station was no hotel. Apparently people are trying to stay there all the time and they even had a traveller spending more than 20 days with them... So naturally we were ready to got to the Bloomstar Hotel, but nothing happened when we returned back to the office where we had first arrived. I suspect that the officer in charge there liked us so much that he didn't want to let us go to the hotel. We slept in a hall where the police men seem to have their personal belongings and some are sleeping there as well. There was a gas stove they used for heating and so we cook with that as well.

NOC
In our opinion the biggest advantage of staying with the police in Quetta is that it is much easier to get around, e.g. for the NOC. It is important though to note the name of the particular station (in our case it was the Bigli Station/Electricity House). We had asked before if the escorts would know where to bring us back and they assured us that yes, they would know. They didn't. The Home Department is in another district as the police station where we were staying so we had to change escorts on the way. The NOC took us 7 hours. We suspect is was not so much the NOC itself but waiting for the escort to pick us up. You may ask for the canteen where meals are served for 30 Rupees.
We specifically filled our form with both transport options train and bus. However when we wanted to buy a bus ticket instead of a train ticket it became clear after some time that they wouldn't let us. Even when we asked them to bring us to the bus station we were just brought to the train station again.

Leaving Quetta/Baluchistan
Finally we were good to go and took a train to Multan. The escorts on the train kept changing but stayed with us the whole journey until Multan. There we were picked up by the police and since it was in the middle of the night we were allowed to sleep at the train station in a waiting hall without any other people.

To our surprise we were not free to move on our own the next day as well. The police tried to pressure us into staying in a secure (=expensive) hotel in Multan and after two hours of arguing back and forth they finally told us that they were not going to let us cycle as well. We would have to take a train to Lahore. We did that and when we arrived there the police finally let us go and told us we were now free to choose our accomodation as well. Turns out though that most hotels are not allowed to take foreigners. We asked at 5 different hotels around the train station and they all turned us away. We ended up staying at the Lahore Backpackers Hotel/Hostel.

We are not sure if the security precautions are now stricter for all travellers from now on or if it had something to do with the fact that we wanted to cycle. Also we arrived in Lahore right around the time when Asia Bibi was exculpated and protests around the whole country erupted. Maybe the police feared such a development and was therefore extra careful. We don't know, we were never given any reasons even though we had asked.
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Loris
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Loris »

November 2018: The Pakistani embassy in Tehran does not issue transit visas anymore (since one month). This is probably due to the events at the border in October when Iranian soldiers were kidnapped.

The ambassador told me that he might issue them again in two months (January 2019).

Concerning those that already have a tourist visa, he wasn't able to give me a clear answer ("maybe one day they can cross the border, and maybe not the next day").

Source: me walking 3km under the rain in Tehran for nothing
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Auriane
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Re: Zahedan - Quetta border crossing (IR -> PAK)

Post by Auriane »

Crossing beluchistan with 2 bicycles
Before the crossing :
- we change 50usd to pakistan rupee (avialable in zahedan)
- we buy cigarettes for the levies
- we buy snacks for 3 days
- we prepare the bicycles for many car changes. Remove the pedals, empty the baskets, protect fragile items, remove mirrors, turn the handlebar in the direction of the wheel, put seat and handlebar as low as possible.
- get fuel in Iran if needed, 4 times cheaper than in Pakistan
21 september : we spend the night at the zaboorg hostel, we meet there two travelers with motobikes and one backpacker. We decide to cross beluchistan together. The girl from the hostel doesnt inform the police about our présence in zahedan (which other hotels do). This allows us to reach the border without escort, which means we can choose our departure time. We decide to leave very early to have a chance to be escorted from Taftan the same day, and not one day later. There is 100km to the border. The girl from the hostel arranged a pick up for the bicycles and a taxi.
22 september : we leave the hostel at 6:30 (one hour later than planned). We reach the border at 8:30. The whole border crossing procedure took 1h30. We arrived at the house of the levies in Taftan at 10:00 and thought its too late for the escort. But at 10:30 a car comes and we put one bike on the roof, one in the trunk. We sit in the back. The backpaper sits on one motobike. The escort is starting. (Probably we were enough people to start the escort and didnt have to spend the night in Taftan to wait for more travellers.) We had 4 different vehicules, two cars and two pick ups. We had a few passport controls. All the levies were very nice. We arrived in Dalbandin at 7pm. The personnel of the hotel is very nice and gave us a fair price, 1000 rupee for the room, 150 for a vegetarian meal, 300 for a beer. The rooms are not clean. We shared the cost of the levies dinner to thank them. Near the hotel you can buy food and water.
23 septembre : we left at 8:00. We had 10 to 12 car changes but only pick ups sp good for the bikes. Also a lot a passport control but they are quite fast. Again all the leveis were very nice. We asked for lunch break and they took us to a restaurant (count 300 rupee if you pay for the levies). The car changes are very fast as well (5-10min), exept for 2 where we had to wait 30-45 min. When you get close to quetta, the changes are more fréquent, the pickups more protective, and there are more levies (or police officers) in the véhicule. We arrived at the bloomstar hotel at 8pm. There the mood changed. The manager of the hotel will do nothing to help you, and everything to get as much money as possible. We were charged 2000 to 2500 rupee per person, so 5000 for a double room. The rooms are not clean.
24 septembre : the police escorted the 5 of us at 10:00 to get the NOC (2 hours), get the train tickets, ATM, sim cards. Everybody was very nice. Back to hotel, we could not afford a second night and after long discussions we could finally pitch our tent in the garden for a crazy 1000 rupee per person. I have to precise that the rest of the people there are nice and ready to help, only this manager behaves very badly.
24 septembre : the police picked us up at 7:00 to go to the train station. We were charged 2000 rupee p.p and 1200 rupee for 2 bikes in the train. And left at 9:00 in the economy class.
25 septembre : we arrive in Lahore at 9:00. Very bad surprise for the bicycles, 1 broken seat, 1 broken brake, 1 missing bike computer, 1 broken bike light, 1 broken mudguard. After trying to complain at the train station, we realised we would get nothing for it.
To minimize the risks we would recommend to pack the bikes like for a plane or better or maybe its possible to talk to them and ask them to be careful. mabe promise them a tip in case nothing gets broken. They asked us for a tip even though the bikes were damaged.at this point i got really angry and than they immediatly stoped to ask but the bikes are still broken.
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