Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by Antonio »

Crossed this in August:

Rated easy: I arrived at 13:30, and there was almost nobody there. The whole crossing took only 50 minutes.

On the Turkmen side, first you write the exit declaration which they keep. Then they scan your bags and check the medicines again. Then you get stamped and accompanied to no man's land. I was lucky there was a British Mongol Rally guy driving solo, and he made some space for me in his car!

On the Uzbek side I was expecting a looong ordeal, but it was the contrary. It was so hot, everybody looked liked they were about to fall asleep. First they stamp the passport, then you get to customs. There I had to wait a few minutes because there was an actual officer taking a nap in a small room on the left of the xray machine. When another realised there were a couple of guys waiting, she woke him up and I was told to fill the declaration two times. They signed one and told me to keep it safe.

The woman asked me if I had medicines, I told her yes, but very ordinary. She asked again to confirm, I said yes, and she waived me by. I was almost disappointed, no medicine check, no mobile check, and in general, pleasant people =).

The taxis are a few meters beyond the fence, there might be some cars to the left just after crossing the fence, but they are not taxis. When I was walking down the road a car came with a woman. He stopped and I asked in Russian how much for a ride to Khiva. He said 10$, which was better that expected. It took 50 minutes to reach the walls of Khiva.
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by eildon »

Crossing from Urgench into Dashoguz in early October 2017.

There appears to be a bit of a conspiracy going on in otherwise friendly Urgench, as the going tourist rate for a cab from Urgench to the border is around USD 20 (organized via my hotel).

Not much happening at the border itself - I saw a dozen or so people crossing either way, including one Western tour group.

Exiting Usbekistan was a breeze - filling out the exit form, quick luggage X-ray, getting the passport stamped, and a smile on the way out. No further questions, and no manual baggage inspection. Nobody asked for hotel registration- or currency exchange forms. No browsing my photos.

Entering Turkmenistan was similarly quick and hassle free: filling in the entry form (this is an orderly crossing - both sides have English language versions of their respective forms), passport inspection and stamping, getting your temperature taken by a health inspector (worried about bird flu?!), paying either for your visa (if you had it waiting for you at the border) or otherwise just paying the special foreigner welcome tax (typically 14 USD), and again going through an X-ray machine, followed by the manual luggage inspection. In my case they asked about medication, and took away all but two of my Zolpidem pills; I did not see Zolpidem on the list of controlled substances, but then again this is not the end of the world (or it was not for me, in any event). Other than that my luggage was neither searched nor further looked at.

Note that you are required to fill in one customs form, which they then keep. If you want to keep a copy of the customs form for your records (which, after all, appears to be the very reason to fill in a customs form in the first place, at least to me), you need to fill in a second form and have it stamped as well (you may have to insist a bit for that).

I saw no taxis waiting on the Turkmen side of the border; usually as a foreign tourist, though, you will have your guide and / or minder pick you up anyway. - There were plenty of taxis waiting for passengers on the Uzbek side, though, as you would expect.

The two border posts are a few hundred meters apart; you could easily walk the distance, however I believe they rather prefer you to take the little shuttle van, for which the driver gets 3000 UZS.
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by steven »

From an e-mail:

First I would like to thanks for all the information you provide in your web site, it is very helpful.
Im planning a trip around central asia in May next year. I would like to know if maybe are you aware of the border Kunya Urgench schedule. Im planning to croos it on Sunday Im afraid about their working hours

Answer: iI assume it is open every day.
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by Alex&Craki »

We took this border by bicycle on 20/06/2018. We are a French couple.
All was actually very smooth.

On the Turkmen side we had to fill a custom form where we only mentionned we had personal bags and only 100$. Then we went through the usual Xrays for the luggages (we clearly said the bike wouldn't fit).
They asked a few questions like why so little money (we said we know crossing borders with money is problematic and we used ATM.), if we had drugs and if we bought turkmen carpet (we are travelling by bike...) and that was it. They didn't bother to open the bags. The staff was friendly especially the women.

They let us cross by bicycle without taking the bus.

On the Uzbek side they were even friendlier and very happy to see tourists. We had x-ray of luggages of course and a body temperature test but all with smiles and welcomes.

In less than 2 hours we were in Uzbekistan.

I think Uzbekistan is putting a big deal on tourism now. We even had a survey from tourism department on why we come ...
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing Query - Mid Aug 2018

Post by Nathan »

Thank you for the forum, and for the feedback. it's a great and informative resource.

My query relates to fellow traveler's experiences on how best to organise transport from Khiva to Shavat. Ideally I want to arrive at Shavat UZB border post for around 9 AM.

I am looking to cross over mid August 2018 have a tour-guide picking me up on the TKMN side, whom I am hoping to meet between 9-10 AM. What time should I aim to leave Khiva? as I understand 1 hr might be sufficient. I assume there is no necessity to go via Urgench, or do taxi's prefer that way because the road is better?

Is a single taxi easier to organise from my accommodation in Khiva the night before recommended, rather than trying to negotiate a shared taxi (with no Russian/Uzbek lingo) on the morning of departure, so I have the best chance of getting to Shavat for approx 9 AM?

Reading previous blogs, it seems I would have to pay somewhere between USD 10-15 from Khiva to Shavat for a single taxi.

In addition, any feedback on UZB sim cell service at Shavat, so I can update the TKMN tour-guide on my progress if need be.

Much appreciated.

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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by steven »

You should have cell reception at Shavat. It does not matter if you organise the taxi in advance or not, there will be no locals joining you for a shared ride, as very few people cross this border. You will have to pay the full price. 1h seems reasonable.
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by CallumT »

Crossed this border a week ago. Simple process as described on caravanistan.

One interesting thing came up though. After departing Uzbekistan through the border gate, we were approached by a few Turkmen soldiers who checked our passports, pretty standard procedure. Then we were asked each to pay $10 to the guard. Reading online that there was a tax to pay upon entry to Turkmenistan, we thought this was for that and handed over the cash stupidly without getting a receipt.

Of course later on when we were asked at the passport control building to pay the entry tax, we questioned what the earlier payment was for. This became a big deal and the guards were all very surprised. I was taken back to the Turkmen soldiers at the Uzbek gate and asked to point out who took our money. This soldier was then made to hand the cash back to me and strongly reprimanded. My partner meanwhile was asked to make an official written complaint.

All the staff were very friendly and apologetic for what happened. They genuinely sounded disappointed in what occurred. Felt kind of bad for potentially ruining a young soldiers career, but it's good to know they're pretty anti-corruption here
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by JoMo1971 »

Same thing happened to me (early July) after the Uzbek gate, but I just used the whole repeated 'don't understand... I pay over there' whilst pointing at the actual border crossing building until the guard got bored. Didn't take long!

As Callum said, all the staff in the actual passport control building were lovely and super friendly (as were all the people I met in Turkmenistan in my 5 day visit) and all seemed genuinely happy to see you visiting the country.

Once you've completed formalities and enter Turkmenistan, a number of guys await at the gate offering a taxi service to Dashoguz. Having no Turkmen currency, I just paid $1 to be taken to Erik Hotel which I just can't recommend enough! Lovely, lovely kind people and super clean room with superb home cooked breakfast.

Also, get your money exchanged at the bazaar NOT AT A BANK. I just popped into a phone shop and discretely asked about currency exchange and within 5 mins and a couple of phone calls, got a great rate of 18 Manat to 1 US dollar. Not sure what the 'black market' rate is at present, but this makes the country very cheap for foreign currency holders as the prices of goods in shops and transport are still based on the 3.5 manat per $1.
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by CianoH »

We drove through this border and as international drivers were instantly waved to the top of the que. When leaving Turkmenistan two border guys, one guy who looked in charge asked if anyone had asked for dollars, and if any border guards asked for dollars to tell him. Whole process with a quick car search only took about 2hours
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Post by Belteral »

I will cross into Turkmenistan in five days but I caught a cold (nothing major, running nose mostly).
I understand they check your body temperature upon entry. What could happen if it is a little high?
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