Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

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

Postby Belteral » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:16 pm

So I went through the border on September 17th and it was a breeze.
In the parking lot on the Uzbek side some guy exchanged my remaining sums into manats. He gave me roughly 1 USD / 8 manats which isn't great but I did not make a fuss as I wasn't exchanging a lot of money and was mostly happy to get rid of my last sums.
Uzbek side was super quick, they took a quick look at my passport and e-visa and I was waived through, with not even a glance at the registration slips that I had dutyfully collected and ordered chronologically.
No problem with soldiers from either side in the no man's land. The taxi for crossing was waiting and departed almost as soon as I got in even though it was nearly empty (2$ charge).
Everything went smoothly on the Turkmen side as well, they did not do a thorough search of my luggage but did pay special attention to medecines (the stuff I had was super standard, some paracetamol, antihistaminics and imodium, and they had no problems recognising them even though it was european packagings) and cigarettes (had three packs, they kept one).
No medical examination.
I arrived at the Uzbek side at 9am and was out in the Turkmen side by 10am.
Staff on both sides really nice and helpful, and speaking enough English to avoid misunderstandings in the process.
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EdmundUlanara
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby EdmundUlanara » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:00 am

I crossed this border check point on September 05 from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan to go to Darvaza Gas Crater and crossed it back again on September 07. Both times only took me 30 mins. It was super quick. The checkpoint opens at 9am and closes at 6pm. I have heard that if you came when there's a tour group/bus, it'll take you an hour or two.

My hotel in Khiva organized a taxi for $14 to get me to the checkpoint at 9:15 am. There were only me and another Uzbek guy trying to cross the border.On the Uzbek side, it was so quick. Didn't even take my registration slips. The guards were super chatty and friendly tho as I speak some Russian. On the Turkmen side, there was no issue at all as the guards also pretty friendly and chatted with me. I paid the $14 USD for entry fee to Turkmenistan at the counter. They did asked me what medicines/drugs I have, so I pull out a small zip-lock bag of vitamin pills. I told them they were vitamins and they don't ask anymore question. Though I have prior packed all of my medications into a bigger zip-lock bag and stuffed it all the way down of my luggage and they didn't search my bag or anything. They also asked if I have camera, laptop, or a drone. I showed them my laptop and my crappy old iphone (the main iPhone i used to take photos I've also hid it way under my luggage). They just wanted to look at my laptop and asked me to turn it on. So I did and they asked if there were photos. It is the Microsoft Surface tablet/laptop and the guard played with it for a couple minutes but I guess she doesn't know how to navigate or figure out how it works so she just gave up. I think she was trying to find where I would store my photos in the laptop. Regardless, the process was really quick and without any problem. I got on the van at the no man's land quickly and it cost $1 USD. The entire crossing is half hour for me.

On the way back crossing this border checkpoint (Sept 7), I went through at 5pm. There were a little bit more people but no problem or slow down at all. On the Turkmen side, it was the same guards who were working and they recognized me and ushered me through and also chatted with me again to see if I had enjoyed my trip there. I bought 2 mini Turkmen carpets and the guards just took the registration slips off the carpets and filed them as their standard protocol. They didn't ask for my phone or laptop or anything this time and I just breezed through and went to the van and crossed it back to Uzbek side. There's also really quick on Uzbek side with very friendly guards and no questions asked. The entire process took me 30 mins as well.

I was expecting to walk a distance to find a taxi or some locals who would drive me back to Khiva without getting rip-off as I don't trust the taxis right outside the checkpoint. At first a guy asked if I need a taxi and said $20 and I responded in Russian for 40,000 Sums (~$8 USD) and he said $10, which I figure its a fair price and I was tired so I just took it.

Also, DO NOT change money at a bank in Turkmenistan, which was pegged to $1 USD to 3.50 Manat. My guide made a few calls and changed it for me for 14 Manat as that was the daily rate for the day. He said the best rate was in April where its USD 1 to 21 Manat but it has been fluctuating between 13 - 18 Manat.
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SHappe
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby SHappe » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:43 am

We (two Australians) crossed from TM -> UZ on the 18th March. Took us around 30min total, and was really simple.

We left our hotel in Dashoguz and caught a 'cab' to the border for 15manat (we agreed to 10 but the driver changed his mind and kept demanding 10 for each). We arrived at the border at around 09h30. There were probably a hundred Turkmen people gathered around the outside, but when they saw us, they all waved us through. We were given some kind of declaration to fill out, but as it was in Turkmen, we were confused and asked for one in English. The guard disappeared for a minute and reappeared with another guard who spoke English. He sat down with us and talked us through the form, helping us to fill it all out.

Then it was through the metal detector, bag scanner (each time we were waved through to the front of the line by the locals), and to the person who took our form and asked about our cameras. I showed him my camera but he didn't look at any of the photos, and didn't care about my laptop or phone. Passport control took another 5 minutes or so - fingerprints, photo, and stamp.

Once we were out, we got onto the old UAZ minibus thing. We gave the driver 10manat each, but he decided it was 20 manat each. I told him that the other locals on the bus weren't paying that (I had watched them give 10manat to the driver), but he said something in Turkmen and everyone laughed. Then he demanded 20 manat and got angry at us. I gave him 5 manat and said that was all I had.

On the Uzbek side it was really quick. There was noone there (the locals were queuing up for insurance). Passports were stamped, bags scanned, and a lovely woman asked if we had any medications. We told her we had some vitamins and something for my husband's stomach, and she said that was okay.

We walked through the gates and the drivers started falling over each other to ask us if we wanted a taxi. We were heading to Khiva. One guy said $20, I said no. He said $10, and I said okay. Then two of them started shouting over each other and getting into a bidding war with each other - one started shouting $7, $7. So I don't think you have to bargain that hard at the moment - they were pretty desperate.
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dhat2
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby dhat2 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:08 am

Did the crossing TM->UZ. My guide had me fill out the customs form before we got to the crossing, and helped me all the way through the turkmen checkpoint. It was hectic and crowded, but we got waved through because I was a tourist. I was carrying a turkmen rug I had bought. It was supposed to be packaged with the necessary documents visible under on the front, but this was not the case. My guide somehow got it through nonetheless. It wasn't until after the crossing that I noticed the documents were missing.

I paid 5 manat for the shuttle across no-man's land, which departed shortly after I got on.

Got waved through the uzbek side, again because I was a tourist. Just had to get my visa checked, put my backpack through a detector, and get stamped in. Nobody asked me about medication or the rug or anything. Lots of taxis were waiting on the uzbek side. The whole process took about 30 minutes.
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uncle_sam01
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby uncle_sam01 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:17 pm

TM>UZ
A very easy border crossing.
Took a taxi/random dude from Dasoguz for 15 manat. According to locals it should be between 10-15. The apparent price for foreigners is 15-20. I definitely wouldn't pay more than 20 manat.
There were a bunch of people who eagerly wanted to exchange my money into som, but offered pretty sad rates (around 8000/$1). The Turkmen border was a breeze and I was waved through as a foreigner. No questions asked or searches conducted, other than the classic "do you have a visa?" "No, I don't need one" :D

I got a bit pissed with the obligatory marshrutka. I asked some fellow passengers while waiting what the price was and they said 2 manat(!). When the marshrutka came, a man (who collected the money) ushered me to the back of the bus in what seemed like a well rehearsed routine and demanded $1 (ie. almost 19 manat). I gave him 2 manat, which surprised him and he asked "who told me". I said the others did and he wanted know who exactly. So I told him everyone did and he finally understood to f*ck off.
Please don't give this asshole more than 2 manat.

The Uzbek side was also a breeze and I got waved through once again. All I was asked was if I had a drone.

There absolutely is a way for budget travelers on the Uzbek side - there's a marshrutka, which goes to Shavat (for 3-4000 som) and there are shared taxis from there to Xiva for a similar price.

I am a Russian speaker.

Btw, the rate I was told by locals in Ashgabat was 17-19 manat for $1. A rate of 17 already seemed low to some.
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togreiser
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby togreiser » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:40 am

TM>UZ.. very easy and fast. I got to go first in every que

obligatory marshrutka: I payed 5 manat, and got 1 manat change. There was as rush at the marshrutka. The driver got extremely mad. All good fun
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Clairethedon
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Re: Shavat-Dashoguz border crossing report

Postby Clairethedon » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:31 am

Woman, late 20s travelling on an Irish passport. I crossed alone.

I stayed at Khiva the previous night. I asked around at my hostel and at the bazaar (it's marked Bazaar on Maps.me) in the northern part of Khiva about taxis to the border and none left directly from Khiva. All buses from Khiva go to Urgench, bus/taxi to Shavat and shared taxi from there to the border.

I decided to hitchhike. I hitchhiked from a little beyond the graveyard just north of the bazaar, it's marked on Maps.me. I didn't want to pay so said "Nyt dienge, problema?" Took a little longer to get a lift but got one after 20 minutes. He took me all the way to Shavat, to the road directly to the border. He pointed in the direction, gave me a hand shake and a skull cap as a gift. Lovely guy. As soon as he pulled off, another car pulled up beside me offered me a lift to the border. It was getting hot and he wanted 4,000 som so I decided to pay and hopped in. This drive took about 20 minutes.

I arrived at the border at 11:30 and it was busy. Changed 50,000 som to 50 manat. Pretty terrible rate but I needed something rather than use dollars. Passport was checked, and I was ushered to the too of the queue, skipping everyone else baking in the sun. Passport was stamped and I was out of Uzbekistan. Passport checked by Turkmen soldiers. I then waited with everyone else for the bus to come. I asked the price of the bus and it's 2 manat, 3 with luggage. Bus came and we all piled in. Hot and sweaty so be ready to be very close and personal with strangers. White woman privilege again and I was given a seat. Asked again about the price, it's 2 manat flat rate. Bus goes for a few minutes, we all spill out. I give my 2 manat and no issues over it. A Turkmen lady tells me when I get to the through to keep walking and not to get into a taxi straight away at the gate. This information is invaluable.

At the Turkmen border building they give out goods declaration forms. Asked for an English version from the soldier but instead he took me past the crowd of people, into the building and to the top of the passport check. I skipped about 100 people. They took my passport and Iranian evisa. They asked how I was getting to Ashgabad, where I was staying, how long I was staying. They were short and direct but not rude. They checked over my passport for a few minutes. I was then sent to a window to pay $14 dollars. I had exact change. She gave me a slip as proof of payment. I went back to the passport window and they stamped my passport. All my stuff was passed through the x-ray machine. Get to a table where they ask how much money I had on me, if I had any guns. I had 2 packs of cigarettes but they didn't ask if I had any. They filled out the goods declaration for me.

In typical Central Asian style, the taxi drivers crowd around the gate and leave you no room to move. My plan was to price a taxi to the crater and stay the night there then bribe the train conductor to let me on at Ichoguz. This did not happen. They saw a woman and a tourist by themselves and thought they'd harass me. They came right up beside me, closer than any taxi driver has ever done before and started shouting in my face. I ignored them but they all followed. I went to the shade to gather my thoughts and face the wall away from them. I kept saying nyt but that didn't make them go away. Still crowded around me, they kept shouting. One guy came so close I could feel his breathe on my ear as he spoke. Whatever he said made all the other men laugh. At this, I swaung around and screamed nyt at them. This seemed to shake them off.

I started to walk toward Dashoguz and feel into step with 3 Turkmen woman. Don't know if they saw what had just happened but they told me to join them in a taxi and told me the price of 4 manat. I hopped in the front.

The taxi driver offered to exchange dollar with me. He started at 5, then went 7, 10 and 12. I said 18. He went to 15. Then 16, and hung around 16 for a while. Knowing he needed my currency, I waited out until 17. I accepted 17 and changed $50. He tried to short change me 50 manat, which I caught. He then tried to over charge me for the taxi, which I also pushed back at. He laughed to himself and gave me the right change. He offered to take me to the crater. After his behaviour at short changing me twice in 60 seconds and the harassment at the border, I would rather have eaten glass then sit in a car any longer with a Turkmen taxi driver.

When I got out, the 3 women asked if I paid 4 manat. I said yes and they flexed their arm and pointed from their arm to me, gesturing that I was strong.
Turkmen women are amazing. They know the suss.
I walked to the train station and travelled overnight to Ashgabat, got a kupe for 50 manat.
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