Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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thierry
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Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby thierry » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:31 am

We received confusing information to get the right way to the border post in Farap. Indeed, a gate is locked on the M37 (?) main road and two cars had to turn back and take the so-called new road. Fortunately there is a guard at this gate and thanks to the help of a taxi driver, he opened the gate to us (bicycle riders). We did not find the new road on maps.me. I recommend bicycle riders to check in Farap since the "old" road might be closed soon definitively
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Van_Gogh
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby Van_Gogh » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:59 pm

Crossed the border yesterday.
The road from Turkmenabat to the border is good, just follow the signs for "Farap". Taxis will go there from the city, just ask around.
The taxi will drop you off in front of the border entry gate, where you have to register your passport. If you're coming by own transport, just stop here and do the same.

There is no money exchange or anything else on the Turkmen side.

The border itself is on the left after about 500m, if you came by taxi you have to walk or ask one of the truck drivers for a ride.

The Turkmen side is very straightforward, but they will make a break from around 12:30 to 1:30, try not to arrive in this timeframe. The guards were very friendly and you can try to skip the line as a foreigner, because a lot of people cross the border to import things into Uzbekistan.
To exit Turkmenistan, I needed to pay 19 USD "processing fee", only payable in USD.

The Uzbek side is good as well, guards were friendly but worked very slow. I needed to fill out the Deklaratsiya, first in English and after that the Russian one.
If you're coming by own car, you might help them with the paperwork.
There is public transport on the Uzbek side and the possibilty to exchange Euro, USD and Turkmen Manat, but the rate is very bad, better exchange in Bukhara. There's also a office where you can buy vehicle insurance, but I did not stop for it.

The road from the border is not the best, some parts are full of potholes, one of my tires blew up because of this.
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Silvio
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby Silvio » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:43 pm

We crossed the border Alat-Farap from Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan by foot/public transportation.
Our hostel in Buchara organised a taxi for us directly to the border. It was 100.000 som. We gave him 120.000 som.
In front of the border we could change uzbek som and usdollar in turkmen manat. We knew that the exchange rate was probably not so good. In Turkmenistan we realised that it was very bad. We changed 1usd=6manat. Official change rate is 1usd=3,5manat. Black market change rate in these days was 1usd=15manat. The money change guy behaved very nice. His name was Mischa. Therefore dont change with Mischa or do a better Negotiation.
On the uzbek border check they asked some easy questions about our travel and checked our medicine. They also checked the registration slips. Altogether they have been very friendly and the border check was quite fast.
After the border check there is a taxi to the official border for 1000 som. It is around 1,5 km.
There we walked to the turkmen side and there was another taxi for 1usd for two persons to the turkmen border check... another 1,5 km.
There the border crossing was quite easy again. They asked for the electronic devices but didnt check them. They checked the medicine again. We had to pay 12usd each and to fill a declaration sheet.
After the border, there was a taxi to a bigger parking area... just 1 or 1,5km. For this taxi we payed 1usd for 2 persons. From there we took a taxi to the train station in Turkmenabat for 5usd.
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Mrloes
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby Mrloes » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:54 pm

We crossed the border on 30 June. We arrived in Turkmenabat by night train from Ashgabat and then took a taxi to the border. We probably paid too much (97 manat; the guy asked for 100 and my boyfriend couldn't bother to bargain and just showed the 97 manat he had left in his wallet :| )
When we arrived at the entry gate at the border at around 7:30 am, there were many people waiting already. When the border guards saw us, they let us through the gate, apologising that they would have done this immediately if only they'd noticed us earlier.

Our passports were checked several times by different guards standing next to each other, but they were all very friendly. We walked to the building where we filled in a form (we got one in English from one of the border guards). After some waiting, the border opened at 8:30. We felt a bit awkward that they let us skip the line all the time, but everybody who was waiting in line seemed happy to let us through first.

We didn't have to pay a processing fee to exit Turkmenistan. Everything went quick and smooth.

After we got stamped out of Turkmenistan, we wanted to walk to the Uzbekistan border office, but they called us back, saying we could wait for the marschrutka. We weren't sure if we weren't allowed to walk or if they were just being kind because of the heat. We waited for the marschrutka, but let the first one pass which got filled up all too quickly with Uzbek women (no priority for foreigners this time and rightly so!). We got in the next marschrutka which drove us to a gate 750 meters away. I think I saw people paying 1 manat, so I gave the driver 2 for both of us, which he accepted. Our passports were checked a couple of times again and we were then put into another marschrutka for another 750 meters. I wanted to give the driver of this marschrutka 1,5 manat (the last manats we had), but he didn't accept it and demanded 1 dollar per person. A ridiculous price for this distance, but we couldn't do anything but pay. I don't know what would have happened if we'd given him less than 2 dollar, we didn't try.

On the Uzbek side, we were prepared for a total check of our luggage to look for medicines etc., but our bags only went through a scanner. They saw something suspicious in my hand bag, but after I found the object (my powerbank) they didn't want to check the luggage any further. We passed a doctor who checked our (high) temperature and were then stamped into Uzbekistan. Much easier than I thought!

We were awaited by some marschrutkas, some had a sign saying "Buchara" in Russian, but the drivers claimed nobody would go to Buchara, so we would be better of taking a private taxi for 60 dollar. We refused and said we would wait until there would be more people to share the taxi with. When there was an Uzbek man who had to go to Buchara and was willing to share a car with us, the drivers quickly shuffled him away into a private cab saying that he wouldn't go to Buchara after all... We waited some time for more people, but indeed, everyone I asked was going to Alat. In the mean time we could have exchanged manat, dollar or euro to Uzbek som, which we didn't do because the rate was very bad.
You can probably take the marschrutka to Alat and find transportation to Buchara from there, but as our taxi price dropped as time passed, we decided to persevere (and it was actually fun to bargain with the guy who seemed to control the taxi and marschrutka business). We already got it down to 30 dollar, when the guy came running towards us saying that he had found a "very, very cheap car" for 25 dollar. All of a sudden he was in a hurry and we agreed on 24 dollar (the amount we had in cash). When we drove away, I saw two travellers walking towards the taxi stand, probably on their way to Buchara too... I hope the next travellers will be even more perseverant than we and arrange a shared taxi for less ;)
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Gareth
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby Gareth » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:24 am

I passed through this border in August 2018. It's closed for lunch between 1 pm & 2 pm. I was allowed through the first check by the car park though to wait in the Turkmenistan building waiting area. Getting through OK. It's good to have some small Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan money (or a couple of $1 notes), to pay for the minibuses ferrying people between the buildings and the actual border. On getting back to Uzbekistan side, there's a small car park to the right as you come out with some money changers and taxi drivers. As indicated above, not the most pleasant experience. I managed to get a private taxi for $30 (there was no one else around to share with) to Bukhara but there was quite a bit of discussion first before this was accepted. It took about 70 minutes to get to Bukhara.
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laghubhara
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby laghubhara » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:39 pm

We crossed this border from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan on 30/08/2018.

There's a shared taxi point to the border at Farap in Turkmenabat (https://goo.gl/maps/xLPgo7wBMSo). A seat cost 10 Manat. We went with three people and everybody paid 15 Manat.

The border crossing was very smooth, the Turkmen border guards helped us with the Deklaratsiya (just cross "No" everywhere...) and were very friendly. They perfunctorily let us open our luggage, but weren't interested at all, they peeked and then said Okay.
No line skipping as a foreigner, on the contrary, Turkmens (and a guide to some tourists -.-) skipped by us with their admittedly good technique. Annoying.

There are two marshrutki, one on the Turkmen side costing 1 Manat per person, one on the Uzbek side costing 1$ per person.

The Uzbeks took a bit of time with the new electronic visa, but apart from that, everything went very easily. No medicine check, no phone check, no literature check. They asked if we brought a drone.

After the border, there's the taxi cartel. We used Mrloes' strategy and had only 23$ in cash in our wallet, which we showed at some point to the taxi controlling guy. He tried to negotiate a lot, but after he saw we really only had 23$, he let us go for that amount. However: He took 10$ for himself, we only gave 13$ to the driver. I think it should be possible to do this drive much cheaper if you organise it beforehand from the Uzbek side (maybe ask if your hotel/hostel can arrange something?). It seems like the guy there controls all the drivers and there is no free market. Better to circumvent him ;)
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Granite2018
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby Granite2018 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:41 pm

Crossed in December 2018 TM-->UZ. I couldn't see anyone to share a taxi with at Turkmenabat station and had plenty of Manat left so settled for a 60 Manat taxi.

There's a minibus running from the first checkpoint to the main building, where you clear customs and passport control. 1 Manat per person. The border guards were friendly and filled out my declaration for me. While I got the foreigner pass at the first checkpoint, passport control was a bit of a free for all.

Once through, there's a second minibus, which takes you to the initial Uzbek checkpoint. Again, 1 Manat. From here, you get a third minibus to the main Uzbek building. The cost is 1,000 SOM. If you don't have SOM, the driver will demand 1 USD (eight times as much). A Turkmen guy I was chatting to said you can just hand the driver 5 Manat and tell him you only have Manat and walk away. I had some SOM, so didn't need to try that.

Uzbek passport control and customs were a breeze, bags through Xray and go. I was told by the Turkmen guy that you can exchange money in the passport control/customs building but didn't see anything. The money changers on the Uzbek side of the border were exchanging Manat for SOM, but I've no idea what the rate was.

Transport options are limited to the taxi mafia, which is run by one guy. Got the initial demand of 50 USD to Bukhara down to 20 USD within an hour. This guy, effectively, won't let you share with locals and tells any that would be prepared to share that they'll also have to pay the vastly inflated foreigner price. So you can forgot about sharing with locals. Hopefully, the President's drive to increase increase tourism will also include a crackdown on these guys at some point.

P.s. no sign of the 19 USD processing fee mentioned by a previous poster.
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steven
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby steven » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:00 am

I am going to ask Saule to mention the taxi mafia to her contacts at Uzbek Tourism. Before they were powerless and would have shrugged, but now they could indeed do something about it. Let's see what we can do.
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ChrisD
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby ChrisD » Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm

This is my experience crossing the Border from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan.
https://chrisdesmond.org/2019/05/05/uzb ... -may-2019/
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hh2sg
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Re: Farap - Alat (TM - UZ) border crossing updates

Postby hh2sg » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:13 am

We crossed the border on 3 Jun 2019 (with bicycles).

On the Farap side, there is a checkpoint about 500m before the main building, where many people were waiting. A soldier asked us to go to the front of the queue, where we had our passports checked, and then he directed us on to the main building. There, we had to put all our bags through the x-ray machine, but none of our bags were checked. They also didn't ask to see any of our photos. The officer helped us fill in a customs form, and we only had to declare how much $ we had, they did not ask to see the actual cash. Then on to passport control, where we had to give thumbprints, passports stamped and returned, and free to go.

On the Uzbekistan side, we first went into a doctor's room, where he took our temperatures. We were then directed to the main building, about 100m behind. There, passport control was straightforward, no questions asked. We then had to put all our bags through the x-ray machine, but none of our bags were checked. No declaration form. They asked if we had medicines, and we said no, and then we were free to go.

All in all, fast and efficient on both sides.
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