Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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edgarbilliet
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by edgarbilliet »

Crossed today from Shymkent to Tashkent in Chernyaevka. Very quick, less than half an hour, Kazakh side took longer than Uzbek side. Also, no declaration to fill in at all. Apparently if you have worth less than 2000$ on you, you don't need to fill in anything. Is this new?
Shared taxi from Shymkent train station to border: 1250 tenge p.p.
(private) taxi to Amir Temur square, with stop at the bank to exchange money: 8 dollars or 64000 som.
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steven
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by steven »

Hi Edgar,

yes this is new! Green corridors have been implemented since the New Year in Uzbekistan, but did not know also at land borders.
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lora
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by lora »

I did this journey around a week ago, from Shymkent to Tashkent. From Shymkent I took a share taxi to Chernyaevka for 1000 tenge (this was with 0 negotiation, which surprised me!)

The border crossing was relatively easy. I arrived at around 14:00 Kazakh time. There were quite a few people crossing but no real queue. On the Kazakh side I was asked to write down on a piece of scrap paper how many USD and EUR i was carrying. I did this and continued (actually later I realised I wrote the wrong amount of dollars but it was well under the declaration amount so whatever.) I did not receive any other questions on either side, nor did anyone want to see anything in my bag - camera, medicine, nothing! Total time spent at the border was around 45 minutes, and most people I spoke to were friendly.

After crossing the border I paid 2000 tenge in a shared taxi (with one other passenger) and was driven directly to my hostel in Tashkent. The driver initially asked 10 dollars and then 4000 tenge. I told him I had only 2000 and eventually he accepted.
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leela
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by leela »

I'm going to be crossing both ways within ten days, so the first two pages of this thread were pretty concerning. Have things really become much easier since January this year? I'd be glad to hear more reports. Initially I was expecting to get the train, but if taxi/mashrukta isn't too painful now, I think I'd prefer that, timing wise.

One thing - how would I communicate to the driver exactly where I needed dropping? Another poster said that this had been a problem for him and he'd been left a long way from where he needed to be.
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steven
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by steven »

It got a lot better, no need to worry.

I would use maps on your phone or give him the telephone number of your hotel to call for directions.
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Charlie
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by Charlie »

I crossed the border at Chernyaevka in early May.

I got a taxi from Tashkent airport (I had arrived on a domestic flight) to the border for 80 000 som. The taxi couldn't quite go the whole way - I had to walk the last 800m or so (though there seemed to be a bus that shuttled the route).

Border crossing itself was relatively painless - although I had to rely on Russian language as nobody seemed to speak much English. On the Uzbek side, nobody asked to see my camera, or go through my laptop. Immigration control did ask to see my hotel registration slips, but didn't inspect them in any detail - it seemed enough that I had them when asked. As others have noted, you don't need to fill in a currency declaration form if you have less than $2000.

Things seemed to move a little slower on the Kazakh side, but it was by no means a long wait. Immigration asked me about my job, and what I was doing in Kazakhstan (tourism) and that was it. I was vaguely asked about how much money I was bringing into the country, but no requirement to fill in any forms.

Overall time at the border was around 30-45 minutes.

I got a shared taxi from the border to Shymkent for 1500 tenge (I didn't bother to try and negotiate the price). There were money changers on the Kazakh side who seemed to have good rates for buying som.
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Yvon
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by Yvon »

Hi there,

We though, with my friend who I travel with, that we should also share our update, if this can be useful to anyone travelling with his/her own car, as we just came back from a 2 weeks roadtrip in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (May 2018).

We started in Bishkek were we got the car and headed towards Tashkent, stopping in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The first border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan (on the road between Bishkek and Taraz) was open to cars. Kyrgyz exit was painful (especially for my friend who got annoyed by the Kyrgyz about a page slightly torn in his passport), but Kazakh entry was fine. They checked the car, engine, bags, not thoroughly though. Took us 1 hour in total.

Second border between Shymkent and Tashkent was, as expected, open to cars. We arrived at 9.45 in the morning and waited 1h to enter the Kazakh side. Cars kept arriving around us on Kazakh side, without respecting the queue (as you would expect), but some drivers told the guards the cars order in this relative mess, and we were able to go in when it was our turn, surprisingly. Both side were pretty straightforward. No English on Kazakh side, a bit better on Uzbek side. As said by other travelers, no need to declare anything (we were not even asked how much we had with us). They checked the car and our backpacks, including medication, most of which didn't have their original packaging, but it was fine for them. We were asked if we had weapons, morphine, alcohol... all of this very gently by the customs. We also has 40 liters of fuel in the back, which was not a problem. They didn't check pictures in our phones or cameras. None of the papers we had for the car (that the rental company has prepared for us to be able to go to Uzbekistan) were asked, except for the Russian translation of my French driving licence. All in all it took us 3 hours with a bit of stress but no major hassle.

Final border was between Andijan and Osh. A long line of trucks, clearly not moving, but we were told to go on the side and could go first. Guards were speaking a few words of English and trying some French, and, same as at the second border, most Uzbeks were extremely nice. We were not asked to show our registration papers at all. Entering Kyrgyzstan was fairly straightforward and we only spend 2h crossing the border, after the car has been checked twice, not really thoroughly though.

About fuel, we found it a lot easier than expected to find some in Uzbekistan. Obviously easy in Tashkent, but surprisingly possible in Samarkand, though we had some trouble finding 91 (most petrol stations had only 80). It also seemed OK in Bukhara, but we didn't try driving to Khiva (we drove back to Tashkent to take a flight to Khiva).

Also, we got pulled over by the police in Uzbekistan at a checkpoint, but once again, we were let go just showing our papers and no bribe had to be paid (unlike in Kyrgyzstan).

We though we should share our experience, after reading so many alarming posts about crossing borders with your own cars, driving in Uzbekistan and finding fuel. Everything was not easy, but in the end it was not a huge challenge and it was great to be autonomous with our own car (and fyi we don't speak a word of Russian or any other local language).

Hope this helps!
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leela
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by leela »

We crossed here by foot, two weeks ago. We are both experienced travellers, but this was the worst border crossing we'd ever experienced. Not because of any issues with getting stamped through, but in terms of crowds, crushing and danger.
I've never experienced anything like the hundred and hundreds of people crammed into a small area with an unmanaged bottle neck. Everyone was pushing, most people were angry, and at times I was so crushed it was hard to breathe. At its worst point the pushing crowd caused a large panel of glass to break, sending large shards of glass in our direction, with my companion getting three small cuts. Had we been a few inches closer one of us could have been badly hurt.
One woman ended up falling under the crush, and had it not been for the kindness of three local ladies who were determined to take care of me, I'd have gone down and been trampled too.

I'm generally a chilled traveller so I'm not over-dramatising this, but it really was dangerous. I can only advise that if you're crossing by foot, you ensure that you have everything packed away securely, so at least you have one less thing to worry about. I got separated from my bag at one point (only reunited with it by the same indefatigable ladies). And take care of yourself. If you're travelling with children I really wouldn't consider crossing this border on foot.
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bwv812
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by bwv812 »

I had a similar experience at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border just outside Osh (Dostyk). This is pretty much how locals get treated at lots of busy borders, I imagine, and unless you get waived through as a white person or tourist, not all border crossings will be pleasant.
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leela
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Re: Tashkent to Shymkent border crossing Q&A

Post by leela »

I don't expect border crossings to be pleasant! I have quite a list of border crossings that were definitely Not Pleasant, and some long stories to go with them. But in this case I felt a warning was necessary for physical safety reasons. Maybe we were unlucky and hit a really bad day, but given that Steven has already mentioned that fisticuffs can break out at this particular border, I suspect we didn't.
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