Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by SHappe »

Crossed the border from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan in the middle of May with a rental car. Two Australians (so 30 day visa free entry) and a UAZ.
Very easy for both areas - Kazakhstan wanted to take our car apart, but he was very nice about it and friendly as he looked in all our bags.

We had a document given to us from the rental car company that I think was some kind of import document. No additional fees, and nobody asked about any fees. We provided our insurance info as well, and managed to get through in about 30 min.

One person on the Kazakh side spoke English, the rest only Kyrgyz/Kazakh and Russian (and our Russian is terrible).
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by suniggurath »

Does anybody know if this border closes on weekends?

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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by Michele28 »

Does anyone know if a border permit for a car and passengers is needed to cross the border from Kazakhstan into Krygyzstan at Karkara ? I have hired a car in Bishkek in August and will drive Almaty, Kolsai Lakes, Charyn Canynon and then over the border to Karakol. I have had mixed information from the guy I have hired the car from so it would be good to know from someone who has done this recently.

On the one hand he told me I needed a permit for each passenger at US$30 each, and then he told me "If you going directly to the Kyrgyz\Kazakh border (Kegen) without enter to Karkara zone – you don’t need a special border permit" It would be good to know from someone who has done this in a hire car recently as I dont want to get turned back !
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by halflife »

suniggurath wrote:Does anybody know if this border closes on weekends?

I crossed this border on 22nd the last month which was a saturday. Asked the tourist information in Karakol beforehand if the border is operating and if it's open on weekends. The answers were in the affirmative.

Then I walked to the eastern end of the town and hitchiked- hitched 3 cars all successful on my first attempt to a village called Kyzyl-kyja. From there a road deviates towards the border and from here the road gets very bad. I waited there for sometime but cars were only coming from the other direction, maybe because the border had closed. A family then invited me to their home that night, next day dropped me at the road on the border from where I successfully hitchiked another 3 cars to reach the border.

The border guards are very friendly on both sides. Hardly took 20 minutes to cross the border. No matter on which date you are going make sure you reach the border before 6 pm.
'Kegen' written on the stamp in cyrillic
'Kegen' written on the stamp in cyrillic
20190702_160803_1562062244170.jpg (99.72 KiB) Viewed 1302 times
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by boonie.g »

Crossed this border today.

Pretty straight forward once you reach the border post. I was prepared to pay the shared taxi driver 1k tenge to go from Kegen to the border but he only brought me to the bridge and refused to continue unless I paid him some extortionate amount (I was the only passenger left). So I got off. I managed to hitchhike with a middle-aged Kyrgyz couple all the way from the bridge to Tyup, where I changed USD to som at a bank and took a marshrutka to Karakol for 30 som. I paid the Kyrgyz couple 3k tenge cos I didn’t have any som prior to the trip to the bank. They made several stops along the way to buy honey and kumis which was fun.
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by Schaniiin »

Date: 12th July 2019, friday
3 people with Swiss passport, no visa needed for either country

Waited at the intersection in Kegen at 8.45AM. First car stopped after a few seconds. We showed him the wallet with only 4000 tenge left. Driver accepted.

30mins later we arrived at the border. 4 cars waiting to be checked on the kazakh side. We had to show our passport and arrival card to like 3 soldiers. Then put our backpacks on a table. Were told to open them. We opened the zipper. They looked at what they saw, didn't touch anything, we didn't have to remove anything. Asked us if we had any drugs or weapons. Were dismissed. Passport control. Took us 10mins in total to pass kazakh border.

Kyrgyz border was like 2 seconds as they only stamped the passport. No money changing facilities. No toilets.

Please note: the border opens at 8AM!!! they had a note on the kazakh side on the immigration office.

So like 15mins for the border crossing in total.

We hadn't arranged any transport in advance. Border guards never asked us. Duet hostel in Karakol can arrange it for 3000 Som. So we waited at the side of the road. Many kazakh families on holidays (?). We asked 4 other cars but they all signed they were full... keep in mind we are 3 people.
1 old car from the Kyrgyz side dropped off 2 passengers. Driver took a break then asked us where we wanted to go. We said Karakol. We asked us how much we'd pay. We showed him 1500 Som. He accepted immediately.
Took us almost 1 hour of waiting.
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by Ewoud8 »

We passed the border around the 21th of juli from kyrgyzstan to kazakhstan in kegen.
Maybe a few tips for the people who are planning to do this:
1. There is a machrutka from Karakol (leaving at the bazaar bus station) to sari- tologoi/ sari- telegei (сары телегей) who passes very close to the border (karkra of каркыра is the nearest town where the machrutka stops, it is 15minute taxi ride to the border from there)

2. You can sleep in the karkra village, where you will surely find a place to sleep, just go to the houses of the people and ask for it. We got a sleeping place offered on the machrutka.

3. Crossing the border is very easy, very nice border guards and takes maximum 10 mins. There is a very quick check of your backpacks, but they even do not open them.

4. From the karkra village, a taxi costs 400 kgz

5. The border guards called their taxi friends, so wait for a shared taxi and pay about 1500-2000 kazakh tenge

Good luck
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by trikolka »

crossed this border on my way from Kegen to Yssyk Kul, by bike and with a french passport, on july 31. Open from 8 am to 6 pm. Border crossing was easy and pretty fast, they just asked me to open my panniers on the kazakh side but did not really look at the content.
Note : 2 sections of pretty rough gravel road from Karkara to the border on kazakh side (12km, construction under way), and from Karkyra to Sary Telegey on the kyrgyz side (33km).

Crossed it again the other way round : on sunday afternoon there is a file of kazakh cars coming back from lake Yssyk Kul, so it takes more time, but apart from this, it is also straightforward
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by travisthetrout »

We (a Swiss couple) crossed the border yesterday (September 9).

After arriving in Karakol we tried to find a relatively cheap way of getting transportation either to the border ($60 Dollars), to Kegen (no possibility) or to Almaty (cheapest was $160 as a car was heading back empty anyway; otherwise it would have cost $200 for the car). We found these prices to be much too expensive for our budget so we decided to hitchhike.

There are two routes you can seemingly take from Karakol: the road leading north to Tyup before heading east to the border; or the road leading east directly via Ak Suu towards Jergalan. The former has more traffic apparently, while the latter is more direct.

As our hostel was on the more direct road, we decided to try that. What followed was one of the longest, most tiring but also most rewarding days of our travels so far:

We got up early at 06.45 and started hitching at 07.15. The third car stopped for us and after saying “Net Som”, he beckoned us to enter and drove us all the way to the eastern end of Boz-Uchuk. After harrasing us twice for money (he drove back after the first time we said no), we gave him 120 som and he grumpily drove off. Thankfully, that was the only negative experience of the day.

After walking along the road from Boz-Uchuk for five minutes, a car with two guys stopped for us and drove us as far as Zyndan via Ak-Bulun (they wouldn’t accept our money, so we gave them some Swiss chocolates instead). From there an elderly gentleman took us a few kilometres to the eastern end of Kyzyl-Kyja, where a road then goes north-eastwards towards the main border road. We knew this would be the most remote part of the trip and we might have to walk the 13km. But after walking for 10 minutes, we struck gold: three young farmers stopped for us along the gravelly road and let us hop in the back of the truck, where a frightened dog accompanied us for the bumpy, 30 minute ride. We stopped on the way for photos and the guys really appreciated the Swiss chocolates (which seemed to be a great way of connecting with people).

They dropped us off at the main border road and this proved to be our longest wait of the day. We walked along the road (still about 30 km from the border) for around 45 minutes. One Russian car passed us but was full and then three Kyrgyz guys stopped. They were going a few km but said they would drive us to the border for 1500 som. We could have bargained with them but were just happy to find a car going in that direction.

After stopping off for photos at some sight (a large mass of stones, which had something to do with Genghis Khan?), we drove to the border passing Santash village and Karkra. We arrived there at around 11:00, so within four hours off setting off.

The border crossing was easy, both sets of border guards were really friendly and after a cursory glance in our backpacks (they seemed excited about our travel guitar), we asked how to get to Kegen. The guard said it would cost 7000 tenge which we paid (again, we probably could have got it cheaper) and were off with an Uyghur border guard who had finished his shift to Kegen. He dropped us off at 12:00 at the shared taxi stand (he said there were no Mashrutkas) and were told the ride to Almaty would be 5000 tenge each. This time we did barter and got the price down to 2500 tenge each (the locals paid 2000 each) and then we left at 12:30, arriving in Almaty exactly four hours (and seven vehicles) later at 16:30.

A few important points:

- Be careful which app you use regarding maps. The villages are sometimes not there or at the wrong place. I am not allowed to say which one we used but it was a good map for me.

- It took us nine hours but we were prepared to pay (the whole trip cost $50 in total). However, traffic was extremely sparse from Kyzyl-Kyja onwards and who knows if we were just extremely lucky or not.

- We saw a mashrutka (with the number 211) on the border road coming from Karkara going to „karakol bazar“. If that were to also go in the opposite direction, this would be a god-send. Ask around at the bazar if you can to find out if and when they leave (this was new information for us).

- The border guard said 10 cars pass per day at the border at the moment. The car we took along the border road was the only one (besides a farming truck) that we saw.

- There were a lot more cars coming towards us. It seems that doing the route from Almaty to Karakol would be easier than vice versa.

- We are so glad we did it, as we experienced so much both from the people and the nature. The first 90 minutes from Kegen to Almaty (including Charyn Canyon) is absolutely amazing. So if you are not on a really tight budget and have time, do it!
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Re: Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu) border

Post by rhinomaxil »

Crossed the border today from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan. It is open on weekends (today being Sunday) and opening hours are 8:00 to 18:00. Very easy.
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