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Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:16 am
by ejcraft
Figured I’d write a report about my recent crossing of the Penjikent border on my trip from Samarkand to Dushanbe. It’s much of the same of what’s already been said here, with a few key quirky differences.

Started out from the Registan just before 9:00 a.m., and I could not for the life of me find where the “bus stop across the street” is. Got approached by a taxi driver offering to take me on a day-trip to Shakhrisabz, but it was already getting uncomfortably hot carrying my backpack and camera around, so we settled on 50,000 som for the roughly 45-minute ride. Some reports claim that it’s impossible to drive up to the border and the final push is a one kilometre walk; while it’s true that there is a manned gate and the marshrutkas seemed to be offloading passengers there, my taxi driver got past and let me out at a parking lot beside the first passport control hut.

Important note: this is the last place to change your som in somoni before Penjikent city. On the other side, no drivers that were waiting would accept Uzbek som. 100,000 som got me 100 somoni.

The border control process looked extremely straightforward... except one Uzbek guard took a special interest in me. After my bag was x-rayed, he called me over to sit down at a table which made me a little nervous given the old reputation of Uzbekistan’s borders, but we ended up having a lovely hour-long talk about our families, careers, and what Uzbekistan can do to attract more tourists.

He told me his brother is hoping to study in Canada, so I wrote down the name of my university and a brief rundown of the Canadian education system, and he was thrilled when I gave him my phone number in case he or his brother had any questions. But what was most interesting was his shock when I told him how complicated getting my Uzbek visa was and the pain-in-the-ass horror stories circulating online about crossing into or out of Uzbekistan. He ended up making photocopies of my 10-year Chinese visa, as well as my Tajik and Turkish e-visas (which I cited as examples of reliable, easy visa issuing systems), and assured me he’d send them and a report of what I’d said directly to the new Uzbek president.

I also carry a Canon 5D Mark III, and during our conversation another Uzbek border guard came up, jokingly called me James Bond, and started looking through my pictures of Europe and Russia — he didn’t seem to care at all about what I’d shot in Uzbekistan, other than one photo of the x-ray room he accidentally took when he pressed the shutter button. I had to delete that on his behalf, unfortunately.

After the guards shook my hand and thanked me for visiting their country, they ushered me into the passport control room where there were about 30-40 waiting locals, banged on the glass to signal their colleague, and I was stamped out in around 30 seconds. My hotel registration slips were checked thoroughly.

In Tajikistan, it was much of the same. Smiles and English from everyone. Got my e-visa and passport both stamped without issue, bags were x-rayed again. No medical check as others have reported, which was lucky because I’m just getting over a small cold, but my cough sounds like the plague.

On the Tajik side, there were a handful of men huddled around in a small parking lot. I loudly asked “Dushanbe?” as I walked up, and that really got their attention. Five men ran to me, all shouting at me and at each other. Someone first quoted me the price of 200 somoni for the trip to Dushanbe, to which another man replied “150!” Then the third guy typed 120 into his phone, to which the fourth man told me that he’d also do it for 120 but assured me he could somehow get me over the mountains faster than his friend. I showed them I only had 100 somoni in my wallet, which was readily accepted... without saying a word the price dropped by half. Ended up paying 100 for a seat in a shared taxi that was just me, the driver and (I think) the driver’s friend. Penjikent border to Rudaki Park in 4.5 hours including various stops for toilets, drinks, SIM cards, and photos.

Very scenic! But why the driver kept his window open in the Anzob Tunnel I’ll never know...

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:57 am
by Aloasis
do you know if I can drive from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan using Penjikent border crossing with my foreign car?

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:21 pm
by Lovetheworld
Yes we crossed it with our Dutch car a couple of weeks ago. Quite easy. But you pay 25$ tax on the car and the import is only valid for 15 days. You can extend in Khorog at customs.

Edit: ah sorry, you are going the other way, but it will be fine.

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:47 pm
by Christopher
We crossed a month ago Samarkand into Tajikistan with our two. SA registered cars. Was quite painless except for the fact that they wanted all our bags (from two 4WD!) to go through their X-ray machine. On the end they did not insist on ALL the contents of the cars going through the X-Ray machine but about 10 bags were checked. I was curious as to why we weee being so thoroughly checked when LEAVING - country (Uzbekistan). In 20 countries, only Sudan/Egypt had been quite so thorough. But then I was ENTERING Sudan. The Uzbek customs guard explained that there were limits to what could be exported - like 2 kg meat per person! They were also very curious about the photos on my camera. All i all took about an hour to leave Uzbekistan. Other side was fine, if anything faster.

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:31 pm
by Diravium
ejcraft wrote:My hotel registration slips were checked thoroughly.

Wait, do you need to show proof that you have a place to stay before crossing over, or am I missing something?

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:33 am
by Lovetheworld
Diravium wrote:
ejcraft wrote:My hotel registration slips were checked thoroughly.

Wait, do you need to show proof that you have a place to stay before crossing over, or am I missing something?

This is about Uzbekistan where you need to show proof of a registered hotel night every 3 days. Sometimes they check it when you leave.

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:41 am
by Gareth

Does anyone know the opening/closing times of this border? Is it 24-hour?


Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:09 pm
by Venelin
We crossed from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan on the Kurban Ait day, 22 August - 4 people, fluent Russian speakers.

We took a whole taxi from Panjikent to the border paying 60 TJS (slightly more than the Caravanistan info, but we did not haggle). Uzbek money is available at the bazaar or at the border itself. We had some 80-90 dollars in TJS left, so we literally exhausted the entire UZS availability of all people hanging around the Tajik side of the border. The rate was decent for the situation (135 TJS to 100k UZS), less than 10% offset from bank rates. We exchanged the remaining TJS on the Uzbek side, with a person that our Uzbek taxi driver suggested and surprisingly the rate was the same.

The border was very straightforward and 2 of us had electronic visas which were processed without further questions. We took some long distance pictures of ourselves on the Tajik side without any issues, while one Uzbek guard asked me to delete a photo from the Uzbek side which he saw me taking. We did not try to jump the queue of 2-3 local people before us to see if tourists are given precedence.

The entire taxi for us to Samarkand cost 90k UZS, with just a little bit of haggling. The driver rode excessively fast at 100+ kph also through villages and we reached Samarkand in no time.

Re: Penjikent Border Crossing Reports

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:17 am
by Gareth
I crossed this border in August 2018, and it was without doubt the easiest crossing I made in Central Asia (out of 5). Open 24 hours. I took a 7,500 Som taxi to the border, arranged by my hotel. From leaving that taxi and stepping into another on the Tajikistan side took about 15 minutes. I did this at about 7:30 am though. Hotel registration slips looked at briefly, but returned to me. Tajikistan guys were welcoming. Easy on other side to change money and arrange onward travel. Coming back through the same way was also fast. Tajikistan passport control recognised that I wasn't from the area and so I skipped ahead of a small queue (at about 5 pm). Taxis on Uzbek side charging $10 for a taxi to Samarkand if sharing, or $15 for private taxi, which I did as there was no one else about and I didn't want to wait.

Samarkand to Dushanbe via Penjikent

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:53 am
by Randrup
August 31 I followed the Caravanistan instructions ( ) with great success.
At 08.30 am I took a public bus just south of Registon to Kaftahona (10 min. 1000 Som). From there a shared minivan (35 min. only 7000 Som) to the border. Crossed the border with no problems in 20 - 25 min.
Took a shared taxi to Penjikent (10-15 min. 10 Somoni) and stopped on the way and changed $ US to Somoni at a bank at the exact market rate (9,42 Somoni / $). It took 3 min. and the taxi driver knew I needed to change money as I said it at the border.
In Penjikent the taxi dropped me of at the main bus station some 2 km east of the centre, where I waited an hour for the shared taxi to Dushanbe to fill up. 4 h, 100 Somoni. Maybe it would have been better just to take a shared taxi directly from the border.
In Dushanbe we where let of at a bus stop 3-4 km north of the centre, so I took the bus to the centre (8-10 min. 1 Somoni).
All in all a good experience.