Irkeshtam Pass: Kyrgyzstan (Osh - Sary Tash) to China (Kashgar)

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Irkeshtam Pass: Kyrgyzstan (Sary Tash) to China (Kashgar) - October 2019

Post by Mignon_travels »

We crossed the Irkhestam border (from Kyrgyzstan to China) in October 2019. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when you decide to go there. For the description of our experience hour by click here: ... nto-china/

Everything You Need to Know Before Crossing Irkeshtam Border

- Crossing the border from Kyrgyzstan into China can be tricky due to different time zones: the Chinese borders use Beijing time which is 2 hours ahead of Kyrgyzstan one. Also, once you are in the Chinese territory you will cross two borders: Irkeshtam pass or China Immigration Inspection, where your belongings will be checked and you will be asked questions, and Ulugqat-City border, where another control will be done and your passport will be stamped. Bear in mind that the two borders are 140 km far from each other.

- Both the Chinese Immigration Inspection (Irkeshtam) and the Chinese border (Ulugqat) have a lunch break from 13.30-16.30 in summer and 14.00-16.00 in winter (both Beijing time). Both borders are said to close at at 20.00 in summer and 19.30 in winter.

- It takes 1 hour and a half to go from Irkeshtam to Ulugqat. Open up your eyes while driving across that piece of land, you'll see what the Chinese government is trying to hide to international media

Having those timetables in mind,

- You should get to Irkeshtam before 11.30 (kirghiz time) otherwise you are stuck there till 14.30, that is 16.30 Being time.

- If you pass the control in Irkeshtam before the break but notice you won't get Ulugqat before 13.30 or 14.00 (Beijing time), just stay there to have lunch in a café because at Ulugqat there is nothing! Also, even if you get to Ulugqat right before the break, they may let you in but won't process your documents, so you'll have to wait for 3 hours anyway.

- The price from Irkeshtam to Ulugqat is said to be fixed at 400 CNY/RMB. You can try to bargain if there is more than one taxi drivers around and you have time to spare. Also, in high season you can group up and save money. We were alone and paid the full price but we met some people in Kashgar who told us that they took a minibus because there were around 15 people there and paid 100 CNY each. They crossed the border two days before us, so it's really a matter of luck.

- Leave Sary-Tash early in the morning, at 6 or 6.30 am, to try to get Ulugqat border before the break (but we don't know if the Kirgyz border is open before 8am, probably it is; it opens officially at 8 am).
    We were told that there is a marshrutka that leaves from Osh at 14:00 and takes seven hours to get to Noura, before the Kyrgyz border. You can then sleep there and go to the border the day after. But we cannot guarantee it.
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