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  #1  
Old 12 Jun 2010
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Azerbaijan transit visa, 72 hours only, also ferry info

Various Azerbaijan:

I assume this is old news, but somehow we missed this:

When we crossed into Azerbaijan (northerly entry) we were told we only had 72 hours to get our bikes back out of the country, or get them back into customs hands in Baku at the terminal. Transit possible only, no options. This is independent of our personal stay, our visa’s are good for a month. Apparently there is a cash bond option for the bike as well somewhere along the line. No matter what talking we did, this is the way it was.

So this afternoon we parked our bikes in customs control until we leabe for Turkmenbasi on the 14th.

Also, we had a hell of time finding the ferry terminal in Baku for Turkmenistan, no signs and many people have no idea of distances or location. So here are a few coordinates:

Turnoff from the main frontage road into a small non descript side road without any signs (ride towards the warfs):
N40 22 34.3 E49 51 53.7

Get your tickets in another non descript office, with small lettering “kassa” above the door, right after the first police checkpoint:
N40 22 28.4 E49 51 56.6

Customs office a bit past the ticket office (same alley way):
N40 22 18.9 E49 51 54.2

Ferry loading right behind the customs office.

FWIW.

Question: what have they charged you for your bike and / person to Turkenbasi?

Lastly, pretty decent hotel, 60 monat for the 3 of us: Hotel Azari, N40 21 53.2 E49 50 05.6, right next to the Meridian Hotel in an alleyway, internet access. Certainly a whole lot better deal then the 1000 Camels Hostel.

KP

PS BTW, I know Garmin Worldmap shows some of these locations in the water, not to worry.

Last edited by khpostma; 12 Jun 2010 at 17:39.
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Old 12 Jun 2010
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Good INfo

Hi khpostma,

Thats all great info and something any future travelling to Azerbaijan should take note of.

We took the ferry to Atctau and not Turkmenbashi, and were in out landrover - all I remember was it was expensive - maybe $400US.

But the one thing I would add is the guy we dealt with to get a ticket for the ferry was the most rude and ignorant person we met on the whole trip, so be ready to hold you temper (losing it will make things worse, as we witnessed for others). But we did eventually get on, no matter how much he tried to give the impression we wouldn't.

And I agree the 1000 camels was the most overpriced placed we stayed on the wholetrip! Luckily we only stayed one night.

We were caught for 3 nights on the ferry. Luckily ours had a small restaurant, but I would strongly advice to bring plenty of your own food, booze and entertainment. Oh and Money too - can't remember what was needed , but we didn't have it and hat to exchange US$ at a bad rate, although we were just happy to have a restaurant.

Our friend was on the Turkmenbashi ship at the same time, and was stuck the same as us - and he ended up having to beg food off the lorry drivers, as there was no restaurant on that ship.

Good luck all who make this journey

It was great fun though, Kaz- Uzbek, and well worth it - well if you like driving in straight lines for days in a row
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  #3  
Old 27 Oct 2010
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Fascinating stuff guys. I'm planning to do the TK boat in may - so you said it cost you about $400 ollie? We're also taking a 110 land rover so hopefully it won't be any more for that crossing, did you have to barter much, or is there the option to barter over the price?

And thanks for the coordinates KP - good to hear people's experiences of getting this notorious ferry, as it is the most unknown part of our planned trip! I will obviously be posting my experiences on here for others to take note of too...

Mike
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Old 27 Oct 2010
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Please do Mike

We will be taking our 90 and trailer early in 2013.

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Old 28 Oct 2010
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Hi Mike,

There was absolutely no room to barter, and in fact the guy we had to deal with made it very clear that we would be the last people to be considered to get a ticket and we should consider ourselves lucky if we got on.

One thing I would say is I accidently gave him $100 too much (make sure you have the appropriate amount in dollars) and he did return it!

But be prepared to wait all day (we know people who waited 3 days down there), take some food on you, and don't do it all with a stinking hangover!!! (we had just arrived after a dry month in Iran)

Also, avoid the 1000 camels if you can, it is sooooo overpriced it's crazy.

Finally, the Kazakh embassey in Baku were amazing (although they have moved recently, be sure you have the correct address). They got us a visa inside 4 hours, even though it is meant to take us a week, because they knew we had the ferry about to leave. Of course these things changed, so don't rely on it.

We really enjoyed our stay in Actau (Kazakhstan), as we were invited to camp on the beach by a yatch club, and the drive from Kazak to Uzbek, along a crazy long, straight, rutted road, but it has broken a few cars before us.

From what I have heard Turkmenistan,although well worth a visit, is a lot of hassle for what you get. My wife was gutted to miss the gas crate mind!

Best of luck either way ...
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Old 28 Oct 2010
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Hi we crossed a few weeks back, we too paid around $400 to take a LC over and for a cabin etc,

When we arrived, there was a ferry going the same day, so were very luckily, had to wait a while for them to unload, i would suggest trying to get on the ferry last so you can get straight off.

We had a guide for Turkmenistan, however for the cost and what you get (quite poor accommodation, which is actually very cheap there), i would advise against it and get a transit visa instead,

if you do decide to go with a guide we can provide with some local contacts, which will be much cheaper than going through an outside agency. We paid $900,for 5 days, we would not use the same company again.
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Old 28 Oct 2010
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Hi Ollie, Mark - thanks for your insights and great to hear your own experiences! I've had a good look at both of your websites and both give loads of useful information and advice - thanks for that too!

Seems $400 is the price then, did you have to wait 'out of port' long at the other end Martin? So many people are saying that the boat may wait hours before it will dock..
Interesting that you suggest being loaded last - is this not a standard RORO ferry with two cargo doors then - Do you have to reverse out at the other end??

I think I shall opt for the transit visa in Turkmenistan - i definitely want to go if just to see the crater, though probably not a lot else so 72 hours should be fine as long as the boat delays don't cut into it too much! I have heard a few people say that you can arrange pick your visa up at the Baku Embassy on the date you leave which I need to investigate.
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Old 29 Oct 2010
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Ferry

Mike,

When we caught the ferry to Actau, at the same time a friend of ours caught the ferry to Turkmenbashi

(Russ Rides the World)

The ferries left the port together, and then both got caught up waiting for a storm to pass - for 3 days!!!! Hence when Russ reached Turkmenbashi he had something like one day to cross the country. Of course he got out the other side, but not without a huge amount of visa hassles. So be warned, the ferries are an entity to themselves (also the Turkmenbashi ferry had no food for sale, he had to bum food from the friendly lorry drivers). Saying that, lots of people do it without any hassles. So it depends how much messing around is OK for you.

At our end, coming out in Actau, it took nearly a day to get through customers, and was one of the most disorderly customs port we came across, but once through, Actau is a modern city with friendly people, and if, like us, you'd just come out from Iran, you will enjoy it. For a day or so anyhow
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Old 30 Oct 2010
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Thanks Ollie. I really want to see Turkmenistan so the only real alternative to the ferry for me is Iran, and I don't really want to get involved with Carnets and Iranian Visas - plus I really want to see Georgia! So I guess I will just have to factor in the time taken to take the ferry...
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewestband View Post
plus I really want to see Georgia!

Right.

I rode Georgia last August and I'd return back NOW!

Don't miss Kazbegi and the Georgian Military Road (12 km. out of 160 are dirt / gravel / broken asphalt but there's no problem, I did it on a Harley...).
Fuel up in Tbilisi, there's shortage of gasoline for about 90-100 km.


Bye,
Nick
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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Thanks Nick! How long did it take you to do the trip up the Georgian Millitary Road? Did you travel back the same way or is there a round route possible? I assume you didn't carry on into Russia
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Old 3 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewestband View Post
Thanks Nick! How long did it take you to do the trip up the Georgian Millitary Road? Did you travel back the same way or is there a round route possible? I assume you didn't carry on into Russia

Well, it took about 2 and 1/2 hours from Tbilisi to Gudauri on August 7 (we stopped several times for pictures), and 1 more hour from Gudauri to Kazbegi including the 12 km of gravel road the following morning.
So, it's 160 km you can ride in about 3 hours and 30 min. in total including snapping pictures on the road (you also will not have to miss the fortress of Ananuri on that road).

I travelled the same way to return back to Tbilisi, also because as far as I know only locals can cross the GEO-RUS border after Kazbegi...
But I would not do it in any case, I did not want to bring my girlfriend to a "hot" place like the southern Russia's Caucasus region.

Feel free to ask if you need more info.

Greetings from Italy,
Nick
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Old 3 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by Knight of the Holy Graal View Post
Well, it took about 2 and 1/2 hours from Tbilisi to Gudauri on August 7 (we stopped several times for pictures), and 1 more hour from Gudauri to Kazbegi including the 12 km of gravel road the following morning.
So, it's 160 km you can ride in about 3 hours and 30 min. in total including snapping pictures on the road (you also will not have to miss the fortress of Ananuri on that road).

I travelled the same way to return back to Tbilisi, also because as far as I know only locals can cross the GEO-RUS border after Kazbegi...
But I would not do it in any case, I did not want to bring my girlfriend to a "hot" place like the southern Russia's Caucasus region.

Feel free to ask if you need more info.

Greetings from Italy,
Nick
Cheers Nick! That's a short trip than I thought it might be - easily an overnight trip from Tblissi then! I'll make sure I get at least some of it into my itinerary
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Old 3 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by mikewestband View Post
Cheers Nick! That's a short trip than I thought it might be - easily an overnight trip from Tblissi then! I'll make sure I get at least some of it into my itinerary

Don't ride overnight, my friend, you'll miss the best part of the scenery: the outstanding surrounding landscape!

And also there's many cows on the road, I would not dare to ride at night also for this reason...
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Old 3 Nov 2010
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Sorry Nick... I meant to drive up there on one day, camp/stay somewhere and then drive back in the morning
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