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Crossing the border

by iwishiwasinpakistan Online Now Aug 17, 2006 at 7:47 PM

Since Tashkent, Uzbekistan is less than 10 miles from Kazakhstan, is it possible to get a taxi or something to go across the border? I'd like to go to Kazkhstan to knock another country off my list. Has anyone done this before? Also, is it safe for a white American like myself to visit Tashkent? Please reply ASAP.

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7 Answers
  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    RE: Crossing the border

    by travelmad478 Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 4:59 AM

    I did this, but it was in 1994 when it was much easier to run around the whole region without a visa (we had them for Kazakhstan, but not Uzbekistan). Our driver, who was an ethnic Russian guy living in Kazakhstan, just drove across the border with three Americans in the car, and no one stopped us. These days, I believe Americans definitely need visas for Uzbekistan, and enforcement of pretty much everything in that country has gotten much stricter. I don't think Uzbekistan is the same loosey-goosey place as it was back in the mid-90s--I have heard a lot of stories about police shakedowns, more corruption, and more of a dictatorial regime--but it should be safe nonetheless.

    Don't just go to Tashkent. The city was flattened by an earthquake a few decades ago and all the buildings are modern and fairly hideous. Push on a few hours to Samarkand, which is really great and has beautiful old Islamic architecture.

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  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo

    RE: Crossing the border

    by lotharlerch Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 5:22 AM

    If you want to go to Kazakhstan just to get one country more to your list you may simply take a bus to Samarkand. The road from Tashkent to Samarkand goes quite a bit through Kazakhstan and on this transit route are checkpoints but you can do the transit without Kazakh visa. (The road and all this area you are transiting is quite separated and not so easy to access from other Kazakh main roads). Btw a stay in Uzbekistan without having visited Samarkand and Bukhara or at least one of them is a lost time. Samarkand has more impressive buildings but the more authentic silk road atmosphere you can experience in Bukhara.

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  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Crossing the border

    by travelmad478 Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 5:57 AM

    Whoops, I think I misread your post (I thought you were going to be in Kazakhstan and wanted to know if it would be easy to go to Tashkent). Anyway, if you want to go to Kaz FROM Tashkent, then yes, you can do it, and the closest decent-size city is Shymkent. Kazakhstan is a lot easier to deal with in terms of visas--Americans can just get them at the border now, or at the airport. It should be easy to ask around to find a driver who will take you across. The drive is only a couple of hours.

    I was in Shymkent originally in 1994, but went there again in 2004. Not a huge amount has changed, and the city isn't much to look at, but it is there and has places to stay. If you are there in the summer, the vegetables and fruits are fantastic. Definitely visit the central bazaar--it's massive and really interesting.

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  • Claire78's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Crossing the border

    by Claire78 Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 9:43 AM

    I was there last year and in my experience the road from Tashkent to Samarkand does not go through bits of Kaz - unless there is another random road?? But you can easily get across the border from Uz. It does seem a shame to do this to "cross another country off the list" and not actually see a bit of it though

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  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Crossing the border

    by lotharlerch Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 10:31 AM

    I was going from Tashkent to Samarkand in 2000 and in 2002 on road (in 2002 even back, in 2000 I continued to Bukhara and Khiva and was flying back to Tashkent from Urgench). Both in 2000 and 2002 it was the same road, in 2003 there were even real checkpoints and drivers filled up fuel in Kazakhstan because it was cheaper - and an other indicator: other than in Uzbekistan it was in this part of the road possible to send and receive SMS which was impossible in Uzbekistan. An other thing you should have seen while pasing through Kazakhstan: the road widens after a few km in KZ to the dimensiobns of a runway for aircraft which it was in Soviet time indeed. There is an other road to come from Tashkent to Samarkand without leaving Uzbekistan but this one is far longer and worse and most drivers go via Kazakhstan (not only because of the cheaper fuel).

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  • VadimMyasnikov's Profile Photo

    Crossing the border

    by VadimMyasnikov Online Now Aug 18, 2006 at 10:43 AM

    Don't worry about visiting Uzbekistan, it's pretty safe, at least in Tashkent. You can easily take taxi, or ''marshrutka''-mini-bus from Tashkent district called Yunusabad –Universam (it's much cheaper!!!), cuz it's in Kazakhstan direction.
    To Samarqand I would recommend special train called «Registan», wich departes every morning from Tashkent vokzal (u'll not need to cross Kazakhstan, or any borders) and the train is pretty worth, takes around 5h. to Samarqand.
    Good luck!

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  • RE: RE: Crossing the border

    by tashamerica Online Now Aug 23, 2006 at 4:44 AM

    The shortest road route from Tashkent to Samarkand does indeed go briefly through Kazakhstan. You may or may not have problems going through without a visa,however.

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