|Date of Border Crossing
|Point of Entry
||Krazby Most from Georgia
|Passport and Visa
||Passport has to be valid for at least another 6 months and
you need a visa. (see Additional Information
on how to obtain the visa)
||They did not check if we had valid insurance (we didn't).
||Did not get checked, but I am sure that you are required
to have one.
||We had to show our 'Technical Passport' as they call it,
which is the vehicle registration papers from home. (Fahrzeugausweis)
||Licence plates from home country are sufficient.
|How it went
Not so well! First we had to wait a long time in front
of a gate, before they even let us into the border area. At least this
gave us a chance to convert our leftover Georgian lari into Azerbaijan
manat with the money changers who were working the people in line. As
far as we could tell, these guys gave as a good rate.
Once they did let us into the border area, I was told to present my papers
(passport and vehicle registration) to a guy in an office on the right
hand side. He took my papers and told me to wait outside. After a long
wait, I was asked to come back inside and he started yelling at me in
Azeri. It did not take him long to realize that I did not understand a
word he was saying. So he tried in Russian, which did not help much either.
Finally he produced a guy who spoke some French and I was made to understand,
that there was a problem with bringing the bikes into the country. Apparently
this required a deposit of 'a lot of money', somewhere around USD 10'000.
So I explained that I was not coming back this way, but was leaving from
Baku by ferry to Turkmenbashi and did not intend to leave a deposit. Now
I was told that it might be possible to get a transit permit for the bikes,
which would be valid for 72 hours. I said that would be ok, but could
he give me just one more day, since we were planning on taking the ferry
four days from now. He said he would have to go ask his boss. So he puts
on his hat and storms of to another building. He comes back, takes of
his hat and has me fill out customs declaration forms, where I am supposed
to list everything we are bringing into the country and the information
on the bikes. This information then gets copied onto some more forms.
He puts his hat back on and brings documents in hand again storms of to
another building. Comes back, fills out some more forms, adds a stamp
to our passports and hands us a stack of papers for the bikes. With that
we are then finally allowed into the country!
Long story short: no matter what your visa says, you will only be issued
a three day transit permit for your vehicle. After these 72 hours your
vehicle had better be at the port in Baku or out of the country!
|Point of Exit
||Baku onto the ferry to Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan
|How it went
Finding the port:
Finding the port isn't as easy as it might appear. The location listed
in the Lonely Planet and the one where all the Locals will direct you
to is the passenger ferry terminal, which at the time wasn't yet operational.
The terminal for the truck/car ferry terminal is at the following GPS
location: N40 22.383 E49 51.890 For you unlucky souls without GPS. Drive
along the coast north passed the passenger ferry terminal. After the first
bridge turn right and then left down a dodgy alley until you hit a gate.
Getting a ticket:
Also not as straight forward as it would appear. Forget getting a ticket
in advance. Just show up on the day you want to leave, preferably early
in the morning around nine o'clock and come prepared for a long wait.
The lady at the ticket office will direct you to the office next door.
There somebody in uniform will take care of you. First they need to find
out which of the ferrys leaving that day can take you. This might take
some time. Then they will send you down to the customs office. They can't
sell you a ticket unless customs cleared you. The price is highly negotiable.
We ended up paying 50 USD per person and 90 USD per bike. The receipt
we got however was for about half this amount, so go figure!
Going through customs:
Drive passed the ticket office down towards the water. On the
left hand side is the customs building. Here you have to show your temporary
import papers for your bike. They will know that you are coming, since
the border where you entered informed them in advance. They will also
check if you have a valid visa or invitation for Turkmenistan. Once this
is done you are handed a little slip of paper. With this paper you will
now be allowed to go back to the ticket office and buy the ticket.
Paying port handling fees:
Once you have your ticket it is back to the customs office. They
checked the ticket and then sent us back to another building to go and
pay a port handling fee. For three bikes we ended up paying 20 USD. Again
I think we got overcharged, since the official receipt we got was made
out to less than this amount. But who wants to argue, when you are just
ga ld that you get to go on the ferry at all...
Get signed out:
Back at the customs office they sent us to a little shack next
door, where the ticket got checked and we were entered in 'the book'.
Going through immigration:
Now that the paperwork for the bikes was taken care off, they
let us go on to immigration. But first we had to take all the bags of
the bikes and put them through the x-ray machine. Also the boxes had to
be opened and got inspected. At immigration the visa/invitation for Turkmenistan
got checked again and they wanted to know if we had been to Armenia. We
hadn't, so no further questions. Passports got stamped and that was it.
If you have been to Armenia be prepared for a lot of questions and having
to show all your pictures.
Getting the visa:
We applied for our Azerbaijan visa in Ankara Turkey:
GPS point for the embassy in Ankara: N39 51.027 E32 49.668
Address for the embassy in Ankara: Diplomatic site, Baku Sokak 1, Oran
Tel. +90 312 491 16 81
We went to the embassy and were handed an application form and told to
come back with the following:
- filled in application form (you have to list an address in Azerbaijan,
pick a hotel Baku)
- two passport photos
- letter of recommendation from our embassy (only required if you apply
for visa outside your home country)
- copy of passport
- prove of having deposited USD 40 per visa in their bank account
Three days later we picked up our visas which were valid for a 10 day
stay in Azerbaijan.
If you have any leftover manat change them in the port with one of the
officers or on board with one of the crew. Once in Turkmenistan there
will be no where to change manats!
'Services' on the ferry:
Don't expect much of this ferry. Once on board you can rent a cabin for
an additional USD 20. The cabin will not be much to look at, but it has
a hot shower and will give you some privacy. The cook will provide you
with food and drink, but at quite a cost, so best bring your own supplies.
On board the captain tried to charge us yet again some kind of
handling fee. This is where we drew the line. We flat out refused to pay.
Clearly not happy the captain let it rest after a while.