Panjakent-Samarkand Border Crossing Between Tajikistan & Uzbekistan
Updated December 2021, The Panjakent-Samarkand Border Crossing Report Between Tajikistan & Uzbekistan was originally written in December 2019
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have many beefs with each other, which I am not going to go into in this blog post. In 2018 with some thawing of bureaucratic ties between the two countries the long-closed Panjakent-Samarkand border re-opened.
The biggest benefit of this border crossing re-opening is that you can once again easily combine a visit to Samarkand to Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains, without having to make a several-hours-long detour through the Oybek border post way up by Khujand. It’s also worth noting that Uzbekistan has largely relaxed its visa scheme, making passport holders of several nationalities able to visit the country either visa-free or with an e-visa.
Plan the perfect trip: A two week Uzbekistan & Tajikistan itinerary
Starting in January 2022, Tajikistan introduced a visa-free policy for up to 30 days for passport holders of 52 countries, making visiting Tajikistan easier than ever.
In 2016 Tajikistan eased up its visa policy by introducing an e-visa for several nationalities. In my experience, the e-visa has taken 2-4 days to issue, however, but I’d advise applying earlier just in case as sometimes applications get ‘stuck’.
Note that if you enter Tajikistan visa-free or you don’t get your GBAO permit when you apply for an e-visa, you will need to visit the OVIR office in Dushanbe to get a GBAO permit, for those of you headed to the Pamir after.
In 2018 Uzbekistan eased its visa policy in hopes to entice more visitors. Now, several nationalities can visit with an e-visa or visa-free, making a visit to Uzbekistan a much more painless process than it used to be.
How To Cross The Tajikistan-Uzbekistan Border At Panjakent-Samarkand
Get To Panjakent
If you will be crossing from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, you’ll first need to reach Panjakent. As Panjakent is a larger town in Tajikistan, it’s easy to reach from Dushanbe, Khujand, and just about anywhere in between.
Have some time in Panjakent? Plan your visit with my Panjakent Travel Guide
Get A Shared Taxi From Panjakent To The Border
Head to the lot opposite the Panjkaent Bazaar where the shared taxis to the border wait. You can charter an entire car for 40 TJS, or pay 10 TJS for a seat and wait for it to fill up. In all, the drive time to the border is less than 15 minutes.
Plan the rest of your Tajikistan visit: The Ultimate Tajikistan Travel Guide
Once to the border, pay your driver and walk over to the gate with your luggage. Show your passport to the officer at the gate and he’ll wave you through to Tajik exit immigration. Walk to the Tajik window where they’ll check your documents and stamp you out of Tajikistan.
COVID Tests on the Border
Covid tests are being conducted on the border, though I highly doubt they are actually processed as the tests are “conducted” and you are given a handwritten card stating that you are negative within minutes. A woman will come out in full protective gear, stick a swab between the fence bars at the border and swab your mouth, put your vile in your passport, take a fee of 100-120 TJS/100,000-120,000 UZS depending on what she feels like that day or just about you in general, and then run them over to be “processed”.
Once the test is processed they will call your name, give you back your passport, and let you through to complete border formalities on the Uzbek side. Note that you can do the test here for crossing in either direction. Of course, if you have a valid Covid test you have already taken, that you can show proof and skip this step.
Walk across the border to the Uzbek side. Here you’ll hand over your passport (and e-visa if you even need one), once documents are checked you should be stamped into Uzbekistan and will continue toward the parking lot. Note that I did not have to scan my bags through an x-ray or answer any questions (a much welcomed changed to entering/exiting Uzbekistan from my last visit in 2016!).
Get A Shared Taxi From The Border To Samarkand
Once to the parking lot you’ll likely be approached by several drivers offering different prices for a ride to Samarkand. For a seat in a shared taxi, expect to pay about 7,000 UZS for the roughly 45 minute ride to Samarkand, or charter an entire car for about 28,000 UZS. You may have to bargain hard as the initial prices thrown at you will be quite high.
Plan your time in Samarkand: The Samarkand Travel Guide
Doing It From Samarkand To Panjakent
If you’re crossing from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan, you’ll need to head to Kaftarkhona Bus Station on the east outskirts of Samarkand (take marshrutka #41 for 1,300 UZS from the Registan). From Kaftarkhona Bus Station you can take a shared taxi to the border for 7,000 UZS per seat. After you exit Uzbekistan and enter Tajikistan there will be cars waiting on the Tajik side to take you to Panjakent Bazaar for 10 TJS per seat.
Money Exchange At The Panjakent-Samarkand Border
There were people offering to exchange money on both sides of the border, but nothing that I saw that was official. If you do exchange with someone in a parking lot, just make sure you have the most current exchange rate and double count all your money to make sure you don’t get scammed. I was able to trade my last Tajik Somoni with my driver on the Tajik side for Uzbek Som at a good rate.
Find out more about all of Tajikistan border crossings with neighboring nations
Have Any Questions About The Panjakent-Samarkand Border Crossing?
Ask your Panjakent-Samarkand border crossing questions in the comments section below. I recommend getting copies of Bradt Tajikistan and Bradt Uzbekistan to help you plan your adventures in both countries.