Torugart Pass 3752m, one of two border crossing
between Kyrgyzstan and China. The pass lies 400km south of Bishkek and 160km
north of Kashgar. Border formalities might take some time but it will be overtaken
by all the positive impressions that you will experience on the way. The way
to the pass is surrounded with very relaxing scenary: yurts,
yaks, horses and shepherds that make you forget about all the western rutine.
On the way you will see the highest in Kyrgyzstan
Lake Chatyr Kul. Set at 3520 m above sea level and measuring 23km long by 11km
wide, it is 18 m deep at its deepest. The lake is frozen from October to May.
The main Bishkek-Torugart highway to the Chinese border skirts Lake Chatyr Kul
before arriving at the Torugart Pass.
Planning trip over Torugart pass please make sure
you are not going to be there on the following dates as the border is usually
closed: May 1-May 10, August 1 and August 2, October 1-October 7 and every Saturday and Sunday.
Usually groups and travellers have to switch vehicles on the border line. That means you have to use chinese transport on chinese side and kyrgyz transport on kyrgyzstan side. The switch is done at the border line of the neutral zone. At this point you have already left one country but heaven't entered another. Some excersising is envolved as vehicles stay about 100 meters from each other and you will have to move your luggage yourself because chinese and kyrgyz travel company representatives are not allowed to cross the border line to help you. The area of the border line is still called "arc" or "arka" while the arch itself was demolished in 2002.
Those who intends to cross Torugart pass by public
bus will be disappointed as in China you will have to show a special permit
allowing you to cross the border line. This permit must be arranged by chineese
travel company and you must use their transport services to/from the border
line. It takes about 10 days for chinese travel company to arrange this permit,
so you should take care of it in advance. Also, please keep in mind that permit
is valid only for one day and to cross Torugart on any other day you will have
to arrange another permit (spend another 10 day).
On Kyrgyzstan side border guards do not care much what kind of transport you are using to/from the border line. But if you are travelling to China they will require you to show a facsimile copy of confirmation from chinese company saying that company will meet you on this day.
Don't expect of border guards to speak foreign languages. Few of them would know german or english but you cannot be sure that you will travel during their shift.
To travel across Torugart pass we recommend you to use services of our company. Let us take care of the rutine. We arrange transport, guides, accommodation, permits and anything else you can need during your trip. Please don't hesitate to e-mail us at email@example.com with any questions.