How to cross the border Gurbulak–Bazargan (Turkey-Iran)

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According to the few information that I could get, the border Kapikoy Razi, in Van district is open and the bus connection to border towns don’t have any problem.

Other popular and easy border is the Gurbulak – Bazargan, a bit north, closer to Armenia, and this was the chosen one to enter Iran.

Erzurum – Doğubayazıt

The city of Erzurum doesn’t show much attractive, except the beautiful naked mountain that are visible from many places in the city. Anyway, from here there are buses to Doğubayazıt.

There are buses several times a day, but is recommended to leave early in the morning, as the trip until Doğubayazıt takes ore than 3.5 hours, and arrive with time to visit the Ishak Pasha Palace, that closes at 5pm.

The bus ticket should be bought in advance, in the bus terminal (a few kilometers far from the city) on in one of the bus companies and bus agents in the center of Erzurum, at Nazik Çarsisi Caddesi, close to the main shopping street.

The ticket cost 30 TL.

Doğubayazıt – Gurbulak

Doğubayazıt is the last town in Turkish side before the border.

Here is definitively recommend to spend the night, to start the trip to Iran in the morning and avoid to arrive to Tabriz too late. I leave from Doğubayazıt at 9.30 am and arrive to Tabriz at 8 pm.

The city is small, and easy to orientate. The buses from Erzurum stop in the main street. From there is 5 minutes walking until the office where the mini-vans (dolmus) to the border.

Mini-vans start at 7 am, and leave Doğubayazıt as soon they are full, and take 35 minutes until the border.

The ticket cost 7 TL.

Doğubayazıt. Office of the bus company that makes the service to Gurbulak… at front of the office there’s a few mii-vans parked

Doğubayazıt, in fronto fo the mini-van company that make the trip until the border

Border Turkey-Iran (Gurbulak- Bazargan)

Despite the long queue of trucks, there are only a few people crossing the border, not much more that the people that arrive in your mini-van.

After showing your passport and Turkish visa (the printed paper visa), and have your passport stamped, just follow to the next building were are situated the Iranian Immigration Office.

For women this is the time to put the scarf over the head.

In the Iranian side it takes more time to the foreigners, I mean, the non-Iranian or Turkish, because it is asked a few question about the reason of the trip and places to visit… just give the classic itinerary (Tabriz, Tehran, Esfahan, Yazd…) and make the life easier to you and to the border officer.

After this you are in Iran, where a friendly group of men, interrupt theirs chatting to ask same friendly questions and invite for tea. Here, according to some Internet infos, there are two guys that are good resource of information about the country.

Several friendly guys that want to exchange money will intercept you, both in Turkish as at the Iranian side, just outside the imitation buildings. Despite they insisting that is no possible to exchange Turkish Lira after the border, don’t believe, you can do it later… is up to you! Here in the street you can also exchange dollars and euros. If you are confortable with the Iranian currency and rates maybe is a good option, otherwise just wait 5 minutes until reach Barzagan.

Watch out that the time zone change in Iran, 1.5 hours late.

Turkey-Iran border (Gurbulak–Bazargan)
Turkey-Iran border (Gurbulak–Bazargan)

Bazargan – Maku

From the border you need to walk about 3 km or take a taxi to the next town of Bazargan, that is not much more than road with some shops, restaurants and small offices were you can exchange money. There are not much signs but just ask about “exchange” and suddenly you are surrounded by people trying to push you to an office of a friend. The rates are more or less the same. Here you can also exchange dollars and euros. Just get what you need to reach your next destiny… for sure there you’ll get a better rate.

Shared taxi cost 20.000 Rial per person.

You can change the last Turkish Liras at Gurbulak or Bazargan, but the taxi drivers accept TL until Maku.

Bazargan – Maku

From Bazargan you need a taxi to the next town that takes not more than 20 minutes, Maku where you find a bus terminal, and from here another bus to Tabriz, Tehran, etc…

Shared taxi cost 20.000 Rial per person.

There’s nothing in Maku that make you stay there, so you can go straight to the small and quiet bus terminal. There you find different bus companies offices. Is difficult to get information about schedules… so just arrive and ask about the next bus to the city that you want to go.

The Maku bus terminal, is a bit far from the center Maku, but has some small restaurants and acceptable toilets.

To Tabriz there is a bus departing at 3 p.m. Watch out that the time zone change in Iran, 1.5h plus.

The trip to Tabriz takes 6h… because the bus stops many times to pick and drop passenger on the way. Maybe a night bus is faster.

Bus ticket Maku-Tabriz: 110.000 Rials

Maku Bus Terminal
Maku Bus Terminal

9 Responses

    • Stepping out of Babylon

      Hello. I cross that border in November 2015 and at that time there was any public bus from Bazargan to the border. the only option were the shared taxi, and even the local population was using this transport system. this is a very quiet border that only a few people use, so I don’t think there will be a regular public transport. On the turkish side there isn’t any public bus too… you must use a mini-van from Gurbulak to Doğubeyazıt.
      good luck

    • Stepping out of Babylon

      if you want to cross from Iran to Turkey you must apply for Turkish visa. You can get the Turkish visa online (// It costs 20 euros and is valid for 6 months. //
      but check updated information online, please.
      I think that you cannot get a Turkish visa on arrival (neither by plane or by land border).
      in the post that i wrote about crossing the border from Gurbulak–Bazargan you can find the costs. but watch out that there is a big inflation in Iran and don’t know if the prices keep the same.

  1. Obi Christian

    Am not form Iran am form Nigeria and I have my passport with me but hope they will issue me visa.

    • Stepping out of Babylon

      I don’t think that you will have any problem to get the e-visa to Turkey. I check the Turkish visa website and for Nigerian passports you need to pay 40 USD for 180 days visa.

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