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How to enter China from Torugart Port/Pass as a China Overland Traveller with your own vehicle

In this article, you will get to know the border crossing and China entry procedures for China Overland travelers who cross from China to Kyrgyzstan border at the Torugart Pass/Port border crossing (status late 2018).

Torugart Pass/Port border in Xinjiang Province is one of two border crossings open for foreign tourists and Overland travelers in between China and Kyrgyzstan (the other one being Irkeshtam Port). The general procedure at Irkeshtam Port is similar.
Torugart Port border is located here:

 

When you come from Naryn direction, the first China Kyrgyzstan border checkpoint is located roughly 60 kilometers before Torugart Pass on the A365 road. At this border checkpoint, your Chinese visa will be checked. There are no additional documents required, even if you are on the road with your own vehicle (some internet sources suggest you need some kind of proof that you can enter China with your vehicle – this is not the case). The immigration checkpoint of Kyrgyzstan, where your passport is stamped, and you officially leave the country, is only 5 kilometers from Torugart Pass or 55 kilometers from the first China Kyrgyzstan border checkpoint. The procedure is usually swift if you arrive in the early morning.
The best place for accommodation before entering China on the following day and in order to cross the border as early as possible is Tash Rabat Caravanserai (GPS: 75.28882420000002, 40.8228708 / 3113m ). If you can not make it for some reason to TashRabat, Naryn (GPS: 75.98405869999999, 41.4273946 / 2044m) is the only alternative. Note that Tash Rabat has only very limited accommodation; booking in advance is a must.

 

Landscape at the first Kyrgyz border checkpoint 60 kilometers from Torugart Pass

 

Before reaching Torugart Port you have to cross Torugart Pass. The Pass, 3,750 meters high (GPS: 75.4166669999999, 40.583333), is the border between China and Kyrgyzstan. At the pass itself, a metal gate is installed which is patrolled by Kyrgyz and Chinese military. This gate is only open in the mornings from 9 AM and afternoons until 6 PM but closed during the lunch break from roughly 12 PM to 2 PM. From our experience, the gate (regardless the “official” opening hours) is often only opened at or after 3 PM. This border is closed during holidays and weekends. Between Kyrgyzstan and China is a time difference of 2 hours. The times mentioned in this article are Chinese times (Beijing time GMT+8).
When crossing the gate at Torugart Pass, you need to present your passport and Chinese visa for an initial check by the Chinese military. If you enter with your own vehicle, your local border fixer/guide will wait for you at the gate with all necessary vehicle documents which have to be presented to the military. If you do not have legal entry documents for your vehicle, arranged by a licensed Chinese tour operator in advance such as TIBETMOTO, your journey will end here.

 

 

Tashi from the TIBETMOTO team (center) with the 2018 Roadtrip Eurasia group and 2 soldiers from Kyrgyzstan at Torugart Pass (the metal gate in the background marks the border)

 

Torugart Port, the official entry point into China, is 4 kilometers down the road. The road is lined with high barbed wire fences on both sides. It’s not allowed to take pictures in this restricted military zone, so its best to remove your action cams from your vehicle and pack your DSLR cameras into your luggage bags, so you don’t give authorities a wrong impression. This should be done lately at Torugart Pass before entering China. Note that it’s not allowed to enter China with drone equipment.