As far as world borders go, this one from Iran to Turkey overland is one of the fastest and easiest believe it or not. In fact, I was a bit surprised by the simplicity of it. If you’re heading overland from Gurbulak to Bazargan, here’s a guide on how to get from Turkey to Iran. Don’t forget you might need an Authorisation Code for Iran and for sure a Visa for Iran first though (check my links).
Leaving Dogubayazit, Turkey
Most travellers heading to Iran overland will either be based in, or pass through Dogubayazit. If you have time on your hands, it’s worth spending a night here. Cheap food, a load of hotels, an off the beaten track spot and an awesome hillside palace. I wrote about my visit to Ishak Pasha Palace. We spent a night in Dogubayazit then got up early doors to head to Iran.
Mini-bus from Dogubayazit to Gurbulak
In downtown Dogubayazit, head to the corner where Agri Cadessi meets Rifki Baskaya Caddesi. There’s a massive mini-bus depot there and opposite that a petrol station, then opposite the petrol station on the main road to Iran (Agri Cadessi) there’s a small office which advertises mini-buses to Gurbulak. The mini-buses leave when they’re full, or when the driver wants.
In November 2013 we paid 7 Turkish Lira per person for the ride. We were the only foreigners on our mini-bus. The ride took around half an hour only.
Pretty scenic on route, a few scattered old ruins, a few army trucks and we arrived at Gurbulak. It’s 35 kilometres from Dogubayazit to Gurbulak. You pay for the mini-bus when you get off at the border.
Leaving Turkey at Gurbulak
This is easy and straight forward. Once you get off the mini-bus you see the border in front of you. The entrance gate is the same for vehicles and pedestrians, so just walk on through. There’s a load of Turkish flags above the entrance. They don’t check your passport at the entrance gate. There may be Turkish guys that follow you asking if you want to change money. Politely ignore them and keep walking toward the border.
The left hand side is for Heavy Goods Vehicles and Juggernauts, the right hand side is for the pedestrians so stay right. After a few hundred metres you’ll see the border in front of you.
Turkish flags fly and in behind is a large Iran flag and two photos of Iranians. On the left is the duty free shop. This is where you go to get your Turkey exit stamp.
You walk in, up to the turnstile and hand your passport in to the guy behind the window. He’ll check your Turkish visa and Iran visa and that’s it. He will then stamp you out of Turkey. You’ve now left Turkey. There was no queue when we went and the entire process was over in a few minutes.
Then you pass the Duty Free Shop on your right, which was a tad baffling to see, as alcohol is forbidden in Iran, so realistically they won’t sell much booze here, perhaps it’s used by people coming the other way.
After that you head outside where you see a fenced pathway which leads to Iran.
Arrival into Iran at Bazargan
Head along the fenced pathway and there’s a sign for Iran, It’s literally only 20 metres to the Iran hut. At the entrance to the building, a guy will simply check your Turkish exit stamp on your passport. He didn’t even look at the Iran Visa page.
Then you come to the immigration section and entry to Iran. The guy working there will check your visa, ask you a few questions and stamp you in. This was ridiculously fast, friendly and efficient. His colleague came over and asked me what I work at, what parts of Iran we want to see (I said Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran) and how we plan to leave (we said we are not sure yet – probably overland to Turkey).
After that, he led me through the entrance and I was in Iran. No bag check, no forms to fill out. All hassle free and friendly.
Onward Transport in Bazargan
We got a mini-bus which we ended up not paying for as the kind Iranians on board paid for us! I don’t recommend getting a taxi from the border as they will try to rip you off. Get the mini-bus into Bazargan and then a taxi if you need to.
Time Difference Turkey to Iran
Move your watch forward one hour thirty minutes when you arrive in Iran. It’s a vast country as you’ll discover – we used 29 days of our 30 day visa and saw a hell of a lot of it – if you have the time – please linger longer – you will LOVE Iran.
One thing to note is that there is no bag search on either side. I don’t recommend bringing alcohol into Iran, as I respect their culture, but for sure it’s something you could do without anyone finding out. Please note – I don’t recommend this, unlike in Brunei where I signed a declaration and brought my own alcohol in.
You’re now in Iran folks – enjoy!!
Here are my videos of the journey from Gurbulak to Bazargan: