Border Crossing Trip: Azerbaijan to Iran

Initially, I was going to hitchhike from Baku, Azerbaijan to Tehran, Iran. Due to bad weather, strong wind and rain, I had to drop my hitchhiking plan.

I decided to take a taxi from Baku International bus station. The taxi pool is located in the left part of the bus station, and filled with a bunch of taxi drivers who are waiting for their upcoming passengers! I told them that I was going to Astara (the border city between Azerbaijan and Iran), one taxi driver told me it will cost 20 Manats (around 10 €). I was too tired to bargain, then I just followed him and he told me to wait inside the car for other passengers.

Complimentary tea from the driver (after 2 hours of waiting)
The taxi was filled with 4 passengers
At the immigration control
Finally arrived in Iran!
With my new Pakistani friends
I was happy getting so much money without realizing I got swindled 

After waiting for 2 hours (!!), the car was fully filled by other 3 passengers who were going to the same destinations. There I met 2 nice guys from Pakistan, Saifullah & Adnan. After around 3 - 4 hours driving, we arrived in Azerbaijan's Astara. When I was going to pay the taxi, I noticed that the Pakistani dudes paid only 15 Manats! So I complained to the driver and tried to pay the same amount as them! After tough arguments (he almost got angry to me) we agreed at 18 Manats! It turned out that the normal taxi cost shouldn't be more than 15 Manats!

After that, we went to the immigration of Azerbaijan and Iran to show our passport and visa. The process was quite easy and only took around 30 minutes.

The real problem started when we got out from Iran immigration, a bunch of taxi drivers came and shouted at us, offering taxi service to Tehran or just to exchange money with a suspicious exchange rate. After almost fighting with one of the taxi drivers, we managed to get out from that crazy crowds (thanks to Saifullah who can speak Turkish/ Azeri).

When we got off at the Astara bus station around 4 PM, there was no immediate bus going to Tehran.. the quickest departing bus was at 8:30 PM! And it costs around 8 Euros. Therefore we had to wait for 4.5 hours... thankfully, my new friends, Saifullah and Adnan, are very cool and knowledgeable so waiting wasn't boring at all..! Despite the late departure and slow driving phase, we arrived in Tehran at 6 AM! Exactly like what the ticket officer promised us.

In summary, I spent 18€ for the whole trip from Baku to Tehran. It should be cheaper if I could bargain with lower price and take a bus to Rasht (a city near Tehran. But overall, the trip was nice and safe. No significant problem occurred.

If anyone wants to try this path, just be careful with money exchange swindlers! I exchanged Euro in the bus station to some ticket guys. Due to my lack of knowledge, I used google as a benchmark to exchange money which is completely much lower than the real exchange rate. So when I exchanged 20€, I got around 1 million rials, while I should get around 2.7 million rials.

But aside from this, the journey crossing Azerbaijan and Iran border was fun and amazing!

In the next post, I will describe the complete itinerary for 10 days trip in Iran!

See you in the next post!


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