I was on a bike trip started from Istanbul to India. In this post, I have tried to explain the things you may wonder about crossing from Turkey to Iran by bicycle . Let’s start from the beginning. I cycled from Istanbul to Ankara and then took Eastern express to Kars. After Kars, I had decided to head to Georgia and to move on from there but, due to the heavy snow, I went back to Kars to cross from Doğubeyazıt to Iran by sticking to the first plan. I took the road after spending a few days in Kars to wait for the cold weather to pass off.
As you will guess, I was told that Kars-Doğubeyazıt road was not safe to pass by bicycle because of the terrosist threats. (But infact, it wasn’t! During winter there was no activity at all.) I considered going by bus but the buses that go to Iğdır are so small that it was impossible to find a place for my bags and my bicycle. That’s why I decided to hitchhike, hoping that I could find a truck that goes to the border. Finally, I stopped a truck to take me to border and I got there.
Gürbulak Border Crossing : Does Iran ask for visa?
Turkish citizens are free of visa for their visits not exceeding 90 days. Turkish passport holders can go to Iran both by airway and highway if you have a valid and in-date passport.
Most of foreigners have doubts about having an Iran stamp on their passport may cause a rejection from other countries. But it is possible to have Iranian visa or stamp on a different page. It doesn’t have to be on your passport.
Crossing from Turkey to Iran by Bicycle
When I first reached the border gate, I wasn’t quite sure about what to do. So, I was nervous. As some of the officials could speak Turkish and were acting warmly, we figured out what to do beforelong. First, just like the ones with vehicles do, we left our bicycles out in a safe place and went in for passport check. In fact, people were passing their luggages through x-ray machine. But they didn’t ask it for our bike bags. Just like when we were crossing to Georgia through Aktaş Gate, we entered Iran without undergoing any body search. Only, a soldier untied our bags and took a glance at them and that was all. He said he had to do it because the security cams were watching.
In “Kars-Georgia Route” post, I told you that we had thrown all of our medicine in the trash in order not to be bothered because Georgia is sensitive about drugs. It was a miracle that we didn’t undergo any search there because I forgot that there was a vitamin pill left in my bag. Further, it was stuck in such a place that it would look as if I was trying to smuggle. This time, I entered Iran with a small bottle of alcoholic drink forgotten in my bag.
First city after crossing Iran border
After passing from the gate, a small city showed up. This place is very close to the border gate. I went down the road for about 1 km and arrived at downtown. Here, I met the nephew of the truckdriver Irfan who picked me up while I was hichhiking in Turkey and then I exchanged Turkish Lira with Toman. (In Iran, you can exchange your Dollar and Euro easily. I exchanged Turkish Lira here because I was not sure if I could find another place after the border.) A brief information about the currency of Iran which had created a lot of confusion before I came here: Actually the currency is Rial but everybody looks into their finance according to Toman. Shortly, if you delete a zero from how much Rial you have, that is how much Toman you have. In other words, 100.000 Rial is equal to 10.000 Toman.
What Should Be Considered While Crossing Gürbulak Border Gate?
While entering Iran, women have to cover their arms, legs and hair. If you have tight clothes on you, you need to change them with the loose ones. Also, your shirt must hide your butt. For the details of women’s dress code in Iran, you can take a look at the article “Women clothing in Iran“.
The restrictions for men’s clothing is less harsh. Men are just not allowed to wear shorts.
Taking alcoholic beverages in Iran is also forbidden. If you are carrying alcoholic beverages, do not try to enter with them.
In order to travel Iran more comfortably, you can take a look at “Tips for traveling to Iran” post.
If you’re planning to hichike, you can take a look at my detailed post about hichiking in Iran.