The Bulgan Border Crossing


News for tourists - May 2011

The Bulgan/Takashiken border crossing  in West Mongolia/China is now open for all passport holders and operates all year round. New options are now available for tourists to combine tours in west China and west Mongolia.

Takashiken/China border crossing administration building
According to Erdenechimeg, International Cooperation officer, at the Office of Customs General Administration of Mongolia -
"The border between Mongolia/Bulgan/ and China/Takashiken/ is an international port open for third party. It operates all year round, and open Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm."


Location and distances
Takashiken (China) is located in the western part of China in the Qinghe County in Xinjiang province. The province capital Urumqi,  is 510km from the border.
Bulgan (Mongolia) is located in the western part of Mongolia in the Khovd province. The province capital Khovd, is 265km  from the border.

Getting there
If you are limited with time, hire a jeep. For budget travelers with plenty of time you can use a non-scheduled public transportation.   
There are mini buses from Olgii to Khuvd. From Khuved find vans to Bulgan or even to the border. They do not have a scheduled time table. They fill up and go, it might take a day or two to fill up.
A shared jeep from Bulgan to the border is 10,000-15,000 per person. 
There is a bus crossing the border when there are people going through. On the Chinese side there are buses between Urumqi and Takashiken. They do not operate all year.
In China the bus from Urumqi to Takashiken is a 12 hour ride and costs about 250 Yuan. 

Map

View Qinghe (China) / Bulgan (Mongolia) Border Crossing in a larger map



Mongolia to China - Regulations
From Mongolia to China - The Mongolians will make sure one has a valid Chinese visa.
Walking Through or cycling is possible. A bus at Takashiken is available for going to Urumqi.   
If you cross with your own vehicle in accordance with the Chinese regulation one should show evidence of a registered Chinese guide waiting on the Chinese side,  this rule is only enforced on tourists crossing into China with their own vehicle.


China to Mongolia - Regulations
From China to Mongolia - to get to the Chinese side of the border you can get by bus from Urumqi. If you hitch-hiking you should attain a Chinese border region permit.(see the road sign below).
You will have to show a valid Mongolian visa.
If your passport demands a visa, there is no way of obtaining a visa at the border.

  
A Chinese road sign on the way to the Takashiken border
 
Transportation across the border
You can walk through or use the shared vehicle.


Driving your own vehicle or riding your bike across the border is permitted, and recently tourists have walked across with no problem.
If you have limited time it is advised to pre-arrange a pickup on each side of the border.

 

Operating Hours
The main purpose of this border crossing is for commercial and mining trucks use. Therefore it operates during work days - open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 18:00.  Note that the border is closed on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.

Chinese tour operators
To cross from Mongolia to China you may want to make arrangements with a Chinese tour operator. Following are a few which operate in west China.
Qinghe Kanas International Travel Service Ltd.
Xinjiang Overseas International Travel Service.
Spring from Desert Roses desert_roses@sina.com  +86 135 7981 0241

History of the Bulgan/Takashiken border
Historically the Bulgan/Takashiken border crossing served traders transporting goods between west China and west Mongolia.

During the Yuan dynasty founded by Kublai Khan the grandson of Genghis Khan   (13th century AD) this route became an important link to the famous silk road. Trade caravans of silk, tea and other merchandise crossed between East and West on the way to Europe. Up to the 1960's traders exchanged livestock and  agricultural commodities across this border. 
Early 20th century Mongolian trader's caravan

The trade between China and Mongolia deteriorated under the Soviet influence over Mongolia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia became independent from the Soviet (Russian) influence. In July 1989 the border opened  occasionally. Following negotiations between China and Mongolia the border opened for longer periods to facilitate increasing trade and family visits of Kazakhs living on both sides of the border.

Because of its undeveloped infrastructure and remoteness, the border was opened only for two weeks during each of the Summer months. Aside from a few exceptions, the border served only Mongolian and Chinese citizens.

Mongolia is rich in iron and coal ores which are in high demand in China. In 2008 , Mongolia Energy Co., Ltd. decided to invest 20 billion yuan to pave the 360km international road crossings, across the Bulgan/Takashiken border.

In 2009,  Xinjiang Kai Yu Mining Co., Ltd. invested in building a large logistics center in Takashiken including a new minerals customs warehouse, and purchased large trucks to transport coal and iron to China.

With the increase volume of trade and in anticipation of increased tourism the border facilities were upgraded recently to international standards on both sides of the border. Following a mutual resolution signed on October 14, 2010, the border is now (2011) an international border serving all passport holders, and open all year round.
.
Satellite image of the border crossing

View Qinghe (China) / Bulgan (Mongolia) Border Crossing in a larger map

source: http://www.hudong.com/wiki/%E5%A1%94%E5%85%8B%E4%BB%80%E8%82%AF%E5%8F%A3%E5%B2%B8 
for updates see Lonely Planet forum

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about going from China to Mongolia? What permits are needed, if any, and can you take public transportation once you are in Mongolia (e.g., from Bulgan to Khovd)?

Thanks for your help!

To Mongolia said...

Hi

From China to Mongolia - on the Chinese side you should have a border region permit. You should arrive with a local guide. You must have a Mongolian visa in your passport, unless your specific passport does not require one.
Transportation - is yet to be developed. This remote border is mainly used by trucks, so the services for occasional tourists are limited. You can NOT plan on crossing the border walking. It is advised you pre-arrange for a pickup on the Mongolian side, at least to get you to Bulgan. In Bulgan you can hire a jeep or wait for a local van to fill up going to Khuvd. This might take a few days.
This is a remote region with very little going on in terms of services for tourists.

Trampo said...

But how I can to get Bulgan from Hovd or UB? There are any bus routes to the city?

To Mongolia said...

Hi Trampo
There is no regular transport to this border.
You can take a bus from Ulaanbaatar to Khovd. From Khovd hire a jeep.
Once a week there is a van that goes from Khovd to Bulgan town.
Dan

Anonymous said...

Do you have any news if it possible to cross the border without a travel agency? They seem to be quite expensive.

kowabunga said...

PS. I would like to cross from Mongolia to China.

To Mongolia said...

Hi kowabunga

The Chinese require a guide.
The Mongolians are instructed not to let you through to China if you do not have a guide waiting for you on the Chinese side. They will check by phone to the Chinese side. The guides are expensive, mainly because of the large distances.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Do you know - If I would accompany a Mongolian all the way to Takashiken, would they also ask me for a guide?

To Mongolia said...

Hi

Updates from August 2011
Tourists have crossed this border on bikes, and on a public bus.
The Chinese did not demand a guide on the Chinese side.
It seems the border regulations have relaxed.

Dan

Me said...

Hey there!

Any recent news on this border crossing? I'm hoping to cross from China into Mongolia, to Khovd. From there, more than likely I'll find a way to UB.

Me said...

Hey there!

Any recent news on this border crossing? I'm hoping to cross from China into Mongolia, to Khovd. From there, more than likely I'll find a way to UB.

Anonymous said...

I plan to cross from China to Mongolia on 13 August? Can 'me' share the experience? Anyone interest to join me. I can speak Mandarin.

Anonymous said...

hi!

i just heard of a couple crossing the border with bikes maybe two weeks ago. so the border seems to be open.
i tried to contact them and will write down more information here as soon as they reply...

ruth

To Mongolia said...

Hi Ruth
Thanks for your updates. Any kind of recent experience is important for future travelers.

All the best
Dan

Anonymous said...

ok, it is confirmed now. the couple crossed the border with bikes, no problem. they did not need a chinese border region permit.

happy border crossing to all of you! :)

ruth

eight.unknown said...

Hi Dan,

Just after an update on the bulgan border crossing. Hoping to cross from Mongolia into china on the 25th, 26th of September. It is open? Do we need to make arrangements with a Chinese tour company? Or is that relaxed now?


Thanks,

Adam

To Mongolia said...

Hi Adam
25-26 September 2012 border open.
Note that 1-3 October 2012 all road borders to China will be closed.

No need for a Chinese tour guide to wait for you.
Note that if you are driving your own vehicle you will need a guide to join you.

Dan

C said...

Hi!

Thanks for all the recent updates, Dan and Ruth! I am also planning to cross this border without a guide in mid October (maybe around the 10th) 2012. Is it still open during that time? And where do you check this information?

Adam, could you share some of your experience once you cross the border? I'm a lady traveling solo and am trying to collect as much info as I can. Thanks!!

C

C said...

PS I'm hoping to go from Mongolia to China.

To Mongolia said...

Hi C

The border is open all year round.

Dan

C said...

Thanks Dan!

C said...

I had lost the link before, but this is what made me question whether the border was always open: http://www.infomongolia.com/ct/ci/220/133/

To Mongolia said...

Hi C

The information on that link about the Bulgan border is outdated.

Today the border is open all year round.

Dan

poetry not in motion said...

Hi, I read ur blog, its fantastic!

I'm wanting to cross from Semey in Kazakhstan in July to Olgii. But I cant seem to find any public transport. Is it possible to cross between those two points on buses?

or can you suggest any other alternatives?
thanks!

To Mongolia said...

Hi

There is no border between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Though on the world atlas the borders seem to almost touch each other.
You will have to go north to Russia, or south to China to get to a border crossing into Mongolia.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thank you for your blog. It's a great help!
I wondered though how the situation is now, recently the blog has been a bit quiet.
Is it still possible to cross the boarder there, and only on weekdays?
No guide needed on the Chinese side?
Thank you very much!
Emma

To Mongolia said...

Hi

There was no change in 2013.
Border open week days.
No guide needed.

Dan

longwayhome said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks a lot for your information about Mongolia and that border crossing in particular about which I could find posts of yours on various websites while doing some research.
I'm planning to cross from West China to Mongolia in January 2014.
Is there a Mongolian consulate in Urumqi that issues Mongolian express visas as there is one on the (much more frequented) East crossing at Hohhot/Erlian?

Thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

Hi
Unfortunately there is no Mongolian consulate in Urumqi.