kolma/Qolma pass- tajikistan-china border, july 2013
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Oct 21, 2013 10:56 AM Last Post By: helmutvet
Jul 19, 2013 9:45 AM
kolma/Qolma pass- tajikistan-china border, july 2013I'll begin with the bottom line -
I don't recommend to try to cross through Qolma pass.
before I went there I tried to find reliable information about the status of the border, but couldn't find anything useful on the internet, so I decided to share my experience here...
When I got to Murgab (the town on the Tajik side) I tried to ask around if Qolma pass is open for foreigners, but got different answers. so on July 2nd in the morning, my guesthouse owner succeeded to speak on the phone with the commander of the Tajik checkpoint and he told her that I can cross the Tajik side but that the Chinese wouldn't let me in. I decided to check further, called the chinese embassy in Dushanbe, and was told that there is no problem for foreigners to cross the border if they have visa already (which I did), and that if there's any problem I can call again and they will help me.
So I decided to go to the pass and try to cross. I went there with a truck (for free, very nice uighur driver, no problem to find in the terminal where all the trucks leave), and got there around noon. There I met the Tajik commander (not the one my guesthouse owner spoke with, a soldier of his) who was a disgusting man, that enjoyed too much the power he has. anyway, he explained to me that the border is closed for foreigners and I should go back to Murgab, and I couldn't convince him otherwise. I couldn't convince him to call anyone, or to let me call someone, or to give me his name or number so someone could contact him... nothing.
Eventually after I insisted he decided to change his approach and told me that even if he would have let me go, the chinese won't let me in. and than he took me outside (while it was snowing) to the chinese side, where we found a car with 3 chinese officers. he explained them something, and then a big chinese guy with 3 stars on the shoulder came out of the car, grabbed me very strong and just pushed me forcefully to the tajik side. I tried to ask him to just listen for a moment to what I have to say, that I spoke with the embassy and so on, but he just ignored me. the only thing he said was when I asked if there is anyone that can speak english and he said "I am".
I didn't have a choice but to go back to the tajik checkpoint. there I took a phone from someone and tried to reach the chinese embassy, though only one guy kept answering the phone, telling me to call tomorrow, and hang up.
eventually I gave up, and went back to Murgab. (and crossed to Kyrgyzstan the next day, and a day afterwards to china through irkeshtam pass).
From what I've managed to understand the border is supposed to be open for foreigners, but the soldiers at the border just don't acknowledge this new fact.
Hope it will change soon, but in the meanwhile I wouldn't go there if I were you. (unless you get a new reliable update)
Jul 20, 2013 1:03 AM
Sorry to hear that yet another traveller got red taped by the Chinese at Qolma... You are by far the first, so even though the pass officially opened to foreigners last year very few travellers seem able to get through....
But thank you very much by that report!
If others might try their luck (reports from Murgab is that the diplomats are working on the final hiccups) a written permission to cross (from the embassy in Dushanbe or Immigration in, say, Kashgar) have done the trick at other Chinese border crossings in the past...
Sep 1, 2013 5:49 PM
2Thanks a lot for your report.
The travelers community needs people like you.
Very sorry for you, but one of these days, one of us will open the way through the Kulma, at last!
Having an official document from a Chinese Embassy dedicated to this border is a clever advise.
Begins to be too late for 2013. Let's hope a positiv report will appear after May 2014.
Oct 21, 2013 10:56 AM
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