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caspian sea crossing

For some unknown reason we were unable to find concrete information about how to go about getting the all important ticket to cross the Caspian from Baku. This page highlights how we went about it, where to find the locations that we mention, and some photos to help you along the way.

1. Staying at the Caspian Sea Hostel in Baku gave us access to a lady who knows the lady at the all important ticket office…
a. She is the daughter of the owner and can speak a little English;
b. She will call the lady at the ticket office and let you know the status of the ships. The status is essentially binary… there is a ship today, or there is not a ship today (that is about as much information as you will get);
c. Be patient, if she says there is no ship then hang tight and hassle her on the morrow;
d.If she says there is a ship then go to number 3;

2. Because we were not 100% sure of what was going on we also obtained the phone number for the ticket office and then took that to the Four Seasons Hotel and asked the concierge there to call and double confirm what we had been told. They are super nice and were more than happy to help. They speak excellent English;

3. We went to the ticket office at the main ferry terminal, however they had no idea what we were talking about to start with (they speak Azeri and very broken English at best) and it took a lot of toing-and-froing and elevated levels of stress to get someone to eventually suggest that we needed to go out of town to an unknown door and see a lady about a ticket…
a. The ticket office resides slightly out of the main centre of Baku. We just showed a taxi driver a map and he drove us there and back for about £5;
b. If the ticket lady is not at the office just wait, she will turn up (ask around if you are nervous)

4. Once we had the all important ticket ($110USD for each ticket) we needed to make our way to the ship, which when we were there was not in Baku…
a. The departure terminal is about 70km from Baku and because our ship was leaving immediately we needed to get a taxi, which we did from outside the Four Seasons. The taxi took around 45 minutes and cost 50 Manat.

Notes:
1. The above could all change in the blink of an eye, so it is best to double check the latest information, but this should give you a good starting point;
2. Take enough food and water on the boat for at least two (possibly three) days. We did not have enough but got lucky in that the cook sold us some food (when the officers were not looking).

Bikes loaded into the taxi and we are off...

Bikes loaded into the taxi and we are off…

The following map highlights the locations described above:

View Cargo ship from Baku in a larger map

The Caspian Sea Hostel – where you will find the lady who knows the lady;
The Four Seasons Hotel – where you can use the concierge to double-check what you have been told (speak excellent English);
The Baku Ferry Terminal – where you DON’T want to go to get your ticket;
The Ticket Office – where you want to go to get your ticket;
The Ferry Terminal – where you will need to go to catch the boat (double check this with the ticket lady as it may change).

The ticket office is just outside this gate.

The ticket office is just outside this gate.

Katie rejoicing at having the tickets in her hands. The ticket office is through that door!

Katie rejoicing at having the tickets in her hands. The ticket office is through that door!

The ferry terminal at Alat (about 70km southish of Baku)

The ferry terminal at Alat (about 70km southish of Baku)

Boarding The Barda

Boarding The Barda

Kazakhstan. Great Success!

Kazakhstan. Great Success!

Please let us know if you find this useful by commenting on the page, similarly, if information here is out-of-date please let us know and we will do our best to update it.

Good luck!

Discussion

6 Responses to “caspian sea crossing”

  1. More great info. We did this crossing at the end of April. One important correction… The ticket price is supposed to include meals, cabin and bed linen. Here’s a photo we took of the price board as proof in case anyone needs it. It was hidden round the back of the ticket office.

    http://shesnotpedallingontheback.com/?attachment_id=4086

    Unfortunately the reason the cook was probably feeding you when the officers weren’t looking was because she didn’t want them to know she was ripping you off :-(. We’ve also heard of people being charged for the cabin and for sheets so I think it’s pretty common, although no-one asked us for any money.

    Our blog post is here http://shesnotpedallingontheback.com/2015/05/16/escape-from-baku/

    Posted by Kirsty | June 4, 2015, 6:00 am
    • Hi Kirsty,
      Thanks for the heads up on what should be included in the ticket. We were quite obviously ripped off so this is really good information. By the time the kitchen lady came and offered us food we were so hungry I was about to eat my arm so the money we paid was preferable to that :)
      Cheers,
      Steven

      Posted by Steven | June 5, 2015, 1:47 am
  2. Nice one guys. I’ll be doing this in reverse in a few months. Thanks for spending time on providing all the info

    Posted by Stephen Fabes | June 4, 2015, 8:02 am
  3. Thanks for providing this useful information. I’ve looked at everything in your ‘useful info’ section and it’s all veryy useful. I’m going to be trying to cross China in the 2 month deadline as well!

    I was wondering how long you had between buying the ticket and needing to be at the ferry terminal? I’m assuming it’s not possible to cycle the distance in that time? What about by bus?

    Thanks
    Josiah

    Posted by Josiah Skeats | February 1, 2016, 7:04 pm
    • Hi Josiah,
      If you are referring to the Baku ferry, you have a bit of time and it would be possible to cycle the distance. It is about 70km and we know others that cycled it. We were told it was leaving in 2 hours, but that just wasn’t the case at all. We are not too sure about buses or other forms of public transport. If in doubt, just go to the Four Seasons and ask them :)
      Good luck with China!

      Posted by Steven | February 2, 2016, 2:23 am
  4. Thanks for your reply Steven

    Yes, I was referring to the Baku ferry. Appreciate the answer. That’s useful to know :)

    Best,

    Posted by Josiah Skeats | February 3, 2016, 11:21 pm

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