Can You Get to Kazakhstan From Mongolia?
I have always wondered, is there actually a border crossing that gets you directly to Khazakstan joining Mongolia. I ask this exact question to many Mongolians and some said yes, others said no, and some were just downright puzzled. It seemed the question had a sense of mysticism surrounding it, like a well-kept secret. So of course with the confusion and not being satisfied with the answer, I had to find out for myself by driving over 20 hours to the western side of Mongolia to see if Kazakhstan shares a land border with Mongolia?. The simple answer is, no there isn’t a direct border crossing with Kazakhstan, but boy is it close.
Mongolia is a massive country, which is hard to believe when you see it squished between two of the world’s superpowers, but a map doesn’t give it credit. Travelling to Bayan ölgii, the most western province of Mongolia, you will be able to find several border crossings, which enter Russia.
The most prominent is in the town of Ulaanbaishint and while google maps say there are several more kilometres to the border from the town, google maps is wrong (feels oddly satisfying saying that). The town is smack bang on the border. Visiting the crossing you will see cars lining up waiting to be processed. Much to my surprise, the border crossing isn’t open 24/7 and the queue was becoming longer with large trucks the longer we waited to inspect the crossing.
Russian Transfer Visa:
In order to get to Kazakhstan, you will have to cross a small land strip of Russia, which just leaves you with that feeling of being oh so close but yet oh so far. Now, this isn’t a problem if you do not require a visa to enter Russia but if you are from the western part of the world (not just American) and considering the current world events, you will require a visa (sadly friendly kiwis need one too).
However this doesn’t have to be too difficult, you can pick up a transfer visa at the embassy in Ulaanbaatar but it may take some time. Don’t expect to walk in and walk out with a visa. You will need to book an appointment then if your visa is accepted wait for it to be processed. At the time of writing this, you also need a negative PCR test within 24hrs.
If you can get all of that and you are willing to travel across Mongolia, which is an astonishing journey in itself, then go for it. We would love to hear how it turned out.