Irkeshtam Pass

Here's How To Have The Ultimate Road Trip To Irkeshtam Pass

Irkeshtam Pass is an international high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.838m (9,311ft) above the sea level, located on the border of Kyrgyzstan and China. This is a popular border crossing for travelers journeying across Central Asia.

The road to the summit, also known as Erkeshtam or Erkech-Tam, is totally paved. It’s called A371 (in Kyrgyzstan) and S309 (in China). The road runs west-east from Sary-Tash (in the Alay Valley of Osh Region, Kyrgyzstan) to Ulugqat (in Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China).
The pass is busy year-round. The Kyrgyz and Chinese border posts are separated by almost 10 km but it’s forbidden to walk across this no man land. Road conditions on the Kyrgyz side are pretty good as long it's not snowing. On the Chinese side, the road has been rebuilt and is in a good state. Irkeshtam Pass is one of the two main border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang, China, the other is Torugart Pass, located 165 km (103 mi) to the northeast. It is not allowed for Kyrgyz cars to cross the border, so you have to change to a Chinese vehicle at the border. The border crossing is open only during the day and it is closed on weekends and holidays. Crossing the border can take anything between 1 and 3 hours, so you better be early. Crossing this border is difficult. Immigration can be very rude.
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