Duration: 5 days Distance: 557km
Registration in Kazakhstan
The UK travel guidance website, implies that if you are entering the country not by one of the airports, then you need to register. There is no other info than this.
At the port in Aktau, I was given a white registration card (paper) which stated on thr reverse side, that I had to register within 5 days. I asked the immigration office about this at the port, and they advised that you DO NOT need to register if you are in the country for 30 days or less.
BUT, you do need to keep hold of the white slip, as it needs to be stamped, along with your passport, on the way out of the country.
Easy to withdraw Kazak Tenge in Aktau. If you are planning on traveling onwards to Uzbekistan, its a good idea to withdraw Dollars in Azerbaijan from a cash machine. You will need to have Dollars to buy Uzbekistan Som when you enter the country. It is extremely difficult to get dollars in Uzbekistan.
In Aktau I had to withdraw the equivilent in Tenge and then visit a bank to convert it into dollars, which meant a long wait and a bit of a hassle. Particulary finding a bank that spoke english and would exchange.
Arriving in Aktau
Port office location Baku : 40.374517,49.865605 (Click the text)
Office phone number (Vika) 0552665354
I took a ferry from Baku, via the port of Alat, to Aktau which took 32 plus hours. You can read about my journey, Chaos on the Caspian, here. Its worth noting that the ticket office is located in Baku, and the port in Alat, so 70Km to the South of the city. Locations above, Click the text)
You cannot buy tickets at the port in Alat, although our captain did make an exception for a few travelers. However this was rare. For more info on the ferry check out Caravanistan and Marine Traffic for the boat scehdules.
There is a small shop and cafe at the port, where you can buy ice cream drinks and snacks. The ticket $80, included a cabin and three meals a day. I recommend getting a two person room with a window! It is very hot onboard.
Its generally accepted that there are two routes to Beyneu. The first, heads East along the A33 and then North towards Shetpe. The second, heads north along the coast on- what was on my map; P115. Following it East towards Shetpe.
After Shetpe the the roads join and there is one road towards Beyneu.
North of Aktau – Oil Fields 82km
We left late in the day, at around 17:45, as we had been looking for maps and various stuff all morning and into the evening.
The sun stayed in the sky until around 9ish and was very warm. We agreed to get up early each moring – around 5am; and cycle before the sunrise and continue whilst it was cooler.
We cowboy camped inside a brick walled square area on the left of the road, amongst the oil fields.
Oil fields – East of Shetpe 123Km
Camped in the ruins of an old building to the left of the road several Km to the East of Shetpe. The town has a market with fresh fruit and veg, several small shops and a medium sized shop.
It also has a bank, limited to withdrawing a minimum of 10,000 but we were told, no other machines for 300km and certainly didnt come across any. We were also advised that european cards didnt work in Beyneu, but both myself and another used Visa cards in cash machines there, with no issues.
East of Shetpe – Say Otes 133Km
Very hot day. Stopped at a tea house and the guys had some lunch which was very cheap. Cowboy camped beneath the stars, behind the shell of a building, just past a tea house on the right side of the road.
Say Otes – Usturt 114Km
Tea houses became more frequent, stopped at three during the day for water, supplies and the guys to eat food.
Camped behind a bus stop on the right side of the road. Tea houses opposite, were not open.
Usturt – Beyneu 105Km
Cold morning. Pushed hard to Beyneu. On arrival, we found several hotels. The group was split. I stayed in a motel for 1,000 for the night with good food. Met a local policeman who took us on a night out. Read Beyneu Bad Boys .
The second night, I slept in a park with two of the guys.
Water and supplies
I found a great Pdf document online, when you google “Aktau to Beyneu by bike“. It lists tea houses, peterol garages and shops or villages. There was one tea house that was closed when we arrived. But there was also additional tea houses that were not on the list.
I carried 11 litres of water and never ran out during the day. I bought fresh water when I needed to, and by the end of the 5 days, was purifying water I collected from taps at tea houses.
A lot of blogs talk about this section, aswell as the next to Nukus, as “the worst road in the world”. But you will find that they have improved the road surface a great deal and I found that the majority of it was ok. Expect to have terrible sections leaving Beyneu and onwards. Nothing was unrideable.