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Travel Guide Asia Pakistan Balochistan Taftan





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Taftan may only look like an insignificant dot on a guide book or website, and in a way it deserves no more, but it is an important town in many respects.

Taftan is located in Pakistan's Balochistan province and it is the only legal border crossing between Iran and Pakistan. Its name is derived from a volcano of a similar name in Iran.

It has a longstanding history as well. Once noted as being a 'Road to London' due to the high volume of Asian, Indian, and Afghan traders that used its as a main trading route. Now it's more infamous for border smuggling, kidnapping and all manner of underhanded business.

Still, on an over land route either to or from Iran, you will need to cross over here.



Sights and Activities

Taftan has little to offer of your standard sights.

It is a small town with several run down, one night only hotels. General stores. And quite a few bus companies.

The one thing Taftan does offer, for the adventurous, is desert trips. Either by your own vehicle, or by renting a taxi you can head out into an largely unexplored desert. Be warned though, this area is not safe and security is not great. Hiring armed guards and checking in with police is essential.



Travel Warning

The border between Iran and Pakistan is fairly isolated. While the locals are nice, and people will be pleased to see you, there is still a need to be cautious.

The area is a hotbed for smugglers and bandits. On both sides of the border the authorities have recently stepped up security. But you should still research the area, and your travel well.

The distances from Taftan to other cities is quite far and the terrain rough, so taking adequate rest before undertaking the journey is essential. As is bringing enough supplies such as water and snacks.



Getting There

Taftan is walkable to the Iranian border, and vica versa. No need for a taxi if you want to walk the 10 minutes, though plenty of taxis will tell you it's very far.

By Train

There used to be a train linking Iran to Pakistan that ran through Taftan. It is a cargo only train when it does run. A similar route plies Quetta.

By Car

You will need a Carnet de Passage to cross into Pakistan, they do check. And, there are many security checks along the way.

It is about 15 hours to Quetta by road, depending on weather. The first 100 km is rough, after that it becomes close to off roading at certain points. Be sure to have adequate supplies of fuel, water, spares and food as there is little but desert and rough terrain along the way.

By Bus

Buses leave for most destinations in Pakistan from here. There are several bus companies, some reputable, some not. If you are issued a ticket, it might be advisable to have it translated for you by a local away from the office to avoid any scams. The buses usually leave on time, give or take an hour.

A ticket to Quetta will cost you Rs350 as of 2008.



Getting Around

By Foot

Taftan is easily walkable by foot as it's a small town. Walking to the border is easy.




There are many eateries dotted around Taftan, none offering western food.

Depending on the time of day, rice, naan, dhal, lentils and mutton are available along with minerals and water. Try to find a well occupied eatery as many people only seem to populate a certain place on particular days.





There are a few very run down looking hotels in Taftan. Used mainly by people who crossed the border too late into the evening. Most offer squat toilets and cold showers outside of your room.



Keep Connected


If you have an Iranian SIM, it will still work perfectly here.

If you have a Pakistani SIM, it will no longer work here.


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This is version 17. Last edited at 21:08 on May 21, 08 by Hien. 3 articles link to this page.

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