If you are in Tehran (Iran) and want to go to Baku (Azerbaijan) by bus then this guide is for you. You might want to take the road trip from Tehran to Baku for two reasons; 1) it’s very cheap. 2) it’s easy, fun and adventure.
West Terminal in Tehran also called “Terminal e Gharb”
Bus Terminal in Tehran
In order to start your smooth journey from Tehran to Baku, you need to go to West Bus Terminal in Tehran which is called “Terminal e Gharb” in Farsi. and you must know the Persian name too if you don’t have any local with you, because Taxi drivers don’t understand English. You can get a direct bus from Tehran to Baku (if it’s available) or you can take a bus from Tehran to border city Astara, cross the border and take another transport to Baku (This is what I did).
How Much Does it Cost?
It’s very cost effective. from west bus terminal in Tehran, I got a VIP bus ticket only for 25,000 Iranian Tomans which was equal to $1.70 USD (Oct 2018). I got this bus ticket from Tehran to Rasht city in north of Iran because I didn’t find a direct bus to Astara the border town. and I didn’t want to go directly to Baku, because I wanted to explore on the way.
From Rasht city in Iran, I got a shared taxi to Astara city which again cost me only $2 USD (25,000 Tomans) and in total, it cost me $4 USD to reach border city Astara from Tehran. You can get a bus from Rasht to Astara for lower price if that’s available. in my case, the bus was not available so I used shared taxi.
From Tehran to Astara (the border), total journey is about 7 hours. if you leave Tehran early in the morning then you can easily reach Baku before evening time. but I stayed in Astara for night and crossed the border to Azerbaijan the next morning.
Crossing to Azerbaijan from Iran
The Iran-Azerbaijan border at Astara is very beautiful and properly managed. it’s easy to cross for foreigners from Iran to Azerbaijan. On the Iranian side, you’ll find currency exchange, shops and restaurants.
On the Azerbaijani side, you’ll find similar facilities and also shared taxis to Baku. I was looking for a bus from Azerbaijan border to Baku (the capital) but I didn’t find any bus there. therefore, I took a shared taxi from border to Baku city for 15 Manant (Azerbaijani currency) which was equal to $8 USD (Oct 2018).
Summary of the Trip
In total, it cost me $12 USD from Tehran to Baku which is very cheap I think and much better than flying from Tehran to Baku. secondly, I’m telling you again, you can take a direct bus from Tehran to Baku from the same bus station in Tehran (Terminal e Gharb or West Bus Terminal). and you can also take a bus to Astara from Tehran. but I did this trip with multiple options i.e Tehran to Rasht Bus, Rasht to Astara shared taxi and Astara to Baku shared taxi.