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I have always been enormously fascinated by overland border crossings (#9 was over sea).

On one hand, there is something is intriguing about exiting one country and subsequently entering another.

You essentially leave one culture behind and then adjust to a completely brand-new one in just a matter of hours or minutes.

On the other hand, it can also be somehow terrifying as there is always the prospect of being denied entry.

At any rate, in this blog post, I rank my ten most unforgettable cross-country expeditions.

Some were just spectacularly scenic and outright thrilling. But some were indelible because they were outrageously nerve-wracking.

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Ten Most Memorable Border Crossings

BORDER CROSSING: TABA via cab and foot.  

I visited Egypt right after the revolution ended, and I decided to cross the border into Israel via the Sinai Peninsula.

Unbeknownst to me, during that time, Sinai was considered a stronghold of terrorist militants.

My friend and I cabbed from the Egyptian city of Dahab to the border and walked across to get to immigration on the Israeli side.

A thorough, nerve-wracking interrogation ensued.

It did not help that my last name sounds Arabic and that my friend has Middle Eastern features.

I was searched extensively and escorted until I boarded a cab to the Eilat airport.

I seriously thought that I would be disallowed entry.

This border post may now be closed to tourists, so please check for the current situation before heading out there.

Taba Border, Israel Side (Credit:

2. Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan

BORDER CROSSING: FARAP-ALAT via private vehicle.

Turkmenistan is one of the most reclusive nations in the world, second only to North Korea.

This particular border odyssey involved crossing a 1.5-kilometer neutral zone and then undergoing an incredibly stringent customs inspection of our belongings and medications.

Absolutely no cellphone use allowed.

Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan neutral zone. Credit:

3. Mongolia to Russia

BORDER CROSSING: NAUSHKI via Trans-Siberian Railway.

This transit experience was quite surreal as it entailed engaging with prototypical authoritarian Russian immigration officers.

They were armed with automatic weapons, used forehead-scanning thermometers, and had bomb-sniffing German Shepherds by their side.

Meanwhile, our train journey offered captivating nighttime views of Siberia right outside our windows, creating a unique atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

Naushki, Siberia, Russia

4. Argentina to Brazil


When I crossed the border in 2009, the extremely easy and short bus ride between the two countries cost only 25 cents each way.

This border crossing is a must-do as it is the location of one of South America’s most unforgettable wonders – Iguazu Falls.

Argentina allows you to step closer to the astonishing waterfalls, whereas the Brazilian side provides a phenomenal, awe-inspiring panoramic view. It’s a must-do from both sides!

Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian Side

5. Zimbabwe to Zambia and Botswana

We had this amazing adventure crossing from Zimbabwe to Zambia.

We went over a bridge with a view of the breathtaking Victoria Falls – what a sight!

The power and beauty of the falls made our border crossing special, a memory we’ll never forget.

Victoria Falls

However, the border crossing between ZIMBABWE TO BOTSWANA was a little bit on the bizarre side.

Stepping on mud to clean our shoes was important to eliminate any harmful bacteria that could unintentionally be brought into the country.

Since the wildlife and plant life in both places are quite alike, it’s crucial to stop the spread of such bacteria to safeguard the unique ecosystems in both regions.

6. East Africa (Rwanda to Uganda / Tanzania to Kenya)

RWANDA TO UGANDA via a tour guide. A fantastic opportunity to witness the daily lives of East Africans going about their daily routines. Lots of picture-worthy sceneries. 

TANZANIA TO KENYA via a tour guide. Chaotic and labyrinthine. There was no way this could have been done independently. Our car also got hit by another vehicle. Thankfully, no one was hurt. 

Uganda-Rwanda border

7. Bolivia To Chile


Bolivia-Chile Border

A real test of one’s endurance in an incredibly gorgeous landscape.

The road trip to this high-altitude border assaults your lungs and ability to weather hypothermia amidst stunning snowcapped mountains.

Chile-Bolivia Border

8. Sweden to Estonia


Not only was this one of the most mesmerizing sunsets I’ve ever witnessed, but the views of the Stockholm archipelago with seagulls hovering overhead were a sight to behold.

Drinking a glass of rosé with dear friends even made it more remarkable.

Sunset over the Stockholm Archipelago while cruising the Baltic Sea

9. Palestine to Israel


This border crossing, as well as number 10, is heart-wrenching.

Crossing over to Israel, Palestinians were singled out and subsequently requested to disembark in order to undergo a thorough inspection.

Whereas the tourists stayed on the bus and got to enter Israel without being questioned.

Israel-Palestine Border (Canva)

10. Croatia to Bosnia Herzegovina


Reminders of human cruelty abound in this harrowing excursion between two formerly warring countries.

Haunting remnants of the 90s conflict are plentiful, including multiple houses riddled with bullets and towns still recovering from war and destruction.

Future Border Crossings Bucket List

1. China to Pakistan via Khunjerab Pass along the Karakoram Highway

2. South Korea to North Korea via DMZ

3. The Several Countries Occupying Antarctica

4. Armenia to Georgia

5. Spain to Morocco via Ferry

6. Albania to Kosovo to Macedonia

7. Bulgaria to Romania

8. Ukraine to Moldova

9. Turkey to Syria

10. Iraq to Iran

Final Thoughts

Border crossings can be some of my most memorable and unique experiences.

From walking from Israel to Egypt, sailing across the Baltic Sea, taking the Trans-Siberian Railway, to crossing borders in Africa and Central Asia, each journey has its own story.

These experiences not only showcase the diversity and beauty of our world but also highlight the complexities of international borders and how they shape our travels.

Whether we see the stark contrast between two neighboring countries or encounter unexpected challenges at a border crossing, these moments stay with us long after we’ve returned home.

So next time you embark on a trip, don’t just focus on your final destination – embrace the journey and all the memorable border crossings it may bring.

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