Where and how to rent a car in Central Asia? The market is still young and quiet, and due to difficult roads, high import taxes and a severe climate, prices are generally higher than elsewhere.
Be aware you need to bring back the car to your starting point with all companies listed below. If you are looking to rent a motorbike, you have some more options.
Bishkek is a good place to rent a car at the moment, with actual competition between companies. Locally-run, renting a 4×4 from Bishkek with Sergey, you get the assurance of very high-quality service and very reliable, very well-maintained, rugged cars. Sergey can also provide a driver.
Another car rental company located in Osh is run by Patrik from Switzerland and is the best place in Central Asia for motorbike rental. They have 4×4 cars as well though. If you have your own bike, they also do repairs and will park your bike for the winter.
Tajikistan & Pamir Highway
Osh is the best place to start if you want to rent a car for the whole Pamir Highway. Bishkek is the second best option, but you need more time. There is no one in Tajikistan who rents out cars for self-driving.
If you do not have the time or stomach to drive the whole Osh-Osh loop or beyond with a car rental from Kyrgyzstan, you can get a car with driver for the Pamir Highway.
Car rental in Kazakhstan is plentiful, but for exploratory driving outside of city limits, there is only one company that rents out off-road cars from Almaty. Marat, a former lawyer and actor turned full-time motorcycle renegade, is a distant relative of Saule, but we promise we did not let it cloud our judgment!
If you want to rent a car to drive inside the city, we recommend multinationals like Hertz, Avis and Europcar in Almaty and Astana.
There is some debate whether or not it is allowed for foreigners to rent a car and drive it themselves in Uzbekistan. Getting a driver along with the car is actually cheaper than self-driving, so the price should not be an issue.
If you do want to self-drive, taking a car from Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan over the borders is the easiest solution, but few car rental companies are willing to send their cars over the border into Uzbekistan, due to issues bringing spare parts into Uzbekistan in case of a breakdown.