Bus or shared taxi in Central Asia

a hat as a bus stop

Is this the coolest bus stop you’ve ever seen?

Taking buses or shared taxis is for most places in Central Asia, the most common, fastest and cheapest way of getting from one place to another. There are differences of course. The huge size of Kazakhstan makes long cramped bus rides unpleasant, and here the train is a better alternative.  In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, shared taxis are very common and, due to the low price of oil in these countries, a surprisingly affordable alternative, even for long hauls. You can always wait for other passengers to join you in a shared taxi, or hire the whole car for yourself.

eagle as bus stop

Or is this it?

The bad road conditions in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan make any kind of road travel difficult. Often, if you are without your own transport, you have no choice but to hop in a marshrutka (minibus) or a shared taxi to get to your destination. In Afghanistan, the security situation will determine if you are able to drive somewhere or need to fly.

Bus timetables

The best, and only, site is All Transport (in Russian). It lists bus timetables for all former Soviet Union countries and is kept fairly up to date.


  1. Mathew says

    Hello, how to get very fast from Almaty to Turkistan? I want to visit Otrar ruins and probably the best way is to get there from Turkistan. Also tell me where I can find ruins of Sauran Fortress.

  2. Graham Young says

    This is really helpful! Since there is no KG-specific page yet for this topic related to public transportation, you may want to mention Bus.kg (http://bus.kg) which just launched last week to help people find marshrutkas, buses, and trolleybuses in Bishkek.

  3. Quentin Van Peteghem says

    Thanks for this very useful information! In your experience, until what time at night can you comfortably get a mashrutka or shared taxi in UZ?
    We are thinking of taking one of these from Khiva to Nukus, but would like to leave rather late (7 or 8PM).

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