For general tips on driving the Silk Road, see the driving overview page. Here we discuss the state of the roads, where to find parts, repair shops, and how to deal with customs and selling a car.
There is also more specific info to be found at driving the Pamir Highway.
Car insurance and border payments
There is an import tax, and several other fees are levied for stuff with questionable price tags. People pay anything from 40 to 70$. For a motorbike, import tax is 15$ (you can pay in somoni), but some manage to get away without paying (helps if you’re a single woman).
As for car insurance, there seems to be no obligation for you to get one. We’re not sure though.
Car & motorbike rental
There are no companies in Tajikistan that rent out cars for self-driving the Pamir Highway. We do have partners in Osh and Bishkek who do car rental, and you can take their cars on the Pamir Highway. You need to drive them back, though, which is not really an issue in the case of Osh, a little bit more in the case of Bishkek.
With Marat, we now have a reliable contact to rent dirt bikes in Dushanbe.
Roads in Tajikistan
All updates 2016. More updates welcome! For driving times, see Bus and shared taxi in Tajikistan.
- Denau – Dushanbe: Excellent road.
- Dushanbe – Kulob – Qalai-khumb: Some of the route is new tarmac, some of the route gravel road. Roadworks are ongoing. A part of the route along the Afghan border is excellent tarmac and feels like driving in Austria, but then without other traffic.
- Qalai-khumb – Ishkashim: gravel mixed with once asphalted road and some parts of the road with tarmac.
- Ishkashim – connection of Wakhan Valley Road to m41 (close to Jelondi): most of the route is off-road in gravel. Some parts asphalted. 11 hours.
- M41 from Jelondi to border with Kirgizstan: tarmac road in reasonable good condition. Some parts with a lot of potholes. A few stretches are in bad condition. This map of Pamir Highway road conditions (thank you META) is still up to date.
- Dushanbe – Khujand: good tarmac, but Anzob tunnel is hazardous.
- Minor roads range from bumpy to impassable by car.
In winter, many mountain passes are closed due to (danger of) avalanches or heavy snowfall. Spring is dangerous because of rockfall. The speed limit is 60km/h, everywhere, unless noted otherwise by signs.
Octane levels vary from 95 to 80, but there is a lot of cheating going on. Fuel is cheapest in Khujand and most expensive in Gorno-Badakhshan. Petrol prices revolve around 6,5 to 7 somoni. That’s not cheap.
Car parts, motorcycle parts and repair shops
Almost every male over the age of 15 is also a back-yard car mechanic in Tajikistan. If you know of someone doing a good job, or a shop with a lot of good spare parts in stock, please let us know.
In Dushanbe, Dilovar speaks excellent English, he’s definitely willing to expedite things for foreigners and has had quite a lot of experience with Mongol Rallyers. He has a wealth of knowledge on Soviet era classic cars (amongst modern ones too obviously) and is an all round good chap.
He’s also got good contacts in the city for those jobs he can’t do like bodywork and custom welding. Whatsapp: +992 88 111 1617. Workshop location is on Nisor Muhammad Street.
Motorcyclists should try Andrej’s Bike Repair Shop. The shop doesn’t have any signage, but is at Sotemur 53 within a residential courtyard. The GPS mark is: N 38o 34′ 42.1″ E 68o 47′ 32.2″. Updates on motorbike magicians and spare parts are collected at the motorcycle maintenance Q&A.
Buying/selling/leaving a car/motorcycle in Tajikistan
A complicated matter. We wrote an article summing up your options buying or selling a car in Central Asia. It is also possible to just dump your car in Tajikistan: someone did this in 2016 and it was not an issue at the border, there was no electronic system in place to check he came with a car.Comments are closed. If you have a question or remark, please let us know on the driving forum.