For general tips on how to deal with the police,the local driving style, some basic driver’s Russian as well as GPS files with fuel stations and places to stop over, see the driving overview page. Here we discuss the state of the roads, where to find parts, repair shops, and how to deal with transporting, customs and selling a car.
You might want to invest in a good road map of Turkmenistan before you leave.
Traffic is generally not too busy, especially if you just came from Iran, it will be a pleasant surprise. The roads are generally not well-kept. If you are going from Iran to Uzbekistan:
- From the Iranian border to Ashgabat it’s pleasant driving.
- Ashgabat to Mary: really bad. 30km/h bad.
- After Mary, it gets better again.
Ashgabat to Dashoguz has paved road in very good condition for the first half starting from Ashgabat. The second part is a rough sandy desert road, with a lot of road works. If you want to see the gas crater, you need to go 5 km of the main road through a heap of sand. You will need a gps to find it if you’re going without a guide.
A 4WD is not necessary unless you want to drive into the desert (i.e. to the crater). The locals drive Ladas, Opels and Toyota Corollas, there aren’t so many 4x4s.
The road from Turkmenbashi to Bayramaly / Mary is pretty good, though in other parts, Turkmenistan has some of the world’s worst asphalt (try the road from Mary to Kushka).
Insurance, border payments and police checks
At the border you will be paying a ridiculous amount of money: fuel compensation, road tax, obligated insurance, immigration card and entry tax: it adds up to around 500$ for a lot of travellers. When you leave Turkmenistan, there’s an exit tax as well of around 30$ per person.
Police is generally not such an issue. You will probably be stopped, but it is unlikely you will be asked for a bribe.
Prices for fuel are really low in Turkmenistan, as for any form of transportation. You paid your fuel compensation tax at the border to make up for your bargain at the pump, though.
Car parts, motorcycle parts and mechanics
We cannot recommend anyone yet. If you know of a reliable mechanic anywhere in Turkmenistan, please let us know in the comments!
Selling/leaving a car/motorcycle in Turkmenistan
Probably the best place to sell a car in Central Asia is Kyrgyzstan. There is a big market for second-hand cars from Lithuania in Kyrgyzstan, implying that import duties are the lowest here. Selling your car or motorcycle in Turkmenistan… sounds like an adventure!