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 in Uzbekistan, where to find parts, repair shops, and how to deal with transporting, customs and selling a car.
Note: right-hand drive cars are officially not allowed to drive in Uzbekistan. However, people seem to manage to get in after some discussion.
In general, the big roads connecting the country are in a reasonable state, with some bumpy exceptions. Google Maps shows the Samarkand – Jizzakh – Tashkent road as going through Kazakhstan. This is not true, don’t worry. The main roads that you are most likely to be driving on are in the following state:
- Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent- Fergana: good. 100 km/h.
- Bukhara to the Turkmen border: good. 100 km/h.
- Bukhara – Khiva: first 70km or so is potholed misery, then new good road all the way to Turtkul followed by more potholes to Urgench. After that it’s smooth sailing to Khiva (2016). No petrol between Gazli and Miskin.
- Khiva – Nukus – Moynak: Bumpy, but not too bad. Could do 80km/h.
- Kungrad – Kazakh border: Work in progress, most of it is tarmac. Last 50km to the border is a disaster. Kungrad is the last place to get petrol according to some, so better stock up. There are chaikhanas every 150 km roughly in the desert between Kungrad and Beyneu. Besides food, accommodation and cold beer, some have managed to finds small quantities of fuel there.
- Yamala – Samarkand: Tarmac in pretty good condition. Two Lane highway all the way.
- Samarkand – Denau: Most of the road in good condition. Be aware; sometimes tarmac suddenly stops and some deep gravel appears, which is scary when you drive 110 km/h.
The interesting desert detour from Navoi to Nukus via Uchquduq is no longer open to unescorted self-drive tourists. Updates welcome here.
Car parts and repair
Sanar Motor is a BMW dealer in Tashkent (e-mail: [email protected], tel. Calling from Tashkent 1320353, fax 1322795). More tips on reliable mechanics in Uzbekistan more than welcome.
Insurance, border payments, police checks
You do not have to pay anything at the border to enter with your car or motorcycle when entering Uzbekistan. A 3rd party insurance is not obligated, but people do get asked for it when exiting, which can lead to delays etc. Insurance costs 15$, but it is not always clear where you can get it. You need to find an insurance company office yourself in a town or perhaps close to the border.
Police check points are frequent, but provided you are not doing anything wrong, you will not have to pay bribes. Just stay cool, and drive slow when approaching. In the Fergana Valley you will get stopped for registration. Nothing serious. Police is universally friendly at each stop.
You are allowed to drive 50km/h inside towns and cities, 100km/h on intercity roads. Speed checks are frequent, road signs are not. Speed traps exist, especially in Fergana Valley. City limits are marked by a white sign with the place name on it, and a similar white sign with a red diagonal line when exiting. Make sure you are already going 50km/h when passing the sign, even if there is no sign of habitation around.
Fuel price and availability
Fuel is a big issue for foreign drivers in Uzbekistan. Propane is the main fuel in Uzbekistan, petrol comes in second. Diesel is very difficult to find.
In Tashkent there are generally no fuel issues. However, the further you are removed from the capital, the scarcer the petrol becomes. Huge lines form in front of petrol stations, sometimes days in advance, waiting for a new shipment in cities further off. Karakalpakstan has no petrol stations at all.
This means that, like with the money, you need to find your fix on the black market. You might see people sitting by the side of the street with bottles like pictured above. Sometimes you need to ask around (Say benzin for petrol, diztoplivo for diesel). Prices for petrol increase as the distance to Tashkent becomes greater. Cotton harvest season (September-October) creates even more of a deficit.
Bring a fuel filter if you want your vehicle to survive. The black market fuel tends to be crap. It definitely needs a filter, as there is sand in the bottles and the fuel is mixed with something else, next to the fact it already has a low octane level to begin with. A bit like Viagra for cars, an octane booster is another aid for a struggling vehicle.
This is an even bigger issue than petrol. It´s almost impossible to find diesel in Uzbekistan. There is 1 petrol station between Samarkand and Tashkent which is known to sell diesel to foreigners, 2 in Tashkent and some more in Ferghana Valley.
- Direction of Tezykovka Bazaar (Parkent street), follow this street straight, after 1km on the right side a small street heads for a petrol station.
- Direction of Shayhontohur street, should be a main road with a lot of petrol stations.
Main conclusion: bring your own. Or don’t drive diesel in the first place. If you get stuck, apparently some taxi drivers and hotels may be able to find someone selling diesel, e.g. some diesel trucks may be willing to sell some from their tank.
In harvest season the last good petrol before you hit the border is on the black market in Nukus. Just go to any gas station and wait, someone will come to you and offer ‘benzine’ for about 4000 som a liter.
Selling/leaving a car/motorcycle in Uzbekistan
Selling your car or motorcycle in Uzbekistan is difficult, as the person who wants to buy your vehicle will need to pay a heavy import duty. Also, you cannot sell a car more than 20 years old, or a car with the steering wheel on the right-hand side.
Leaving a car in Central Asia is always tricky.Comments are closed. If you have a question or remark, please let us know on the driving forum.