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, lack of competition and a severe climate, prices are generally higher than elsewhere.
You can usually arrange a drop-off so you do not need to drive your car all the way back to your starting point. If you are looking to rent a motorbike, you have some more options.
Since there is more demand than supply at the moment, popular rental cars are booked out weeks or even months in advance during the high season (July-August).
Keep it in mind; if you plan to rent a car in summer, book it as soon as your plans have solidified to avoid frantic last-minute searches or plain disappointment.
Bishkek is a good place to rent a car at the moment, with actual competition between companies. We recommend the following 3 operators who have built up a reputation for reliable service and well-maintained cars:
- Sergey: an extensive fleet of reliable, rugged new cars.
- Vlad has a fleet of most popular off-road models, `bukhanka` vans and Russian jeeps
In Osh, contact Oibek. He has 12 jeeps and 16 motorcycles available for self-drive in Central Asia. If you have your own bike or a car, they also do repairs and will park your vehicle for the winter.
Tajikistan & Pamir Highway
We are happy to say that in 2018 car rental in Tajikistan is possible, thanks to Khudik. He has 3 Toyota 4Runners stationed in Khorog ready for your Pamir Highway adventure. It isn’t a bargain (you can get a car with driver for the Pamir Highway at the same price as self-driving a rental car), but we are happy the option is finally here.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan is perhaps the best place to start if you want to rent a car for the Pamir Highway + Dushanbe and Khujand loop (or simply want to do Osh-Khorog-Osh). See Oibek for cars and motorbikes.
Car rental in Kazakhstan is plentiful, but for exploratory driving outside of city limits, there are only few companies that rent out cars from Almaty and Nur-Sultan.
Nikita has a good selection of well-kept rental cars at attractive rates, with insurance and extra drivers added at no extra cost.
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 judgement; he actually knows his stuff. He focuses mainly on motorbikes, but he has a few cars for rent as well.