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.
Be aware you need to bring back the car to your starting point with all companies listed below. If you are looking to rent a motorbike, you have some more options.
There are definitely more companies renting out cars in Central Asia than listed on this page. Most of them simply do not need the extra promotion. 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 (especially July-August).
Keep it in mind; if you plan to rent a car, 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. Renting a 4×4 from Bishkek with Sergey, you get the assurance of very high-quality service and very reliable, very well-maintained, rugged cars. Sergey can also provide a driver.
Another car rental company located in Osh is a new venture run by Oibek. He has 12 rugged jeeps and 4 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.
Budget travelers will appreciate Azamat‘s offer. 3 models are rented for 45 EUR a day. Cars are also based in Bishkek.
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. It has been a frustration for travelers for years, so we are quite certain it will be popular.
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 rents out cars from Almaty. 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.
If you want to rent a car to drive inside the city, we recommend multinationals like Hertz, Avis and Europcar in Almaty and Astana.
There is some debate whether or not it is allowed for foreigners to rent a car and drive it themselves in Uzbekistan, but the general opinion is: not allowed. If you do want to self-drive, taking a car from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan or Tajikistan over the border is the easiest (and for now only) solution.