There is a lot of talk about the New Silk Road transforming shipping across Eurasia. Anyone familiar with the situation on the ground however, will understand that shipping anything in or out of Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus can be troublesome due to difficult customs regimes.
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Things you might want to send or receive as a traveler:
- parts for a car, motorbike or bicycle
- the whole car, motorbike or bicycle
- carpets & other souvenirs
- anything bought online through TaoBao, Ali Express, Ozon, Amazon, Ebay, …
Sending things to Central Asia
You always risk your package being stolen by the customs officers, but packages under 20 kg are not subject to special scrutiny and extra fees. Delivery time can be long, though: 1 month is standard.
Packages over 20 kg: inform carefully before you send something over what the price will be to pick it up. Whatever you do, do not send over anything of real value, either to you or to the customs officers. Theft is common and keeping it in quarantine until a suitable bribe pops up even more common.
- Kazakhstan: Mixed feelings
- Kyrgyzstan: Some say, don’t bother! Others disagree: it’s totally fine.
- Uzbekistan is changing fast after the death of Karimov and we expect improvements in 2017 and beyond. Until you hear otherwise, though, we still advise to refrain from trying to send anything to Uzbekistan.
- Tajikistan has banned all foreign postal services, though they might return in the near future with higher prices as the government tries to squeeze them.
Sending things from Central Asia
DHL is expensive but generally reliable to get your package through customs in good time. In Kazakhstan, KazPost has at least 1 surprisingly good review. Here is a blog post of goings-on in the postal office in Dushanbe.
Shipping a car back home
If you are on a budget, seek someone to drive the car back for you. We do not know how to arrange the necessary paperwork to transfer the car.