So you want to interrupt your Silk Road trip for the winter, and return when it gets warmer to continue traveling in Central Asia and beyond.
Where can you park your car or motorbike? How long can you park it for? What kind of customs formalities do you need to fulfill?
Eurasian Customs Union
The Eurasian Customs Union comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. These countries share the same customs regime, meaning you do not need to temporarily import your car anew when crossing the borders between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.
When entering the Customs Union, you get a TIP (temporary import paper) for 1 year, meaning your vehicle is allowed to stay within the borders of the CU for 12 months. Your visa is likely to run out earlier. This is not a problem, you can leave without your car (at least, we have not received negative reports yet). If you exit and re-enter the CU, you will receive another 12 months.
All questions and reports welcome in the CU long-term vehicle storage forum thread.
Where to find reliable parking space?
All over the former Soviet Union, private parking spaces exist in numbers to fill the gap left by Soviet urban planning, which did not foresee everyone driving a car – at all.
These parkings are guarded and relatively cheap: expect to pay around 0.50$-1$/day depending on the city, the neighbourhood, the size of your car and the type of storage you want. 3 types of storage exist: open air, covered, and garage boxes.
The easiest way to find these parking spaces is to search the 2GIS website or phone app in your city of choice for the word Автостоянка. Dozens, possibly hundreds of options will pop up.
Of course, you can store your car elsewhere as well. Hotels and hostels have been known to offer help, and car rental companies usually have no qualms to store your car or motorbike for a longer period of time. The upside is that these people tend to speak good English. The downside is that they might charge higher prices.
It is not a problem to leave your vehicle in Iran while you exit the country if you have a carnet de passage (collecting reports here). If you are using a temporary border carnet just for Iran, we are not quite certain what the rule is (collecting reports here).
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Afghanistan
We haven’t figured out the rules concerning long-term parking in these countries yet. If you know something, please share your wisdom!