See our overview page for general rules and advice on self-driving the Silk Road. Here we discuss Turkmenistan specifics: the state of the roads, customs, speed limits, petrol, etc.
Turkmenistan roads & road rules
Traffic is generally not too busy; especially if you just came from Iran, it will be a pleasant surprise.
The roads have been upgraded in the past few years. All major roads now have good tarmac, except for Ashgabat – Dashoguz/Konye-Urgench: potholed, especially the part north of Darwaza.
2 other things to keep in mind. First, keep your car clean! Especially in Ashgabat police is very strict on dirty cars: head to the car wash before you enter the city unless you want to be frequently stopped by the police.
Secondly, driving at night is dangerous because of roaming camels. These beasts can pop up out of nowhere if you are driving at speed. So be careful if you do drive at night.
Police checkpoints are frequent on the road. Drive slow when approaching. You will probably be pulled over, but will be allowed to pass through after showing your documents.
You are allowed to drive 50 km/h in towns and cities, 100 km/h on intercity roads. Police check for speed on the edge of towns, but rarely in between cities. Few road signs.
New since 2017: at the border a GPS will be installed in your car so police can check you are not deviating from your route.
Insurance, border payments and police checks
At the border you will be paying a sizeable amount of money: fuel compensation, road tax, obligated insurance, immigration card, GPS rent, document handling, sterilization fee and entry tax.The road tax is calculated by the amount of kilometers you drive. The amount changes depending on your vehicle: 150$ for a 4WD Toyota, 255$ for a Land Rover, up to several hundred dollars for a minivan. A motorcycle is likely to be between 50$ and 100$.
When leaving the country there is often another 20$ customs fee.
Between Turkmenabat and the border lies a pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya. Locals go for 1 manat, foreigners pay US$42.00 (+20Manat processing fee). There is no point arguing, there is no other option, and the bridge closes at 6pm. Additionally, there is at times a huge traffic jam near the bridge, so come on time.
All petrol stations are 24 hours. There is no self service. Not all pump stations carry diesel, but every decent-sized city will have a few pumps carrying diesel fuel. You cannot fill jerry cans or containers at the pump.
Petrol stations sell petrol. If you want to buy motor oil, fluids or coolant, you need to find an avtomagazin.Comments are closed. If you have a question or remark, please let us know on the driving forum.