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.
At the border a GPS may or may not be installed in your car so police can check you are not deviating from your route. We are not certain as to what extent this device is used or in how far you can deviate from your route without getting into trouble. GPS tracker updates are collected on the forum.
Insurance, border payments and police checks
At the border you will be paying a sizeable amount of money.
- 14 USD entry tax
- 1 USD for disinfection
- 30 USD for entry and transit passage
- 40 USD for compensation of fuel cost
- 35 USD for 3rd party liability car insurance (5 days)
- 5 USD for processing & permit
- 129 USD permit payment (this amount may vary depending on the type of car/motorbike you drive)
- GPS beacon: 14 USD deposit, which you probably will not get returned, and a 4 USD processing fee.
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. Could you fill up in Iran and carry it all the way through to Uzbekistan? Don’t know yet.
Petrol stations sell petrol. If you want to buy motor oil, fluids or coolant, you need to find an avtomagazin.