Turkmenistan Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving in Turkmenistan
As a tourist, you can drive on your own licence, though an International Driving Permit will be iseful in any dealings with the police.If you will be living in Turkmenistan you will need to take a three month training course and apply for a Turkmen driving licence to the Road Safety Directorate of the Ministry of Interior.
80% of Turkmenistan’s 22,000km of roads are paved. The major highway runs west from Merv/Mary, along the Iranian border through Ashgabat and then to Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea; a second runs northwestward from the Afghanistan border through Turkmenabat, along the Uzbekistan border to Dashoguz.
Main Roads in larger towns are usually in acceptable condition and main roads across the country are now generally paved, with the exception of the Ashgabat – Dashoguz/Konye-Urgench road. Smaller roads are likely to be in poor condition , especially after bad weather. In rural areas the roads will generally be in a poor state of repair, and will be unlit. You should therefore avoid travelling after dark. There are other hazards to beware of such as unlit, overloaded vehicles in a poor state of repair and camel crossings on some rural roads. Driving standards will be variable and you should drive defensively and expect the unexpected from other road users and pedestrians.
Speed limits are generally 100 kmh away from built up areas and 50kmh in towns. In Ashgabat, the police are likely to stop your car if it is excessively dirty so visit a car wash if its dusty after a cross country journey.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Turkmenistan Car Rental –
It currently appears impossible to rent a self drive car in Turkmenistan. I’ve been told that you have to take a Government approved guide when travelling outside Ashgabat, though that isn’t mentioned on the US State department site or The UK Foreign Office site. I contacted Ayan Travel who are based in the country and they told me that self drive is currently ‘forbidden’. Therefore, at present driving yourself doesn’t seem to be an option. If this changes in future and you manage to rent a car here, please let me know.