Uzbekistan Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving in Uzbekistan
You should check the latest information on your goverment’s website, particularly if planning to travel near the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan borders where travel advisories are sometimes in place.
Uzbekistan drives on the right and you can drive on the licence of most countries, but a 1968 International Driving permit is a good idea in case you’re stopped by the autorities.
85% of the country’s 84,000km of roads are paved.Main roads in Uzbekistan include the M39 Highway, which is a two lane road 300km connecting Tashkent and Samarkand. The M37 Highway starts from Samarkand,and heads west to the Turkmen border, via Navoiy and Bukhara. The A373 Highway starts from Tashkent, going east through Kokand of Fergana Region, and ends at the Kyrgyz border. Little maintenance has been done on these roads in recent years so expect some pot holes.
Main roads in Tashkent are generally in satisfactory condition, but many secondary roads inside and outside the city are in poor condition. Roads in the mountains, particularly those in the Tien Shan and Fan Mountains, are in poor condition and will be passable only by four-wheel-drive vehicles in winter. Only main roads in cities have lights so driving at night is to be avoided. The quality and supply of fuel is sporadic outside Tashkent. Often primitive gas stations will fill cars from buckets or bottles and the fuel will be of dubious quality. If you manage to rent a car you should ask the rental company to write down the type of fuel the car will take in terms a rural gas station owner will understand.
Local driving standards are often poor and pedestrians sometimes seem unaware of basic road sense. You should expect the unexpected and drive cautiously at all times . Uzbekistan has a zero tolerance approach to drink driving and a large road traffic police force. If stopped, you may have to pay a bribe to continue on your journey, and the police are unlikely to speak any English, therefore an International Driving Permit is advisable.
One of the worlds classic roads runs partly through Uzbekistan. Running through the Pamir Mountains, the M41, more commonly known as the Pamir Highway runs through Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan . The road was part of ancient Silk Route and the section which passes through the 4,655-meter high Ak-Baital pass in Tajikistan is the second highest main road in the world . There is some disagreement on where the road begins with varies sources stating Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan; Termiz, Uzbekistan; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; and Khorog, Tajikistan .The highway ends in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Assuming the road begins in Afghanistan,it passes northward through Termiz in Uzbekistan, then turns east and crossing into Tajikistan. It then continues east through Dushanbe, to Khorog.From there, it continues to Murghab, where it crosses the Murghab River and begins to heard North. The highway then passes through the Ak-Baital pass and past Lake Qaraqul at 3900 metres before crossing into Kyrgyzstan and on to Osh – around 420 Km from Mughab. Most travellers miss the Uzbek sections head to the 700 Km stretch of road between Khorog and Osh which is widely acclaimed as having some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Asia if not the World. The road is unpaved for long stretches and is also probe to lengthy periods of construction to repair landslides and weather damage. I have heard of travellers covering this stretch in a day but have also seen accounts of 60 hour journeys in bad weather.
For more information on Driving the Silk Road through Uzbekistan, see my Classic Road Trips page.
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.
Uzbekistan Car Rental
For many years there were none of the big multinational car rental companies in Uzbekistan, but Sixt now have a branch in Tashkent and do seem to offer self drive.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Uzbekistan. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com.