Conditions in Central Asia
The central region of the continent of Asia,
Central Asia, also called Middle Asia, is bordered by China and the
Caspian Sea on the east and the west, with Russia and Afghanistan
sharing borders on the north and the south respectively. Tajikistan,
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan come within this
region. Afghanistan, western Pakistan, Mongolia, Tibet and Jammu and
Kashmir are also included in this region at times.
All these countries have been integral in the movement of goods,
people and ideas across the world and have served as crossroads.
This region also has the Silk Route, which is the network of trade
routes connecting various parts of Asia with Europe and the
Mediterranean world. Being an important part of the trade network,
the roads of the region are frequented by businessmen from all over
the world. Moreover, with tremendous opportunities in this part of
the world, it is a fruitful place to invest in.
If you plan to drive on your own, there are cars available on rent
in all countries in Central Asia. However, even for the most
experienced drivers who have been driving for years in western
countries, the roads of this region are challenging and the rules
differ vastly from that of the Western world.
Crossing borders requires a technical passport. One can show the
car registration papers or other related documents for this purpose.
Many countries also require you to buy insurance for your car.
It is difficult to leave without a car in countries, such as
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, while it is relatively
easier in Kyrgyzstan.
In Turkmenistan, it is difficult to get a permit or allowance to
drive alone and you may need to get a guide car.
Procuring visas from all these countries is both time-consuming as
well as expensive. One may need to wait for months before receiving
Traffic conditions in Central Asian countries can be chaotic,
given the large number of vehicles due to its dense population.
However, Uzbekistan is more sophisticated and good with its
infrastructure. It is not as populated as some of the other
countries in Central Asia, which makes driving here a lot easier
when compared to other countries in the region.
The general driving rule is to the left here, unlike western
countries where right is customary. This poses a serious challenge
if an individual is driving on these roads for the first time.
The bad conditions of the roads in most of these countries is
challenging for even the most experienced drivers to tackle.
Therefore, you cannot expect your car to cruise and must be prepared
for a bumpy ride. However, governments of many Central Asian
countries are working to rebuild important roads connecting the
It is important to carry a map and study it well if you intend to
drive on your own. Lack of signposts may be misleading at times.
The rigid visa requirements and political system may require you
to seek assistance for procuring a visa.
Driving on Central Asian roads is scary for the first-timers.
Moreover, you would need to take care of your dress code as well
when travelling to these countries. As people in these countries are
conservative, you would need to ensure that you carry suitable
clothes for your travel. It is good to learn about the local habits
and traditions of the country you are planning to travel to.
Contacting a local specialist also helps to understand the police
registration, customs and other local procedures better. In
addition, to support the visa procurement procedure, LOI or Letter
of Invitation can also be sought from them.
Central Asia is also emerging as a new travel destination and has a
rich cultural history. Taking out time from your business meetings
and hectic schedule to explore the archaic monuments and historical
places will make your trip an enriching one.
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