Renting a car
If you are planning on renting a car for the purposes of traveling long distances through Kazakhstan, there are some important factors to note. Most companies have a limit on how far foreigners can take rental cars out of the city it was hired in, and the cars are often tracked by GPS. A surcharge for exceeding a preset limit of kilometres traveled per day is also normal, so make sure everything is agreed before making your decision.
Cars can be rented from local and international rental firms from the airport and all major cities in Kazakhstan.
While the legal age to drive in Kazakhstan is 18, you must be 23 years old to rent a car, and have one year’s driving experience. If you’re under 25, expect to pay a little above average in lieu of experience.
Road conditions in Kazakhstan vary greatly, with even major roads sometimes being unpaved and consisting of either mud or gravel. Certain stretches of road, such as between Arkarlyk and Zhezkazgan have no phone connection and limited traffic, meaning you will be isolated in case of a breakdown.
Traffic police in Kazakhstan have been known to issue ‘unofficial’ fines, however as the alternative is a fairly bureaucratic and costlier procedure this can sometimes be to your benefit.
Winter in Kazakhstan is cold and snowy, and it is not generally advisable to travel by road during these months, especially for expats who are not used to the conditions.