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Old 22 May 2011
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Kazakhstan roads, which one?

In July we start travel from Poland to Kazakhstan and Kirgistan. I still don't know which road is better and faster:
1. Astrakhan-Atyrau-Qandyagnash-Aral or better
2. Samara-Aqtobe-Qarabulag-Aral (or detour Qandyagnash-Aral).
I saw many posts about M32, but I don't know Astrakhan-Aqtobe road condition.

Thanks for help

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Old 23 May 2011
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Astrakhan to Atyrau is good paved road, then up to Aqtobe is tough in places the road has very deep potholes but each side is smooth dusty tracks. It was one of my favourite rides, empty and vast. There is fuel at Makat and again about 300kms north of there is a new proper petrol station. Allow 2 days from Atyrau to Aqtobe. I didn’t go to Aral, so I can’t help you with that bit. Hope this helps.
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Old 23 May 2011
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Thanks flid
We have only 24 days for all 12 000 km, so I'm looking for better roads than off road. It will be my firs visit in this area, but not last. We want drive fast through Kazakhstan and stay longer time in Kirgistan.

Thanks a lot of

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Old 23 May 2011
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Samara - Aktyubinsk - Aralsk - Chimkent is the main road ... there was in the old days a bad stretch of about 80 km unpaved ... but I believe thats been fixed in the last year or so.
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Old 24 May 2011
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I think that route Samara-Aral will be faster than Astrachan-Aqtobe, but maybe not so favourite.
Thanks colebatch and flid

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Old 24 May 2011
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There are good roads in both cases:

Astrakhan - Atyrau - Uralsk - Aktobe - Aral (last 100km not so good)

I don't know about Samara - Aktobe, but as this road is mostly in Russia, I would be pretty sure it's at least OK. Plus Samara is one of Russia's nicest cities IMO.

The bad stretches are Atyrau - Aktobe and Qandiaghash - Aral (though neither are very bad it seems).

From the border of Aktobe and Kyzylorda regions the road is not so good, though never very bad. But the other option is through the north, Kostanai - Astana - Balqash (where I am now) - Almaty. All good, but passes far fewer points of interest than the southern route.

After Kyzylorda the M32 is never very bad. The old days in Kazakhstan where some roads were so bad as to be virtually undrivable are coming slowly to an end.. not sure if that's a good thing or not!
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Old 4 Jun 2011
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ru - kz - uzb

Slightly off topic response re the road to Uzb from Astrachan. Road from Astrachan to Aterau was fine. The city is uninteresting and relatively expensive. We went down to Beyneu in the direction of Uzbekistan after that. Beautiful road all the way to Beyneu once the road turned south. New and empty. However, from Beyneu to the border of Uzb there is 70 km of dirt and gravel. After the border it is better, merely the standard potholes. Take enough fuel, not a lot of places to fill up and mostly 91 octane max. Out of bottles partly. Tijs
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