What kind of company is Iron Horse Nomads?
We are a tourism services company owned by an American expat, Ryan Hornung, and registered in the Kyrgyz Republic. We provide tours, guides, lodging, and car rentals throughout Kyrgyzstan and the surrounding areas.
What languages do you speak?
We do business in English, Russian, Kyrgyz, and Turkish. Depending on which guides are around, we may also have people who can speak German or French.
Do you accept payments online?
We are working on an online payment system, but for now deposits are paid through bank transfer or wiring money (Western Union, Moneygram). You may pay the balance in our office in cash or with a Visa or Mastercard.
Is Kyrgyzstan safe?
Overall, the answer is yes. Regarding crime and violence, Kyrgyzstan has a low crime rate and foreigners are often treated with great hospitality. Normal precautions that come with traveling to any strange place should be observed. Regarding the roads/terrain, part of the draw of Kyrgyzstan is that the landscape is wild, beautiful, and rugged. This means that traveling around the country is often more challenging, but it is more than doable for the adventurer. Do the roads have guard rails? Not all of them. Are the roads paved? Sometimes. Will I cross rocky riverbeds? Possibly. If you are driving yourself, as long as you have a healthy respect for the terrain and drive accordingly, there is little you need to worry about. If you are working with one of our drivers, they are professional, responsible, and know how to navigate Kyrgyzstan’s roads safely.
What happens if I break down?
We will help. If you caused the break down (hit a rock, got in an accident, put the wrong fuel in, etc) we’ll find someone local to help you out, but you will be responsible for those expenses. In the unlikely event of a mechanical failure, we will solve the problem and help you keep going on your trip at our expense.
Can I take one of your cars to another country?
Yes! We are happy to support trips in the region, not just Kyrgyzstan. There are limits however. Right now we can fully support you travelling to Kazakhstan or Tajikistan with some limits on which cars can go on the Pamir highway though. Uzbekistan is possible, but difficult. It is up to you to get the car in and get it back to us. Turkmenistan and China are not possible. If you take the car out of Kyrgyzstan it is your responsibility to get it back to us if it breaks down for any reason. In Kyrgyzstan we will recover cars that have broken down from a mechanical failure, but not in another country. That is your responsibility.
Are the cars insured?
Yes. We carry insurance with the following terms and conditions…
What is my maximum liability?
In the event of an accident you are liable for a maximum of $300 (the insurance deductible). This is covered by the $300 security deposit that we hold during your trip. Only in the event of severe, non-collision damage would your liability be higher. An example of this would be putting gasoline/petrol into a diesel car which can quickly cause catastrophic engine damage/failure.
Is there a maximum age?
Our insurance stipulates that drivers 60 years old and older are not covered. To extend coverage above 60 there is a $5/day charge.
Is there a minimum age?
Yes, 22 years old. If you are 21 or younger we’re sorry, but come back when your 22 or older or find someone to travel with who is 22 or older. A third option is to purchase our expedition package which includes a driver. Our insurance does not allow drivers younger than 22.
What about tires?
We use seasonally appropriate tires on each vehicle. During the winter we have specialty stud-less winter tires on the cars to make your trip as safe as possible. Chains are also included in the trunk for emergencies. During the summer the type of tires used will vary depending on the type of car. These range from aggressive All-Terrain tires on a Jeeps to road oriented M+S All Season tires on an Economy Car.
Why do you use older cars?
To some, a car that’s 10 years old is getting pretty old, but here in Kyrgyzstan it’s pretty new. The best parts supply is for cars about 10 years old. What’s more, somewhat older cars have few electronics and were designed to be more rugged. Each new generation of cars gets more complicated and, for SUVs, seemingly less offroad capable. We choose cars that provide the best nexus of price, reliability, ease of repair, and parts availability. This helps keep the cars affordable for you and helps them survive the harsh experience of extensive driving throughout Kyrgyzstan.
What happened to crossover SUVs?
We used to offer crossovers like Subaru Foresters, but found that they were not tough enough to handle mountain roads here in Kyrgyzstan on a regular basis. We were doing hundreds of dollars of suspension repairs after every rental. For this reason we have eliminated the category and replaced it with light-commercial minivans.