Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful and diverse country located in Central Asia, known for its stunning mountain landscapes, rich history, and friendly people. As a traveler, you’ll find plenty to see and do.
One of the most popular destinations in Kyrgyzstan is Lake Issyk-Kul, the second-largest alpine lake in the world. The crystal-clear waters of the lake are perfect for swimming, and the surrounding mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for hiking, trekking, and horseback riding.
Kyrgyzstan is also known for its nomadic culture, and you can experience this firsthand by staying in a traditional yurt camp. These portable tents are used by Kyrgyz nomads as temporary homes during their seasonal migrations, and they offer a unique and authentic glimpse into traditional Kyrgyz life.
The capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, serves as the main transportation hub of the country. However, if you want to venture deeper into nature, relying solely on public transportation may not be the best option. Fortunately, hitchhiking is a popular and culturally accepted practice in Kyrgyzstan, as it is in other parts of Central Asia. Marshrutkas, which are local minivans, provide affordable transportation between major cities, and the cost of transportation within the country is generally very reasonable.
For example, in the summer of 2022, a marshrutka ride from Bishkek to Balykchy, a distance of 200km, cost around 3 USD. Alternatively, taking the train on Saturdays is almost the same price and provides a scenic journey, making it a better option, in my opinion. When traveling around Issyk Kul lake, transportation is easily accessible with marshrutkas, shared cabs, and hitchhiking. Despite the area being quite touristy during the summer, prices remain low, and the locals are incredibly hospitable.
Bishkek to Osh can be reached by shared cab which is about 20USD one way (700km) they can be found around place called Osh Bazaar in Bishkek. Even though it seemed closer from the Issyk Kul lake to take another route to Osh, I didn’t manage to find a transport and was advised by others that the road condition is very bad.
In and out
After arriving from Almaty, Kazakhstan, I took a shared cab to Bishkek, although I can’t recall the exact price, it was likely around 10-15 USD. The cabs depart from the central bus station and usually only leave once they are full or when passengers agree to split the cost.
Crossing the border was a breeze, but after passing through, I had to find another form of transportation to get to Bishkek. Walking would have been an option, but with nearly 20km to cover, it wasn’t the most practical choice. Instead, I decided to team up with other passengers from my previous ride, and together, we shared a cab to Bishkek, paying only around 1 USD each.
After Kyrgyzstan I was going to Uzbekistan, reaching border from Osh was very easy using public transport within the city, it would even be easy to walk since it’s only 5km away. Border itself was hassle free, and from the other side in Uzbekistan there are many taxi drivers with whom you have to negotiate, I took the bus to Andijan and it was around 1USD if I remember correctly.