After crossing the bridge the road goes a bit upward in this narrow valley. The trucks are left behind. After a short drive you reach the small concrete building of the Kyrgyzstan Checkpoint. People are very friendly. The passports are checked very carefully. There are computers, but the informations of your passport are also written in Russian script into a big book. That takes some time. If the soldiers are bored it can also happen, that you have to open your luggage and to explain the importance of every single medicament you have with you.
After finally passing the last controll the road goes up into a beautiful high valley with snowcapped peaks right and left.
The whole procedure from China to Kyrgyzstan takes about 2 to 3 hours (without the walk from checkpoint to checkpoint)
After passing Chinese emmigration there a quite a few possibilties how to reach the Kyrgyzstan checkpoint. You can ask one of the many truckdrivers, if they can take you with them. This costs a bit. But it can take some time, before the truck is allowed to drive on.
There might be a car of the border police taking you to the bridge - the zero point -. Then you have to try and get another police car, a truck or whatever to go on to Kyrgyzstan checkpoint.
Or you can walk. From checkpoint ot checkpoint it is about 3,5 km or almost one hour walk. First the road goes down to the bridge, where soldiers will stop you to check your passport again. The road is again full of trucks queuing til the bridge, waiting for ??? I did not see any truck driving a single meter in the one hour I spend there.
After the check at the bridge you can walk on or maybe you are lucky and a socalled Taxi comes and takes you to the Kyrgyzstan checkpoint. That costs about 5,00 USDollars per car.
Coming from Kashgar the Chinese passportcontrol is the frist stop on the way to Kyrgyzstan. Irkeshtam Pass is a narrow valley. The road is full of trucks waiting for the proceedings. That is quite astonishing as I did not see many trucks on the way to Irkeshtam.
The Chinese emmigration is a small concrete building with all the stuff needed: X-ray luggage check, a thing to measure your temperature (is SARS still a problem?), toilet and so on. But there is no room where you can sit and wait for things to come. the officials do not speak much English. Mayby Russian is a possibility.
Of course: photos are not allowed.
Take care that you arrive early at the Chinese checkpoint. They border will be closed for a lunchbreak of about two hours starting at 1 p.m.
I crossed the border being on a group tour in June 2007, so I cannot say anything about public transportation. There might be truck drivers, who take you with you. Or you can hire a taxi to the border.
From Osh, three of us hired a taxi for $70 to Irkeshtam. Other travellers found this price to be pretty good, but hitchhikers would obviously spend much less. To Sary Tash is fine, but the road is abysmal after that. From Irkeshtam, you get loaded by the border guard onto a truck and it takes pretty much all day to get to Chinese customs and beyond. You cannot walk across the border.