Osh departure hall
Osh departure hall
The truck that can navigate the melting...
These motorbikes and side cars get...
Repairing a road damaged by an avalanche
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
Marshrutkas Take You Where You Wanna Go
Marshrutkas are little vans that run in a standard path around the cities, or even between cities. Marshrut in Russian actually means "route". Each marshrutka will have a set route. Stand on the corner and wave them down. They are often crowded and most people will have to stand. If you are sitting and an elder person gets on, it is appropriate to let them have your seat.They generally cost in the 8 som range. If you are not sure which marshrutka to take, it is easy to ask the driver and they will tell you if it is the correct one or not.Marshrutkas generally have no working windows, so it can get quite hot in the summer.
It's not cheap to get to Bishkek. When I flew round trip from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Chicago it was $1700, and that was the cheapest I found. To get to Bishkek one way, it cost me over $1000 (Chicago to Poland $400, overland to Kiev, Ukraine, Kiev - Bishkek $800). I wrote up a Kyrgyzstan Flights page with some airlines to check out, too for anyone else that needs help: http://hubpages.com/hub/Kyrgyzstan-Flights
Buses to Tashkent and Almaty and all around Kyrg
Buses to/From Almaty and Tashkent leave from Long Distance Bus station in Jibek Jolu Prospectisy 1,5 Km west of the city center. There are two convenient banks outside the terminal(but the better rates are to be found in Monechangers at the Corner Between Chuy Prospectisy and Manas.Ticket office is Mafia-Like. They speak only english and they always say all the buses are full. Prepare to pay 30-40% more for the ticket. At least the service is reliable. Bus come nearly on time.Buses to Cholpon Ata and Karakol leaves from the same building. It's no sweat getting a ticket for a fair price.For Osh you should get to the Bus station around Osh Bazar.
Bishkek to Karakol
Buses generally take 8-10 hours for 180 som.Marshrutkas take 6-7 hours for 200 som.Taxis take 5-6 hours for 350 som.Times can greatly vary depending on the condition of the vehicle. I heard of one poor guy from Spain that paid for a taxi that had to stop every few kilos to do something to the engine.....got to Karakol in 8 hours!
Flying in Kyrgyzstan
I used Altyn Air to fly to Jalal-Abad and Osh, but domestic flights are also offered by Kyrgyzstan Airlines. Since the flights are not too long and those old, little planes probably can't fly too high (even if they wanted to), you can have some of the most beautiful views down to the beautiful mountain ranges.
Flying in Kyrgyzstan
When traveling around in Kyrgyzstan, keep in mind that roads are awful and thus, traveling between different cities can be a long and painful process. And I am not saying that because I don't love to travel by car. In the contrary, I love roadtrips, but some of those drives in Kyrgyzstan were even a bit too much for me. Another options is flying - you can get a *fun* experience by flying old Russian airplanes that (at least a few I saw) were handpainted blue inside. Even the seat numbers were handpainted!! I don't think I had seen anything like that ever since I was in Haiti some years ago.
What about a donkey ride.Kyrgyz people are super horse riders and they learn riding at very early age. But young children who cannot handle horse, learn riding from donkeys. Even if you dont know how to ride horse, it is not a bad idea of hiring a donkey.
Details about visas etc. from Russia to Kyrgyzstan
Just want to share some practical notes if you - like me - want to travel by train from Moscow to Kyrgyzstan! about the visas:I brought only the Kazak & Russian from home. As I said, I arranged the invitation letters through agencies on the internet. I received them by fax.For Russia, I used G&R International, very reliable, and payed by Credit Card: http://www.hostels.ru/visa/For Kazakstan, I forgot the name, but it should be easy to find a proper agenythat supports you for about $25. I paid this one cash after arrival (they had to do police registration as well).If you don't stay in Kazakstan, you may take a transit visa, no invitation letter needed. But, it's a bit of a risk since it's valid only for 3days and moreover the date of entry is fixed! In this case you need to obtain a Kyrgyz visa in advance becasue you probably have no time to make it in Almaty..To be honest, I used a...
Into the mountains
Heading up to the mountains around Jalalabad is not for the faint hearted. This old clacker was absolutely jammed to the rafters with people and produce for over 3 hours. The cost came to aound 1 dollar from memory which I think makes it a good deal. A second class ride is better than a first class walk.
When you are with a group I...
When you are with a group I can recommend the way we traveled through this country. It's not very comfortable, but these trucks will bring you everywhere. By traveling with a local crew there is a spontaneous contact.
Top 3 Hotels in Kyrgyzstan
Hotel Dostuk Bishkek
1 Review and 22 Opinions The hotel has preserved a lot of its Soviet heritage but it is all functional but clearly overpriced...
Hotels in Bishkek
Reviews and photos of Kyrgyzstan transportation posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Kyrgyzstan sightseeing.