or Bishkek – Osh by car
It happended to be that I had only ONE free (but not really 🙂 day in Kyrgyzstan, since the rest was blocked by doing work. And during that day we had to cover the distance of almost 800 km from Bishkek, the capital of the country, to Osh, the regional centre in the Fergana Valley in the east.
What I thought would be a proper mayhem, turned out to be the most spectacular ride I have ever done in my life. I have totally fallen in love with the landscapes on the way. I am going to let the pictures speak better for me.
– shared taxi costs Osh is 7000 Som (at this point ca. 120 EUR)
– drivers hang around the bus station in Bishkek, go there to make a deal. Surely, it can also be arranged through a hotel, although most probably for a surcharge.
– our taxi for 7000 Som had 5 places or 7 places if you are on a really tough budget.
– about 11 hours including two meals, toilet and various sightseeing stops on the way.
– most drivers are not officially working as such, so be choosy and try to find the person you like.
There are actually quite a few things to consider before you take off. If you are doing it in the same season as us, i.e. in April, make sure you start quite early (we started at 8 am), since it allows you to cross the passes before they block them due to the danger of avalanches. The sun, which becomes really strong during the day, melts the snow and the results are seen in quite a few deaths, especially of cargo truck drivers. The same goes to the land slides resulting from the snow melting or from a heavy rainfall. Almost a half-way through we were observing land masses ready to slide, perhaps resulting from natural deterioration but my guess – from heavy land use as feeding grounds and hence deforestation, etc.
The roads in Kyrgyzstan as well as pretty much the rest of infrastructure, as mentioned by our companion, are all either from the Soviet times or recently built with some heavy donations from foreign NGOs. Therefore, driving safely and not driving fast should be the top priority.
My food recommendation for the way – cafe “Halal” with extremely tasty pelmenis and some fish for the stretch after Karakol.