Kyrgyzstan 2014

overland kyrgyzstan


  • Days: 24 days
  • Period: July 2014
  • Weather:  Bishkek was quite hot, but because of the altitude most places ware nice and warm. Lake Issyk Kul you could even swim. In the mountains south of Lake Issyk Kul it is often cloudy in the afternoon and on most days we had some rain there although not extensively. 


General information:

  • Currency: Kyrgyz Som

  • Internet: available in many restaurants in Bishkek. In the rest of the country you are also able to find internet in hotels or restaurants.

  • ATM's: We found atm's for Visa in every town or village

  • Creditcards: Are accepted in the larger hotels, supermarkts and restaurants. Fuel we always paid cash.

  • Safety: Kyrgyzstan is very safe. Except for Bishkek we bushcamped every night and had no problems.


Prices (june 2014)

  • Value Money: €1 = 71 Som / 1$ = 50 som 

  • Fuel: diesel is around 44,30 Som per liter (about  € 0,62 per liter)

  • Camping: We only paid for camping in Bishkek which was $ 11 per night for two persons and a car. All other nights we camped in the wild. 

  • Other: We had to pay toll twice and the price for a foreign vehicle is 10 times the price for a local vehicle.



  • No visa was needed for the Dutch. (most nationalities do not need a visa). On entry we just got a stamp that allowed us to stay for 60 days. This period may vary from border to border. Getting the stamp at the border was for free. Be careful however with the customs declaration. The period your car can stay might be shorter than your visa period. The first time we entered there was no custom control so also no limit, but the second time the customs gave us only a 10 days stamp on our custom declaration. For us this was more than enough, but if you want to stay longer you might have to ask for it.


Border crossing

  • Entry: At Kyzyl Art pass (coming Tajikistan). This border is very easy going. On this border we were given no custom declaration and there was also no searching of the car. They only stamped our passports. After decending from the pass and leaving the border of Tajikistan it is half an hour drive (30 km) to the borderpost of Kyrgyzstan. As the road was very bad it looked like it took forever but do not worry. When you reach the valley you will see the border. No costs at this border. Transit time just 10 minutes.

  • Exit: At Bishkek (going to Kazakhstan). This border is ofter very crowded. As there was a large que and the only allow a couple of cars in each time we had to wait half an hour before we could enter the border zone. Once there all formalities were very quick. Here nobody asked for the custom declaration form. No costs at this border. 

  • Entry & Exit: At Karkara valley (coming from and going to Kazakhstan). We crossed this border twice and all went quite efficient. On this border the do make the custom declaration from and when they make it, be sure to ask for the same periode as your visa. Or at least for the time you whish to stay. Otherwise they might give a shorter period of time. When leaving at this border they ask for this form also. Here they also took a quick look in the car. No costs at this border.    



  • From border Tajikistan - to checkpoint on Kyrgyz side: The mountain road decending from the pass is off-road (first 30 km) and can be very bad muddy and slippery when wet. 

  • From Sary Tasch - to Sary Mogul: New tarmac

  • Road to Arslanbob: Not the newest tarmac but OK.
  • From Bazar Kurgan to Bishkek: Tarmac
  • From Bishkek - Balykchy: 4-lane highway, new tarmac
  • Issyk Kul north side: Tarmac mostly in good condition
  • Issyk Kul south side: Tarmac, but sometimes damaged and very bumpy
  • Karkara valley from border with Kazakhstan - to Karakol: from the border the first 40 km is offroad (gravel), after this there is new tarmac
  • Barskoon gorge: Tarmac
  • Jeti Oguz gorge: Tarmac till the gorge. From there into the gorge is offroad


Fees for Toll roads, briges, tunnels and ferries

  • Naryn Canyon: They initially asked for 10 USD. As locals only pay 50 som we refused and in the end paid 5 USD. This was the minimum. There is a rule that they have another rate for foreign vehicles and 10 USD is for a truck and 5 USD for a smaller vehicle.  

  • On the way to Bishkek: after Naryn Canyon (coming from Osh) and on the way to Bishkek you have to pay toll a second time. Here the same rule applies as for the Naryn Canyon (see above). We again had to pay 5 USD (or 260 som).


Highlights or not

  • Osh: good place to fill up and it has a nice bazaar

  • Arslandbob: We book a  tour at the CBT with a local jeep to see the walnut forrest, panorama and the waterfall. Although not very special we did like the trip. Price 1500 som for the car and drive (we only went with the two of us). Entry to the waterfall is 10 som per person.
  • Issyk Kul: Nice lake where we spent quite some time. In the middle of the summer you can swim in it. As for the landscapes, the south side is more beautiful but here wildcamping on the shore is much harder. On the north side there are many places to camp on the shore.
  • Karakol animal market: every Sunday morning. It starts very early (around 5am) and stops at around 10am so be there on time. The market is a spectacle although it might be hard to see how some animals are treated. 
  • Jeti Oguz gorge: very beautiful gorge, definitely worth visiting
  • Barskoon gorge: Looks like the Alps in summer. We stopped at the waterfall and camped there. Nice spot.



  • The police is corrupt so stick to the rules (do not speed, have your seat belts on and have you lights on) and you will have no trouble. Just give them no reason to stop you. If they do stop you they might try to rip you off. In that case bargain. The stopped us a few times but we paid never more than 500 som and mostly they would also settle for 250 som. 

  • It is rule to have you head lights on when driving outside the city and the police is very keen on this. Within the city limits you may turn them off again. This is rule for the whole country.




Grid: Lat/Lon hddd°mm.mmm"

KG-ANIMAL - N42°30.558 E78°22.839
Animal market in Karakol. Starts at 6 in the morning. The stop early. Do not go later than 10 a.m.

KG-ATM - N42°29.651 E78°23.851
Visa ATM in Karakol

KG-BAKERY1 - N40°31.672 E72°47.705
Luxury bakery in Osh

KG-BANDEN - N42°52.504 E74°31.683
Shop for BF Goodrich tires

KG-CAMP01 - N39°40.423 E72°53.097
Camping in the garden of the CBT in Sary Moghul. Nice quiet spot with a great view. Price was 200 som for parking and 50 som per person for shower. Diner and breakfast are available here but expensive.

KG-CAMP02 - N40°31.653 E72°46.810
Bushcamp on parking near Solomon's throne in Osh. Parking is guarded but no facilities.

KG-CAMP03 - N41°21.220 E72°55.585
Old Russian holiday park and very busy with locals. Old and dirty, but convenient if you want to hike. Very dirty toilets and old showers. Do not go here unless you want to hang out with locals. People are nice.

KG-CAMP04 - N41°23.727 E72°13.863
Bushcamp in a small village between Osh and Bishkek. Quiet spot with a nice family next door. We could use their water and got a bucket full with apricots.

KG-CAMP05 - N42°53.307 E74°37.759
250 Som per person and 50 som for parking (fits max. 3 cars). Good shower and toilet, wifi and a outdoor kitchen. A travelers hang out and one of the best overland spots in Central Asia.

KG-CAMP06 - N42°27.944 E76°14.754
Bushcamp at Lake Issyk Kul. Quiet spot. Official you should pay 50 som entry fee. No facilities

KG-CAMP07 - N42°30.781 E76°35.889
Nice quiet spot at Lake Issyk Kul surrounded by horses. No facilities.

KG-CAMP08 - N42°38.133 E77°05.371
Nice hotel resort at the lake. Price 2400 Som per night for a room with airco, wifi and breakfast

KG-CAMP09 - N42°35.479 E78°11.271
Our favourite spot at lake Issyk Kul. Stayed here a few days. No facilities

KG-CAMP10 - N42°23.908 E78°13.205
Bushcamp on the route

KG-CAMP11 - N42°19.206 E78°15.024
Bushcamp in gorge next to a river. Beautiful spot. No facilities

KG-CAMP12 - N42°15.675 E77°44.715
Bushcamp spot at the lake on the south side.

KG-CAMP13 - N42°00.523 E77°36.862
Bushcamp in the gorge near a waterfall and yurt camp. Good spot and a nice walk to the waterfall

KG-CBT - N42°29.680 E78°23.600
CBT office in Karakol, good tourist information. Booking office for tours

KG-CHURCH - N42°29.374 E78°23.656
Holy trinity church in Karakol

KG-EMBASSY - N42°50.046 E74°35.101
Embassy of Kazakhstan in Bishkek

KG-FACTORY - N42°09.640 E77°36.257
Yurt factory in Barskoon. All is handmade. You can visit this place. Was interesting.

KG-IMMIGRA - N39°30.462 E73°16.119
Immigration office

KG-INSURAN - N42°52.156 E74°36.431
Jubilee car insurance

KG-JUNCT01 - N42°35.479 E78°11.271
Junction to one of the best bushcamp spots on lake Issyk Kul

KG-LAUNDRY - N42°29.441 E78°24.415
Teskey Guesthouse in Karakol. They do laundry here.

KG-LUCHT - N40°31.614 E72°47.096
Osh, place where we had our airfilter cleaned with air.

KG-MALL - N42°51.413 E74°37.146
Good mall. We liked Restaurant Siera here (has wifi)

KG-MARKET1 - N40°31.709 E72°48.363
Market in Osh

KG-MOSQUE - N42°29.821 E78°23.483
Dungan mosque in Karakol

KG-OIL - N40°32.071 E72°48.534
Oil and grease of axels in Osh

KG-OUTDOOR - N42°51.389 E74°37.264
Marco Polo outdoor shop

KG-REST - N42°29.430 E78°23.525
Good restaurant with wifi, ATM opposite of the road

KG-SHOP - N42°52.531 E74°36.830
Zum shopping center in Bishkek. Many shops for cellphone repairs

KG-TAND - N42°52.739 E74°35.388
Kairos Dental clinic, very good

KG-TIRE1 - N40°31.640 E72°47.263
Good tire shop in Osh