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Road-Trip in Kyrgyzstan – travel maps & tips

Why travel to Kyrgyzstan ?

With 90% of its territory covered by mountains, Kyrgyzstan is a country where the landscapes are surprisingly varied: green and flowery steppes, wooded valleys, canyons, lakes and snowy mounts.

Kyrgyz people hospitality is unforgettable. Their yurts’ door is always open to you and they’re always willing to share some heat, a cup of tea, hot bread or a bowl of vodka… despite the language barrier (main spoken languages there are Kyrgyz and Russian)!

Given the topography of the country, the use of 4×4 is essential: stony tracks, rivers to cross, snowy passes… Nevertheless, these are the same tracks that will allow you to access beautiful, rarely visited areas and locals for whom you will be a curiosity. It is also possible to do horse trekking, which is a funny way to experience nomadic life in the mountains.

The route shown on the map below is the one we have travelled during 9 days by 4×4 (Toyota Prado) and motorcycle (BMW 750). We just improvised day after day, according to the weather, the road conditions and the advice of the locals we met along the way. We then spent 3 days doing horse trekking in the Song-Kul Lake area.

La vue magnifique depuis le col de Tossor au Kirghizistan
cheval Kirghizistan step 2 enfants dessus
Piste vers Kol Su toyota Explore Kirghi
Piste vers Kol Su toyota Explore Kirghi

Our itinerary for a two-week trip in Kyrgyzstan

To plan your route, we recommend you to buy a map (the GIZI map KYRGYZSTAN is perfect for this) and to get a functional GPS. Main roads are very good but not numerous. You will soon come across uncertain conditions for driving (because of river flooding, landslides, closed passes). Once there, contact the CBT (Community Based Tourism Association) to find out what’s the condition of these roads. Access to the southern region of the country, bordering China, requires a special permit. You can get it in any tourism agency for a 30 dollars fee in 48h.

Carte Kirghizistan : trace GPS 4x4 et moto off road spot bivouac treck à cheval coup de coeur

Our GPS trace by 4×4 and motorcycle

Practical information to plan your trip

Spoken Languages

– Russian

– Kyrgyz

– English is rarely spoken

Tip: have a small glossary with you

VISA

No visa required if staying less than 60 days

flight tickets

From Paris : € 300 – 400 round trip

Best season: Spring for the green plains and transhumance. Watch out howether for possible river floods.

Cost of living

– Local currency: 1 euro = 79 soms

– Food: €2 – 3 for a meal at the restaurant

– Homestay (Yurt): 2 – 5€/pers with breakfast

– Wild camping allowed throughout the country

– Fuel: €0.6/L (0.26 gallon)

– Vodka: € 2 a bottle of 1L

4×4 rental

– Price: 70 – 90€/day

– Vehicle: Toyota Prado

Bring a map of the country and check road conditions (contact CBTs)

moto rental

– Price: 85€/day (negotiated for more than 10 days long trip)

– Motorcycle: BMW 750

Warning: there are very few motorcycles and garages in the country. It’s better to book in advance and have good mechanics basics.

Our budget for a road-trip to Kyrgyzstan

Our budget for a group of 6 people – 9 days by 4×4 & motorbike + 3 day horse-riding (May 2017)

 PriceDaysGroup TotalIndiv Total
4×4 Rental (Toyota Land Cruiser) 75 € /day9675 €112.50 €
Moto Rental (BMW 750) 85 € /day9765 €128 €
Horse trekking (horse man, guide, accommodation & food)170 € /day3510 €85 €
Accommodation in hotel (Bishkek & Kochkor towns)36 € /day               272 €12 €
Accommodation in Yurt12 € /day           112 €2 €
Food25 € /day15375 €63 €
Fuel25 € /day9405 €68 €
Vehicle repairs120 €-120 €20 €
Flight tickets400 €-2 400 €400 €
Others (camping equipment, taxi)150 €-150 €25 €
Border Pass25 €-150 €25 €
TOTAL--5 334,00 €940,50 €/person

Our favorite places to explore

Tosor-Ashuu pass and Uch-Emchek valley

Snowy and rocky, we never thought we would make it through this pass (3893m) since the road was difficult, but the view from above remains our best memory. A valley of a thousand colors, where we came across hundreds of wild Yaks and horses. An incredible feeling of total change of scenery. We experienced some scares when crossing rivers in 4x4s and motorcycles, but we made it! You will find hot springs on the way… which are very appreciable.

La vue magnifique depuis le col de Tossor au Kirghizistan
cheval Kirghizistan step broutent herbe
Komgur Olong vallée Kirghizistan
enfant kirghizistan portrait

Komgur-Olong valley

After driving for several hours on a rocky and dry path, an immense valley shows up: a grandiose gradient of green crossed by dozens of streams. The steppe as we imagined it. We met several nomadic families there who invited us to drink vodka in the evening and then to have breakfast with them the next day. We tasted the bread, just out of the wood fire, the Mare’s milk cream and the homemade raspberry jam! A sweet memory…..

Song Kol lake

Although this lake is becoming (slightly) touristic, we were able there to enjoy the pleasure of horseback riding. We went out galloping and reached Song Kol lake, which melts with the sky there. A feeling of escape and freedom engraved in our memories! Our guide allowed us to swim in the lake with the horses. Do not hesitate to ask for it! We spent two nights in a yurt and had typical Kyrgyz meals served by families. A very nice escapade!

Baignade dans le lac Song Kul avec le dresseur et son cheval
Balade Song Kul à Cheval avec guide local
Itinéraire à cheval pour aller au Lac Kol Suu à cheval au Kirghizistan
lac turquoise Kol Suu au kirghizistan

Kol-Suu lake

A beautiful turquoise lake suspended at 3400m of altitude in the middle of steep rocks composed of several caves and cavities. It can be reached only on foot or horseback. A true gem!

We had a horseback ride and we negotiated the price with the nomads living there. We made a deal for about 10€/pers to hire two of them as guides.

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