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Overlanding 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.

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.

Our GPS trace by 4x4 and motorcycle

Practical information to plan your trip

SPOKEN Languages

–         Russian

–         Kyrgyz

–         English is rarely spoken

Tip: have a small lexicon with you

VISA

No visa required if staying less than 60 days

flight tickets

€ 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

4x4 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 4×4 & motorbike + 3 days horse (May 2017)

PriceDayGroup TotalIndiv Total
4×4 Rental (Toyota Land Cruiser) 70 € /day9                   630 €                   105 €
Moto Rental (BMW 750) 85 € /day9                   765 €                   128 €
Horse trekking (horse man, guide, accommodation & food)170 € /day3                   510 €                     85 €
Accommodation in hotel (Bishkek & Kochkor towns)36 € /day2                     72 €                     12 €
Accommodation in Yurt12 € /day1                     12 €                       2 €
Food25 € /day15                   375 €                     63 €
Fuel25 € /day9                   405 €                     68 €
Vehicle repairs120 €                   120 €                     20 €
Air tickets400 €                2 400 €                   400 €
Others (camping equipment, taxi)150 €                   150 €                     25 €
Border Pass25 €                   150 €                     25 €
TOTAL          5 289,00 €             931,50 €/pers

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