Kyrgyzstan cycling guide by Jan de Groot

*All the information below was once contained on the CBT website, which is where we saved it from. We found out recently that this page has disappeared from the CBT site, or at least we can’t find any trace of it. We tried to contact Jan but without success. We don’t want this valuable information to disappear so we are posting it here. If the author is out there and objects to this page being here, or if anyone can provide us with an updated link, please get in touch.*

By Jan de Groot

1. General information

1.1 Guide books

1.2 Maps

1.3 Information and travel agencies

1.4 Seasons

1.5 Safety

1.6 Visa and extensions

1.7 Crossing borders

1.8 Transport in the country

1.9 Accommodation

1.10 Food

1.11 Bicycle repair and hire

1.12 Language

2. On the road

2.1 Road condition

2.2 Itineraries

2.2.1 Airport-Bishkek

2.2.2 Bishkek – Balykchy – Karakol – Kochkor

2.2.3 Son Kol

2.2.4 Kochkor – Suusamyr

2.2.5 Kochkor – Naryn – Kazarman – Jalal Abad

2.2.6 Naryn – Tash Rabat – Baetov

2.2.7 Suusamyr – Talas – Chatkal – Kerben -Tash Komur

2.2.8 Bishkek – Suusamyr -Tash Komur – Jalal Abad

2.2.9 Jalal Abad – Osh – Sary Tash – Tajikistan / China

2.2.10 Off the road

1 General information

1.1 Guide books

Odyssey : Kyrgyzstan, Rowan Stewart (isbn 962-217-675-5)

Lonely planet : Central Asia

Elmar : Reishandboek Uzbekistan en Kyrgyzstan (isbn 9-0389-068-11)

H. Barker : Russia and Central Asia by road (isbn 1-898323-61-5)

Cadogan Guides : Central Asia, The practical Handbook

1.2 Maps

Nelles Maps : Central Asia

Freytag & Berndt : Central Asia 1:1.750.000

Kyrgyz Cartographic Agency :

  • 1:200.000 area maps of the whole country, best maps for cycling
  • Bishkek city map
  • Kyrgyzstan 1:1.000.000

Address:Kieveskaya 107, Bishkek ph: 0312-212296.

[email protected]

1.3 Travel agencies

Novi Nomad Ap.10, 28 T.Moldo, Bishkek 720001. ph: 0312-622381
email: [email protected] ,
Hospitality Kyrgyzstan
(CBT-Sheperd’s Life)
Main office. 58 Gorkiy str,. ph: 0312-559331,540069
email: [email protected] ,
Kyrgyz concept 126 Chuy, Bishkek,720001 ph: 0312-666006
email: [email protected] ,
Horizon travel 27 Umetalieva, Bishkek 720017, ph: 0312-645147
email: [email protected] ,
1.4 Seasons

From October till May you will have snow on the passes, in June this will start to melt. May and June are in the valleys however a great time to be; everywhere a sea of flowers and nice temperatures. July and August are hot in the valleys but the passes will be clear and it is the best time to go to the “Jailoos” (summer pastures) and visit Tash Rabat, Saimaluu Tash and Lake Son Kul. In September it will start to get cold in the mountains, the herdsman will leave the jailoo. October will again be cold in the mountains and the first snow will fall. As in spring, the valleys are still lovely warm, although you might have rainy days.

1.5 Safety

In Bishkek you get sometimes hassled by policemen, official or not. If they ask your passport, show it, in 99% it is a routine control. If they ask you to show how much money you have, never do this. In case you are in trouble say that you want to phone the tourist police (ph……. ), and ask them to identity themselves. Usually the problem is then solved. Everywhere in the country it is safe to camp. Follow your feelings. If you do not feel good about sleeping alone, ask people if you can camp in their meadow, yard or near their yurt.

A nuisance in whole Kyrgyzstan can be drunken people at any time of the day. Get out of their way, or just be friendly and try to move on.

At some places there are control posts on the road. This can be police, customs, ecological control etc. If they stop you, just show your passport. It is often just out of curiosity. Never give money or gifts.

Legal Assistance to Foreign Citizens Centre: (0312) 285538, Bishkek

1.6 Visas & extension

Visas are necessary. You can obtain a one month visa from the embassies ( Brussels ) or upon arrival at Manas airport. Extensions are easily to get at the OVIR in every big city. It is no longer compulsory to register within 3 days at the OVIR for nationals of most Western countries. If you doubt whether you need registration, just pass by at OVIR (Bishkek: Kievskaya 58). When entering the country overland ask for an entry stamp. If they do not have any, go in the next big town to the OVIR and ask one there. It will save you from a lot of hassle leaving the country.

The 72 hour transit visa for Central Asian countries (have a Kyrgyz visa and you could transit Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan without a visa) does not exist any more.

A special border permit is necessary if you want to cycle off road, near the Chinese and Tajik border. You can get this permit at OVIR (Bishkek-Osh) or sometimes at a special border detachment (Karakol). Ask a travel agency for latest information and even better ask them to do this for you. If you are planning to cross the border to China via Irkeshtam your Chinese visa is sufficient and an additional border permit is not necessary.

Trekking permits can be bought on the spot at the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, 17 Togolok Moldo 220657/212843. Trekking permits are necessary for Engilchek and Pik Lenin.

1.7 Crossing borders

Uzbekistan Usually no problem, but insist on an entry stamp entering Kyrgyzstan . Entering in Uzbekistan insists on filling in a custom declaration form.
Tajikistan The border crossing from Chong Alai to the Gharm valley is closed for foreigners, others then Tajik and Kyrgyz. People were turned back here. Other border crossings, Kyzyl Art Pass and Isfana are open.
Kazakhstan No problem
China For Torugart a lot of hassle and money. On the Kyrgyz side you need a special border permit. On the Chinese side you should have already arranged in Kyrgyzstan a guide and transport to Kashkar. Better to cycle via Osh – Sary Tash – Irkeshtam to Kashgar. Here no border permits, no hassle, only a valid Chinese visa.

1.8 Transport in the country

  • Air

Manas airport is now a modern airport with all facilities. Daily flights (2-3) to Osh , Jalal Abad (in summer every day in winter twice a week) and Batken (recently started, once a week). To Osh 40$ one way. If the plane is big enough (Yak 40 too small, but Antanov no problem) you can take your bicycle. You are allowed to take 15 kilo. For every additional kilo you pay 0,20 $.

  • Train

Trains from Bishkek to Balykchy. Scenic but better to cycle. No other train-connections except to Moscow .

  • Bus

Long distance buses: Bishkek-Karakol, Karokul-Osh, Osh-Kashgar (China) are good and take bicycles. All other buses old and slow but usually take bicycles on the roof.

  • Taxi and marshrutka (minibus):

Little bit more expensive, faster but often no place for bicycles. If you like to travel fast, hire a whole taxi with a roof rack or a big luggage compartment. (0,20-0,25$ per km)

1.9 Accommodation

Cycling in Kyrgyzstan means that you have to be self supporting. There’s no guarantee that you will find accommodation in hotels or home stays every night and some times you might not find food or a place to eat. This absolutely counts if you cycle off the beaten tracks. Several travel agencies organize bicycle tours. You cycle, they carry your gear and organize food and accommodation in tents.

  • No camping sites but you can camp everywhere; Kyrgyz are nomads and also live in tents.
  • CBT (community based tourism) has in the main cities offices and members where you can find accommodation and food at private houses(8$-11$ B&B). At some places (SonKul, Tash Rabat, around Kochkor) accommodation in yurts.
  • Hotels, almost every town has his old Intourist hotel (3$-20$). Can be cheap but sometimes they still charge you foreigner prices. Usually rundown, straight forward, soviet style accommodation and service.
  • Some private hotels exist. They are usually better but also more expensive (15$-80$).
1.10 Food

  • Restaurants: In the bigger cities more and more western style restaurants (meal 3$-12$). Outside Bishkek usually traditional Uzbek / Uygur / Dungan or Kyrgyz menu (2$-5$)
  • Stolovayas; canteen style places where the locals fill up with food and vodka. Cheaper then the restaurants with all the same menu and formica interior. Found all over the country (1$-2$). Mostly they serve only during lunch and dinner time.
  • Bazaars in almost every big or medium sized town. You will find all things you need for cooking yourself. People will sell snacks and there are usually some canteens with basic menu.
  • Shops and small kiosks in every town and sometimes along the road. Basic items like macaroni, tinned fish, cookies, oil, sweets, mineral water, cigarettes and vodka. Usually no vegetables or fruit. Bread you’ll only find in the larger centers, in the villages every household bakes its own bread.
  • Yurts. Usually you can buy bread, cream, yoghurt kumis (horse milk) and dried cheese from the people at yurts.
  • Water from the taps in the villages or from mountain streams. Use iodine, filter, or other purifying method if you do not trust it. Shops often sell bottled mineral water.

1.11 Bicycles, repair and hire

  • I ride a tour bike. Most people prefer a mountain bike as it is not all is asphalt you will be riding on.
  • CBT-Bishkek has two good quality mountain bikes bicycles for rent. Mainly for use in Bishkek.
  • You can only find Chinese quality spare parts in shops and bazaars.
  • Oleg Yuganov runs the “Bike Master’. The only person in town who has some exclusive spare parts and repairs bicycles. Bishkek, 14a Serova St., ph 0312-670974
1.12 Language

Learn some Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet (at least useful to read maps). Very few people speak English. Outside the Chuy valley, people speak more and more only Kyrgyz. Usually communication is no problem, people are friendly and willing to help.

2 On the road

Road condition

Kyrgyzstan gives you open spaces, high passes, beautiful lakes, beaches, high pasture mountains and desert like landscapes, all connected through roads constructed in Soviet time. As Kyrgyzstan was the main supplier of sheep meat for the Soviet Union the pastures were heavily used in summer and a myriad of roads connect them with the valleys and cities, ideal for cycling.

The main roads are, although mostly rough for cars, good for cycling. The main part of the Bishkek-Osh road has been repaired and is in perfect condition. The stretches Tash Komur – Jalal Abad and Usgen-Osh are still under repair in 2005. Most of the roads especially in the mountains and to the jailoos are unpaved, but good for cycling

Apart from the Bishkek-Balykchy road the traffic is not heavy, sometimes non existing. Traffic rules do exist but are not observed. A car has always right of way, a driving license is bought, which says enough. On the main roads people tend to drive too fast, especially in the evenings and at night be careful. Better to stop before sunset. At night there are no street lights. Manhole lids can disappear overnight. Use (excessive) of alcohol does not prevent somebody from driving. Signposts are almost none existing and if there are, they are 99% in Cyrillic.

Although this all sounds as rather dangerous, I feel safe and most drivers take care of cyclists.

2.2 Itineraries


C Accommodation with private people. CBT information office.
L Accommodation with private people (ask taxi drivers, at the bazaar or shop)
H Anything from private hotel to old Intourist style hotel
B Bazaar
R Restaurant
St Canteen or place with basic food.
Sh Shop or road side stalls
I Information office

Take into account that in Kyrgyzstan restaurants and accommodation are mushrooming. On the other hand, others close. The distances and altitudes when mentioned are always plus/minus but mostly accurate.

Connecting the different itineraries, you can make the following round trips.

Bishkek-Talas-Jalal Abad-Naryn-Bishkek
Many high passes, desolate at places and need to be self supporting, 60% rough road.
Mountain and high altitude plains, canyons and jailoo. Fergana valley with nice bazaars, cotton fields and Uzbek communities.
Bishkek-Talas-Tash Komur-Bishkek
Desolate at places, need to be self supporting, 40% rough road.
Mountain and high altitude plains, canyons, jailoo.
Mainly flat, good beaches, can stay at hotels, or private homes in most villages. All asphalt.
Semi desert, plains, beaches, valleys, agriculture.
Two high passes, 30% rough road, need to be self supporting
Agriculture, high altitude plains, jailoo, valley and gorges.

2.2.1 Airport-Bishkek

A nice, broad, flat road brings you in 30km to the centre of Bishkek.

2.2.2 Bishkek- Balykchy-Karakol-Kochkor

General information

  • From Bishkek you can follow the northern road along the Kazak border to a point some 10km past Tokmok or the southern more direct road. The northern road is broad and quiet but longer and cars drive faster. The southern road has much more traffic, goes through villages with plenty of places to eat and, in Tokmok, accommodation. 8Km past Kemin you can take another parallel road for some 40km (on your left) before it joins the main road again in the gorge. This road, which is compulsory for trucks, is a bit quieter.
  • Some 25km before Balykchy there is a short cut to Kochkor. The road to Kochkor(40km) crosses a pass (2170m) after which you join the Balykchy-Kochkor road near the “OrtoTokoy” reservoir.
  • The Northern part of the lake gets more water and is greener. The southern road goes through dry country and follows at places the shore line. Plenty of places to swim. In all villages at least shops with basic items.
  • In July and August many Bishkek inhabitants go to Issyk Kul for the weekend. Lot of too fast driving cars on the road on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • All asphalt
dist km on the road to …. landmarks alt food and lodging in the landmarks

Bishkek 683 I,B,H,R,St,Sh
80 80 Busy. Road stalls and restaurants in many places. In summer, plenty of fruit and vegetable stalls. Tokmok 980 B,H,St,Sh
72 152 Just before the gorge at Dzil Aruk and at Kemin, restaurants. In the gorge narrow road. Turn off Kochkor 1570 R,St
23 175 Beautiful but narrow, road through the gorge before you come to the semi desert around Balykchy. Balykchy 1615 H,St,Sh,B
84 259 In summer in every village around the lake accommodation at private people’s homes. In Tamchy (221km) CBT. All villages have small shops. Many ‘pensionats’ for beach lovers. Usually they are booked. Flat road along the lake. Cholpon Ata 1630 H,St,Sh,L,B,I
53 312 Flat road along the lake. Sh Ananeva 1650 Sh,St,B,L
86 398 Some up and downs. Sh Karakol C,Sh,St,H,R,B,I
80 478 Road close to the lake, dry landscape. Sh, St. From Barskoon good dirt road into the mountains to the Kumtor mines. See ‘Off Road’. Barskoon St,Sh,B,L
53 531 Some up and downs. Bokonbaev 1780 St,Sh,B
74 605 5km past Ottyk Turnoff Kochkor 1650
45 650 Centre from where people visit the jailoos and main access to Son Kul Lake . CBT info-centre. Kochkor 1810 C,Sh,St,R,B,H,I

2.2.3 Son Kul

Son Kul is a high mountain lake (3000m). From June to September herdsman live in yurts around the lake. Horses, sheep, cows are happily running around. It is a small paradise but at this altitude climate changes rapidly and at night it is always cold. Take in mind that it is a big climb over passes of around 3100m and there is really not a lot of air up there. There is a dirt road around the lake. All roads to the lake are rough but no problem with a bike. No accommodation or food on the roads to the lake. At the lake CBT , ‘Shepherd life’ and other agencies offer accommodation in yurts. It is a terrific place for cycling but …. the weather! You can get food in the yurts, but there are no shops! It is becoming popular amongst tourists, which is reflected in the prices. At the CBT office in Kochkor you can get tariff lists for everything (food, accommodation, guides, horse riding etc.)

There are four roads going up to the lake, all over high passes above 3100m.

From the east:

  • Turn off at Sari Bulak at the Kochkor-Naryn road. This is the most commonly used road. After a small pas you come into a beautiful valley, leading to the second pass.
  • Turn off at the Kumys stalls at the Kochkor-Naryn road. This point is past the Dolon pass. A beautiful road with lots of up and down and jailoo life, ending in a fantastic climb. Better to go down! As this is the driest side, the fishermen can use this road even in winter.

From the south:

  • Via Yangy Talap off the Naryn-Baetov road. Good road, first through some forest patches, with again a nice climb at the end.

From the north:

  • There is a road connecting the lake with the Kochkor-Chaek road. It is the least traveled. I did not ride here.

2.2.4 Kochkor-Suusamyr

General information

Apart from the Kyzart pass (2664m) this is a gradually up-down-up ride in a valley along a river. At the end you climb to Suusamyr. In the valley and gorges there will always be wind. Beautiful gorge-landscape with nice rock formations. From Chaek to Suusamyr desolate.

dist total on the road to…….

landmarks alt food and lodging
Kochkor 1810 C,Sh,St,R,B,I
123 123 In some villages people offer accommodation but count on camping. CBT-Kochkor will have latest information on accommodation. In all villages small shops. On the Kyzart Pass (2650), Kumys and fish. Chaek 1600 Sh,St
90 213 Few villages, sometimes basic supplies. Arriving at the Bishkek-Osh road you will find Kumys and food stalls. Some 10 km south towards the Ala Bel Pass in a truck stop called ‘ Paris ‘, the choice is bigger. Suusamyr, Bishkek-Osh road 2358 In Paris, St,Sh

2.2.5 Kochkor – Naryn – Kazarman – Jalal-Abad

General information

Kochkor-Naryn is apart from a few km close to the pass paved. If you do not want to visit Naryn you can ride via Jergetal, nice quiet short cut. From Naryn an asphalt road (till Baetov) follows first the Naryn River . From Baetov it is climbing on a rough dirt road to the Ak Kya pass. A nice down hill over a partly nice asphalt road brings you to Kazarman. To the Kaldaman pass it is a good dirt road with little traffic. In the Fergana Valley a nice asphalt road to Jalal Abad. The climbs to the passes are long and tiring. You should be self supporting. Same for the northern road to Kazarman which you can take from Ak Talaa. This road is desolater as most cars take the road via Baetov. I found the southern easier and the landscape more beautiful (mountain desert), the southern however is 80km longer.


total on the road to… landmarks alt food and lodging
Kochkor 1810 C,Sh,St,R,B,I
34 34 Climbing road along river Sari Bulak 2272 Sh,St
4 38 Turn off Son Kul 2330
62 100 Dolon pass 3033, Kumys.
Naryn 2097 C,H,Sh,ST,R,B
130 230 Flat road through broad valley, At Ak Talaa some roadside shops and canteens. From here you can turn right and follow the northern road, take all supplies Baetov 1900 R,St,B,H,Sh
105 335 Through desert landscape climbing to the jailoos around the pass. Do not count on a lot of food in the villages. Kumys however is in season everywhere for sale. Akkyya Pass 2932
61 394 Some 8km before Kazarman is the turn off to Jalal Abad. Kazarman 1300 C,St,B,Sh
64 458 A long climb to this windy pass. No food. Kaldama Pass 3062
94 552 From the pass a 94km down hill in the Fergana valley through patches of walnut-fruit forest. At Urum Bash the first small road stalls. In the Fergana valley plenty of small shops and yurts where you can drink Kumys and eat snacks. Jalal Abad 780 C,Sh,St,H,R,B

2.2.6 Naryn-Tash Rabat-Baetov

General information

You can cycle to Tash Rabat on the main Naryn-Torugart road, which is for the main part dirt road. From Ak Beyit you can take the road to Baetov. It is said to be a nice road, but I have not tested it myself.

2.2.7 Suusamyr- Talas- Chatkal-Kerben-Tash Kumor Komur

General information

From Talas over the pass and through Chatkal valley there is hardly any traffic. Chatkal valley is a rough place, rough roads and people, but has a beautiful canyon. The passes are hard on the knees. Chatkal valley is a remote and poor area.


total on the road to… landmarks alt

food and lodging
Suusamyr, turn of to Talas 2651 St
14 14 Dirt road. No food Pass Otmek 3324
23 37 Dirt road. No food Tadi Bulak 2000 Sh
31 68 Asphalt Aral 1600 Sh
40 108 Asphalt Talas 1200 Sh,R,St,H,C,B
105 213 From the turn off a dirt road. A lot of birdlife. The pass is very steep in the beginning. No food till Korgon Sai. Kara Buura 3300
135 348 In September there were still snow bridges over some streams in the high mountains. Canteens with very basic food down in the villages in the Chatkal valley. Mostly a stony, rough road. Janki Bazaar 1500 B,L,St,Sh
24 372 No food. Mostly dirt road. Pass 3450
64 436 Nice down hill. Mostly dirt road. Ala Buka 1329 H,St,Sh,B
39 475 New dirt road along the Uzbek boder. Much longer, but without a visa you cannot go through the enclave (and you’d need multi-entry for getting back into Kyrgyzstan ) Kerben 1300 H,St,Sh,B
62 537 This road winds along the Uzbek border. From the village of Kyzyl Dzjar , you can follow a small, quiet asphalt road to Tash Komur if you want to head back to Bishkek. It’s 26km winding, slightly up-and-down along hills with scattered pistachio groves before you reach the desolated factories on the outskirts of Tash Komur Shamaldy Say 530 H,St

2.2.8 Bishkek- Suusamyr-Tash Kumor-Jalal Abad

General information

The main connection from north to south Kyrgyzstan . Apart from some parts in the Fergana valley all good asphalt. Beautiful landscape with mountains and gorges. In summer everywhere yurts on the jailoos. Along the whole route stolovayas. Although there is little traffic, most of the (private) cars drive fast. The road is broad but in the gorges small and winding. Kyrgyz drivers tent to use the whole road taking a bend, be aware!

dist total on the road to….

landmarks alt food and lodging
Bishkek 710 I,B,H,R,St,Sh
94 94 At Petrovko take the short cut via Chong Aryk to Sosnovka instead of continuing to Kara Balta. B,R,St,Sh Barrier 1212 St,Sh
50 144 A long tiring climb to the tunnel, with many hairpin bends. Being a bit longer then 3km the narrow, mostly unlit tunnel is a bit of a scary experience. Tunnel guards rather like to put you on a lorry but until now cyclist managed to cycle through the tunnel. Necessary to have lights. Tunnel 3170
13 157 A nice down hill to the first Kumys stalls Turn off Chaek 2358 St
10 167 High altitude plain with yurts, road slowly climbing towards Ala Bel pass Paris 2266 St
44 211 Dirt road to Talas starts here Turn off to Talas 2651 St
12 223 Windy spot Ala Bel 3174
66 289 A long downhill to Toktogul Toktogul 995 St,Sh,H,B
27 316 Up and down Naryn river 929
70 386 Just before climbing to the pass nice swimming in the crystal clear lake. A nice gradual climb Pass 1400
38 424 Nice down hill. KaraKul 821 St,Sh,H,B
60 484 The road follows the dammed river and winds along the mountain site. Beautiful Tash Komur 596 St,Sh
67 551 From the gorge into the Fergana plain. In summer hot, dusty. Mainly cotton and corn in the fields. A small detour near Mayluu Suu, because Uzbekistan owns here a small valley. Kochkor Ata 493 St,Sh,H,B
65 616 More traffic and a last climb to a small pass just before you reach Jalal Abad. Jalalabad 780 C,Sh,St,H,R,B

2.2.9 Jalal Abad- Osh -Sari Tash-Tajikistan/China

Without an Uzbek visa and multiple enter visa for Kyrgyzstan , it is not possible to ride direct to Osh via Uzbekistan , you have to follow the detour via Usgen.

There is a direct road from Usgen to Gulcha as well as several short cuts. Direct road via Kara Gulcha to Gulcha is partly paved and near the pass (2490m) rough. In Kara Gulcha bazaar, shops and basic hotel.

If you want to skip Osh , go immediately left at the crossing, 2km before you enter Osh . On the road to Sari Tash little traffic. The last pass before Sari Tash is a killer. There are actually two passes: after the first one, the road goes slightly downhill for a few kilometers, to start climbing again to the second pass, slightly lower.

dist total on the road to……. landmark

alt food and lodging
Jalalabad 780 C,H,B,R,I,St,Sh
55 55 Asphalt, pass 1110m. S Usgen 1025 B,St,Sh,R
55 110 Under repair


Osh 970 C,H,B,R,St,Sh
80 190 Asphalt, near the pass (2375m) unpaved.


Gulcha 1595 H,B,Sh,St

Past the big roundabout in Gulcha, after 100m on the left good restaurant.

104 294 Asphalt, near the pass (3615m) unpaved. St Sari Tash 3173 L,B,St,Sh
79 373 Slowly climbing unpaved road through beautiful jailoo. Border; closed 12.00/14.00 and on Sa+Su. Officially, in the mornings only traffic Kyrgyzstan-China and in the afternoons China-Kyrgyzstan. With bicycles you can manage through.

In Simhana H,R,St,Sh

Money can be changed in the shops.

Sari Tash- Border Irkeshtam


H,Sh just over the river 8km before the border. At the border a truck stop with very basic accommodation and food.
45 339 Asphalt/dirt road

Stolovaya just before the climb to the pass.

Kyrgyz border in the valley.

Tadjik border on the pass. No food.

Sari Tash- Border Tajikistan 4296 Karakul in Tajikistan first place with stolovaya and small home stay.

Very basic shop.

2.2.10 Off the road

Most normal roads in Kyrgyzstan are ‘off road’ enough for me. However…

  • From Naryn you can ride on a good dirt road via Eki Naryn to the Kichi Naryn valley. The dirt road continues via the Tosor pas 3800m to Torsor on the south side of Lake Issyk Kul. When we were once walking there we saw Lada Nivas on this road and to me cycling, for the fit once, does not seem a problem.
  • An other possibility from the Kichi Naryn valley is to continue and cross the Kerese Tash (3680m) and end up on the Barskoon-Kumtor road. I personally think you can better walk here but some Russians we met seemed to enjoy it.
  • The third possibility is to take from the Kichi Naryn the valley going up to the Ara Bel (3890m) pass. This road also leads to the Barskoon-Kumtor road. Cyclist I spoke told me that apart from some river crossing it was great cycling. They rode up the Kumtor road and rode down to Naryn.

Stories go that you can ride from Engilchek, along the Chinese border to the Suek pass and on to the Barskoon-Kumtor road or even continue to Chatyr Kul. I met nobody who actually did it. If you want to try, get a border permit.


  1. Robin
    20th March 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Compliments for your great site!!!

    I would like to rent a touring bicycle in Bishkek and would appreciate if you maybe have some inf’s. I think to cycle only 12days and would have to pay more than 200EUR for transporting my bike on the plane.

    Kind regards from Slovenia, Robin

  2. Norman
    5th May 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Hi, really compliments the information given on this site. I have a question. To go from Naryn Osh, bike course, which path do you recommend?
    I was thinking something like this:

    Thanks for the info

    • Jack
      9th May 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      Hey Norman, I was thinking of doing a very similar trip, except I was going to start in Bishkek and head towards Naryn, to Osh (same path as you up to this point) then do the Pamir Highway to Dushnabe. Anyways, what are you thinking about for a bike? I was considering trying to buy one there, IDK if that is possible, but it is expensive to ship one over. Thanks, Jack

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