The Manas airport in Bishkek is Kyrgyzstan’s major hub, although Osh Airport is becoming more well connected with excellent airline options. Both airports offer frequent flights to Istanbul and Moscow, which serve as international hubs. There are also numerous flights each week to regional centers like as Tashkent and Ürümqi, as well as a weekly service to Dubai. Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, are both a 5-hour drive from the border.
Trains to Bishkek leave a few times a week from Moscow (Kazanskaia station) and go via Kazakhstan (3714 kilometers, more than 3 days) (Kazakh transit visa is required for most of non-CIS nationals). Poezda.net and rzd.ru provide further information (the second one available only in Russian and contains current ticket prices which were about 100EUR in 2008 for “plackartniy” class). Carrying portable stove fuel cans on the train is prohibited.
Driving in Kyrgyzstan is hazardous by Western standards. The government, on the other hand, has spent a lot of money rebuilding a core network of roads that can now compete with motorways in many Western countries. The main roadway between Bishkek and Osh is an engineering wonder that winds its way across the hilly terrain. In addition, the highway from Osh to the Chinese border at Irkeshtam, as well as the highway from the hamlet of Sary Tash to the Tajikistan border, is being rebuilt to international standards in phases. Many additional roadways are being repaired as well, when money allows. In addition, when finances become available, the maintenance roads that feed into the core network are being upgraded. In the same way, maintenance is being privatized on a trial basis. This is not to imply that driving is simple in the Republic. However, progress is being achieved despite the restricted fiscal resources.
Locals in cities and surrounding regions have become used to missing road drain covers, dry dusty roads (where water tankers sometimes spray water to keep dust down), and overall poor, poorly maintained roads.
It will almost certainly cost you money if you are stopped by the police.
The route from Almaty to Bishkek is the busiest in Kazakhstan. It’s possible that crossing the border at Kegen will be more difficult. Smuggling is common and apparent along this border, and it’s clear that immigration and border officers are in collusion with the smugglers. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival in Kyrgyzstan, therefore if you are traveling from Kazakhstan, make sure you have at least a double-entry/multiple-entry visa for Kazakhstan in case of problems with Kyrgyz border authorities.
Keep an eye out for minibuses pulling away as well.
- From Almaty, Kazakhstan, it takes 5 hours to go to Bishkek, while from Taraz, it takes 5 hours.
- The route from Uzbekistan to Bishkek passes via Kazakhstan and takes more than 10 hours to travel, as does the way from Osh in the south.
- The route from Tajikistan to Osh runs from Khudjant (Tadjikistan) and continues via Batken (Kyrgyzstan) to Osh. This is one of the most challenging roads to navigate. The major road passes through the Uzbek enclaves, although there is also a route that bypasses them. If you’re taking a cab, tell the driver to take the long way around Uzbekistan. From Khorog to Osh, there is also a road.
- There are two passes from China: Irkeshtam, which leads to Osh, and Torugart, which leads to Naryn.
Many Bishkek bus terminals, notably Almatenskaya Station, provide minibuses between Bishkek and Almaty. Between Osh to Kashgar, there is also a bus service.