Air Kyrgyzstan and AirManas connect Kyrgyzstan's major cities, with regular service between Bishkek and Osh as well as several weekly connections Osh–Tamchy (summer only), Bishkek–Batken and Bishkek–Jalal-Abad. Rumour has it that Karakol airport will recommence operation in 2018.


Kyrgyzstan is a popular country for long-distance cyclists, and many of the routes that are most difficult by car are perfect for intrepid bikers. Keep in mind that there are very few repair facilities outside of Bishkek that are familiar with upmarket cycles, so you'd do best to remain self-sufficient as much as possible.


No public transport routes in the country operate by boat.

Bus, Minibus & Shared Taxi

Only a handful of routes employ full-size buses, but shared taxis and minibuses – some timetabled but more often departing when full – wait for passengers at most bus stations. If you pay all four seats the latter will also act as private one-way taxis. Agency or CBT-arranged drivers generally cost around double since they must cover the probability of returning empty, but such options are still worth considering for complex routes with multiple or overnight stops, and you'll often get a better vehicle (not necessarily English-speaking drivers, though). Typical rates are between 14som and 18som per kilometre, plus an overnight fee between 500som to 1000som to cover the driver's expenses.

Car & Motorcycle

Self-drive car rental is a new concept, but there are two local agencies in Bishkek: Iron Horse Nomads and Kyrgyz Rent-Car. Swiss-run MuzToo in Osh rents Yamaha-600 trail motorbikes, but they don't come cheap.

When stopped by traffic police, standard regulations involve a driver surrendering their licence until a fine is paid in the nearest regional centre. In practice local drivers often negotiate an informal bribe of 200som to 500som on the spot, and while from foreigners more would be expected, Lonely Planet does not recommend engaging in illegal activities.


Catching a ride along roadsides is common practice in Kyrgyzstan, but note that most drivers will expect payment of some sort. Always ascertain whether car (and driver!) are in roadworthy shape before accepting a ride.

Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travellers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.


The only train route of note to travellers is the five-hour link between Bishkek and Balykchy, but most travellers will prefer the two-hour bus ride joining the towns (or bypassing the town completely for other points in Issyk-Köl).