Osh is the cultural capital of Kyrgyzstan. A vibrant underground arts scene has earned it the moniker of "The Berlin of Central Asia".
The Facebook page "Visit Osh" can help you get a taste of Osh City, along with beautiful exclusive pictures of the city.
There are several flights a day from Bishkek and back. It costs from 30 to 50 euro. S7 Airlines (Siberia Airlines) operate almost daily flights to Moscow. Turkish Airlines also fly directly from Istanbul to Bishkek as well as Osh. The Osh airport is not exactly a modern one; luggage is piled into trucks and you have to wait and grab your luggage when you see it. There is a lot of shoving and pushing, as everyone seems to be in a hurry. For EU and USA travelers no visa is needed!
There are two weekly sleeper buses (Mon and Fri) from Kashgar in China leaving at 10:00 (Beijing time) and the tri p takes about 18 hours. The price is ¥570 and the buses depart from Kashgar International Bus Station. As the road through Irkeshtam is at high altitude, remember to take warm clothes on the bus even during summer. Sit on the left for better views.
Regularly scheduled marshtkas to the north (Jalal-Abad, Toktogul, etc) and west (Batken, Isfana, etc) leave from New Bus Station located in the northern skirt of the city. City bus run between terminal and centre.
To Khujand (Khodjend), Tajikistan, take a marshtka to Batken and change to Isfara, crossing the border, and then to Khujand, total travel time is approx. 8 hours. As of 2017, Batken bound marshtka takes new highway that by-pass Uzbek enclaves, that reduced travel time to four hours. Marshtka from Batken to Isfara is infrequent at 8:30, 11:30, 13:15, 14:30; shared taxis await at the bus terminal but reportedly some tourists were left at the border.
Prices of shared taxis from Bishkek to Osh vary quite a lot. In spring, when seasonal workers are travelling from Osh to capital and then to Kazakhstan or Russia, it will cost less, and vice versa in autumn. Price of shared taxi Bishkek-Osh is 1000-1500 som per person (May 2012). Taxi to Bishkek park on Zainabetdinova street. Other good option is 500-700 som per person for a place in cargo-passenger minivan. It's actually much more comfortable than shared taxi because it has sleeping bunks. It takes some time to get to the center (in Osh cargo vans start from KaraSu market (30 som from the center) in Bishkek from DorDoi market (12 som from the center)). These vans take just 2-3 hours more than shared taxis and always run overnight, starting 3-6 pm. Unfortunately, you will miss the great view on the Bishkek-Osh road in this way.
Place in a shared taxi to Murghab is 1500 soms (May 2015), in Russian jeep or normal jeep, though the last one is much more comfortable. Drivers like to overcharge tourists, but remember, they badly need passengers, and finally will agree to regular price. You don't have to pay extra for reasonably sized backpack or for a good seat (just be the first passenger to reserve one). But driver might ask you extra money if you would like to stop on the way for taking photos. Anyway, don't pay over 2000 soms. Jeeps to Murghab depart from Alay Baza few km outside the city by marshrutka 305. There is also a basic hotel there at 200 som pp. There are very few jeeps every day, some days no any. No fixed schedule, all depends on demand. When they get enough passengers, they would leave. You could come to the stand about afternoon, exchange phone numbers with few drivers and later join one, who will be leaving first. There is no public transportation directly to Khorog, you have to change in Murghab.
To Sary Tash place in a shared taxi is 400-500 soms (Sep 2014.) But they could wait for passengers quite a long time, so better option is just head to the highway (for example take marshrutka to Karatai or Gulcha from the old bus station) and hitch marshrutkas or private cars passing by. Trucks could be very cheap (free-200 soms) but quite slow. Car makes it in 3 hours, truck could take from 5-6 hours up. In Sary Tash usually there are a lot of trucks to Irkeshtam pass (daytime on workdays, 100 soms should be enough) but very very few extra transport on Pamir highway, and direct transport from Osh to Murghab could be full.
From Khujund, Tajikistan it is possible to travel to Osh in a day, through Uzbekistan by the following route. Firstly take a shared taxi to the border at Konibodom. This border is open to pedestrians but is very slow so journeys should be started as early as possible. After crossing the border into Uzbekistan (ensure you have a valid visa) an unofficial marshutka goes to Beshariq. From Beshariq it is possible to take a shared taxi either to Kokand or Andijon. If not take a taxi from Kokand bazaar to Andijon. From Andijon it is possible to take a taxi from the bus station to the Osh border. This border which allegedly closes at 1830 has taxis waiting on the far side to complete the journey to Osh (expect to pay $5 for this final leg).
During the way from Bishkek, the road reaches 3600 above sea level. In the pass there is a 2 km long tunnel, therefore be careful, or try to hitch big care in front and get off after that.
The city has several monuments, including one to the southern Kyrgyz "queen" Kurmanjan Datka and one of the few remaining statues of Lenin. A Russian Orthodox church, reopened after the demise of the Soviet Union, the largest mosque in the country (situated beside the bazaar), and the 16th-century Rabat Abdul Khan Mosque can be found here.
Colourful bazaar, open 7/7, biggest on Sundays, smallest on Mondays.
In the city center there is a 3 story Yurt. It takes about 10 minutes to go around and costs about 50KGS (less than $1). For the money it is great value and very interesting to see. You can also say for the rest of your life that you have been in a 3 story Yurt.
Use the city as a springboard to explore more remote locations in the surrounding areas, i.e. trekking and horse riding in the Alay mountains, plains.
There are many good restaurants in Osh, most of them cheap but good. Some are Muslim, you won't get alcoholic drinks there, others sell all the usual drinks. Kyrgyz beer is very good, and the vodka should be tried also, take an expensive one, and eat something with it. Expensive vodka is still ridiculously cheap for us. Cheap vodka will give you the worst headache you ever experienced! The food is good, local as well as Western dishes. Many good salads, lots of meat. If possible, try the plov, the national dish.
People mostly drink green or black tea. This is drunk out of a small bowl. People usually pour a little into the bowl to clean it before filling up the bowl. Tea is drunk with every meal, that did not stop me from having a beer on the side!
Talant Toksonbaev Speaking English coordinator Tourist Information Center mob: + 996 555 077621