Alay Area, Kyrgyzstan: The Final Journey Information – TrendyHub

Journey to the Alay Area in southern Kyrgyzstan and also you’ll discover a rising, off-the-path, accessible journey vacation spot. Experiences run from mid-alpine treks and horse treks within the Alay Mountains to high-alpine experiences up into the Pamir Mountain peaks and epic Pamir Freeway street journeys into the excessive desert. Paths are dotted with yurts, shepherds and excessive pasture nomadic tradition alongside the best way. For pan-Central Asia travels and itineraries, the area additionally serves as a crossroads between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China.

This text explains tips on how to plan and arrange a visit to the Alay Area, together with what to do and see within the Alay Mountains and Pamir Mountains.

Peak Lenin, Kyrgyzstan
Our introduction to the Alay Area 12 years in the past = recent snow within the Pamir Mountains.

As our jeep gripped the street and moved us nearer to the sky, I started to grasp the phrases of the good friend who urged us on our first go to 12 years in the past.

“So, there’s this a part of Kyrgyzstan most vacationers do not actually find out about.”

Horses gathered in their very own orchestrated processions, layers of freshly snow-draped mountains as their backdrop. The sunshine bent because it tends to do on this a part of the world, arcing into the otherworldly. The wind kicked up, delivering a floating, faraway sensation. Villages and lives and tradition had stitched themselves into tiny pockets, scattered inside stacks of mega-mountains so far as the attention might see.

Earlier than I even knew I needed to journey, it was locations like this that referred to as me.

That feeling of alpine elevate, of excessive desert thriller alongside the Pamir Freeway was solely a style. Since then, we have visited the area twice extra, widening our view — immersing ourselves within the Alay Mountains and getting up near the Pamir peaks we would seen solely from a distance these years in the past.

Dramatic mountains and yurts minimize the sky, as native households and roving shepherds supply a way of what it means to be human right here. For guests, peak expertise with a contact of nomadic grounding.

Alay Region Southern Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide - Yurts and Mountains
Nomadic tradition and excessive mountains. The Alay Area of southern Kyrgyzstan.

The Alay Area — a distant buying and selling and transport crossroads between cultures and neighboring nations like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China — is simpler to get to than it first seems. Regardless of this, Alay has a distinctly Kyrgyz really feel, as exhibited by households in yurts tending to animals on the jailoo (excessive pasture) in the summertime.

As such, most tourism on this area is community-driven and family-run, and vacationers’ cash tends to remain native. This text is a useful resource to entry all of it.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Kyrgyzstan
Layers of the Alay Mountains, from Ak-Tor Go.

A word on naming conference to maintain issues straight: Regionally, the Alay Area = Alay District + Chong-Alay District. Related for vacationers: Alay Area = Alay Mountains + Pamir Mountains.

The way to use this Alay Area Experiential Journey Information: On this complete journey information we’ve included every little thing you should plan and arrange a visit to discover the Alay Area of southern Kyrgyzstan. This consists of not solely concepts of what to do, locations to visits and treks within the Alay Mountains and Pamir Mountains, but in addition what to anticipate by way of panorama, altitude, tips on how to get round (transportation), connecting with native individuals and cultures, lodging, meals, and extra. For extra normal info on the nation, try our intensive information on touring in Kyrgyzstan

Alay Area Journey Information: What to do and See

Trek within the Alay Mountains to Expertise Nature and Kyrgyz Tradition Collectively

There’s no scarcity of gorgeous mountains and landscapes in a multi-day Alay Mountain trekking expertise. Because of a community of household yurt camps throughout the primary Alay Mountain treks and trails, the experiences are set aside by a reference to native individuals and tradition.

Alay Region Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide, Yurt Stays
Dan settles in at our yurt keep on the Heights of Alay trek.

After an extended day of strolling, you might be welcomed by a household to their yurt camp. Households not solely present a home-cooked meal and heat place to sleep, but in addition a glimpse into what their summer time life is like on the jailoo (excessive pasture) as they have an inclination to their animals, make recent lotions and breads, and go about every day life.

As well as, the paths you’ll stroll are likely to hint conventional native shepherd paths. You’ll encounter curious individuals alongside the best way who need to know the place you’re from and what you consider Kyrgyzstan, its panorama and its nature. In different phrases, whenever you trek within the Alay Mountains you’ll always remember that you just’re in Kyrgyzstan due to the engagement with individuals and nomadic tradition alongside the best way.

The place to trek within the Alay Mountains:

Our Alay Mountains trekking information supplies complete info on all of the totally different treks, tips on how to arrange them, tips on how to ebook a tour or information, when to go, and every little thing else you should know. For simplicity on this article, we’ll divide the Alay Mountains into two areas: high and low, and we’ll present examples of the several types of trekking and cultural experiences you’ll discover in every.

Trekking within the Decrease Alay Mountains

This part of the Alay Mountains is additional north within the area and a bit nearer to the town of Osh. The trek trailheads start close to the city of Gulcha. Landscapes are typically inexperienced, textured by layers of valleys and hills, and accented by granite peaks.

Alay Region Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide
Having fun with a break and the views at Ak Tor Go within the decrease Alay Mountains.

Don’t let the “decrease” idiot you — most of the treks cross Ak-Tor cross (3,500 meters/11,500 ft) and have sweeping views. For those who don’t have expertise mountain climbing at altitude, this space presents a pleasant strategy to acclimatize on a 3 to 5 day trek earlier than tackling a trek within the excessive Alay Mountains or heading up into the Pamirs on a street journey or trek.

In full disclosure, we set off on this space with comparatively low expectations since our time adopted time in Excessive Alay Mountains and the Pamirs. Regardless of that, we discovered the three-day Ak-Tor Go trek actually fulfilling — landscapes have been various and the layers of granite peaks and valleys throughout didn’t disappoint.

Alay Region Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide - Trekking in Lower Alay Mountains
Surveying the primary massive ascent of the journey. Ak-Tor Go trek, Day 1.

Word: We did a 3-day Ak-Tor Go trek on foot. Different choices embody a two-day trek or extending this a three-day trek to 5 days both on foot — or on horseback because the Really Nomadic Lands tour. Though multi-day horseback using treks will not be our choice, we will see how these hills could be fulfilling and likewise applicable for a newbie on horseback.

Trekking within the Excessive Alay Mountains

That is the extra southern phase of the Alay Mountain vary, whose trailheads are likely to cluster close to Sary Mogul village. Our first trekking experiences on this area have been the Koshkol Lakes and Heights of Alay Treks (4-6 days). This space nonetheless holds a particular place in our hearts – for the mixture of otherworldly mountain vistas like Sary Mogul Go (4,303 meters / 14,100 ft) and the variety of alpine lakes, inexperienced valleys, purple rock canyons and views of close by snowcaps.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Trekking in the Alay Mountains - Kyrgyzstan
Otherworldly Sary Mogul Go within the excessive Alay Mountains.

Immediately, all the predominant treks within the excessive Alay Mountains are additionally related by yurt camps. Although you may camp if you want, carrying tents and tenting gear is not required. This makes the treks simpler and cheaper to prepare, and likewise supplies extra interplay with locals alongside the best way.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Southern Kyrgyzstan
Views open up of the snow-covered Pamir Mountains as we cross Jiptick Go.

Word: Since treks on this space attain some fairly excessive altitudes, contemplate acclimatizing with day treks round Sary Mogul or some brief treks within the decrease Alay Mountains.

Trek into the Pamir Mountains for Excessive Alpine Extremes

The Pamir Mountains are amongst a few of the world’s highest mountains. Positioned within the southern a part of the Alay Area, the Pamirs kind a pure mountainous border between southern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan. The road of excessive, snow-covered peaks— with Peak Lenin (7,134 meters/23,406 ft) as the very best of the Pamir peaks in Kyrgyzstan — is spectacular and appears to drift simply above the plains under the place animals graze.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Trekking in the Pamir Mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan
Peak Lenin and the Pamir Mountains information our means in direction of Traveler’s Peak.

Peak Lenin attracts alpinists and critical mountain climbers from around the globe. Nonetheless, there are different day trek and multi-day trekking choices within the space for non-alpinists hoping to get a close-up style of the Pamirs, its mountain routes splashed with colourful minerals, alpine lakes and glaciers. And you’ll entry all of it with out the necessity for any particular gear or coaching.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Trekking in Pamir Mountains
An in depth-up view of the Pamir Mountains.

As you ascend into the Pamir Mountains, and as soon as you allow the yurts of Tulpar-Kol Lake, the ambiance turns into much less coupled to Kyrgyz tradition and extra related to the survival calls for {of professional} alpinism. Notably on the numerous Peak Lenin camps, most of the individuals you’ll encounter intention to summit Peak Lenin, and are spending time on the totally different base and ascent camps in an effort to acclimatize.

For us, this offered an fascinating glimpse into the world of mountaineering and all that it takes to arrange and undertake such a climb. Whereas we weren’t tempted to hitch them (this time, anyhow), it made us recognize much more the wonder and gorgeous landscapes that we have been in a position to expertise as bizarre hikers and non-professional mountain climbers.

The place to trek within the Pamir Mountains

The leaping off level for treks on this space of the Pamir Mountains is Tulpar-Kol Lake, positioned about an hour outdoors of Sary Mogul village. A number of yurt camps are positioned there and might function your base. The treks accessible are sometimes solely accessible in July and August for the reason that mountain passes are in any other case snow-covered and impassable.

Day hike to Traveler’s Go (4,100 meters/13,450 ft)

It is a lengthy day of mountain climbing (19 km/12 miles), with an early begin from Tulpar-Kol Lake. You hike your well past Lenin Peak Base Camp and close by excessive pastures to the ascent up Traveler’s Go. Don’t simply cease when you get to the signal on the cross, although. Go simply down the grassy space under and benefit from the decrease panoramic view of the snow and glacier-covered Pamir Mountains.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Pamir Mountain trekking, Traveler's Pass
Traveler’s Go opens as much as nice Pamir Mountain views.

You probably have extra time proceed down the cross for one more couple kilometers till you attain what may be described as “Watercolor” valley. Then, return the identical means you got here and luxuriate in a well-earned dinner again at Tulpar-Kol yurt camp.

2-Three Day Trek to Lenin Peak Camp 1 and Yuhina Peak (5,100 meters/16,730 ft)

This trek is designed for these with a bit extra time and expertise trekking at excessive altitudes. It is also for individuals who need to see extra of the Pamir Mountains and its excessive landscapes.

The primary day consists of mountain climbing from Tulpar-Kol Lake over Traveler’s Go to Lenin Peak Camp 1 (4,400 meters/13,150 ft). It’s a difficult 15+ km / 9+ mile day that takes you thru some surreal excessive mountain landscapes and colours between Traveler’s Go and Camp 1. Take pleasure in a hearty dinner at Camp 1, and drink loads of water properly earlier than bedtime to assist with the excessive altitude.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Pamir Mountain hiking
Pamir landscapes, like a watercolor portray.
Alay Region Travel Guide- Pamir Mountain Trekking
An evening at Peak Lenin Camp, an alpinist’s world related to summiting Peak Lenin.

Get up early the following day to start climbing as much as Yuhina Peak. (It’s possible you’ll have to request an early breakfast field for 7AM, since normal breakfast at Ak-Sai Camp 1 doesn’t appear to start till 8AM.) It’s a difficult, steep ascent by means of scree to get to the height. You should definitely proceed slowly and steadily. Enable your physique to regulate to the altitude. On the high you’ll cross a snow area to succeed in the height.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Pamir Mountain trekking in southern Kyrgyzstan
Crossing the snow on the ultimate ascent to Yuhina Peak (5,100 meters/16,730 ft).

Take pleasure in a well-deserved break on the high. Panoramic views of Lenin Peak and the Pamir Mountain sweep round you in all instructions. Return the best way you got here to Camp 1. Have lunch there earlier than starting the stroll again down.

Word: A number of trekking businesses run Lenin Peak Base Camps, in addition to camps at larger elevations. Our trek was organized and all our lodging was booked by Go to Alay in Osh. We stayed at Ak-Sai Camp 1 and located it well-run, clear {and professional}. Though the tent and sleeping mat is offered you will have to convey a very heat sleeping bag consolation rated to -10 C/14 F with you (Go to Alay offered this to us). It’s geared extra in direction of skilled climbers than day-trekkers so it has a little bit of a hearty mountaineering ambiance, full with solar struck alpinists and gruffly-spoken Russian.

Expertise the Pamirs on a 2-day horse trek to Tuyuk and Booke yurt camps

If you wish to benefit from the backdrop of the dramatic snow-covered Pamir Mountains, however with much less excessive climbs and altitudes, contemplate the two-day trek on horse or foot from Tulpar-Kol Lake to Tuyuk and Booke yurt camps. The route takes you round and thru excessive pastures and rolling hills. This must also be appropriate for newbie horse riders.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Pamir Yurt Camps in southern Kyrgyzstan
Late afternoon mild over Booke yurt camp on the foot of the Pamir Mountains.

Each yurt camps are on the base of the Pamir Mountains and likewise function lovely views of the Alay Mountains throughout the valley.

Word: To keep away from back-tracking to Tulpar-Kol Lake you may organize a pickup by means of the yurt camp or CBT Sary Mogul to take you from Booke yurt camp to Sary Mogul or Osh.

Study Kyrgyz nomadic traditions and life on the jailoo

Not removed from the village of Daroot Korgon is a lush valley full of agricultural fields, excessive pastures for animals, wildflowers, beehives and yurt camps. It’s a fantastic place to spend a while to find out about conventional Kyrgyz tradition and life on the jailoo (excessive pasture).

Alay Region Travel Guide, Cultural Tour - Southern Kyrgyzstan
A number of households reside collectively at this yurt camp throughout the summer time.

Our host for the morning, Yrysbubu, has come as much as this space for 54 years – spending every summer time dwelling on the jailoo. She takes care of cows, sheep and different animals, lives within the household yurt, and continues the traditions and meals of Kyrgyz nomads of her ancestors. She confirmed us tips on how to make chavaty, or bread cooked on a kazan (massive metallic pot) instantly on the hearth.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Cultural and Culinary Tour - Southern Kyrgyzstan
Baking bread on a kazan and open fireplace.

Earlier than retreating to the yurt to take pleasure in a lunch of freshly cooked chavaty and mylama (flat bread slathered with kaimak or recent bitter cream), we additionally had an opportunity to roll out korut (salty yogurt balls). This conventional Kyrgyz snack is dried out in the summertime solar and might then be saved and eaten all through the winter. Our information defined that korut combined with water creates a hearty drink or soup base that may preserve individuals full for hours, offering a vital supply of vitality for employees within the mountains and fields.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Cultural Tour of Yurt Camp - southern Kyrgyzstan
Time to make the korut (salty yogurt).

Though we would frolicked in yurt camps alongside our treks, it was enjoyable to have the time to participate in every day rituals on the jailoo and take in a extra thorough clarification of the traditions and historical past behind them.

The way to arrange: Contact Ak-Bata Visitor Home in Daroot-Korgon. The proprietor is the daughter of the grandmother on the jailoo.

Bonus: You probably have additional time, cease by one of many close by beekeepers in your means again to Daroot-Korgon to pattern esparcet honey. This valley is understood for a top quality, pesticide-free honey constituted of sainfoin (esparcet) flowers and nettle. If you cannot purchase honey instantly from the beekeeper, yow will discover containers of native honey on the markets in Daroot-Korgon or at sure retailers and inns in Osh.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Esparcet Honey - Southern Kyrgyzstan
Excessive altitude beekeeping…with a view of the Pamir Mountains.

Keep in a yurt

There’s definitely no scarcity of alternatives to remain in a yurt whenever you’re touring within the Alay Area. It is one of many highlights.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Yurt Stays - Southern Kyrgyzstan
An evening in a yurt, an Alay Area spotlight.

Even if you happen to don’t plan to hike or trek, spending an evening in a yurt is a should. There are a number of yurt camps accessible to non-hikers which might be price in search of out. For instance, Tulpar-Kol Lake within the Pamir Mountains is accessible by automobile and presents a number of yurt-stay choices. It is also attainable to rearrange a switch to/from close by Booke yurt camp as an alternative of creating your means there by horse or on foot. Ask round at Go to Alay, CBT Sary Mogul or your guesthouse in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash for choices.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Community Tourism in Southern Kyrgyzstan
Top-of-the-line issues about staying in a yurt = native household hosts.

What to anticipate when staying in a yurt

Yurts are conventional round Kyrgyz nomadic houses that may be simply assembled, disassembled and transported. They’re constructed from cured wood parts, secured with handwoven straps and coated with heavy felt. The within is normally embellished with colourful felt carpets referred to as shyrdaks whose designs are nature-inspired. The roof of the yurt options the tunduk, a round opening serving skylight and air flow. At evening, the felt cowl is drawn excessive of the yurt, making it darkish and heat.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Eating in a Yurt - Southern Kyrgyzstan
Welcome tea and snacks in a yurt.

Upon arriving at a yurt camp, you’ll sometimes be invited inside for a welcome tea. Given the standard late afternoon arrival to yurt camps on a trek, consider this because the Kyrgyz model of excessive tea. Typically a material is ready down, and huge cushions organized round it for seating. Along with the precise tea you’ll probably be served a mix of bread, borsok (conventional fried bread), selfmade jams, honey, sweets, nuts and maybe freshly-made yogurt or kaimak (cream). It’s possible you’ll even be provided kymys, fermented mare’s milk. Though you could be tempted to eat every little thing in sight, bear in mind to tempo your self for the dinner to comply with.

Staying at a yurt camp normally features a welcome tea, dinner, and breakfast. You should definitely let your information or your host know prematurely if you’re vegetarian or have any meals allergic reactions or restrictions (e.g., lactose or gluten illiberal) as they may put together all meals recent for you. Dinner will include a scorching meal — soup or a hearty dish of plov (rice, greens and meat), potatoes combined with meat or one thing related. Breakfast typically consists of extra bread with honey or preserves, in addition to soup or typically recent yogurt (ayran).

Every part occurs contained in the yurt – consuming, sleeping, and sometimes even cooking. At evening your hosts will clear every little thing out and lay a collection of mats on the bottom so that you can sleep on, atop which they’ll pile heavy blankets. A yurt within the mountains approximates a womb-like setting. It’s completely darkish and quiet. We’ve been identified to by chance sleep greater than twelve hours in a yurt, so set your alarm in case your plans require an early begin the following morning.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Staying in a Yurt - Southern Kyrgyzstan
At most yurt stays you will sleep on the ground, however just a few additionally embody easy beds.

Some yurts function wood-fired or coal-burning stoves inside, making it simple to warmth the yurt at evening in case temperatures drop outdoors. There are nearly all the time additional blankets accessible so don’t be afraid to ask for extra if you happen to assume you may get chilly. Though the bedding consists of sheets and duvet-covers, we frequently convey a sleep sack in order to offer an additional layer of heat and luxury.

Yurt camps are sometimes positioned close to streams so there may be easy accessibility to water. Most may have a easy gravity-fed sink accessible for laundry arms and brushing tooth. An outhouse or dry bathroom (normally with bathroom paper) shall be a brief strolling distance from the yurt space. Don’t anticipate a bathe.

Issues decelerate on the yurt camp, so benefit from the quiet, peace and disconnection from the world. Re-connect to nature and life round you.

Begin your Pamir Freeway street journey to Tajikistan

The Pamir Freeway serves up probably the most epic street journeys on the earth because it winds its means, together with by means of the Alay Area of southern Kyrgyzstan. This begins (or ends, relying upon the course you select) in Osh and continues alongside the M41 by means of the Pamir-Alay Area to the Wakhan Valley and alongside to Khorog, Tajikistan.

Central Asia Guide, Planning and Itinerary
Planning our route alongside the Pamir Freeway from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.

The journey can take wherever from 5 days (if you happen to’re transferring shortly and never stopping a lot) to as much as two weeks for aspect journeys and treks. Many individuals solely spend one evening in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash village in Kyrgyzstan earlier than transferring onto Tajikistan.

Nonetheless, when you’ve got extra time and adaptability we’d suggest stopping off for a few days for day hikes, multi-day treks or yurt stays within the Alay Area. You will immerse your self in some gorgeous mountain surroundings and have the chance to attach with Kyrgyz nomadic tradition and folks. Furthermore, you will additionally assist your physique acclimatize to the excessive altitude. Notably if you happen to aren’t visiting different locations in Kyrgyzstan, do not miss this chance to study.

Reserving a Pamir Freeway journey: After we did our Pamir Freeway journey twelve years in the past from Osh to Khorog (much like this Pamir Freeway tour) it was difficult to prepare as there wasn’t a variety of info accessible on how and the place to ebook a tour or driver from Osh. Or, tips on how to discover different vacationers to share the jeep and prices. Happily, that has modified so it is simpler to plan and ebook a visit. Go to Alay (the native tour firm in Osh that organized our treks above) has a web-based departure schedule of Pamir Freeway excursions with accessible spots if you wish to be part of an present journey. In addition they supply totally different choices of Pamir Freeway excursions, from 5 to 13 days, that cowl totally different routes and embody some mountain climbing as properly.

Journey Data for the Alay Area

There’s not a variety of info accessible on-line about touring within the Alay Area and tips on how to arrange a visit. We have tried to include essentially the most related and vital journey particulars right here.

The way to arrange treks and experiences within the Alay Area

If you wish to journey independently and do self-guided treks, you’ve gotten a variety of choices. All of the treks talked about in our Alay Trekking Information embody hyperlinks to uploaded digital GPS tracks. With the community of yurt camps alongside the paths, you needn’t fear about carrying tenting gear.

If you’re like us, nonetheless, and like to trek with a neighborhood information and have every little thing organized in order that the one factor it’s a must to fear about is having fun with your self within the mountains, then Go to Alay in Osh is the best choice for the area. They organized all of the treks and visits that we have finished in Alay during the last two years. We have been proud of the guides, transportation, lodging and different logistics. Disclosure: Our visits have been a part of tourism improvement tasks so these treks and experiences have been offered to us with out price so we might consider them. In any occasion, we confidently suggest them to anybody.

Go to Alay not solely is aware of properly all of the treks and experiences attainable within the Alay Area, however because the native Neighborhood Based mostly Tourism (CBT) group they’ve been answerable for a few of the infrastructure and are targeted on working with and supporting native household companies. A portion of their income goes again to coaching and offering funding for household yurt camps, trekking guides, and different small companies and native suppliers. The supervisor of Go to Alay, Talant Toksonbaev, is devoted to making sure that tourism advantages native individuals. He is assembled a strong community to do that and is all the time attempting to incorporate extra individuals as tourism grows within the area.

When to go to the Alay Area

The perfect time to go to the Alay Area is throughout the summer time months, mid-June to early September. That is when the mountain passes are cleared of snow so the trekking trails are open, the yurt camps have been arrange on the jailoo, and it is heat climate throughout the day. Excessive season is mid-July to mid-August. Most yurt camps start to shut up late August or early September as they should get their kids again to the village to start the varsity yr.

One good thing about going early within the season – late June to mid-July — is that the valleys shall be extra inexperienced and full of wildflowers. We have visited the Alay Area twice in late August and though the hills are extra dry because it’s the top of the summer time we had the paths and yurt camps to ourselves.

The treks and trails within the decrease Alay Mountains (e.g., Ak-Tor Go Trek or Nomadic Lands) are accessible from Could by means of September and even presumably to early October. You may as well journey the Pamir Freeway throughout most months of the yr, however Could to September are typically one of the best months due to chilly and snow.

What to pack for the Alay Area

The Alay Area is generally in regards to the outdoor and journey actions, so don’t be concerned about bringing something formal or fancy. Since a lot of the Alay Area is excessive desert it is vital to pack layers as it may well get fairly heat throughout the day and drop to low temperatures at evening. As well as, some areas are actually windy (e.g., Sary Tash or Sary Mogul) so it is vital to have windproof or waterproof jackets to assist minimize the wind. Sturdy garments and kit that may be combined and matched and worn a number of instances works finest as there’s not a variety of laundry alternatives.

For extra particulars learn our packing listing for trekking within the Alay Mountains and our normal trekking packing listing.

Utilizing Osh as your organizing gateway for Alay

Osh isn’t solely the second largest metropolis in Kyrgyzstan, however it’s additionally the best transportation and organizing hub for any treks or exploration of the Alay Area. You will discover all of the companies and also you want in Osh in your travels in Alay — excursions and arranged treks, trekking guides, tenting and trekking gear rental, snacks and meals for the mountains, and extra.

To not point out, Osh is price a go to as a consequence of its mixing bowl of cultures and Silk Street historical past. It is price hanging on the market for a few days to relaxation up, plan your Alay adventures, do a foodie tour or strolling tour of the town, discover the massive Jayma Bazaar, and benefit from the companies (e.g., good espresso) of a giant metropolis earlier than heading into the mountains.

Lodging in Alay Area

Lodging within the Alay Area normally consists of small, family-run guesthouses or yurt camps (talked about above). Do not anticipate luxurious, however you may anticipate clear rooms with entry to a bathe (typically scorching water) and bathroom. Many locations supply shared rooms, normally divided by gender. Nonetheless, we have seen that the provision of double or non-public rooms appears has steadily elevated during the last couple of years. For instance, Peak Lenin Guesthouse in Sary Mogul now presents double rooms with bathe and bathroom services contained in the constructing. That is very welcome for touring {couples} like us.

A couple of Alay guesthouses now supply the choice of on-line reserving. Verify availability and costs of lodging in Sary Mogul, Sary Tash, and Gulcha.

For those who’re coming by means of Osh on the best way to Alay, you may simply ebook inns in Osh on-line. On our final journey by means of Osh we stayed at Rayan Lodge and located it snug and well-located. It additionally serves a hearty breakfast.

Meals and Clear Water within the Alay Area

Many of the meals you will eat within the Alay Area shall be served by guesthouses or yurt camps. On the plus aspect, which means it is all the time selfmade and cooked recent. On the down aspect it means a restricted selection of what you will eat since there are normally no menus and everybody tends to eat the identical factor. This typically features a variation of rice, potatoes or pasta mixed with some meat and greens. Normally, there are a number of rounds of bread on the desk served with some mixture of honey, jams, ghee (clarified butter), kaimak (native bitter cream) or selfmade yogurt.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Eating in Yurts
Yurt consuming. You will by no means go hungry.

If you’re vegetarian or have meals allergic reactions (e.g., gluten, lactose, nuts, and so forth.) remember to let your information or hosts know instantly to allow them to put together one thing totally different for you. Meat options prominently in lots of Kyrgyz dishes so vegetarians could need to convey nuts or different protein snacks to make sure a balanced weight loss plan. You may as well request an egg be added to your rice or potatoes.

Attainable cooking class possibility: For those who’re concerned about studying tips on how to cook dinner conventional Kyrgyz meals, and specialties from the Alay Area, ask at Lenin Peak Guesthouse if that is an possibility. We have been in a position to take a look at a cooking class with Baktugul, the mom of the home. She taught us tips on how to make kesme plov handmade noodles stewed with meat, potatoes and tomatoes.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Cooking Class - Sary Mogul, Kyrgyzstan
The granddaughter seems to be somewhat skeptical of Audrey’s noodle-making abilities.

The 1-hour cooking class was enjoyable and interactive. Plus, the ensuing meal made for an incredible lunch. We have additionally steered a manti (dumpling) class. So ask about that if you happen to occur to remain there.

Trekking snacks

Our trekking information stored us properly fed with picnic lunches and snacks alongside the path. Nuts and dried fruit from the Osh bazaar make for tasty, wholesome snacks. Nonetheless, Snickers bars (do not chuckle) are additionally sort of magical, notably after they’re provided after a grueling ascent. They’re accessible in most villages.

Clear water

Most guesthouses and yurt camps will offer you boiled water if you happen to request it. So you may refill your reusable water bottle or water bladder. We carried each as we discovered that the water bladder was finest for ingesting regularly throughout the trek to remain hydrated whereas the water bottle was higher for ingesting water at stops.

Please don’t purchase bottled water and carry it into the mountains. This method will solely go away a path of plastic waste since there is no such thing as a recycling within the space. Learn extra on tips on how to cut back single-use plastics when touring.

We suggest carrying water purification drops or a SteriPEN with you simply in case. This manner, you will all the time be assured of getting a path to purifying your water. Use them if you should refill your water bottle alongside the path and also you’re undecided of the cleanliness of the stream or if you wish to be additional cautious in regards to the water you have acquired out of your host.

The way to acclimatize within the Alay Area

Altitude illness is nothing to mess with. It is not solely uncomfortable, however it may well truly be very harmful in your well being if not addressed correctly and instantly. One of the simplest ways to assist your self keep away from altitude illness points is by taking just a few days to acclimatize correctly earlier than going into the excessive mountains for a excessive altitude trek or a Pamir Freeway street journey.

At a minimal, contemplate spending a few days in a mountain village (e.g., Sary Tash or Sary Mogul) and remember to stroll round loads to see how your physique handles motion within the skinny air. Even higher, do an acclimatization hike. For instance, hike as much as Koshkol Lakes the place you go up in altitude throughout the day, however then sleep at decrease elevation (e.g., Sary Mogul village). One other good possibility is to do a brief two to 3 day trek within the decrease Alay Mountains to accustom your physique to mountain climbing and sleeping at barely larger altitude.

As well as, remember to drink a lot of water when within the mountains. Transfer slowly, too. There isn’t any race to the highest. Slower motion and fewer breaks is best in your physique then transferring shortly and taking longer breaks with a heaving chest to recuperate.

The way to get to the Alay Area

Though the Alay Area (southern Kyrgyzstan) is distant, it is extra accessible than you may assume. There are a number of transportation choices and routes to get there from inside Kyrgyzstan, and from neighboring Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or China. Town of Osh serves as the primary transportation leaping off level for shared taxis, marshrutkas and personal transport going into the Alay Area. Then, there are private and non-private transport choices between villages and cities contained in the area.

For a full description of all of the methods to get to Osh, learn this.

Touring to Alay Area from inside Kyrgyzstan

For those who’re already touring in Kyrgyzstan and need to get to Osh after which the Alay Area you’ve gotten a few choices with flights or land transport (e.g., shared taxi, marshrutkas, non-public transport).

Flights from Bishkek to Osh: Throughout our current visits to Osh we flew from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. It is a fast 45-minute flight to Osh on Pegasus Airway/Air Manas that’s cheap (e.g., $30-$45) and simple to ebook on-line (we normally seek for flights with Skyscanner). For those who time it proper you may even arrive in Bishkek out of your worldwide flight after which hop on a flight to Osh a few hours later.

Word: In the summertime months, 50-minute flights to Osh from Tamchy (north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul) are typically provided. For those who’re spending time in Karakol or the Issyk-Kul area, this can be a good possibility.

Touring to Osh and Alay by land: Kyrgyzstan has a community of shared taxis and marshtrutkas that can take you nearly in all places when you’ve got sufficient time. The commonest land connections to Osh are from Bishkek (shared taxi solely), Jalal-Abad (2 hours), and Naryn. From different components of the nation it is typically best and quickest to return to Bishkek and journey south from there.

To Alay from China and Tajikistan border crossings

For those who’re crossing the Irkeshtam border from China (Xinjiang Area) there are normally shared taxis accessible that can take you to Sary Tash village, which is without doubt one of the leaping off factors for the Alay Area. For those who’re coming from the Kyzylart – Bor Dobo border crossing with Tajikistan alongside the Pamir Freeway you will undergo Sary Tash and/or Sary Mogul villages.

To Alay from Uzbekistan and Dostuk border crossing

It has grow to be a lot simpler the final years to journey to Alay (and Kyrgyzstan) overland from Uzbekistan. The borders have opened up and Uzbekistan now presents a visa-free regime (as much as 30 days) for a lot of nations. The Dostuk border crossing with Uzbekistan is simply 10 km outdoors of Osh and there are shared taxis or marshrutkas ready on the border to take you to the town. From there you may organize onward transport into the Alay Area.

Transportation Choices: The way to get across the Alay Area

Alay has a community of shared taxis and marshrutkas that can take you between villages and cities within the area. Nonetheless, you’ll typically want non-public transport to get to most of the trailheads or yurt camps. This could both be booked prematurely as a part of an organized trek or tour, or you may arrange it at your native visitor home. Attempt to be part of an present switch or departure to scale back your prices and your environmental footprint.

For instance, the route between Sary Mogul and Tulpar-Kol Lake is kind of common in the summertime months as many vacationers spend time on the yurt camps there and do some mountain climbing within the Pamir Mountains. Ask round at your native visitor home, with different vacationers, or contact Go to Alay to see when a automobile may be heading up there and if house is obtainable.


Disclosure: Our experiences within the Alay Area are drawn from our current visits as consultants on the Helvetas Bai Alai tourism improvement challenge and beforehand on the USAID Enterprise Progress Initiative (BGI) program. These tasks included evaluating present and rising treks and tourism merchandise on this area; experiences have been offered to us. As well as, we traveled by means of the Alay Area in 2007 as a part of our personal journey throughout Central Asia. As all the time, the ideas and opinions contained herein — the what, the why, and the how — are solely our personal.

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