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After our memorable experiences in the small village of Arslanbob, we decided it was time to make a move and head south to the city of Osh. With a population of 300,000 people, it’s the 2nd biggest city in Kyrgyzstan.

arslanbob to osh
Traffic jam! Many sheep on the road from Arslanbob to Osh

We had a few plans for our time in Osh. The main goal was to arrange transport with other backpackers to make our way along the Pamir Highway,  into Tajikistan and through the Wakhan Valley. The other goals were to get caught up on the website & emails, wander around Osh and check out the city.

mosque in osh
One of the mosques in Osh

After our first couple of minutes at the Osh Guesthouse, we took a look at the massive whiteboard with tons of scribbles from other travellers looking for rides to various places around Central Asia and China. We saw one at the bottom that read:

“Leaving September 23/24. Looking for people to share a ride from Osh to Murgab, via Ishkashim – Jason”

osh guesthouse
The Massive whiteboard with transport requests at the Osh Guesthouse

It sounded perfect to us! All we had to do was figure out who this Jason guy was and if we’d get along for 4 days. Just as I was thinking that, he popped his head out of the dorm room and in a very English accent, told us his travel plan. Him and his friend, Jessica from Germany were wanting to do the same route as us and we all had the same idea of what to see along the way.

Perfect!

Two hours in Osh and we had our travel plans arranged.

The only problem was Nick and I wanted to leave Osh on September 26th, 25th at the earliest. Since we got along with the two other travellers so well, they both spoke English and we all had the same mind-set, we figured we should just go with the flow and leave earlier than expected.

We met with the CBT (Community Based Tourism) Office in Osh and calculated how much a driver and car would cost us to go from Osh to Murgab. (Everything together came out to about $25/day per person)

cbt office osh
Making plans at the CBT Office in Osh

Once everything was settled with CBT, our plan was this:

We would drive from Osh to Sary Mogul on the first day, visiting the second highest peak in the Parmir Mountains, Pik Lenin (7,134m), sleeping in Sary Mogul that night.

Then we would drive from Sary Mogul to the highest lake in Central Asia, Kara-Kul (3,914m). Sleeping at the lakeside village that night.

From Kara-Kul we would drive to the town of Murgab (Tajikistan) via Rang-Kul Lake, and do some day treks around there.

After that we weren’t entirely sure what the plan was. We all decided that we would see how we felt about the driver and the car and whether or not we all wanted to continue travelling together. We all knew that we wanted to continue on the Parmir Highway, through the Wakhan Valley and up to Dushanbe, but we weren’t sure if we would all be getting along by that point!

osh bazaar
Colourful chilis and garlic at the Osh Bazaar

We then stocked up on food and water for the next 4 days of driving through desolate mountain ranges and through places without any water, shops or electricity. We took out money from the ATM for the journey, did laundry, lots of websiting, wandered around Osh, got a haircut and tried to find some downtime!

osh bazaar
Fresh bread for sale at the Osh Bazaar, this is the traditional Central Asian style of bread – circular and with the design in the middle

After only 2 nights in Osh, we were off on the adventure of a lifetime!

What do you think about our plans?! Let us know below.

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9 thoughts on “Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Planning and Preparing For The Adventure Of A Lifetime

  1. I want to know what happens next? I’m intrigued. You have me for the moment. BTW I cannot share you via twitter since all the icon take me to pinterest.

    1. Hi Colin…stay tuned, there’s plenty more about our Pamir Highway adventure to come 🙂

      As for the sharing, please use the floating sharing bar on the left hand side of the page…we’re trying to fix the Pinterest thing.

      Cheers!

  2. Hey,
    was it easy to find any transport to Khorog or Murghab? I am going there at the end of July and I am wondering if I have to stay longer in Osh to arrange any transport or try hitchiking as I don’t want to stay longer in Osh.
    Cheers 🙂

    1. It only took us a day in Osh to find people to go with on the Pamir Highway. You could hitch-hike to get there faster, but we went with a private driver so that we could stop at lots of places along the way. Check out the Osh Guesthouse for people looking to share rides.

      Cheers!

  3. Hi. I would like to comment that my experience with ‘Osh Guesthouse’ was totally different… (July ’15). I waited for about a week to find share transport to the Wakhan corridor, but luck was not on my side. There were hardly any guests coming in. Finally I let the transport manager at Osh GH book a seat in a share-taxi to Murghab with local people (56 dollars; same price as it would have been with western travellers; except that this driver would rush and not make any photo stops). I had tried to arrange this myself and went out to the parking spot described in the Lonely Planet (near the animal market), but nobody knew anything… (and me not speaking any Russian…). I was happy I could finally leave, but as I was waiting at 8 am to leave, the news came in that the car was broken, but the guy would look for another share car. At around midday the news came in that the only ride available, would be sitting in the back (instead of the front seat) with a car that left at 8 pm, which was not my idea of travelling the Pamir Highway (by night) and paying an expensive 56 dollars. That’s when I decided to do it my own way and I took a mashrutka to Sary-Tash and then continued hitch hiking. Thanks to Osh GH I lost 2 days on my visa, so I had to skip an excursion to ‘7 lakes’ (while I was so near to them)… They said it was 100% sure they could find a seat and even have it printed on their promo brochures. If I’d known beforehand, I would have set off earlier. Now I felt cheated. Later on I heard that so few travellers came into ‘Osh GH’, because they all go and stay at ‘Biy Ordo Guesthouse’ with a far better and honest service. I had also asked for shared transport at CBT Osh, but also there no help…

  4. Hi! Love the blog. 🙂 I’m planning a RTW trip and would love to do the Pamir Highway (although the current plan is the opposite direction as you guys, but this can be changed). I have a couple of questions.

    1. After reading your posts and the comment from Helga above, do you think you got lucky finding someone to travel with in such a short time frame?

    2. Do you happen to know if it is safe to hitch-hike? I’m a young woman and I would likely be traveling with a 6’3″, broad-shouldered beast of a man.

    3. (Feel free not to answer this, because polite conversation.) How much did it cost for the car and driver?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      It’s around $110 / day for the vehicle, fuel and driver. we found people at the guesthouse with no problem, so hopefully you will too! Yes, hitch-hiking is safe, many people do it. The only thing is that you’ll maybe miss out on the side trips, and just be able to see the main highway.

      Good luck and enjoy!

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