KATHMANDU - NEW DHELI
india - Nepal
Dhaka - Burimari
Details and gps files will be edited and posted at the end of the journey. Feel free to contact us if you need specific info earlier,
osh - Kashgar
Roadbook Osh to Kashgar - coming soon.
Balykchy - Osh
BALYKCHY: Big town, all facilities.
ATM, hotels; guest houses; supermarkets; post office, restaurants, wifi
If you are looking for a rest and comfort, the AZIMUT hotel is a good choice. Quiet, wifi, clean rooms, buffet breakfast included.
Bus terminal only few blocks away if you want to get a ride anywhere on the north side or back to Bishkek
All the south road is paved
Note all the Km marks are shown assuming you stay on the road all the time from Balykchy.
Camp spots south road
*20km mark, south of Balykchy to the south side of the lake. On the shore of the lake, few trees providing shade, level grassy field. Across the road the village OTTUK has a couple of stores with the essentials. For more choice stock up before you leave Balykchy
*61km mark, a steep short downhill into a deep narrow valley. The bottom of that narrow valley is green with fields on both side. You are in a little village but camp spots are available along the river. Ask to locals to not been kicked out. There is a restaurant as you climb out of the valley and a couple of little stores. No much more than the basics. There are few villages spread out along the south road. Do not expect big choices but good enough.
*Optional and off the main road: at the end of the village a dirt road on the left will take you to the shore of the lake. A sign says “salty lake”. It is roughly 10km off the main road. A good size creek runs along the dirt road, never too far. The campsite at the little salty lake has a fee but about 2km before you reach that little lake you find plenty nice spots right on Issyk Kul Lake. No need to get back on the main road, you can follow the dirt road all the way (about 18km) along the lake and head back to the main road at Bokonbaevskoe.
If you stay on the main road, you have a 10km climb (4-5%) to a pass followed by a fast downhill.
Bokonbaevskoe: big popular village. Guesthouses, stores, gas station, restaurant, cafe
*100Km mark to 125Km mark: multiple options to camp all the lake. No real access other than walking off the road to the shore of the lake. Better to give a try when the road is far from the lake. The beaches are cleaner because not easy to access, so less people. If you are looking for shade pick the first spot that makes you happy. Trees are not providing much shade.
127km from Balykchy, a couple of km from TOSOR village the dirt road starts for the pass. No signBokonbaevskoe Make sure you have all food supplies by then (Bokonbaevskoe could your best place to stock up if you are picky). TOSOR has a couple of little store but no much choice.
The dirt road is rough for few km and climb almost right away. The Tosor river is quickly not accessible anymore. Better to fill up your bladders early enough. Few little creeks are available further up as you pass few houses. The valley can be very hot in summer.
137km the gravel road cross the river. Camp spot.
138km you get out of a short canyon and a bridge over a creek is a gate to a vast open valley. Tosor pass is in the valley pointing south. Good places to camp right after the bridge and onward/upward.
Few Yurts on the way up and a shelter in concrete blocks, occupied by herder in the summer at 148Km mark.
A couple more yurts 2-3km after the shelter. Than nothing to the pass
Long traverse in a nice green valley. A stream follow the valley and you will cross few more coming from higher up.
The last 3 km to the pass are steep and with really bad surface. Big rocks and sandy.
The pass is at 161km mark.
Beyond the pass: huge open valley, can be windy (western wind). Water supply will come only from stream coming from the peaks. Steep downhill at the beginning, more gentle later on but good biking. The main river at the bottom of the valley can be far from the dirt road and is loaded with a lot of sediments (glaciers)
Many stream crossing. A couple could be challenging at the end of the day.
Plenty spots to camp.
195Km mark: hot spring (50-60c). A good stop, good place to camp. A building if the weather is tricky. Herders are living there but are used to see cyclists and horseback riders. From there a 3 km hike on a dirt road will take you higher up to a nice lake.
At 215Km mark the valley get flatter, few houses but not much else. Very windy place. The river get closer but still (white glacier water)
226Km mark a short steep climb take you to a plateau before a drop to a bridge and a river. Same thing river is coming from glaciers so no clear water. Camp spot. If you are in trouble weather wise keep going for another couple of km. Some abandoned building can offer nice shelters.
231Km a quick short drop to another valley with a creek and plenty of good clearwater. Plenty option to find camp spots. Especially if you keep moving for another 2-3km when you reach a huge valley orientated East-West. Plenty options to camp and refill in water for a while. Yurts spread out in the valley.
The road gradually climbs to 262.5Km mark then a long fast downhill in a pretty good gravel road, you pass few houses to end up in a slightly downhill valley after an ugly depressing section through a quarry
308Km mark. A little village. A store with reasonable food supply. Cell phone coverage.
318km mark. Old pavement smooth enough to gain some speed. Entry of a very nice and unexpected canyon. Many good option to find the perfect camp spot. A creek in the canyon provide plenty water.
328Km mark. You merge on the main road coming from Kochkor. Restaurant, cafes, hotel right at the jct. One grocery store. Do not expect much more but a good stop.
332.5Km mark. You leave the paved road and head West on a gravel road. The climb starts right away.
335.5Km mark top of the climb and excellent downhill to reach a very beautiful village at 338km mark. 3 stores with good supplies. From the village, you cross a bridge and the next 10km you have plenty spots along a good creek with shade provided by nice size trees. Excellent choice.
From the village you have a long gently uphill in the very nice valley. The gravel road is really bad. Deep Washboards, Western wind.
359.5km mark. You are leaving behind the valley and the bad gravel road. Cross the bridge and start the climb to the pass. No real need to stock up in water at the bridge you will find few streams as you go up. Take the minimum.
370.5km mark. The pass. Good camp spot 1km before the pass with water. If you decide to go over the pass you may be exposed to high wind for a while. Going over the pass in early morning when the sunrise offers a gorgeous view on the lake. And will delay to the afternoon the wind as you go around Song Kul.
393Km mark. Bridge and good creek. Right after is the jct to the road going down to Naryn. Stay right and go West. Rolling dirt road in a good condition. Plenty of family and touristic Yurt camps. If you want to stay in a yurt camp the last one will be at 414Km mark. One of the closest to the shore of the lake. Good food but not enough for cyclists. You may tent right beside the yurts and booked for a diner and breakfast. Pricey for the amount of food you will get.
From there, another 12-13Km uphill to reach the top of the little pass at 428.5Km
Spectacular view from the top. Long fun downhill that ends up in a steep canyon. No much place to camp before 445Km mark. The road keep going down.
463Km mark. Village. Nomads Valley store and guesthouse (good place for the night) right on the main road or another CBT guesthouse in the village off the main road. Signs for both. A couple of stores for some food supplies.
Be prepared for a very challenging road now....
467Km mark. Head West on a very bad gravel road. Washboard, lose rocks on 15km.
484Km mark. Short drop to a very nice village cut in 2 by a deep gorge. Good food supplies. Stock up in water as it is getting drier and drier after.
The road climbs and heads North. A long climb starts. Very long. Water in an irrigation channel on the left side of the road for few km around 493-495Km mark
The real climb starts at 497Km
512.5Km you reach the first pass (2700m), long nice downhill and the road follow a narrow corridor with high western wind. Better to cycle in early morning for all the section almost to Kazarman. The wind is blowing every day in the afternoons. Adding more struggles to an already really tough section. Many climbs, no much water no much people living along the road. If there is a village do not expect any major help or food supply. This a tough section if you heading towards Kazarman.
560.5Km mark. End of the last climb before a downhill followed by a flat section.
589.5km mark. Kazarman. ATM, restaurants, groceries, cafes, guesthouse. Not a fun town but many CBT guesthouses and BnB with a person in charge to coordinate and dispatch clients between the different source of accommodation.
Go to CBT Guesthouse on Kadyrkulova street.
Climb out of town on a new Chinese paved road. The road will eventually reach Jalalabad and avoid the pass. It is still in construction and the tunnel is not ready yet (July 2018). Enjoy the few km of smooth pavement and turn right at 599.5km.
Back on the gravel. 606km mark. Village.
The next climbs start now. Many little climbs with gently rolling section. You can see your final pass far away. Agricultural sceneries. Beekeepers and beehives.
633Km mark. Cross a bridge. Unfortunately river is brown. So fill up with clear water any time you can. The slope of the mountain after the bridge is very unstable. Many landslides but few spots to camp if you need. Probably better to camp close to the bridge. Few Yurts around.
634.5Km mark. Climbing to pass starts. 653Km mark. Pass.
Many switch backs on the way down. Good riding.
665Km . Bridge. The river coming from the Eastern valley has clear water...the creek to merge to the brown water creek you have followed along the last few km. Your only chance to find clean water will come from little streams you will cross on you way. The further you go, the less you will find them. Often dry in summer. You go down in elevation and heat is back. The valley can be windy. If you are looking for a spot to camp take the first you like. Options get rare as you go further down. A last climb to reach a high point at 688Km mark. Few km later you reach the new paved road. From there it is an easy slightly downhill all the way to Jalalabad, 737Km mark.
The road to Osh is very hot, paved with a lot of traffic. Option is to find a lift at the Jalal-Abad bus terminal (easier in the morning) to OSH. 105km. 10$/person in a taxi, 4$ in a bus.
BISHKEK - ISSYK KUL LAKE
Out of Bishkek via Mederova st. then Ankara st to reach the gravel road along the irrigation channel at Auezov st..Always stay on the north side of the channel. The gravel road is in good condition and smooth enough for any touring bike. Could be more problematic if you have really skinny tires. You can stay for about 50+ km. Not a fast progression but peaceful and away from traffic. Many opportunities to stop in few little villages never too far for food supplies. If you are planning to camp, you will have many choices along the gravel road, shady and grassy spots. Our route went by Burana Tower where we have definitely left gravels options behind us by then. Good pavement on a gently rolling road before Kemin where we merge on the main Hwy. By then you have covered more or less 125km, about 10 km more if you would have pick the Hwy from Bishkek but much more pleasant with nice options to camp to split the route.
Kemin is a busy place with groceries, ATM, snack and restaurant. Nothing to justify a long stop, though. From there take the old Hwy with enough shoulder to feel safe. Traffic is lighter than on the main new Hwy and you can count on food stands every 10km until you have no other choice to merge back on the main Hwy. Few hills and generally head wind in the morning changing in tailwind later in the day. Plenty food supply options all the way to Balikchy. Good pavement all along and even if the traffic may feel annoying, trucks and car give you plenty room to ride safely.