Travel in the Alay Region, Kyrgyzstan: All You Need to Know

Travel to the Alay Region in southern Kyrgyzstan and also you’ll discover a rising, off-the-path, out there journey vacation spot. Experiences run from mid-alpine treks and horse treks in the Alay Mountains to high-alpine reviews up into the Pamir Mountain peaks and epic Pamir Highway street journeys into the excessive wasteland. Paths are dotted with yurts, shepherds and excessive pasture nomadic tradition alongside the method. For pan-Central Asia travels and itineraries, the area additionally serves as a crossroads between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China.

This article explains how to plan and prepare a go back and forth to the Alay Region, together with what to do and notice in the Alay Mountains and Pamir Mountains.

Our creation to the Alay Region 12 years in the past = recent snow in the Pamir Mountains.

As our jeep gripped the street and moved us nearer to the sky, I started to perceive the phrases of the pal who recommended us on our first seek advice from 12 years in the past.

“So, there’s this part of Kyrgyzstan most travelers don’t really know about.”

Horses accumulated in their very own orchestrated processions, layers of freshly snow-draped mountains as their backdrop. The mild bent because it has a tendency to do in this a part of the international, arcing into the otherworldly. The wind kicked up, handing over a floating, far off sensation. Villages and lives and tradition had stitched themselves into tiny wallet, scattered inside of stacks of mega-mountains so far as the eye may just see.

Before I even knew I sought after to shuttle, it was once puts like this that known as me.

That feeling of alpine elevate, of excessive wasteland thriller alongside the Pamir Highway was once just a style. Since then, we now have visited the area two times extra, widening our view — immersing ourselves in the Alay Mountains and getting up shut to the Pamir peaks we might noticed best from a distance the ones years in the past.

Dramatic mountains and yurts minimize the sky, as native households and roving shepherds be offering a way of what it way to be human right here. For guests, top enjoy with a slightly of nomadic grounding.

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

The Alay Region — a far flung buying and selling and delivery crossroads between cultures and neighboring international locations like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China — is more straightforward to get to than it first seems. Despite this, Alay has a distinctly Kyrgyz really feel, as exhibited by way of households in yurts tending to animals on the jailoo (excessive pasture) in the summer time.

As such, maximum tourism in this area is community-driven and family-run, and vacationers’ cash has a tendency to live native. This article is a useful resource to get admission to all of it.

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

A observe on naming conference to stay issues immediately: Locally, the Alay Region = Alay District + Chong-Alay District. Relevant for vacationers: Alay Region = Alay Mountains + Pamir Mountains.

How to use this Alay Region Experiential Travel Guide: In this complete shuttle information we’ve incorporated the entirety you wish to have to plan and prepare a go back and forth to discover the Alay Region of southern Kyrgyzstan. This comprises no longer best concepts of what to do, puts to visits and treks in the Alay Mountains and Pamir Mountains, but in addition what to be expecting in phrases of panorama, altitude, how to get round (transportation), connecting with native folks and cultures, lodging, meals, and extra. For extra normal knowledge on the nation, take a look at our intensive information on touring in Kyrgyzstan

Alay Region Travel Guide: 6 Things to Do and See

Trek in the Alay Mountains to Experience Nature and Kyrgyz Culture Together

There’s no scarcity of shocking mountains and landscapes in a multi-day Alay Mountain trekking enjoy. Thanks to a community of family members yurt camps throughout the primary Alay Mountain treks and trails, the reviews are set aside by way of a reference to native folks and tradition.

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

After an extended day of strolling, you’re welcomed by way of a family members to their yurt camp. Families no longer best supply a home-cooked meal and heat position to sleep, but in addition a glimpse into what their summer time existence is like on the jailoo (excessive pasture) as they have a tendency to their animals, make recent lotions and breads, and cross about day by day existence.

In addition, the trails you’ll stroll generally tend to hint conventional native shepherd paths. You’ll come across curious folks alongside the method who need to know the place you’re from and what you recall to mind Kyrgyzstan, its panorama and its nature. In different phrases, whilst you trek in the Alay Mountains you’ll by no means omit that you just’re in Kyrgyzstan thank you to the engagement with folks and nomadic tradition alongside the method.

Where to trek in the Alay Mountains:

Our Alay Mountains trekking information supplies complete knowledge on all the other treks, how to get them organized, how to guide a excursion or information, when to cross, and the entirety else you wish to have to know. For simplicity in this newsletter, we’ll divide the Alay Mountains into two spaces: high and low, and we will supply examples of the various kinds of trekking and cultural reviews you’ll in finding in every.

Trekking in the Lower Alay Mountains

This phase of the Alay Mountains is additional north in the area and a little nearer to the town of Osh. The trek trailheads start close to the the town of Gulcha. Landscapes generally tend to be inexperienced, textured by way of layers of valleys and hills, and accented by way of granite peaks.

Alay Region Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide
Enjoying a destroy and the perspectives at Ak Tor Pass in the decrease Alay Mountains.

Don’t let the “lower” idiot you — lots of the treks pass Ak-Tor move (Three,500 meters/11,500 ft) and have sweeping perspectives. If you don’t have enjoy mountaineering at altitude, this house provides a pleasing method to acclimatize on a 3 to 5 day trek sooner than tackling a trek in the excessive Alay Mountains or heading up into the Pamirs on a street go back and forth or trek.

In complete disclosure, we prompt in this house with quite low expectancies since our time adopted time in High Alay Mountains and the Pamirs. Despite that, we discovered the three-day Ak-Tor Pass trek in point of fact relaxing — landscapes had 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 first large ascent of the go back and forth. Ak-Tor Pass trek, Day 1.

Note: We did a Three-day Ak-Tor Pass trek on foot. Other choices come with a two-day trek or extending this a three-day trek to 5 days both on foot — or on horseback as the Truly Nomadic Lands excursion. Although multi-day horseback driving treks don’t seem to be our choice, we will be able to see how those hills could be relaxing and in addition suitable for a amateur on horseback.

Trekking in the High Alay Mountains

This is the extra southern section of the Alay Mountain vary, whose trailheads generally tend to cluster close to Sary Mogul village. Our first trekking reviews in this area had been the Koshkol Lakes and Heights of Alay Treks (Four-6 days). This house nonetheless holds a distinct position in our hearts – for the aggregate of otherworldly mountain vistas like Sary Mogul Pass (Four,303 meters / 14,100 ft) and the variety of alpine lakes, inexperienced valleys, crimson rock canyons and perspectives of close by snowcaps.

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

Today, all of the primary treks in the excessive Alay Mountains also are attached by way of yurt camps. Though you’ll camp if you want, wearing tents and tenting apparatus is not required. This makes the treks more straightforward and more economical to prepare, and in addition supplies extra interplay with locals alongside the method.

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

Note: Since treks in this house succeed in some beautiful excessive altitudes, imagine acclimatizing with day treks round Sary Mogul or some brief treks in the decrease Alay Mountains.

Trek into the Pamir Mountains for High Alpine Extremes

The Pamir Mountains are amongst a few of the international’s best mountains. Located in the southern a part of the Alay Region, the Pamirs shape a herbal mountainous border between southern Kyrgyzstan and northerly Tajikistan. The line of excessive, snow-covered peaks— with Peak Lenin (7,134 meters/23,406 ft) as the best of the Pamir peaks in Kyrgyzstan — is spectacular and turns out to go with the flow 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 method in opposition to Traveler’s Peak.

Peak Lenin draws alpinists and critical mountain climbers from round the international. However, there are different day trek and multi-day trekking choices in the house 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 get admission to all of it with out the want for any particular tools or coaching.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Trekking in Pamir Mountains
A detailed-up view of the Pamir Mountains.

As you ascend into the Pamir Mountains, and if you depart the yurts of Tulpar-Kol Lake, the environment turns into much less coupled to Kyrgyz tradition and extra attached to the survival calls for alpinism. Particularly at the quite a lot of Peak Lenin camps, lots of the folks you’ll come across goal to summit Peak Lenin, and are spending time at the other base and ascent camps in an effort to acclimatize.

For us, this equipped a fascinating glimpse into the international of mountain climbing and all that it takes to get ready and adopt one of these climb. While we weren’t tempted to sign up for them (this time, anyways), it made us recognize much more the attractiveness and shocking landscapes that we had been ready to enjoy as peculiar hikers and non-professional mountain climbers.

Where to trek in the Pamir Mountains

The leaping off level for treks in this house of the Pamir Mountains is Tulpar-Kol Lake, situated about an hour outdoor of Sary Mogul village. Several yurt camps are situated there and will function your base. The treks to be had are most often best to be had in July and August since the mountain passes are differently snow-covered and impassable.

Day hike to Traveler’s Pass (Four,100 meters/13,450 ft)

This is an extended day of mountaineering (19 km/12 miles), with an early get started from Tulpar-Kol Lake. You hike your well past Lenin Peak Base Camp and close by excessive pastures to the ascent up Traveler’s Pass. Don’t simply forestall if you get to the signal at the move, although. Go simply down the grassy house under and revel in the decrease panoramic view of the snow and glacier-covered Pamir Mountains.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Pamir Mountain trekking, Traveler's Pass
Traveler’s Pass opens up to nice Pamir Mountain perspectives.

If you’ve gotten extra time proceed down the move for every other couple kilometers till you succeed in what may well be described as “Watercolor” valley. Then, go back the similar method you got here and revel in a well-earned dinner again at Tulpar-Kol yurt camp.

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

This trek is designed for the ones with a little extra time and enjoy trekking at excessive altitudes. It’s additionally for individuals who need to see extra of the Pamir Mountains and its excessive landscapes.

The first day comprises mountaineering from Tulpar-Kol Lake over Traveler’s Pass to Lenin Peak Camp 1 (Four,400 meters/13,150 ft). It’s a difficult 15+ km / nine+ mile day that takes you via some surreal excessive mountain landscapes and colours between Traveler’s Pass and Camp 1. Enjoy a hearty dinner at Camp 1, and drink a number of water nicely sooner than bedtime.

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 international attached to summiting Peak Lenin.

Wake up early the subsequent day to start mountain climbing up to Yuhina Peak. (You might want to request an early breakfast field for 7AM, since same old breakfast at Ak-Sai Camp 1 does no longer appear to start till 8AM.) It’s a difficult, steep ascent via scree to get to the top. Be positive to continue slowly and ceaselessly. Allow your frame to modify to the altitude. At the best you’ll pass a snow box to succeed in the top.

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

Enjoy a hard-earned destroy at the best. Panoramic perspectives of Lenin Peak and the Pamir Mountain sweep round you in all instructions. Return the method you got here to Camp 1. Have lunch there sooner than starting the stroll go into reverse.

Note: Several trekking businesses run Lenin Peak Base Camps, in addition to camps at upper elevations. Our trek was once organized and all our lodging was once booked by way of Visit Alay in Osh. We stayed at Ak-Sai Camp 1 and located it well-run, blank . It’s geared extra in opposition to respectable climbers than day-trekkers so it has a little of a hearty mountain climbing environment, whole with solar struck alpinists and gruffly-spoken Russian.

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

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

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

Both yurt camps are at the base of the Pamir Mountains and in addition characteristic stunning perspectives of the Alay Mountains throughout the valley.

Note: To steer clear of back-tracking to Tulpar-Kol Lake you’ll prepare a pickup via the yurt camp or CBT Sary Mogul to take you from Booke yurt camp to Sary Mogul or Osh.

Learn about Kyrgyz nomadic traditions and existence on the jailoo

Not some distance 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 an attractive position to spend a while to know about conventional Kyrgyz tradition and existence on the jailoo (excessive pasture).

Alay Region Travel Guide, Cultural Tour - Southern Kyrgyzstan
Several households are living in combination at this yurt camp right through the summer time.

Our host for the morning, Yrysbubu, has arise to this house for 54 years – spending every summer time dwelling on the jailoo. She looks after cows, sheep and different animals, lives in the family members yurt, and continues the traditions and meals of Kyrgyz nomads of her ancestors. She confirmed us how to make chavaty, or bread cooked on a kazan (large steel pot) without delay on the fireplace.

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

Before backing out to the yurt to revel 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 summer time solar and will then be saved and eaten all the way through the wintry weather. Our information defined that korut blended with water creates a hearty drink or soup base that may stay folks complete for hours, offering a vital supply of power for employees in the mountains and fields.

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

Although we might hung out in yurt camps alongside our treks, it was once amusing to have the time to participate in day by day rituals on the jailoo and take in a extra thorough clarification of the traditions and historical past in the back of them.

How to prepare: Contact Ak-Bata Guest House in Daroot-Korgon. The proprietor is the daughter of the grandmother on the jailoo.

Bonus: If you’ve gotten additional time, forestall by way of one in every of the close by beekeepers for your long ago to Daroot-Korgon to pattern esparcet honey. This valley is understood for a prime quality, pesticide-free honey constructed from sainfoin (esparcet) vegetation and nettle. If you’ll’t purchase honey without delay from the beekeeper, you’ll in finding boxes of native honey at the markets in Daroot-Korgon or at sure retail outlets and inns in Osh.

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

Stay in a yurt

There is without a doubt no scarcity of alternatives to live in a yurt whilst you’re touring in the Alay Region. It’s one in every of the highlights.

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

Even should you don’t plan to hike or trek, spending an evening in a yurt is a will have to. There are a number of yurt camps out there to non-hikers which might be price searching for out. For instance, Tulpar-Kol Lake in the Pamir Mountains is on the market by way of automobile and provides a number of yurt-stay choices. It’s additionally imaginable to prepare a switch to/from close by Booke yurt camp as a substitute of constructing your method there by way of horse or on foot. Ask round at Visit Alay, CBT Sary Mogul or your guesthouse in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash for choices.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Community Tourism in Southern Kyrgyzstan
One of the very best issues about staying in a yurt = native family members hosts.

What to be expecting when staying in a yurt

Yurts are conventional round Kyrgyz nomadic properties that may be simply assembled, disassembled and transported. They are comprised of cured picket parts, secured with handwoven straps and coated with heavy felt. The inside of is most often embellished with colourful felt carpets known 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 duvet is drawn over the best 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 most often be invited inside of for a welcome tea. Given the standard past due afternoon arrival to yurt camps on a trek, recall to mind this as the Kyrgyz model of excessive tea. Often a material is about down, and big cushions organized round it for seating. In addition to the precise tea you’ll most probably be served a mixture of bread, borsok (conventional fried bread), selfmade jams, honey, chocolates, nuts and in all probability freshly-made yogurt or kaimak (cream). You may also be presented kymys, fermented mare’s milk. Although you will be tempted to devour the entirety in sight, be mindful to tempo your self for the dinner to apply.

Staying at a yurt camp most often features a welcome tea, dinner, and breakfast. Be positive to let your information or your host know in advance in case you are vegetarian or have any meals hypersensitive reactions or restrictions (e.g., lactose or gluten illiberal) as they are going to get ready all meals recent for you. Dinner will include a scorching meal — soup or a hearty dish of plov (rice, greens and meat), potatoes blended with meat or one thing identical. Breakfast steadily comprises extra bread with honey or preserves, in addition to soup or occasionally recent yogurt (ayran).

Everything occurs inside of the yurt – consuming, napping, and every now and then even cooking. At evening your hosts will transparent the entirety out and lay a chain of mats on the floor for you to sleep on, atop which they’ll pile heavy blankets. A yurt in the mountains approximates a womb-like setting. It’s completely darkish and quiet. We’ve been identified to by accident sleep greater than twelve hours in a yurt, so set your alarm in case your plans require an early get started the subsequent morning.

Alay Region Travel Guide, Staying in a Yurt - Southern Kyrgyzstan
At maximum yurt remains you’ll be able to sleep on the ground, however a couple of additionally come with easy beds.

Some yurts characteristic wood-fired or coal-burning stoves inside of, making it simple to warmth the yurt at evening in case temperatures drop outdoor. There are nearly all the time further blankets to be had so don’t be afraid to ask for extra should you assume you could get chilly. Although the bedding comprises sheets and duvet-covers, we steadily deliver a nap sack in order to supply an additional layer of heat and luxury.

Yurt camps are most often situated close to streams so there may be simple get admission to to water. Most may have a easy gravity-fed sink to be had for laundry palms and combing enamel. An outhouse or dry rest room (most often with rest room paper) will probably be a brief strolling distance from the yurt house. Don’t be expecting a bath.

Things decelerate at the yurt camp, so revel in the quiet, peace and disconnection from the international. Re-connect to nature and existence round you.

Start your Pamir Highway street go back and forth to Tajikistan

The Pamir Highway serves up one in every of the maximum epic street journeys in the international because it winds its method, together with via the Alay Region of southern Kyrgyzstan. This starts (or ends, relying upon the course you select) in Osh and continues alongside the M41 via the Pamir-Alay Region to the Wakhan Valley and alongside to Khorog, Tajikistan.

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

The adventure can take any place from 5 days (should you’re transferring temporarily and no longer preventing a lot) to up to two weeks for facet journeys and treks. Many folks best spend one evening in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash village in Kyrgyzstan sooner than transferring onto Tajikistan.

However, if in case you have extra time and versatility we’d suggest preventing off for a few days for day hikes, multi-day treks or yurt remains in the Alay Region. You’ll immerse your self in some shocking mountain surroundings and feature the alternative to connect to Kyrgyz nomadic tradition and folks. Moreover, you’ll be able to additionally lend a hand your frame acclimatize to the excessive altitude. Particularly should you don’t seem to be visiting different locations in Kyrgyzstan, do not pass over this chance to be told.

Booking a Pamir Highway go back and forth: When we did our Pamir Highway go back and forth twelve years in the past from Osh to Khorog (identical to this Pamir Highway excursion) it was once difficult to prepare as there wasn’t a large number of knowledge to be had on how and the place to guide a excursion or driving force from Osh. Or, how to in finding different vacationers to percentage the jeep and prices. Fortunately, that has modified so it is more straightforward to plan and guide a go back and forth. Visit Alay (the native excursion corporate in Osh that organized our treks above) has an internet departure time table of Pamir Highway excursions with to be had spots if you wish to have to sign up for an present go back and forth. They additionally be offering other choices of Pamir Highway excursions, from five to 13 days, that duvet other routes and come with some mountaineering as nicely.

Travel Information for the Alay Region

There’s no longer a large number of knowledge to be had on-line about touring in the Alay Region and the way to prepare a go back and forth. We’ve attempted to incorporate the maximum related and necessary shuttle main points right here.

How to prepare treks and reviews in the Alay Region

If you wish to have to shuttle independently and do self-guided treks, you’ve gotten a large number of choices. All the treks discussed in our Alay Trekking Guide come with hyperlinks to uploaded virtual GPS tracks. With the community of yurt camps alongside the trails, you do not want to concern about wearing tenting apparatus.

If you’re like us, alternatively, and like to trek with an area information and feature the entirety arranged in order that the best factor you’ve gotten to concern about is playing your self in the mountains, then Visit Alay in Osh is your only option for the area. They arranged all the treks and visits that we now have achieved in Alay over the ultimate two years. We had been pleased with the guides, transportation, lodging and different logistics. Disclosure: Our visits had been a part of tourism construction tasks so those treks and reviews had been equipped to us free of charge so lets overview them. In any match, we with a bit of luck suggest them to somebody.

Visit Alay no longer best is aware of nicely all the treks and reviews imaginable in the Alay Region, however as the native Community Based Tourism (CBT) group they’ve been liable for a few of the infrastructure and are serious about running with and supporting native family members companies. A portion in their earnings is going again to coaching and offering funding for family members yurt camps, trekking guides, and different small companies and native suppliers. The supervisor of Visit Alay, Talant Toksonbaev, is devoted to making sure that tourism advantages native folks. He’s assembled a forged community to do that and is all the time making an attempt to come with extra folks as tourism grows in the area.

Using Osh as your organizing gateway for Alay

Osh is not just the 2d largest town in Kyrgyzstan, however additionally it is the highest transportation and organizing hub for any treks or exploration of the Alay Region. You’ll in finding all the services and products and you wish to have in Osh on your travels in Alay — excursions and arranged treks, trekking guides, tenting and trekking tools condominium, snacks and meals for the mountains, and extra.

Not to point out, Osh is price a seek advice from due to its blending bowl of cultures and Silk Road historical past. It’s price putting available in the market for a few days to leisure up, plan your Alay adventures, do a foodie excursion or strolling excursion of the town, discover the massive Jayma Bazaar, and revel in the services and products (e.g., just right espresso) of a giant town sooner than heading into the mountains.

Accommodation in Alay Region

Accommodation in the Alay Region most often comprises small, family-run guesthouses or yurt camps (discussed above). Don’t be expecting luxurious, however you’ll be expecting blank rooms with get admission to to a bath (steadily scorching water) and bathroom. Many puts be offering shared rooms, most often divided by way of gender. However, we now have spotted that the availability of double or personal rooms turns out has ceaselessly greater over the ultimate couple of years. For instance, Peak Lenin Guesthouse in Sary Mogul now provides double rooms with bathe and bathroom amenities inside of the development. This may be very welcome for touring like us.

A couple of Alay guesthouses now be offering the possibility of on-line reserving. Check availability and costs of lodging in Sary Mogul, Sary Tash, and Gulcha.

If you might be coming via Osh on the method to Alay, you’ll simply guide inns in Osh on-line. On our ultimate go back and forth via Osh we stayed at Rayan Hotel and located it comfy and well-located. It additionally serves a hearty breakfast.

Food and Clean Water in the Alay Region

Most of the meals you’ll be able to devour in the Alay Region will probably be served by way of guesthouses or yurt camps. On the plus facet, because of this it is all the time selfmade and cooked recent. On the down facet it way a restricted number of what you’ll be able to devour since there are most often no menus and everybody has a tendency to devour the similar factor. This steadily features a variation of rice, potatoes or pasta mixed with some meat and greens. Usually, there are a number of rounds of bread on the desk served with some aggregate of honey, jams, ghee (clarified butter), kaimak (native bitter cream) or selfmade yogurt.

Alay Region Travel Guide - Eating in Yurts
Yurt consuming. You’ll by no means cross hungry.

If you’re vegetarian or have meals hypersensitive reactions (e.g., gluten, lactose, nuts, and so on.) be sure that to let your information or hosts know instantly so they may be able to get ready one thing other for you. Meat options prominently in many Kyrgyz dishes so vegetarians might need to deliver nuts or different protein snacks to be certain that a balanced vitamin. You too can request an egg be added to your rice or potatoes.

Possible cooking magnificence possibility: If you might be in finding out how to cook dinner conventional Kyrgyz meals, and specialties from the Alay Region, ask at Lenin Peak Guesthouse if that is an possibility. We had been ready to check a cooking magnificence with Baktugul, the mom of the space. She taught us how to make kesme plov hand-crafted noodles stewed with meat, potatoes and tomatoes.

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

The 1-hour cooking magnificence was once amusing and interactive. Plus, the ensuing meal made for a perfect lunch. We’ve additionally prompt a manti (dumpling) magnificence. So ask about that should you occur to live there.

Trekking snacks

Our trekking information stored us nicely fed with picnic lunches and snacks alongside the path. Nuts and dried fruit from the Osh bazaar make for tasty, wholesome snacks. However, Snickers bars (do not giggle) also are roughly magical, in particular when they are presented after a grueling ascent. They are to be had in maximum villages.

Clean water

Most guesthouses and yurt camps will give you boiled water should you request it. So you’ll fill up your reusable water bottle or water bladder. We carried each as we discovered that the water bladder was once very best for consuming frequently right through the trek to live hydrated whilst the water bottle was once higher for consuming water at stops. Please don’t purchase bottled water and lift it into the mountains. This means will best depart a path of plastic waste since there is not any recycling in the house.

We suggest wearing water purification drops or a SteriPEN with you simply in case. This method, you’ll be able to all the time be confident of getting a route to purifying your water. Use them if you wish to have to fill up your water bottle alongside the path and you might be no longer positive of the cleanliness of the move or if you wish to have to be further cautious about the water you’ve got gained out of your host.

How to acclimatize in the Alay Region

Altitude illness is not anything to mess with. It’s no longer best uncomfortable, however it could actually in reality be very unhealthy on your well being if no longer addressed correctly and instantly. The very best method to lend a hand your self steer clear of altitude illness problems is by way of taking a couple of days to acclimatize correctly sooner than going into the excessive mountains for a excessive altitude trek or a Pamir Highway street go back and forth.

At a minimal, imagine spending a few days in a mountain village (e.g., Sary Tash or Sary Mogul) and be sure that to stroll round so much to see how your frame handles motion in the skinny air. Even higher, do an acclimatization hike. For instance, hike up to Koshkol Lakes the place you cross up in altitude right through the day, however then sleep at decrease elevation (e.g., Sary Mogul village). Another just right possibility is to do a brief two to 3 day trek in the decrease Alay Mountains to accustom your frame to mountaineering and napping at relatively upper altitude.

In addition, be sure that to drink plenty of water when in the mountains. Move slowly, too. There’s no race to the best. Slower motion and less breaks is best on your frame then transferring temporarily and taking longer breaks with a heaving chest to get well.

How to get to the Alay Region

Although the Alay Region (southern Kyrgyzstan) is far flung, it is extra out there than you could assume. There are a number of transportation choices and routes to get there from inside of Kyrgyzstan, and from neighboring Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or China. The town of Osh serves as the primary transportation leaping off level for shared taxis, marshrutkas and personal delivery going into the Alay Region. Then, there are private and non-private delivery choices between villages and cities inside of the area.

For a complete description of all the techniques to get to Osh, learn this.

Traveling to Alay Region from inside of Kyrgyzstan

If you might be already touring in Kyrgyzstan and need to get to Osh after which the Alay Region you’ve gotten a few choices with flights or land delivery (e.g., shared taxi, marshrutkas, personal delivery).

Flights from Bishkek to Osh: During our fresh visits to Osh we flew from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. It’s a snappy 45-minute flight to Osh on Pegasus Airway/Air Manas this is reasonably priced (e.g., $30-$45) and simple to guide on-line (we most often seek for flights with Skyscanner). If you time it proper you’ll even arrive in Bishkek out of your world flight after which hop on a flight to Osh a few hours later.

Note: In the summer time months, 50-minute flights to Osh from Tamchy (north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul) are occasionally presented. If you might be spending time in Karakol or the Issyk-Kul area, it is a just right possibility.

Traveling to Osh and Alay by way of land: Kyrgyzstan has a community of shared taxis and marshtrutkas that may take you nearly in every single place if in case you have sufficient time. The maximum not unusual land connections to Osh are from Bishkek (shared taxi best), Jalal-Abad (2 hours), and Naryn. From different portions of the nation it is steadily highest and quickest to go back to Bishkek and shuttle south from there.

To Alay from China and Tajikistan border crossings

If you might be crossing the Irkeshtam border from China (Xinjiang Region) there are most often shared taxis to be had that may take you to Sary Tash village, which is one in every of the leaping off issues for the Alay Region. If you might be coming from the Kyzylart – Bor Dobo border crossing with Tajikistan alongside the Pamir Highway you’ll be able to undergo Sary Tash and/or Sary Mogul villages.

To Alay from Uzbekistan and Dostuk border crossing

It has change into a lot more straightforward the ultimate years to shuttle to Alay (and Kyrgyzstan) overland from Uzbekistan. The borders have unfolded and Uzbekistan now provides a visa-free regime (up to 30 days) for lots of international locations. The Dostuk border crossing with Uzbekistan is solely 10 km outdoor of Osh and there are shared taxis or marshrutkas ready at the border to take you to the town. From there you’ll prepare onward delivery into the Alay Region.

Transportation Options: How to get round the Alay Region

Alay has a community of shared taxis and marshrutkas that may take you between villages and cities in the area. However, you’ll steadily want personal delivery to get to lots of the trailheads or yurt camps. This can both be booked in advance as a part of an arranged trek or excursion, or you’ll prepare it at your native visitor space. Try to sign up for an present switch or departure to scale back your prices and your environmental footprint.

For instance, the path between Sary Mogul and Tulpar-Kol Lake is slightly widespread in the summer time months as many vacationers spend time at the yurt camps there and perform a little mountaineering in the Pamir Mountains. Ask round at your native visitor space, with different vacationers, or touch Visit Alay to see when a automobile may well be heading up there and if area is to be had.


Disclosure: Our reviews in the Alay Region are drawn from our fresh visits as specialists on the Helvetas Bai Alai tourism construction challenge and in the past on the USAID Business Growth Initiative (BGI) program. These tasks incorporated comparing present and rising treks and tourism merchandise in this area; reviews had been equipped to us. In addition, we traveled via the Alay Region in 2007 as a part of our personal adventure throughout Central Asia. As all the time, the ideas and evaluations contained herein — the what, the why, and the how — are totally our personal.

Source hyperlink Everything Everywhere

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