Standing On Top of Sary Mogol Pass Looking Out To Beshkol Lake

15 Things To Do Near Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Travel Guide 2021

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Osh, Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful city located in the southern part of the country. Osh is famous for its traditional culture and people and the many opportunities to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.

Whether you’re looking to indulge in popular Kyrgyz food or explore the Alay Mountains, Osh has it all. Use our guide to plan the ultimate trip to Osh, Kyrgyzstan from where to stay, things to do to add to your itinerary, and so much more.

Is Osh, Kyrgyzstan Worth Visiting?

Wondering if Osh, Kyrgyzstan is worth visiting? The answer is absolutely yes!

I’ll be honest with you.. before I did any research on Kyrgyzstan, I didn’t even know Osh existed. And the truth is, most people brush right over it.

But skipping Osh would be a mistake. Not only is this city rich with culture, but the day trips and tours you can take from here are mind-blowing. As the gateway to the Alay Mountains, you’ll have some of the best adventures in Central Asia at your fingertips.


15 Top Things To Do In Osh, Kyrgyzstan

To start this travel guide, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best things to do in Osh. There’s something for everyone in this region of the country, so it won’t be hard to find something that excites you.

1. Jayma Bazaar

The Jayma Bazaar is a must-see if you’re spending time in the southern region of Kyrgyzstan. This is the largest bazaar in Osh and it’s perfect for those looking to experience local Kyrgyz culture.

Jayma Bazaar in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

This market has everything from fresh fruit juices to beautiful fabric textiles. Vendors offer all sorts of different foods and handicrafts, so be sure to spend some time walking through during your visit.

2. Ak Buura Tsentr Otdykha Park

For families with kids visiting Osh, you can’t skip Ak Buura Tsentr Otdykha Park. This park is perched on the Ak Buura River and offers a lot more than your average park. Hop on one of the many rides, take a spin in a water boat, or eat some delicious ice cream.

Not only will your children have fun running around, but you’ll get some time to relax in Osh’s best park.

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    3. National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman

    If you only have time to visit one museum in Kyrgyzstan, let it be National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman (Solomon Mountain Museum).

    Solomon Mountain Museum In Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    This architectural wonder roosts on the side of Sulamain Too Mountain, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside, you’ll find archaeological and cultural artifacts from carvings and historical sculptures to photographs and paintings.

    You’ll also get a fantastic view of Osh City from this museum, so be sure to bring your camera along.

    Note: To enter, you will need to pay 150 soms per person (if you’re a foreigner). Locals can expect to spend 50 soms.

    4. Sulamain Too Mountain

    If you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit more outdoorsy while traveling in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, consider climbing Sulamain Too Mountain.

    Sulayman Mountain in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    As you’re driving to your accommodation from the airport, you’ll notice this sacred mountain that sits in the middle of Osh City. You can’t miss it because not only is it the highest peak in the area, but the National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman is carved into it (which seems to be quite controversial).

    Set off on the trails around Sulamain Too Mountain to admire the view of Osh City and the many religious tributes along the way.

    Tours From Osh, Kyrgyzstan

    If you’re anything like me, then you’re likely looking for adventure and a lot of it! And if that’s the case, consider taking a tour departing from Osh.

    There are all sorts of different tours from Osh, including horseback riding trips and mountain climbing excursions. You can book day-long or multi-day tours that take place in the Alay Mountains near Osh and let me tell you.. these mountains are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

    Here are a few of the best tours from Osh, Kyrgyzstan and how you can book them for your upcoming trip:

    5. Traveler’s Pass + Peak Lenin

    Peak Lenin is one of the tallest mountains in Central Asia, standing at 23,405 feet (7,134 meters). Seeing this magical mountain up close is a must for anyone traveling in this region.

    Standing At The Base of Peak Lenin on Traveler's Pass.

    Although it would be amazing to stand on the summit of Peak Lenin, it’s unachievable for the majority of us; this is a technical climb for professional mountaineers. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the views.

    Instead of spending 3+ weeks climbing Peak Lenin, consider hiking up to Traveler’s Pass. Not only will you be able to conquer this hike in one day, but you’ll enjoy everything that Peak Lenin offers.

    Note: For the best tour guides, I strongly recommend Visit Alay. You can check out their Peak Lenin itinerary and inquire about a tour by clicking here.

    6. Drive The Pamir Highway

    If there’s one road trip you should take while visiting Kyrgyzstan, it’s the Pamir Highway. This iconic highway crosses multiple mountain passes throughout many Central Asian countries. But it’s the drive across Kyrgyzstan that is truly unforgettable.

    A View of the Pamir Highway From Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    One of the best sections along the Pamir Highway is to travel from Dushanbe, Uzbekistan to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, stopping for impressive hikes and cultural experiences along the way. Keep in mind that this drive will likely take several days, if not more, so plan for this when finalizing your itinerary.

    During your drive, we recommend staying in remote villages along the Pamir Highway so that you can get a real sense of what life is like for local Kyrgyz people.

    Note: We recommend hiring a tour guide for most (if not all) of your adventures from Osh, Kyrgyzstan; it makes things a LOT easier for you. Here is the best Pamir Highway tour.

    7. Tulpar Lake

    At the base of Lenin Peak, you’ll find Tulpar Lake, a vibrant turquoise-colored lake that will leave you in awe. Tulpar Lake sits on the outskirts of Peak Lenin and brilliantly reflects the mountain on clear days.

    Tulpar Lake with Peak Lenin in the Background.

    Not only will you enjoy the views of Peak Lenin while visiting Tulpar Lake, but it’s surrounded by high mountains on all sides, creating one of the most scenic panoramas in southern Kyrgyzstan.

    Let’s just say, if you’re spending any amount of time in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Tulpar Lake needs to be on your itinerary. You can visit Tulpar Lake with the same tour mentioned for Peak Lenin and Traveler’s Pass above.

    8. Homestay In Sary Mogol

    One of the best things to do while visiting the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan is staying a night (or two) in a homestay. These homestays will give you a real taste of what life is like in Central Asia and allow you to meet some fantastic people along the way.

    While there are many homestay options in Osh City, I recommend going down to the small village of Sary Mogol for a few nights.

    A Table Set At A Homestay in Sary Mogol, A Short Drive From Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    Apart from meeting friendly locals, our favorite part of staying in a homestay was the food. Traditional Kyrgyz food is to die for and you should eat as much of it as you can during your travels.

    9. Sary Mogol Pass + Beshkol Lake

    If you only embark upon one adventure while visiting Osh, Kyrgyzstan, make it Sary Mogol Pass and Beshkol Lake. But before you go, be sure you’re up for the challenge.

    Getting to Sary Mogol Pass and Beshkol Lake is no easy feat; you’ll experience a lot of elevation gain, but the reward at the end is more than worth the effort.

    Standing On The Top of Sary Mogol Pass with Beshkol Lake In The Background.

    Book a tour with the same tour guides (Visit Alay) as mentioned for Tulpar Lake and Peak Lenin; they will go above and beyond to make sure your trip is one that you’ll never forget.

    If high mountains and emerald glacial lakes are what you want to find during your trip to Kyrgyzstan, this tour offers it all and more.

    Check out all of the details of this tour by clicking here.

    10. Kara-Suu Village + Lake

    By now, you’ve probably realized that Kyrgyzstan is a country full of adventurous opportunities. And one of the best ways to experience the remote landscapes of Central Asia is by exploring Kara-Suu Village and Lake.

    During this tour, you’ll leave from Osh and drive up the western side of Kyrgyzstan. When you arrive at the lake, you’ll instantly understand why this tour made the list of best things to do near Osh.

    Kara-Suu Lake looks like it is straight out of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park; the emerald glow of this lake is incredibly stunning and its remote location means you likely won’t run into many other tourists (something you can’t say for Canada’s lakes).

    11. Yurt Stay

    If you go to Kyrgyzstan but don’t stay in a yurt for a night, did you really go to Kyrgyzstan at all? Staying in a nomadic yurt is a staple of any Osh trip, so don’t make the mistake and skip out on it.

    A Yurt With the Alay Mountains Behind; This is A Great Trip From Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    During your yurt stay, you’ll get the opportunity to eat local Kyrgyz food, meet locals, and maybe even enjoy some live Kyrgyz music. And you can’t forget to try some kymyz, which is fermented horse’s milk. I can’t promise that it will taste good, but it is a tradition, so you must try it at least once.

    The best part is that you can stay in a yurt just outside of Osh; it takes approximately an hour to get to Sary Oi, so it won’t be too far out of the way.

    You can learn more and book your yurt stay by clicking this link.

    12. Kyrgyz Ata National Park

    Escape the bustling city of Osh to visit one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful valleys. In the Fergana Valley, you’ll find Kyrgyz Ata National Park. Although this isn’t the most famous national park in Kyrgyzstan, it is every bit as beautiful.

    Trips From Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    Take a day hike up one of the many mountains surrounding this area or hop on horseback for an authentic Kyrgyz experience.

    Of course, I never recommend exploring the remote areas of Kyrgyzstan alone simply because it’s easy to get lost. Here is an awesome tour that will take you through Kyrgyz Ata National Park.

    13. Horse Trek Through The Alay Mountains

    Perhaps you’re not keen on multi-day treks or reaching 14,000-foot mountain passes. That’s okay! There are still plenty of tours from Osh, Kyrgyzstan for you to enjoy.

    One of the best ways to see this region is on horseback. And to get the most out of your experience, I recommend booking a multi-day horse trek through the Alay Mountains.

    A Horse Grazing On The Plain Near Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    While there are plenty of tour guide companies in Osh City, Visit Alay outshines them all. During the tour, your guide will know exactly which routes to take to find the most epic views in southern Kyrgyzstan.

    Here’s more information about one of the best horse treks in the Alay Mountains.

    14. Ak Tor Pass

    Located just south of Osh, Kyrgyzstan is a hidden gem called Ak Tor Pass. This mountain pass offers some of the most expansive views in all of Central Asia.

    In addition to fascinating mountain views, you’ll also get the chance to stay overnight in local yurts, drink endless amounts of hot tea, and indulge in traditional Kyrgyz cuisine like manti and borsok.

    At the end of the day, if craggy peaks and cultural experiences impress you, then this tour is right up your alley. Find out how you can book a tour to Ak Tor Pass from Osh here.

    15. Kum Bell Pass

    Looking for a day trek from Osh, Kyrgyzstan? This 5-6 hour hike to Kum Bell Pass might be precisely what you’re looking for.

    The best part of this day hike is that you’ll be able to see some of the tallest mountains in southern Kyrgyzstan without overexerting yourself. This route is far less strenuous than other day hikes in the area.


    Is Osh, Kyrgyzstan Safe?

    One of our biggest concerns with traveling to Central Asia was, “is it SAFE?” And the answer is yes.

    In particular, Kyrgyzstan is a very safe country, especially for foreigners. While there have been border disputes with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the past, travelers don’t have to worry about that.

    A Small Village in Southern Kyrgyzstan.

    In general, Osh, Kyrgyzstan is a safe city with friendly locals. You can walk around the city by yourself (even as a solo female traveler) and feel completely safe.

    But, as with any destination in the world, it’s always best to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.

    With that said, I always recommend hiring a local tour guide company to take you on excursions through the nearby mountains. Again, even though this is a safe area, it can be pretty easy to get lost. Throughout our time in Kyrgyzstan, I was so thankful to have a guide to show us the way.


    Getting To Osh, Kyrgyzstan

    While booking our trip, it was a headache trying to figure out the best way to get to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. When I looked for flights from Bishkek to Osh, I was seeing ridiculous prices upwards of $600 USD.. NOT what I was hoping for.

    Walking Down From Sary Mogol Pass in the Alay Mountains.

    Luckily, $600 is not typical for a plane ticket from Bishkek to Osh. You just have to look in the right place.

    Instead of using a flight aggregator like Skyscanner, go to one of the local airlines’ websites and book your flight there. Here are some of those websites:

    Air Manas

    Tez Jet

    Avia Traffic Company

    Note: We could only book our flights within a month or less of our proposed travel dates. This might be the case for you as well.

    Before we found affordable flights from Bishkek to Osh, we toyed with the idea of taking a bus instead. Do not do this unless you plan on taking a tour along the way. 12+ hours on a crowded bus isn’t worth it!

    Best Places To Eat In Osh, Kyrgyzstan

    While exploring the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste local Kyrgyz cuisine at its finest. And being that Osh is a major city in Kyrgyzstan, you’ll find delicious international food as well.

    The Alay Mountain Range.

    Here are a few restaurants to add to your itinerary when traveling in Osh:

    Ala-Too

    After a long day of exploring Osh City, what better way to unwind than with some local food and culture? Be sure to order some Shashlik (slow-roasted mutton with onions) when visiting Ala-Too; you’ll thank me later!

    Atabek Cafe

    Atabek Cafe in Osh, Kyrgyzstan is a must-visit for anyone traveling through the area. They serve up delicious international food as well as unique local delicacies. You’ll especially love their homemade noodles and fresh-made lepeshka.

    Nirvana Cafe

    Our favorite restaurant to visit in Osh was Nirvana Cafe. Not only does this restaurant have some of the best pizza in Central Asia, but they offer incredible local dishes as well.

    And the best part? They brew their own beer! Visiting a brewery while traveling across Central Asia was a real treat and we think you’ll thoroughly enjoy it, too.

    Traditional Kyrgyz Food To Try

    If you’re on the hunt for the best Kyrgyz food while visiting Osh, Kyrgyzstan, you’ll want to add the following dishes to your list:

    Manti

    One of the most popular dishes in Kyrgyzstan is manti which are delicious dumplings stuffed with meat and onions.

    Manti, A Traditional Food Served In Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    This was my favorite food to eat while traveling through the southern region of Kyrgyzstan. If you’re unsure what to order while traveling in Osh, you can’t go wrong with ordering a plate full of these.

    Lepeshki

    Another traditional Kyrgyz food that you’ll love is lepeshki. These are delicious flatbreads (naan) that you can enjoy alongside other dishes. You’ll likely see this bread all over town and at the table of any authentic Kyrgyz meal.

    Shorpo

    When in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, be sure to try out the popular dish, shorpo. This is a delicious lamb and vegetable stew that will keep you warm while exploring this region of Central Asia.

    A View of A Traditional Dining Setting in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    Shashlik

    Shashlik is slow-roasted lamb kebabs that taste amazing when paired with a side of rice or lepeshki bread. If this is your first time trying out traditional Central Asian cuisine, order this!

    Borsok

    And finally, you can’t go to Osh, Kyrgyzstan without trying Borsok. Borsok is a fried bread that’s cut up into small pieces. Traditionally, they are spread out on the table for everyone to enjoy during a meal.

    Where Should I Stay In Osh, Kyrgyzstan?

    While traveling to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, you have a few different accommodation options. But, whether you stay in a hotel, hostel, or homestay, you’re going to fall in love with this region.

    Here are a few of the best places to stay during your time in Osh:

    Rayan Hotel

    If being in the heart of all of the action is important for your experience then staying in the city center is necessary. Rayan Hotel is one of the best hotels in Osh, Kyrgyzstan and you’ll quickly see why.

    They offer modern amenities like WiFi, air conditioning, and incredibly accommodating staff. If you’re looking for a hotel that’s the best of the best but still at a reasonable price, look no further.

    You can book your room at Rayan Hotel here.

    Cube House

    For something a bit cheaper without compromising quality, check out Cube House Osh. This hotel is in an ideal location and has clean rooms and comfortable beds.

    The best part about this hotel is that you don’t have to go far to get a yummy meal; the upstairs restaurant is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before exploring Osh.

    You can book your room at Cube House here.

    Traditional Homestay

    One of the best reasons to visit Central Asia is to immerse yourself in traditional culture. And there’s no better way to do that than by booking a homestay during your time in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

    We recommend reaching out to Visit Alay and coordinating your Osh City homestay with them. They have your best interest in mind and can set you up for an experience you’ll never forget.

    The Wrap-Up: Best Things To Do In Osh, Kyrgyzstan

    Osh, Kyrgyzstan is a great place to visit for anyone who enjoys exploring the outdoors, hiking, or just getting out of their comfort zone. There are plenty of things to see and do in this city and the people are welcoming, which makes it even more inviting.

    Whether you’re looking for an adventure-packed getaway or something relaxing that highlights traditional Kyrgyz culture, this city has got it all. And while it might take years to visit every destination mentioned here, I highly recommend seeing as many as possible during your time in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.