Osh, Kyrgyzstan

by budgettravelnotes on July 28, 2010

We were lucky to arrive in Osh just after the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office lifted their ‘all but essential travel ban’ to Kyrgyzstan.

We never spent much time here as there was a limited amount for us to do in the city, and we had a rough plan on where we wanted to head in Kyrgyzstan :

 The day we arrived we thought we’d treat ourselves to a ‘slap up’ meal after being on the road a few days, so it was off to Rich Man’s for dinner.  It was a bizarre experience as we mistakenly ended up in a private room, but there was the fullest menu we had seen so far during our trip.  The food was ok and we stuffed ourselves.

 In Osh the market is reputed to be the largest in the area outside of Kashkar.  Whilst travelling I’m much more of a market person than museums as I think it makes you appreciate the locals and their daily life a lot more.  The Osh market covers an area almost 2km long and is generally divided into different sections.  The market was great selling everything under the sun.  If you arrived here to prepare for a trekking trip you’d be able to pick up many different types of food from here.  For some reason, the UK supermarket Morrison’s seemed to dominate as the plastic bag of choice – they were even being sold in batches for $1 on one stall.  I can only assume that they have slipped out some factory in China as opposed to Morrison’s having some business tie up in the region!

The fruit and the herbs are always the areas I find most interesting in the markets in this part of the world as there so many items not available back home, and in the supermarkets it always seems overpackaged and marketed, and you’re forced to buy quantities you may not need, which only leads to waste.

The only other sites we visited in Osh were Solomon’s Throne which is an unmissable ridge shaped mountain in the centre of town.  The view from above is shown as the top picture of this post.  It’s a brief walk (and 3 Som to enter) to get to the top giving you views over the city centre.  We could just see the snow peaked mountains in the distance due to the haze.

We spent time nailing down our plans in Kyrgyzstan which ended up being :

Arslanbob, a last minute addition to go to Sarey Chelek, BIshkek to visit a friend, then Cholpon Ata for Lake Issy Kul, Karakol for some trekking and back to Bishkek, maybe stopping on the south shore depending what happened  That’s a pretty bog standard trip to Kyrgyzstan but we had discovered that it was not possible to visit Lake Song Kul yet as the mountain pass was still closed in May – we would need to be a month later to access there, especially to see the best of it.

Although we were offered a car organised by Osh Guesthouse for $290 for 5 days to take us to Bishkek, we decided to go it alone to save cash and have the experiences, so it was off to the bus station in the morning which is at the end of the market, near the centre of town.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: