Motorcycle Travel Guide: Kyrgyzstan

This Motorcycle Travel Guide for Kyrgyzstan is packed with info for adventure bike riders and anyone travelling through Kyrgyzstan with their own vehicle overland. You’ll find info on road conditions, routes, paperwork, borders and a bunch of extra tricks and tips to help you on your way. 

Motorcycle adventure riding in Kyrgyzstan


Motorcycle Travel in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a small, landlocked country in Central Asia bordering China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It was once part of the USSR and became fully independent in 1991. It’s one of the ‘least known’ about countries in the world and many of its people still live a nomadic way of life, living in yurts in the high mountain pastures during summer and the plains in winter.

The best motorcycle routes in Kyrgyzstan

You’re not exactly spoiled for routes in Kyrgyzstan, which makes plotting a course relatively straightforward. Dependent on where you’re planning on entering and exiting from, the main overland routes will take you to the centre of Kyrgyzstan (Song Kol Lake – see below) and then either directly north to Bishkek and onto Kazakhstan, or to Karakol and a north east border to Kazakhstan.

If you’re heading south to Tajikistan then you can take the south border over No-Man’s-Land and head south for the Pamirs. Or you can go west to miss the Pamirs and head straight for Dushanbe, but no adventure bike rider will want to do that! 

Lost and map reading while adventure biking in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan borders

Deciding whether to exit Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan at the Bishkek or Karakol border is a big question. The decision will largely come down to when you’re crossing (Karakol border is only open mid-May to October), if you fancy off-roading (Karakol) or if you need to visit Bishkek for a visa.

If it helps with your decision making, the Karakol border heads to Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon and Kaindy Lake (must visit destinations). If you go to Bishkek and cross, you will need to ride all the way east anyway to see them.

Charyn Canyon travel
Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon is worth the visit. You can camp right here

If you’re motorcycle travelling through Kyrgyzstan, then it’s likely you’re entering from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan. All three countries have easy borders. The trickiest is the south-east border crossing between Tajikistan, which heads to Sary-Tash in Kyrgyzstan. The border itself is fine, it’s the no-man’s land between the two countries that’s a pain when wet. It’s a high-altitude mountain pass (it can get cold and snowy in winter).

motorcycling in no-man's land in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

Check out our map below for a breakdown on borders.

Kyrgyzstan adventure motorcycling route map guide

What to see in Kyrgyzstan

horse riding in Lake Song Kol Kyrgyzstan

Specifically for overlanding and motorcycle travel, the region surrounding Song Kol Lake is the best place to ride, drive and cycle. The road turns from dusty track to beautiful green valleys, before you finally reach the high peaks and head over the pastures surrounded the pearly blue lake.

Guide to Kyrgyzstan roads

When you leave the lake, you’ll notice two routes on Maps.Me both heading east to the main road, which will lead north to Kochkor. Take the southern route for prettier views. The coordinates to head for are 41.733146, 75.428781.

We have compiled a Top 5 things to see and do in Kyrgyzstan guide, which includes horse riding, living like a nomad and top hiking spots if you want more info for fun things to do on a Kyrgyzstan motorcycle tour. 

Wild horses in Kyrgyzstan

Road conditions and police in Kyrgyzstan

In general, the road conditions are better than Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. And the off-roading is far easier than in the Wakhan. The main roads are in good condition throughout the country. The only thing to be careful of is police. The roads often open up and it’s very tempting to speed, but police linger around every corner with their speed guns. They are there to catch you.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll pull you over for no reason and try and extort money. We have heard of a few cases from fellow travellers, who were stopped and heavily fined for speeding. One guy even paid 200 USD. That’s outrageous, even by Kyrgyz standards. If weren’t speeding, hold your ground and don’t give in. If you were speeding, don’t pay more than £5.

READ MORE: How to Deal with Bribes on the Road

How to motorcycle travel in Kyrgyzstan

Finding fuel, food and water in Kyrgyzstan

There is no serious issue with fuel, food and water in Kyrgyzstan. Just make sure you check and bookmark fuel stations on Maps.Me if you’re heading off-piste. If you’re cycling, then you may want to carry extra water through some parts as rivers are harder to come by. Same goes for food. Locals will stop for you if you get stuck, but expect to be force fed horse milk.

Kitchen in Kyrgyzstan yurt

Motorcycle rental in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is the best place to rent a motorcycle in Central Asia. It’s the easiest of the Stan countries to get into, paperwork is simple and most citizens from most countries get in visa free. But also, Kyrgyzstan has the most rental companies and widest range of bikes. Here’s a bunch of articles to read next for renting a motorcycle in Kyrgyzstan. 

Motorcycle tours in Kyrgyzstan

The exact same information as above on renting a bike in Kyrgyzstan is applicable to joining tours. Kyrgyzstan is not only the easiest Stan country to book a motorcycle tour, but also one of the best places in the world to do it. Here’s why: Kyrgyzstan is literally an adventure rider’s dream. It’s got incredible scenery, backdrops and insane roads all wrapped up into one of the most mountainous countries in the world. And if you are strapped for time or want the fuss taken out of planning a trip, or just want to go somewhere with a few mates and get stuck straight into an adventure, then this is the place to do it. 

There are some fantastic Kyrgyzstan motorcycle tour companies out there (listed on our Kyrgyzstan Rentals and Tour Companies page) who will take care of everything for you, from hotels, routes, bikes, fuel and food. So all you have to do is turn up and enjoy this awesome place.

Motorcycle repairs in Kyrgyzstan

MuzToo in Osh is perhaps the most well-known overlander workshop in Central Asia. They work on 4x4s, cars and motorcycles and have accommodation. You can order spare parts from there, work on your own motorcycle with their tools or employ one of their mechanics to do the work.

Muz Too team in Kyrgyzsan

Visit the Recommended Kyrgyzstan Motorcycle Rental and Tour Companies page for contact details and for more companies that offer similar services. 

The MuzToo coordinates are 40.50327, 72.83200

If you’re after a place to stay in Osh while you work on your bike, then the ESAL Hotel is a short drive away (£1 by taxi), very close to the best Italian and western style restaurant in town and one of the best hotels in Osh. 

We’re not affiliated with them, but ended up spending two weeks there as we waited for parts for our bike from the UK and loved our stay. Dorm rooms are 6USD or you can get a private double room with ensuite toilet and bathroom for 22USD a night. The owner, Daniel, speaks excellent English and is incredibly helpful. And the WiFi is fast. You can find our review and the location on iOverlander next to MuzToo. The coordinates are 40.50808, 72.81799

Camping and accommodation

You can camp freely in Kyrgyzstan, but hotels and hostels are incredibly cheap. You’ll find camping and hostel options on iOverlander and Maps.Me. One type of accommodation is a must in Kyrgyzstan though, and that’s staying in a yurt with nomads. Song Kol is a fantastic place to do that.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist
READ MORE: The 10 Best Camping Tents

Song Kol yurt camp in Kyrgyzstan

Visa, insurance, money and paperwork

Kyrgyzstan is the easiest ‘Stan’ country to visit. Many nationalities, including Brits, don’t even need a visa. A bunch of countries (including the USA and entire European union) get 60 days visa-free in the country. Just buy your own personal insurance in the UK and go for it! That makes Kyrgyzstan a brilliant destination for motorcycle holidays, because it’s so easy to fly in, rent a bike and have a blast. Ride all the way there or rent there, either way, you’ll love it.

READ MORE: The Central Asia Visa Guide
READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Paperwork Explained

Motorcycling in Kyrgyzstan with a nomad

Read more on Motorcycle Travel in Kyrgyzstan

Thanks for checking out our Motorcycle Travel Guide: Kyrgyzstan. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycling in Kyrgyzstan that we recommend you read next. 

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We hope you found this Motorcycle Travel Guide for Kyrgyzstan helpful. Let us know in the comments below if you’re planning a trip there, we’d love to hear about it!

7 thoughts on “Motorcycle Travel Guide: Kyrgyzstan”

    • Thanks for your comment! Much appreciated! Please feel free to message us anytime if you have any specific questions or want to run anything by us. All the best and happy travels!

  1. Hello, this is Oguz from Turkiye. As soon as posibble due to corona i am going to head to Middle Asia. Thank you for your useful site and all given informations, very helpful.
    Best regards.

    • Hi Oguz,
      Thanks very much for your comment, very kind of you to say.
      That’s excellent! I hope you enjoy your trip and if you need anything just email us or ask in the forum anytime 🙂
      ps. where abouts in Turkey are you from? Turkey is my favourite!!!

  2. Hello,
    what kind of close do i need to ride trough Kyrgyzstan mountains in June / July? Altitude of some passes are sometimes pretty high (>3000m above see level)? Can it be there <10°C like in European Mountains in this altitude and this time of year? I was planning to bring simple, breathable Motorcycle-Gear without GoreTex-Membrane. Or is 4-Season-Gear better for Kyrgyzstan mountains in June / July?
    And did you had a lot of rain while riding in Kyrgyzstan / Kyrgyzstan-mountains?

    Thank you very much for all the great and useful recommendations, its very helpful to plan my trip there this year.

    Greetings from Germany,


    • Hi Dima, thanks for your comment.
      Exciting to hear that you’re planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan! I’m sure you’re going to absolutely love it!
      We were in Kyrgyzstan from around June to August. We were in Lake Song Kol which has a high altitude in July.
      We didn’t experience any rain at all. It can be a little nippy in the evenings, but I wouldn’t say it was cold at all.

      May I recommend you have a read of this article:
      In there I detail the type of gear we use, which is more like your first point of simple breathable gear without gore-tex. We carry this type of gear and remove all the waterproof and thermal liners. Instead we carry cheap waterproof throwovers and a quality compressible down jacket. That way our gear can handle any weather without making us too hot or cold.
      And while we use this setup on our round the world trip, I also believe it is the best set-up for countries like Kyrgyzstan on standalone trips.

      I hope this helps, please feel free to ask more questions anytime (although i’m flying out of the country tomorrow for the next two weeks and will have next to no wifi, so I may be delayed in my reply).

      And thank you for your kind words on our website, much appreciated.

      All the best,


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