Road from Osh to Tashkent overland - Uzbek border crossing
The road from Osh to Tashkent
Travelling overland from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan or the other way around is a common route for independent travellers. The border between Osh and Andijon is the most popular border crossing among travellers. Both cities are located in the beautiful Fergana Valley. The landscape is shaped by grassy hills, green meadows and large fields. The area is very fertile and produces a lot of fruits and vegetables due to its rich soil and moderate climate. The people here are more conservative then in the big cities, also very friendly and hospitable.
From Osh to the Dostyk border crossing
You have to plan in half a day to get from Osh to Andijon. Take a taxi or hire a driver from your accommodation to the border (15 minutes ride). From there you will cross the border by foot. It is advisable to be there early in the morning (around 8 o’clock). The border is supposed to open at 8 am. The Kyrgyz side of the border is quite easy to handle. Unfairly, they might give preference to foreigners. In the custom building you have to wait in line before a counter where your papers are checked. The queue can be a bit messy so don’t let yourself get pushed around and defend your space.
From there it is just a short walk to the Uzbek side. The atmosphere is maybe slightly more tense here but it is not too bad. Some of the officials may even speak some words English. Inside the customs you have to fill out a form (declare your valuable belongings and cash). If you get a paper in Russian, there are filled out examples in English on the wall to copy. If they are done with checking your papers you might have to open your bags and show your camera, phone or laptop. This might take a while but afterwards you are good to go.
Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the Uzbek border:
- Take just the medication that you absolutely need with you and write all of them on a paper and what effects they have (e.g. Aspirin: against headaches)
- It is not allowed to have pornographic material on your laptops/phones
- Make sure you also don’t have sexual photos on any device.
- If you carry a lot of memory cards with you they might want to see them too.
- The more of those things you have the longer it will take you to proceed.
- Try to be friendly at all times and just take it easy.
From the Dostyk border crossing to Andijon
If you have time, you could drive directly to Tashkent. Many travellers prefer to stay overnight in one of the charming towns of the Fergana valley, like Andjion. When you leave the border, you will be besieged by taxi drivers who want to take you to the city. Don’t rush into a deal and take your time to negotiate a reasonable price. If you don't speak a local language, it is easier to hire your driver in advance and he'll be waiting for you.
The ride to Andijon takes about one hour. Arriving in Andijon you might want to look for a hotel. There are some good options available. Either way the hotels in Uzbekistan are very clean, tidy and nice. Andijon itself is a quite nice city with big avenues. Take the afternoon and visit the Jahon Bazaar which is huge and interesting to see. Another sight is the Jome Mosque and Medressa. These are probably the first typical Uzbek/silk road buildings you will see. That will give you the first impression and spirit of your further visit in Uzbekistan.
From Andijon to Tashkent via Fergana valley by car
It is possible to go directly from Andijon to Tashkent. You will have to find a driver who takes you to Tashkent. The easiest way to find a taxi is probably to ask at the accommodation you are staying at. Otherwise look around at the populated corners of the city like malls. There you'll probably find someone who will take you to Tashkent. Be prepared for hard negotiations. The ride will take about 6-7 hours depending how many (photo) stops you have on the way. It is actually a very nice road with beautiful landscapes like the Kamchik Pass (2267m).
If you plan to stay longer in the Fergana Valley or make several stops on the way, here are some places to see:
- Kokand: Explore this ancient city with its modern touch and see the Khan’s place, the different Medressas and mosques.
- Fergana: This relatively modern city offers a nice Bazaar to visit and good accommodation if you want to stay another night in the Fergana Valley.
- Margilon: Uzbekistan is the third biggest silk producer and at the Yodgorlik Silk Factory you can see the production and learn everything about silk production.
- Rishton: This town is famous for its handmade ceramic and the Ceramics Museum which can be visited.