Enclaves and exclaves in the Ferghana Valley divided between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are volatile. Violent border clashes are common, and navigating around them is essential to avoid visa worries and border guard trouble.
Where are the enclaves?
Central Asia has nine exclaves. Tajikistan has three exclaves within Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan: Sarvan, Vorukh and Kaigarach. Uzbekistan has five exclaves within Kyrgyzstan: Sokh, Shakhimardan, Qalacha, Dzhangail, and Tayan. Kyrgyzstan has one exclave in Uzbekistan: Barak.
The two largest exclaves are the Tajik exclave of Vorukh and the Uzbekistani exclave of Sokh. Both are within Kyrgyzstan.
How to avoid the enclaves?
Cycling or driving from Osh and to Tajikistan is not an issue at all. Locals in the area are generally known as friendly and will usually point you in the right direction, but not everyone is fully aware of where the border is drawn.
There is a check point 100 km from Osh where you will be guided to an unfinished but smooth dirt road to the left. This is a steady climb and then down around the enclave area. You will come into a town at the end of the road. Turn left here and follow the signs to Batken. If you turn right you will hit another checkpoint which you cannot go through.
It’s another 100 or so km to Batken and 10km more to the border crossing from there. Again there is nothing to worry about at all. You won’t stumble into Uzbekistan if you stay on the main road.
Two important notes. The road around mentioned above is not on Google Maps and there is a road directly from Batken to Isfara which is also not on Google Maps but is on Openstreet Maps. There are a lot of border crossings that are only for locals on Google Maps. Don’t follow these, just make sure that you ride all the way on the nicely paved road to and through Batken and then follow the road out of town.