Kyrgyzstan shares borders with Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. For an exact location of these and all other border crossings on the Silk Road, see the border crossing map. For more information about visas, see the Kyrgyzstan visa chapter.
After the Kyrgyz-Tajik border war of 2022, all borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were closed. The Kyzylart border with Pamir has reopened since late July 2023, although it is still complicated to pass. Details in this forum thread.
Warning: do not venture into border areas unless you have a border permit or are actually crossing at the border crossing. There are plenty of other beautiful spots in Kyrgyzstan. Foreigners without the correct border permits do get arrested from time to time.
Warning number 2: if you are traveling on an e-visa, only 12 border crossings are valid crossing points for you. Find out more at eligible e-visa border crossings.
Border crossing map
This map is schematic and only depicts the main border crossings of Kyrgyzstan. For all border crossings and their precise location, see the map at Border crossings of the Silk Road. Status (open or closed) is detailed below.
- Aisha Bibi
- Sypatai Batyr
- Karkara Valley
- Torugart Pass
- Irkeshtam Pass
- Karamyk – Jirgital
- Batken – Isfara
Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan border crossings
Korday / Ak-Zhol
After being closed for reconstruction in 2020-2022, Korday / Ak-Zhol is once again the main border crossing between Bishkek and Almaty. Updates gathered here.
Self-drivers should watch out for the traffic police just beyond the border on the Kyrgyz side. There is a stop sign that should not be ignored; even when stopping, a bribe could be solicited. Further updates in this post.
Minibuses go between Bishkek’s Western bus terminal and Almaty’s Altyn Orda market for 500 som/2500 tenge – 5 hours.
In case you are left without transport after the border, on the Kyrgyz side there are many buses going straight to the centre of Bishkek and Dordoi. On the Kazakh side, shared taxis vie for your business for 2500-5000 tenge to Almaty. The border is open 24/7, there is currency exchange on both sides and a decent canteen on the Kyrgyz side.
Karkara valley (Kegen – Tup/Kensu)
The problem is, there is little public transport for travelers without their own vehicle. A bus between Almaty and Karakol exists, but it goes via Bishkek and takes 11 hours. Almaty-Karakol daily at 21. Karakol-Almaty daily at 16.
Crossing reports and questions are gathered in this forum Q&A.
Previously, the border opened only approximately between May 1 and October 31, but a forum post in early 2023 states that the border is now open year round, from dawn til dusk. We are looking for confirmation.
The Karkara crossing opens only in summer, approximately May to October, from 8 am to 6 pm, every day also in weekends. To find out when the border will open/close next, (have someone who speaks Russian) call the border guards at +7 72777 25559 (KAZ) or +996 312 543836 (KG).
For those with their own transport: It’s 30 km from Kegen and about 85 to Tup on the Kyrgyz side. Come prepared, there is little in the way of supplies between these towns. The road is rough gravel for the last 15 km on the Kazakh side and the first 50 or so on the Kyrgyz side.
Karkara and Kegen don’t have money changing facilities. If you are coming from Kyrgyzstan, try to get tenge in Karakol. On the Kazakh side, the offroad route from Turgen to Bartogai Reservoir comes highly recommended, although it is very steep if you are cycling.
On public transport
Karakol -> Almaty: From Karakol you can hitchhike or take a taxi for ~5000 som.
On the Kazakh side, there is no public transport, but people will be willing to give a lift if you can wait for them. The border guards can call their taxi friends in Kegen: expect to pay 20$ for the car to Almaty. Camping or staying in a yurt with locals is an option if you get stuck near the border – there are also accommodation options in Kegen.
Karakol to the border will cost around 20$ with a taxi.
Almaty -> Karakol: A shared taxi from Almaty to Kegen will cost around 10$ for a seat. Shared taxis in Almaty to Kegen hang out around Sayakhat bus station and tend to leave early. In Kegen, taxi drivers hang out near the petrol station, they ask 10$ for the ride to the border. From the border to Karakol, you need to wait for a car to hitchhike, or organise a ride in advance with a local tour operator.
To find others to share a ride, try hostels and our travel sharing forum. Reasonable chances in July-August, slim chances the rest of the year.
Kegen -> Khorgos (China border): hitchhike or bargain for a ride to Shonzhy with a taxi driver in Kegen (2000 tenge/seat). From Shonzhy, there are shared taxis to Zharkent (1000 tenge/seat). From Zharkent, you need to be lucky to quickly find another hitched ride or shared taxi to Khorgos.
Aisha Bibi – Chongkapka
Border crossing between Taraz and Talas. Updates posted here. Money exchange is available at the border. There is a small restaurant on the Kyrgyz side if you are hungry.
KAZ -> KG: In Taraz, take bus #33 to the border, or a taxi. On the other side, transport options are low. 200 som for a taxi to Talas is reasonable.
KG -> KAZ: Taxis to and from Talas are 200 som. They leave from Talas on the north side of the bazaar, look for a bunch of guys yelling “tamozhnia” (таможня). The trip is about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the driver. The Lenin head and sculptures at the Kirovka dam are the highlight on the road. There is a bus that goes to Taraz from the border.
Pretty easy to get a taxi or marshrutka, might have to wait for it to fill up of course. It seems like early in the morning is the best time to get a ride out.
Other border crossings
Ak-Tilek / Karasu: With the reconstruction of the Korday border finished, Ak-Tilek, near Kant, has now become limited to bilateral commercial truck traffic – no foreigners, no cars or pedestrians. This might change as it seems construction has moved to this border post.
News is welcome in the Ak-Tilek forum thread.
Alatau: A hiking path from Almaty to Lake Issyk-Kul. This was once one of the top hiking trails in the Soviet Union, but at the moment this border post cannot be crossed by foreigners, or even locals.
Kenbulun & Sartobe: New since 2017, both of these crossings near Tokmok were bilateral border crossings at first, but they seemed to have converted to international border crossings in 2022. Reports welcome.
Sypatai Batyr (Chaldybar): Border crossing on the most direct road between Bishkek and Taraz, between the villages of Merke (KAZ) and Kara-Baltynin (KG). Bishkek – Tashkent buses cross here. Money exchange is available and a small cafe. Updates here.
Kyrgyzstan – China border crossings
When attempting to cross the high altitude borders between Kyrgyzstan and China, make sure that you have checked the weather. Double-check that there is no holiday on either side of the border. Crossing on a Friday into China is tricky: if you get held up, you might be stuck for 2 more days. There is little fuel, food or spare parts in these areas. And, the Chinese border operates on Beijing time.
There are 2 passes over the Tien Shan mountains from Kyrgyzstan to China. The Irkeshtam pass is the best choice for anyone wanting to get to China the
easy less difficult way. For others, there is the Torugart pass.
Kyrgyzstan – Tajikistan border crossings
After the Kyrgyz-Tajik border war of 2022, all borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan remain closed with little perspective of them reopening. Hunches, unfounded rumours and desperate pleas to governments are welcome in this forum thread.
Quite a few scams are being pulled by Tajik border guards. They can ask for a fee for the health declaration and customs forms coming into Tajikistan.
There is no longer an immigration card upon entering Tajikistan, and thus one scam less to watch out for. Cyclists will be asked on exiting where their import document is for the bicycle – you do not need one, of course. Just smile and pretend that it’s all a joke, but don’t pay the bribe. Stand your ground.
When attempting to cross the high altitude borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, make sure that you have checked the weather.
Batken – Isfara
Easy crossing between the villages of Guliston and Kyzyl-Bel. Updates in this forum post. Uzbek exclaves are no longer a problem, Kyrgyzstan has built good new roads around them. In Tajikistan, however, the road on to Khujand passes briefly again through Kyrgyzstan. This can’t be avoided, but there are no checks. Find out more about enclaves.
Taj -> KG: Marshrutkas run from Khujand to Isfara (2h, 10 somoni). Shared taxis run from Isfara to Batken (1h including border formalities, 10 somoni). Shared taxis run from Batken to Osh (3-4 hours, 600 som/seat).
KG -> TAJ: Drivers at the bus station in Batken pretend that there are no marshrutkas going to Isfara, just chartered taxis. This is not true, but the marshrutkas do not depart from the bus station. They leave from somewhere in the town centre, in front of a government building – just ask. It’s 50 som from Batken to the border by taxi.
Kulundu – Ovchi Kalacha
On the Khojand – Isfana road, this is a valid multilateral border crossing. Driving north out of Isfana (N.B. not Isfara), the first border crossing you encounter is actually bilateral only, but keep going a few km and you will find the multilateral border, which is much busier. Do not get confused! Reports collected here.
From Khudjand, marshrutka 92 will take you directly to the border. Cost: 3.50 Somoni. The bus stop is at repelled.torn.evaded (southern side of the road). From the border, shared taxis await to Isfana (150 som/seat)
Kyzylart – Bor Dobo
On the road from Sary Tash to Murgab. The broken windows, repurposed oil tanks, ravaged offices and lack of dress code on the Tajik side are straight out of Mad Max. The Kyrgyz side is normal. The border works 24/7.
By car, Sary Tash – Bor dobo takes 45 min. Bor dobo – Kyzylart: 1 hour. Kyzylart – Karakul: 1 hour.
You will need a GBAO permit to travel the Pamir Highway. For details on traveling from Osh to Karakul and Murghab, see Pamir Highway by public transport. Take your precautions if you are traveling over this high pass in wintertime. People have had to be rescued here in the past.
If you have a car, Tajik guards here are some of the worst, inventing all kinds of ‘taxes’. You do NOT need to pay the sanitation fee, nor any kind of road card, road tax, border tax, bicycle import tax, … The only fee you need to pay is the import tax for your car or motorbike. But border guards are so corrupt here, you can bribe your way out of that as well. We’ve even heard of people coming in without a visa through Kyzylart.
Not paying and standing your ground will take some time. Post your updates here.
Karamyk/ Jirigital – Daroot Korgan
Bilateral border crossing, not open to foreigners. It was briefly opened for international travelers during the unrest in Khorog in summer 2012. The road is being repaired now, though rumors about re-opening are as yet unconfirmed. Post your updates here.
August 2012: Dushanbe – Jirgatol: 150 som, 200 for Karamik border. There is a section in the middle that is gravel, but still very smooth going, no need for a 4wd. Border is in the middle of nowhere and pretty empty apart from heaps of trucks. It’s about 10kms along a dusty road between border posts.
On the other side, there is limited transport: quotes from 200 somoni to 600 Kyrgyz som for the ride from the border to Osh. Road on the Kyrgz side of the border is very good asphalt all the way. Absolutely no need for 4wd.
Madaniyat – Madaniyat
Open only for Kyrgyz and Tajiks.
Surkh – Khoja Alo
No reports on the status of this border south of Batken and Isfara. All we have is this news report.
Kyrgyzstan – Uzbekistan border crossings
Note that all train travel between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan passes Kazakhstan. Similarly, minibuses from Bishkek to Tashkent pass through Kazakhstan. No need to worry about the Ferghana valley enclaves.
Main border crossing on the road between Osh and Andijon. Open 24/7, closed for lunch 13.15 to 13.45.
Cars and buses could not cross the border from 1999 onwards, but in 2019 this became possible once again. In short, you can take a minibus between Osh and Andijon (2 hours, leaves every 20 minutes), and we assume direct links between Osh and other cities in Uzbekistan will follow soon. Updates and questions on the buses welcome in this thread.
If you are doing it the old-school way without the cross-border bus: public transport and shared taxis are still available on both sides. You can use your foreigner privilege to skip the queue, otherwise you might be waiting in line for hours. From the Kyrgyz border, minibus #138 heads to the center along Lenin Avenue, while #116 and trolleybus #2 go along the parallel Kurmanjan Datka street. Updates and experiences in this post.
Madaniyat / Izboskan
Also called Manyet or Byurgendyu, Izboskan replaces the closed Uch-Kurgan border. Open for foreigners, BUT only for pedestrians and cyclists, not for cars and motorbikes! Shared taxis run on either side of the border. Border definitely still open at 9pm.
Money exchange on the Uzbek side available, less so on the Kyrgyz side. Updates in the Izboskan forum thread.
UZ -> KG: Taxis to the border in Andijon can be found near the “yongi bazar” (OSM). Taxis available once on the other side. On the Kyrgyz side, there’s a sim card seller just up from the border crossing for sim cards. There’s a bank with a Visa/Mastercard ATM just after the border crossing (41.04604,72.32075 – Gmaps).
Border crossing on the road between Jalal-Abad and Andijon. This border has been closed since 2018. Updates and questions welcome in the Khanabad border crossing forum thread.
Closed in 2016, opened again in 2017, closed again in 2018, seemingly forever this time. Updates welcome in the Uchkurgan forum topic.