It’s a long, scenic route between Bishkek and Osh, with many interesting sights along the way. Some pictures can be found at “Landscapes of the M41“. Doing it overland in 1 day is tiring, so if you have the chance, break the journey.
There are no buses or regular minibuses between Bishkek and Osh. The Bishkek-Osh highway is a narrow mountainous road (though in a good condition) and big buses and public passenger minivans are not allowed to cross the Tor-Ashu and Ala-Bel passes.
This means shared taxis are the preferred way of getting there overland. An early start is recommended, as it will be a 12-14 hour ride. Cars leave constantly from 6am to 9pm both in Bishkek and Osh. The scenery is lovely, so a night taxi will miss out on that. It’s also recommended to pay a little bit more for a front seat, as the back seat will contain 3 passengers who can expertly increase their own leg room.
In Osh, taxis to Bishkek park on Zainabetdinova street. In Bishkek, they gather south of Osh bazaar (map).
Prices fluctuate. In spring, seasonal workers travel north from Osh to Bishkek and onwards to Russia, and Osh – Bishkek prices are lower. In autumn they return, and Bishkek – Osh becomes a bargain. Expect to pay 1000-1500 som per person.
It’s not very exciting, of course, but for comfort, it beats 12-14 hours in a battered taxi, and the price is similar. Starting from 35$, several airplanes per day fly between Osh and Bishkek. Aviakassas in town sell tickets in case online booking is not available.