Backpacking in Central Asia is getting more and more popular every year. As former USSR countries open up, it’s becoming easier to travel between the Stan Countries.
A popular route includes getting from Kyrgyzstan into Uzbekistan through the Dostuk border crossing.
Here I will tell you exactly how to get from Osh to Andijan by bus.
Osh New Bus Station (Новый автовокзал)
The first step of the journey from Osh to Andijan starts at the New Bus Station in the northern part of Osh. In Russian, it’s called Новый автовокзал, pronounced: “Noviy Avtovokzal”.
Do not mix up the New and the Old Bus Stations. The Old Bus Station is under the bridge at Alisher Navoy Street. In Russian, it’s called Старый Автовокзал, pronounced: “Stariy Avtovokzal”.
To get to the New Bus Station, you can take Trolleybus #2, Bus #9, or Marshrutka #116, #119, #138, #142 from any of the bus stops on Kurmandjan Datka or Lenin Streets. If that sounds complicated, download the application 2GIS.
It works offline with routes and public transport as long as you download the map beforehand. You pay inside the vehicle.
Foodie tip: There’s a bakery just across the road from the bus station making fresh, hot, delicious, and cheap Kyrgyz bread around the clock. Kyrgyz bread is the best!
From the New Bus Station in Osh to Andijan
As of 2023, there are two ways to travel between Osh and Andijan: by a direct minibus or by changing marshrutkas.
Direct bus 777 between Osh and Andijan
Once at the bus station, look for a counter that reads 777. This is the direct minibus going to Andijan. It wasn’t an option for more than 20 years between 1999 and 2021 but has recently been restarted.
The ticket costs 140 KGS / 1.6$. The minibuses go every hour and take around 2 hours to reach Andijan, excluding the time at the border.
If you’re in a rush to take a train from Andijan, remember the 1-hour difference between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (you “earn” an hour when you cross into Uzbekistan).
The direct minibus is convenient as you won’t need to change vehicles. Just have patience after the border and it will come.
Do not give in to pressure from the parasitic taxi drivers and do not trust them when they say it’s not coming – it most definitely is.
Marshrutka to Dostuk and another to Andijan
This is the old-school way of traveling between Osh and Andijan.
First off, you don’t even need to get off at the New Bus Station as most of the marshrutkas from the Center of Osh go to the Dostuk Border (sometimes spelled Dostyk, or Достук in Cyrillic).
Cross the border on foot and get out on the other side in Uzbekistan.
IGNORE all the pesky taxi drivers.
They will jump on you like hyenas on a wounded animal and pester you with statements like “Where are you going?“, “Come with me, I’m leaving now!“, “Andijan, 10$, come“, “There’s no bus/marshurtka, only taxi“, and “There are no more marshrutkas today, taxi 20$“.
I’ve found that politeness doesn’t work as expected with Central Asian taxi drivers, so I just started ignoring them. I suggest you do too.
Walk a little further down the street and you will see the shared taxis lined up, waiting for passengers. You will probably be approached again, this time you can interact a little, see how many people they already have, ask for the price, etc.
Don’t settle for anything over 300 KGS (3.4$), although you could haggle down to 200 KGS.
Dostuk Border Crossing
The Dostuk Border Crossing is one of Kyrgyzstan’s busiest. It was renovated recently but still remains a bit chaotic.
If you still have any Kyrgyz Som, you can change them just before the border at excellent rates.
Here are a few tips to help you cross Dostuk more easily:
- Make friends with someone on the bus and walk together through the checkpoints;
- Queueing is a concept mostly unknown to Central Asian locals. Stand your ground!
- As a foreigner, you may enjoy a certain level of privilege and be allowed quick passage through the border;
- Any Russian you speak will massively help you cross the border faster;
- Prepare to have your passport closely scrutinized for up to 30 minutes.
- Do not cross into Uzbekistan with any strong painkillers. Here’s a list of forbidden medications for Uzbekistan;
- Be prepared to hand over your phone for inspection. Delete any pornographic, propaganda, or sensitive materials you might have on your phone’s storage. Yes, I’m serious.
When I crossed the Dostuk Border my bag wasn’t checked and my medicine baggie wasn’t inspected. This is standard practice though, so be prepared.
My phone was not inspected, although I’ve heard more than a few reports from fellow travelers, whose phones have been.
My Bulgarian passport was examined by 3 different border officers for more than 30 minutes. I asked them why that was and they said “Just checking“. I can assume EU passports are frequently forged, so they take extra precautions.
Remember to turn your clock 1 hour back and ignore all the taxi drivers!
You’re now officially in the Fergana Valley! It’s an awesome region and very different from the beaten-track destinations in Uzbekistan. I suggest you spend 3-4 days to soak in the authentic culture of the region.
Check out my full guide to the Fergana Valley.
From Andijan to Osh
If you’re doing the journey the other way, the process is pretty much the same.
Take Bus 777 from in front of Andijan 1 Train Station all the way to Osh New Bus Station. The ticket costs 15.000 UZS / 1.3$.
Alternatively, take a shared taxi to the border (~30.000 UZS), cross Dostyk Border Crossing on foot, then hop on a local marshrutka (15 KGZ / 0.2$) to Osh City center.
After a few days in Osh, you might decide you want to travel to the capital Bishkek. This is a long and arduous journey.
I’ve written about my experiences traveling between Bishkek and Osh.