Striding toward the Pamir Mountain range-line on the horizon, I chased the waning light across a broad meadow dotted with horses in the distance. We'd descended from a mountain pass surrounded by turquoise alpine lakes and defined by glacier ridge lines. Yak herders we met earlier invited us into their yurt for tea and local specialties, a gesture typical of Kyrgyz nomadic culture and hospitality.
This is trekking in the Alay Mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan.
The Alay Mountains (or what some also referred to as the Alay Valley) are a sub-range of the towering Pamir-Alay Mountain system which sit in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan north of the Hindu Kush and Himalayas. Trekking experiences run from the day hike variety where you can experience some of the area’s alpine lakes, snow-covered peak panoramas and cultural highlights in a single day to varied multi-day treks that deliver otherworldly views, remoteness and some of the most worthwhile trekking Kyrgyzstan has to offer.
And, you'll likely have the trails all to yourself.
Prior to our visit where we helped mark new trekking trails in the area, we didn’t know much of the Alay trekking corridor. After our experience, we are fan-evangelists.
This article explains why and how to easily organize and do Alay Mountain day hikes and the multi-day treks.
Note: There's a battle between transliterated spellings of what we call Sary Mogul (town and pass). You might see it elsewhere also as Sary Mogol, and also Sary Moghul. Sorry (ahem) for any confusion.
There are many different trekking choices in the Alay Mountain sub-range in southern Kyrgyzstan, but you really can't go wrong no matter what you choose. We're not the only ones who think so.
Your choice of trek will depend on how many days you have, how remote you'd like to be, the difficulty and altitude level you seek, and how much culture or interaction with local people you want. Whether your trek is the main reason for your journey to southern Kyrgyzstan or if you are interested in incorporating a trek as part of your journey along the Pamir Highway to/from Tajikistan, there are endless variations of treks you can take in the Alay Mountains ranging from one-day hikes to 6-10 day treks.
Some of the more popular treks in the Alay Mountains and Alay Valley include:
- Heights of Alay Trek (4-6 days): This is the multi-day trek we did. We outline it below in detail. Highly recommended. Stunning landscapes and views. Due to time constraints, we were only able to do the shorter version from Sary Mogul to Kojokelen village. If you have more time, we recommend you consider the full version which includes crossing Jiptick Pass back to Sary Mogul. View the GPS tracks for the entire 6-day trek here.
- Koshkol Lakes Trek (1 day): A fabulous one-day trek we did from Sary Mogul. This trek takes you from a local shepherd yurt camp through a valley filled with yaks, over several passes to the height of 4,195 meters where you'll have views of four alpine lakes, glaciers, and the Pamir Mountains in the distance. More details below. View the GPS tacks here.
- Truly Nomadic Lands (5 days): A challenging trek that not only features magnificent mountain panoramas, but also Kyrgyzstan's nomadic culture as there are many shepherd yurt camps along this trail. The start of this trail is about an hour from Osh. View the GPS tracks here.
- Lenin Peak Base Camp Trek (1-2 days): This is the most popular day trek in the area. It begins at the yurt camp at Tulparkol lake near base camp and goes up to Traveler's Pass (4,130 meters) and down again (19km). Many travelers spend a night or two at the yurt camp before returning to Sary Mogul.
- Ak-Bosogo — Sary-Mogul Trek (1 day): Starting just off the Pamir Highway, this day hike takes you through jailoos (high summer pastures) until you reach Algachart Pass, where you can enjoy views of the Pamir-Alay Mountains. Transport required. View the GPS tracks here.
- Treks in Kyrgyz-Ata National Park: This is a good option for those who still want to do a bit of trekking and experience the Alay Mountains, but don't want to go far from Osh city. After a day trek it's possible to return to Osh the same day or to spend the night at one of the local yurt camps.
Heights of Alay Trek: What to Expect on a Multi-Day Trek in the Alay Mountains
This trek is one of the favorite we've done over the last few years. For a relatively short trek (three days of hiking), the Heights of Alay Trek packs an experiential punch. Each day takes you through different landscapes, over mountain passes and includes interactions with local shepherds and villagers. However, the first day's cross of Sary Mogul Pass really stands out; you'll feel as if you've landed on a different planet.
Note: The full Heights of Alay Trek is 5 nights/6 days (87 km), takes you over Jiptick Pass and ends in Sary Mogul village. We did an abbreviated version that ends in Kojokelen village. We hear that the views of the Pamir Mountains and Peak Lenin from the Jiptick Pass (4,185 meters) are pretty stunning, so if you have the time we'd recommend doing the full trek.
Our Route: Sary Mogul Village – Beshkol Lakes – Sary Mogul Pass – Kyzylshoro village – Koshmoinok Pass – Koshmoinok Valley – Sarybell Pass – Kojokelen village
Total Hiking Distance: 48 km / 30 miles
Number of Days: 3 nights/4 days, including a transfer to Osh on day 4 (Note: we did this in 2 nights/3 days as we transferred to Osh at the end of day 3)
Minimum / Maximum Altitude: 2,223 m (7,300 feet) / 4,303 m (14,120 feet)
Season: June – early September
Day 1: Sary Mogul Village – Beshkol Lakes – Sary Mogul Pass – Campsite
Hiking Distance: 14 km / 8.7 miles
Minimum / Maximum Altitude: 3,369 m (11,050 feet) / 4,303 m (14,120 feet)
Number of hours hiking: 5-6 hours
We don't want to oversell the views and experience on this day, but if the weather is clear it will certainly be memorable. You cover a lot of ground and elevation (up to 4,303 meters), but it's a relatively steady incline so you don't feel completely exhausted by day's end.
The starting point of the trek is around 15 km northeast of Sary Mogul village. You'll need to arrange a transfer in advance to take you there in the morning. From there, follow the shepherd paths towards the stream and up the valley. After a while there's a short stretch where the trail is narrow, difficult to see, and the terrain is composed mainly of scree and small pebbles. It's a bit challenging already when it's dry, so we suggest not to attempt this approach in the rain or when the trail is wet.
Within a couple of hours you'll cross a small pass and leave the river valley behind you. Before you do, be sure to look back for great views of Peak Lenin and the Pamir Mountains behind you. You'll then descend into a second river valley with rocky and high desert terrain.
Follow the stream through the valley. Eventually the path will take you over the hills and into another river valley, this one even greener and more lush than the previous one. This is a good spot for a snack or lunch as there is a good water source, protection from wind, and glacier views.
Then comes the big ascent towards Sary Mogul Pass. As you climb higher, the landscape opens; peaks, glaciers and alpine lakes begin to appear. Soak in the views around you and of the Pamir Mountains in the distance before making the final push up a steep volcanic rock- and scree-covered incline.
Once you reach Sary Mogul Pass at 4,303 meters / 14,120 feet, the highest point of this trek, take some time to enjoy your accomplishment and climb all over the rocks. The views from up here of the expansive peak, glacier and alpine lake are incredible and otherworldly.
From there, it's a steep descent through scree to the campsite located below (39°52'37.97”N 72°48'11.45”E) near the stream. Bundle up, as it can turn especially cold here at night given the elevation (3,900 meters / 12,800 feet).
Day 2: Campsite – Kyzylshoro village– Koshmoinok Pass – Koshmoinok valley
Hiking Distance: 17 km / 10.5 miles
Minimum / Maximum Altitude: 2,387 m (7,830 feet) / 3,415 m (11,205 feet)
Number of hours hiking: 6-7 hours
The start of the second day is relatively easy going and mainly downhill. The final part of this day, however, is challenging and includes an 860 m (2,820 ft) ascent.
From the campsite, follow the trail through the valley and along the river. With the decline in elevation, the terrain begins to change from high alpine rocky and sparse to mid-mountain green dotted with the alpine lush of juniper bushes. You'll have views of the surrounding glaciers and snow-covered peaks above and behind you.
The trail rises a bit and continues through the hills, staying parallel to the river, until it reaches the farmlands of the nearby village, Little Sary Mogul. When we did our trek at the end of August it was hay-making season, so many in the village were out in the fields cutting the long grass in preparation for the winter season ahead.
As you continue through Little Sary Mogul village, don't be surprised if you receive some invitations for tea along the way — including from a friendly grandfather, as we did. The next stretch is perhaps the least pleasant of the journey, as it winds along a dusty road shared with cars and trucks. You'll pass another small village of Kyzyl Shoro where you can pick up additional food supplies at the guest house in town.
Eventually, you leave the road behind and follow the trail as goes towards the right up a dry river bed and past several outlying homes and farms. People here are quite friendly; we had to turn down several more offers for tea as we were a bit pressed for time to arrive at the next campsite before nightfall. It's worth getting an early start to this day to allow yourself the flexibility and option to enjoy a bit of this local hospitality.
With the village and outlying homes behind you, the trail becomes very steep and ascends approximately 860 meters (2,820 feet) through grass meadows and pastures to Koshmoinok Pass (3,415 m / 11,205 feet). Remember to keep looking behind you. The views open up as you ascend.
After the pass, it's about a 45-minute descent to Koshmoinok Valley where campsites are scattered (39°56'43.58”N 72°52'13.31”E) along the banks of the river.
The campsite setting is beautiful and features layers of mountains on all sides. There are several shepherd huts in this valley, so it’s possible to ask around for dinner (300 som/person) and/or breakfast (250 som/person). We enjoyed both. Not only was the food fresh and tasty, but it was also engaging to eat with a local family and learn a bit more about their lives in the jailoo during the summer months (June-September).
Day 3: Koshmoinok valley – Sarybell Pass – Kojokelen village
Hiking Distance: 22 km / 13.7 miles
Minimum / Maximum Altitude: 2,223 m (7,293 feet) / 3,151 m (10,337 feet)
Estimated number of hours: 7-8 hours
This was a longer and more difficult day than we initially expected. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of landscapes, geographic formations and colors. We jokingly called sections of it “The Best of Kyrgyzstan” as it was possible to see large red rock formations just along the trail, jagged snow-covered Pamir Mountain peaks in the distance, and the variegated array of high-, mid- and low alpine landscape across your field of view.
The day begins by following the river from the campsite with a moderate climb to Sarybell Pass (3,124 meters / 10,250 feet). From there, enjoy a beautiful view of the different layers, colors and landscape features of the Alay Mountains. From the top of the pass, continue left and follow the path as it winds along the edge of the hills with the valley to the right. Segments of this trail are steep and challenging due to scree and loose rocks.
Don’t forget to look down and across to your right as you enjoy the expanse of unusual red rock formations below, including a geological formation-feature we named “Three Dragon Gorge.”
The trail eventually reaches another grassy overlook where there are two options to Kojokelen village – straight and downhill or following the trail towards the left. Although the latter option is longer, we recommend it as it is less steep and the trail takes you around a valley filled with even more colorful and dramatic rock formations, from deep red to frost white and all natural shades in between.
The trail changes from scree and rock to a dirt path which cuts across and down into green fields and pastures. At this point, it’s best to use GPS markings or a map, as the trail can be difficult to find because of overgrown tall grass and brush. Eventually, you descend into Kojokelen village, passing a sacred cave and spring and crossing a bridge on the right hand side.
Once you reach Kojokelen village, you’ll have the option to eat lunch (or dinner) at a local guest house (we had a hearty meal at Mamatjakyp Guesthouse). If you are short on time, as we were, you can arrange a transfer to Osh (3-4 hours) that afternoon. Most trekkers choose to spend the night in one of several guest houses in Kojokelen village to allow time to relax from the trek, take a hot shower, and return to Osh the next day.
Alternatively, you can continue trekking toward Jiptick Pass. If you do, two to three days later, you'll end up back in Sary Mogul village, and have completed the entire Heights of Alay Trek (5 nights/6 days).
Costs for the Heights of Alay Trek
We went on a fully supported trek, which meant that all we needed to think about was our experience and taking photos. Aside from a day-pack, all our gear was carried by horses. We had local guides with us to ensure we didn't get lost. They shared their knowledge of the Pamir-Alay Mountains, and of their lives and local culture. We were also well-fed from breakfast to dinner. (Disclosure: The costs of our trek were paid for by the USAID BGI tourism development project in conjunction with the consulting work we did and its trail-marking project.)
2018 prices below are offered by Visit Alay, the local CBT Kyrgyzstan branch in Osh, that organized our trek and local guides. A portion of their profits goes back into community development and training of families in tourism and hospitality.
|Price per person||1 person||2 persons||3 persons||4 persons||5 persons|
|Heights of Alay Trek - Short (3 night/4 days)||$424||$287||$241||$220||$203|
|Heights of Alay Trek - Full (5 nights/6 days)||$514||$344||$302||$280||$250|
Prices above include: local guide, horse porters, camping gear (tent for 2 persons, sleeping mat), bed and breakfast (yurt or guest house) on select nights, all food, clean water, transport from Sary Mogul to the trailhead. The abbreviated short trek also includes transport from Kojokelen to Osh.
Prices do not include: sleeping bag rental ($3/day), overnight stay in Sary Mogul village before/after trek, transport from Osh to Sary Mogul village (approximately 400 som/person in shared taxi), any special drinks outside of water and tea/coffee, which are provided.
Transport costs if trekking independently: Sary Mogul to trailhead: 1,500 som; Kojokelen to Osh: 3,000-3,500 som.
Koshkol Lakes Day Trek: What to Expect on a Day Trek in the Alay Mountains
If you don't have much time and can't do a multi-day trek, we highly suggest the Koshkol Lakes Day Trek near Sary Mogul village. This day-trek is a sort of “best of the Alay Mountains” — turquoise alpine lakes, glaciers, views of the Pamir Mountains and Peak Lenin, gorgeous meadows, yurt villages and frolicking yaks — all in just one day.
Hiking Distance: 21.4 km
Minimum / Maximum Altitude: 3,528 m / 4,213 m
Number of hours hiking: 6-8 hours
Season: June – September
To get to the starting point of the trek, take a transfer from Sary Mogul village to Damjailoo yurt camp about 10 km up a dirt road from Kashka-Suu village. Be sure to get an early start so that you can maximize daylight.
It’s a relatively long walk and it’s worth it to take your time to enjoy the stunning scenery on the way to the pass, at the pass (4,195 meters) itself, and the snow-covered Pamir Mountains in the late afternoon light. If you have extra time, you can push a little bit past the pass to glimpse even more lakes and the glaciers above it.
On the descent, Dan and I — individually, as we'd become separated — shared becoming emotionally overcome and overwhelmed to the point of tears with the sense of beauty and peace of the the final, long meadow you cross, just before descending into the shepherd's yurt village. This moment underscored for each of us how the world is filled with the immense, expansive power and beauty of nature. We were — and still are — filled with gratitude that places such as these exist, and that we've been among the fortunate (and few) to have experienced it.
Note: this trek can be expanded into an overnight trek which includes crossing another mountain pass and a seeing a total of seven alpine lakes.
Costs of the Koshkol Lakes Day Trek
|Price per person||1 person||2 persons||3 persons||4 persons||5 persons|
|Koshkol Lakes Day Trek||$77||$41||$29||$23||$20|
Prices above include: Round-trip transport from/to Sary Mogul village and the trailhead, local guide, food.
Note: If you want to do this trek independently without a guide, round-trip transport from/to Sary Mogul village costs around 2,000 som / $30 where the driver will wait for you at Damjailoo yurt camp.
The trekking season in the Alay Mountains begins in early-to-mid June and runs until mid September. The high season is July and August when temperatures are warm and the mountain passes are fully cleared of snow.
By the end of August temperatures begin dropping considerably at higher elevations. Although some treks can technically be done in September, be especially sure to pack additional warm clothing and layers for this time. If you can time it, we recommend going early in the season in mid-late June when wildflowers are blooming and everything is green. Having said that, it remains stunning through August, as our experience proved.
Our treks were in late August. The weather was excellent. Days were warm and sunny, and although it was cold at night at altitude at the campsites (close to 4,000 meters / 13,123 feet) it was comfortable as we were prepared with warm sleeping bags and plenty of warm layers.
All of the Alay Mountain treks above can be done either independently or with a guide. Many of these trails and routes have been marked recently (keep a lookout for red paint) and are included in the new regional trekking maps (available at Destination Osh or Visit Alay offices in Osh city). However, these trails do take you into some rather remote and high altitude areas where it is easy to get lost.
Your decision whether to go on your own or hire a guide should include factors like: how much experience you have trekking in remote areas, your skill at reading trekking maps and/or GPS devices, the length of your trek, your budget, and weather. That said, never sacrifice safety.
Although our Koshkol Lakes and Heights of Alay treks technically could have been done without a guide, we were thankful to have one with us. This provided us with peace of mind that we were on the right path (as some of you may remember, we have gotten lost in the mountains before).
Having a guide allowed us to focus on the experience. We avoided having our nose in a physical map and on digital tracks, worried about taking the wrong trail. Not to mention, it was nice to have horses carry our gear rather than having to deal with heavy backpacks.
In addition, our local guide provided local context and a stronger connection to local people and culture. We asked questions of our guide, regarding his experience growing up in these mountains and recent changes he'd seen in environment, culture and economy. Some of the areas where we trekked had local shepherds and yurt camps, and we were often invited in for tea, bread or other snacks. Our guide acted as a sort of cultural ambassador, and served as an interpreter so we could ask questions and engage in deeper conversations.
While trekking independently in the Alay Mountains may save you some money and perhaps allow you a little more flexibility of schedule, local guides are immensely helpful. In addition, we knew that the money we spent was going to support local people and communities, directly and indirectly.
We'd recommend going with a local trekking agency. They know the area well and work with local guides. The closest big city to the Alay Mountains is Osh, which can serve as a planning and organizing hub.
Travel to Osh, do your research, visit local tour operators, and make your trekking arrangements. Destination Osh can also assist in connecting you with one of their trusted local partners. There is also a CBT office in Sary Mogul that can help you organize treks, find homestays, and hire guides and horses.
If you are traveling to the Alay Mountains region from Tajikistan (e.g., Pamir Highway) or China consider making arrangements in advance so that you don't end up back-tracking. In this case, it makes more sense to stop off in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash on your way to Osh and do your treks directly from there.
If you are trekking during high season (July-August), send a few email inquiries in advance to be certain that trekking agencies are not already at capacity with their guides, tours and rental gear. We heard that Visit Alay and some of the nearby CBT partners were expanding their inventories of trekking gear (e.g., tents, sleeping bags, mats, backpacks, cooking stoves, etc.) so hopefully this will be less of an issue in the future.
Our trek was organized by Visit Alay, the Osh branch of Community Based Tourism Kyrgyzstan. We were really happy with our experience and the level of service.
The manager, Talant, is from the Alay Mountains himself and knows the local communities well. In fact, as we trekked with him he would greet all local families along the way. They talked with him about what we were doing and if the families might want to become involved by offering accommodation (e.g., yurt stays), meals or other support. All the tours and treks through Visit Alay use local guides, and a portion of their profits goes back to the community. (Disclosure: Our trek was organized for us and paid by the USAID-BGI tourism development project as we were helping to mark the trails.)
Because we were also marking the trails at the same time, we had two guides on our trip. We can recommend both of them. Aziret grew up in a village in the Alay Valley, but is currently based out of Osh since he is studying foreign languages at university. He guides during the summer to support his eduction. Ubai is based in Sary Mogul and knows all the mountains in the area like the back of his hand. Both are pretty good cooks, too.
They took good care of us, always making sure there was hot water for tea or coffee. They had abundant snacks on hand any time we looked hungry. They are also both horse experts, and were very adept with pack horses, especially over some of the very difficult mountain passes.
Help your guide help you. Make sure that you let the trekking agency and guide know in advance of any medical needs you might have, as well as any dietary restrictions. This will allow your guide to purchase the right type of food and snacks for you. Many of the trekking guides recently completed additional culinary training for mountain treks, so they ought to be well prepared to cook vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other styles of food.
Accommodation and Sleeping Options in the Alay Mountains: Camping and Yurt Stays
Some treks will give you the option of either camping or yurt stays (staying with local shepherds and their families on the jailoo). Some combine the two accommodation options in one trek. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Camping: The primary advantage of camping is that you have more flexibility of where you can spend the night, which may allow you to reach more remote areas. The down-side: when temperatures drop, you need to be prepared.
Kyrgyz yurt stays: Some treks offer the option to spend the night in a yurt in the mountains. These are usually offered by shepherd families where you are either staying together with them in a yurt, or in a separate yurt set up solely for trekkers.
The advantage of yurt stays is that you have more opportunity to engage with local people and culture, eat a hearty home-cooked meal, and sleep inside (i.e., usually warmer). Also, you know that your tourism money is contributing to the income of the local family.
What to expect in a Kyrgyz yurt stay:
- Home-cooked meals: Food will be hearty and plentiful. Almost every meal includes some type of homemade bread, fresh dairy products (e.g., yogurt, sour cream, milk, etc.), local honey and jams, and tea. Lunch or dinner usually features some sort of meat with rice or potatoes.
- Sleeping area: Sleeping in yurts usually consists of a thin mattress or mat on the ground with lots of blankets piled on top. Typically 6-8 people will share a yurt. Carry a sleep sack with you.
- Toilets: Either don't expect any as you're out in nature or expect a makeshift outhouse. Either way, always have some tissues on hand and bring a headlamp for any nighttime toilet trips.
Costs for Trekking in the Alay Mountains (2018 prices)
If you wish to trek independently or with only limited support, a price list of guides, horse porters, camping gear, and accommodation follows. Note: Although the prices listed are from Visit Alay, we hear that prices are similar at CBT Sary Mogul and other local agencies.
Estimated Trekking Costs: Guides, Horses, and Gear
|Trekking Guide (depending upon size of group, also helps with cooking and horses)||1,500 som (guiding services) + 400 som (food) = 1,900 som/day ($28/day)|
|Horse (for carrying gear)||1,000 som/day ($15/day)|
|Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)||900 som/day ($13/day)|
|Tent (2 persons)||$4/day|
Accommodation Costs in the Alay Mountains and Sary Mogul
It seems like pricing is pretty standardized at 1,000 som ($15) a person for sleeping, dinner and breakfast at yurt stays and guest houses in the Alay Mountains. If you're sleeping in your own tent, but want a home-cooked meal, costs run about 300 som ($4.50) for dinner or lunch, and 250 som ($3.70) for breakfast.
Many treks in the Alay Mountains set off from Sary Mogul village so you'll need to arrange accommodation there the night before. There are a few basic guest houses and homestays there, usually with shared rooms and bathrooms. Visit Alay or CBT Sary Mogul can help make a reservation for you as most do not currently support online booking. The basic price is similar at 1,000 som ($15) for a bed, dinner, and breakfast.
The Pamir-Alay Mountain region in southern Kyrgyzstan lies at the crossroads of China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The city of Osh is Kyrgyzstan's second largest city, and offers the widest support for the Alay Mountains (if you are already in Kyrgyzstan or coming from Uzbekistan). However, if you are coming from China or Tajikistan, you might wish to stop off in Sary Mogul or Sary Tash on your way to Osh and organize some treks along the way.
How to get to Osh City
Flying to Osh
The fastest way to get to Osh if you are already in Kyrgyzstan is to fly there from Bishkek. It's a quick 45-minute flight over some stunning mountain ranges, so try to get a window seat. We used Skyscanner to price and book flights from Bishkek to Osh.
The are also direct flights to Osh from Moscow, Novosibirsk and a few other destinations. You can check the full schedule of flights to/from Osh airport here.
Land Transport: Buses, Shared Taxis and Public Transport to Osh
Shared taxi from Bishkek: Shared taxis to Osh leave from the Western Bus Station in Bishkek throughout the day. The cost is around 1,000-1,200 som/person. It's a long journey (10-11 hours), but you'll be rewarded with some beautiful views at the Toktugol Reservoir and over several mountain passes. No marshrutkas are allowed on this route because of safety.
Transport to Osh from China (Irkeshtam Border Crossing): It's best if you can arrange bus transport for the entire journey. If you can't, there are usually shared taxis hanging around the Kyrgyz side of the border that can take you either to Sary Tash (where you can then catch a marshrutka to Osh) or directly to Osh (4-5 hours).
Transport from Uzbekistan (Dostuk Border Crossing): Fortunately, the border with Uzbekistan is only 10km from Osh so this is an easy transfer. There are always oodles of shared taxis and marshrutkas at the border waiting to take you to the center of the city.
Transport from Tajikistan (Kyzylart – Bor Dobo Border Crossing): Travelers usually travel this way as part of their Pamir Highway road trip. Public transport is limited to none around the border area, so it's best if you arrange transport in advance to take you either all the way to Osh, or at least to Sary Tash or Sary Mogul. From those villages you can always catch onward public transport.
How to get to the Alay Mountains from Osh
Many of the treks in the Alay Mountains use Sary Mogul or Sary Tash as a base. Both villages are accessible by public transport from Osh either by marshrutka or shared taxi. Check out this transportation schedule for times and prices of transport from Osh city to regional villages and destinations.
Trekking Packing List for the Alay Mountains
Check out our full Ultimate Trekking Packing List with all the details on what to bring with you on a day or multi-day trek like those in the Alay Mountains (or anywhere else). If you're new to trekking, then read Trekking Packing Myths and First Principles of Packing for your Trek for a bit of our “philosophy” on packing efficiently and effectively.
We suggest you ask your trekking agency and perform some independent research about the temperatures at night during the time of your trek. This will determine how many layers you'll need to bring and weight your jacket(s).
Still have questions about the Alay Mountains and trekking in the region? Please ask in the comments below.