How to get to and from South Shore ... and around the region.
When you visit South Shore, nature is close at hand. Living nomadic culture means you can fill your days with a trek through canyons in the morning, a crafts workshop over lunch, and a Salbuurun show just as the sun begins to set. But to make all of that happen, you need to know how best to navigate and get around the region. South Shore is not a single city, but rather a collection of experiences, villages, and natural attractions that span across the 226 km of the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. To move about the region, you can easily use a mix of marshrutkas, taxis, and buses.
If you look at our South Shore map, you’ll notice that one end of the destination is convenient to Bishkek, while the other end reaches out to touch Karakol city. For that reason, the cultural and natural attractions in South Shore provide the perfect way to bridge your experiences in either city and across the country. Use our detailed guides and timetables below to plan your transportation to, from, and within South Shore.
Note: Ask at your guest house, yurt camp or Destination South Shore office for someone to write the name of the destination you want to go in Cyrillic letters (e.g., Russian/Kyrgyz). This will make it easier to find the right marshrutka or shared taxi going to the destination you want, and try to avoid miscommunications along the way.
Bokonbaevo is a low-key, sprawling village in the South Shore. It is also the transportation hub within the region. Travelers can easily find and arrange all public and private transportation from Bokonbaevo city center. All journeys originating from Bokonbaevo listed on this site indicate prices and times from the main bus stop in Bokonbaevo, which is located in the center of the city, next to the main market and in front of Argymak cafe and open market (located here).
Note: At the bus stop in Bokonbaevo you will usually hear drivers shout out the destinations they are going. However, to help avoid any confusion or miscommunication it's best to have the name of the destination where you want to go written down in Cyrillic letters. Your accommodation or Destination South Shore can assist you with this.
Marshrutkas are the most budget-friendly form of public transportation in Kyrgyzstan. These minivans/small buses go along the main road along the lake throughout the day and run between the most popular attractions and villages in South Shore. Each one follows a standard route that picks up and drops off passengers along the way. You can board a marshrutka at the city center bus station, a handful of bus stops, or flag one down on the street in similar way as you would a taxi (identify the marshrutka destination by the printed card on its windshield). Your guesthouse or yurt camp can help you identify and plan the best route from your specific accommodation(s) to your destination. You can also use the chart below to plan a route from Bokonbaevo to anywhere else in South Shore.
Shared taxis are an economical and easy way to enjoy a more private transfer experience between and within cities across Kyrgyzstan. Often unmarked, these cars travel more direct routes to and from each destination, making shared taxis a bit faster than marshrutkas. At the Bokonbaevo main bus stop you can usually find a shared taxi heading toward popular destinations across South Shore. Shared taxis do not follow a set timetable, instead leaving once the car is filled. If you tire of waiting for other passengers (most taxis, depending on their size, wait for four passengers before the driver will depart), you can offer to pay for the missing passenger if you wish to leave immediately.
Private taxis are an easy and effective way to travel around South Shore, and are particularly economical for groups of three to four people. Since many of the region’s yurt camps and treks begin at locations outside of the main villages, private taxi transfer ensures that you more easily and quickly reach your intended destination. Every single guesthouse and yurt camp in South Shore can call a trusted driver to transfer you to the sites, workshops, and classes in the region. You can also contact Destination South Shore for personalized assistance and access to our trusted network of private taxi drivers.
Transportation to Tours
Getting from the Bokonbaevo city center bus station to your yurt camp or accommodation
If you’re staying in Bokonbaevo, private taxis are fast and efficient and the ideal way to travel with your gear. Otherwise, contact your accommodation directly (typically via mobile phone or WhatsApp — consult the listings in the South Shore accommodation directory for contact information) since they will know the best public and private transportation options available. The Destination South Shore office is also conveniently located near the city center bus stop (we’re right here) and we can help you organize accommodation, transportation, or both!
|Bokonbaevo-Skazka (Fairy Tale) Canyons||Private taxi||30-45 minutes (one way)||1,500 KGS round trip, including an agreed waiting time at Skazka|
|Bokonbaevo-Jeti-Oguz Canyons||Private taxi||2 hours (one way)||3,500 KGS round trip, including an agreed waiting time at Jeti-Oguz|
|Bokonbaevo- Salt Lake||Private taxi||45 minutes (one way)||1,500 KGS round trip, including an agree waiting time at the Salt Lake|
|Bokonbaevo-Boz Salkyn Gorge||Private taxi||45 minutes, one way||1,500 KGS round trip, including an agree waiting time at Boz-Salkyn Gorge|
|Bokonbaevo-Manjyly-Ata||Private taxi||20-30 minutes (one way)||1,000 KGS round trip, including an agreed waiting time at Manjyly-Ata|
|Bokonbaevo-Kadjysai||Marshrutka (usually depart every 30-60 minutes)||30 minutes||50 KGS|
|Private taxi||30 minutes||1,000 KGS round trip, including waiting time 500 KGS one way|
Because of the region’s unique layout, consider arriving at one end of the region (closer to Bishkek or Karakol), and then exploring your way across to the other side. Or, you can use Bokonbaevo, the region's transportation hub, as your base and easily arrange transportation to every site of interest in the region as most sights and locations are accessible via day trips.
The most common public and private transportation options include marshrutkas, shared taxis, and private taxis. All of these transport options use the same road, so if you know which village or yurt camp you'd like to stop at just tell your marshrutka or shared taxi driver in advance and he'll drop you off on the road nearby. There is also one big bus from Bishkek to Karakol each night that stops off in Bokonbaevo. In Bokonbaevo, the station (vokzal) is in the center of town, near the market and in front of Argymak Cafe. Use the following table to plan your route to South Shore from Bishkek or Karakol.
Manas International Airport (FRU) in Bishkek is the closest international airport. In the summer months, Tamchy Airport on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul offers flights to and from the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan and to select destinations in Russia.
|Bishkek (Western Bus Station, Shymkent 1, Bishkek)||Marshrutka||Ongoing during day (8AM-8PM), usually need to wait 30-60 minutes until full||3-4 hours||250 KGS|
|Shared taxi||Ongoing during day, when vehicle is full.||3 hours||350-400 KGS|
|Private taxi (fits 4 people)||Ongoing during day.||3 hours||4,000 KGS|
|Night bus||21:00||Arrives Bokonbaevo, 03:00||200 KGS|
|Karakol (Southern Bus Station, Corner of Toktogul/Torgoev streets)||Marshrutkas||12:20; 14:20; 15:20; 16:30||2.5||120 KGS|
South Shore is located in a very central area relative to the country’s most popular sites. It's easy to navigate to other destinations in Kyrgyzstan. All long distance public transport departs from Bokonbaevo city center. Use the chart below to plan your onward adventures.
|Bishkek||Marshrutka||Ongoing during the day||3-4 hours||250-300 KGS|
|Shared taxi||Ongoing during the day, whenever vehicle is full||3-4 hours||350-400 som|
|Private taxi (up to 4 people)||Upon request||3-4 hours||4,500 KGS|
|Karakol||Marshrutkas and shared taxis||Regularly throughout the day.||2.5 hours||150 KGS|
|Shared taxi||Ongoing during the day, whenever vehicle is full||2.5 hours||200 KGS|
|Private taxi (up to 4 people)||2.5 hours||3,000 KGS|
|Kochkor||Shared taxi||Waiting times dependent upon demand||2 hours||500 KGS|
|Private taxi (up to 4 people)||2 hours||3,000 KGS|
|Tamchy Airport||Shared taxi||Waiting times dependent upon demand||2.5 hours||500 KGS|
|Private taxi (up to 4 people)||2.5 hours||3,500 KGS|