After an overnight stay in Margilan and a visit to silk factories, we crossed the border from Izboskan into Kyrgyzstan.
The border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan that we crossed this time is the town of Izboskan on the Uzbek side. From Margilan, we went there via Andijan.
This is a pedestrian only border crossing from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan through Izboskan.
Road from Margilan to the Kyrgyzstan border
The border crossing from Margilan to Kyrgyzstan is in the town of Izboskan, north-east of Margilan. The distance from the town centre of Margilan to the border point at Izboskan is approximately 108 km, or two hours.
A relatively large city, Andijan, is located on the Margilan-Izboskan route. There is a mashrutka (minibus) service to Andijan, which leaves from near the Khonakhan Mosque in Margilan. The mashrka from Margilan to Andijan costs 20,000 som per person, but from Andijan onwards another means of transport must be found.
This time, after the Kyrgyzstan border crossing, we want to travel all the way to Arslanbob. The distance from the border to Arslanbob is 92 km, so we decided to take a quick Yandex to the Izboskan border. Lazy and enough Uzbek som in the pocket:)
The taxi fares to the border shown on YandexGo vary depending on the time of day, but I think you can get there for less than 300,000 soms at the most. Shortly after breakfast, at around 8:20am, we checked and the fare was shown as 233,500 Soms. A nearby driver quickly responded and we left the guesthouse in Margilan at 8:30am.
Departure from Uzbekistan at the Izboskan border
We arrived at the Izboskan border point at 10:50 am. As soon as we got out of the taxi, a money exchanger approached us. We exchanged the remaining Uzbek Soms we had for Kyrgyzstan Soms and headed for the Immigration.
The Immigration on the Uzbekistan side seemed to be under renovation and the entrance was a little difficult to find. We asked a local and entered from the stairs next to the enclosure.
At the entrance, show your passport to enter and go to passport control. The Immigration Officer asked us for our registration of stays, when we presented it, we got exit stamps without any other questions.
Walking to cross the border to Kyrgyzstan
After departing Uzbekistan, we crossed the border on foot. There is no vehicle traffic at this border crossing and the distance between the two Immigration posts is not long.
Shortly, we arrived at the Immigration hut on the Kyrgyzstan side. The passport control inspector only checked our nationality and stamped on our passports with entry stamps, and we entered Kyrgyzstan safely.
Buying a SIM card
As soon as we entered Kyrgyzstan, we were approached by a woman from Uzbekistan who said, “Are you going to Arslanbob?” She was also going to Arslanbob. We negotiated with the driver to take the same car. Before getting into the car we decided to get a Kyrgyzstan SIM card.
There was a Megacom office just after the Kyrgyzstan border.
A 15 GB SIM card valid for seven days cost 195 som (about USD 2). The staff quickly completed the procedure and we were able to use the internet immediately. We were not asked to show our passport.
Getting to Arslanbob from the border
The car to Arslanbob was a minivan with seven passengers. The cost to Arslanbob was 550 som per person. The journey takes 2 hours and is approximately 90 km. The car was already loaded with some passengers, but we had to wait a bit because they needed one more passenger. When we left the border, it was noon Uzbekistan time. There is a one-hour time difference between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, with Kyrgyzstan being one hour ahead. This means that it was 1pm Kyrgyzstan time when we left the border.
We exchanged a small amount of money before crossing the border, but we needed to get some more Kyrgyzstan Soms. On the way to Arslanbob we stopped at a bank.
There was an ATM machine and we tried to withdraw money with our international card, but the maximum withdrawal amount was 10,000 Soms (about USD 110), which is too small. So we exchanged 200 US dollars for 17,500 Soms, a good rate.
The minivan to Arslanbob was a Toyota SUV, which went reasonably fast on the winding asphalt road. Like the Yandex taxi this morning, this Toyota was not a methane car but propane, and we stopped for gas on the way.
After a long and arid mountain range with no trees at first, the landscape changed to green with a backdrop of mountains, and we reached the town centre of Arslanbob at the top of the hill. The time was 3pm.
It seemed to be the weekly market day and the place was packed with people. The owner of the guesthouse we had booked picked us up and drove us straight to our accommodation.