Where is Sary Tash-Kyrgyzstan? (And why would you want to visit?)

Sary Tash Kyrgyzstan is a small town on a three-way intersection in the Alay Valley in the Osh Region. From here you can head to either Kashgar in China via the Irkeshtam pass, or south to Tajikistan via the Kyzylart Pass (4280m.) 

Sary Tash, with only a couple of guesthouses and cafes, isn’t much to look at itself but the view of the Pamir Mountains is incredible. 

Want to know more about our experience on the road to Tajikistan, then read on…

After an uneventful trip back to Osh, and another night in the hostel, we were finally, on our way to Tajikistan and onto the Pamir Highway. We sorted the financial details of the trip and piled all our gear into the van that would take us to Sary Tash, a three-way intersection that takes you either to the Chinese or Tajik border. Onboard, we had a guy from New Zealand and his Iranian girlfriend Christa.

The drive took about 4 hours mostly following a raging river along a beautiful valley closed in on both sides by spectacular mountain scenery. We crossed two passes of about 3600m and continued to be astounded at the efforts of the many cyclists we saw grunting up the range, fully laden with their gear.

Tiny Sary Tash isn’t much to look at itself but the view of the Pamir Mountains from our guesthouse was very special. The whole horizon to the south was lined with tall snowy peaks….As the rain swept in from the west the scene was quite foreboding, a warning that the weather around here can change at the drop of a hat. After sweltering in Osh in the mid-’30s, I immediately dug out the thermals, coat, scarf, and gloves. Thank goodness it was mid-summer!

Local shop Sary Tash
Local shop

We met our driver at about 6 pm to talk about the trip onwards into Tajikistan and immediately had concerns about which route we would take. His suggestion of adding another 190km’s didn’t seem to make much sense except perhaps to earn him more cash. But the lure of Marco Polo sheep and Ibex had us all in two minds. With a couple of alternatives, we decided to put off making the decision until we reached Murgab, our first stop in Tajikistan, the next day, Hopefully, we could find out more information about each of the alternatives and come to a consensus about what was best for all of us.

We also thanked our lucky stars that Chista spoke Farsi, which is similar to Tajik. Having the language barrier dealt with, gave us one less thing to worry about. And, unbeknownst to us at the time, we would have A LOT to worry about in the coming days!