Mysterious Land of batken

Batken is the land of thousands legends, Leilek carpets and caves. Batken is the most southernmost region in Kyrgyzstan and it is not well known among tourists or even by the Kyrgyz in other regions. The territory of the Batken area is located at the Southern Fergana Valley area at the Southern slope of the Turkestan range between Uzbekistan in the North and Tajikistan in the South. The region extends to the Southern border with Alai mountain range and east to the Turkestan range. The small town of  Batken is the capital of the region and is situated 290 km from Osh by road if you wish to stay in the Kyrgyz territory but less if you choose to pass through Uzbekistan

The village of Batken was found in 1934 as a district centre. In 1999, to improve the effectiveness of the management of these lands, after a series of attacks by militants from the three western regions of Osh oblast, the Batken region was formed with the administrative center of Batken after the unstable period of the Islamic Movement for Uzbekistan (IMU). Several kidnappings in the region involved some to mention Japanese geologists and American alpinists. 

Batken kids near Aigul mountain
Batken city street

The boundaries are not accurately drawn and therefore until today there are many enclaves in the region between the neighboring countries and once in a while there can be some quarrels between the people of different nations where using firearms have not been uncommon. The last tension happened on 28-29 April 2021 between the residents of Kyrgyzstan (Batken region) and Tajikistan (Sughd province) in the border areas increased into an armed conflict, resulting in casualties and displacement of thousands of people in both countries. 

Tourism is yet nearly undeveloped in the Batken region compare to the rest of the country. Although the region offers magnificent unique land with geological formations, apricots that are growing all around and for the beautiful and rare flower called Aigul, a typical name of a girl in Central Asia, meaning the moon flower in Kyrgyz.

Batken sights

There is not much to see in the city, except for the local bazar and squares. In the main square stands the freedom statue, one street northeast stands square dedicated to the soldiers. Batken could be the perfect place to spend the night en route, the city provides a fine hotel for about 1000 som per night with hot water and internet as well as breakfast. 

Batken streets and squares

batken city park

Batken bazaar

Local Kyrgyz bread in Batken

Aigul Flower

Aigul flower (scientific name “Edwards hazel grouse” flower) is a rare plant listed in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan. Turkestan ridge is one of the attractions of the Batken where the flower grows. Aigul means the “moonflower” in Kyrgyz.

Aigul flower blooms only two weeks from the middle of April to the end of the month, so you better plan your visit to the particular date if you want to see them. During the blooming season, Batken people celebrate Aigul blooming by organizing concerts.

Note: Do not pick these flowers! They are endangered and you could face a significant administrative fine.

Aigul flower Battken

Aigul-Tash Mountain

Aigul-Tash Mountain is located 19 kilometers Southeast of Batken. At the entrance will be Arc if Augul flower welcoming to the sight. The legend says that the flowers grew on the mountain after the beautiful girl Aigul who threw herself from the rock onto sharp stones, unable to bear the death of her lover. They only grow in the higher part of the mountains, you need to hike about 300-400m upwards of the mountain. 

Trekking upwards you can access more flowers and enjoy yourself there. Reaching the highest point opens up greater mountains and glaciers and you also notice the sharp rocks which was told in the legend. Last year fences were installed to protect flowers from the cows and sheep grazing. Since then also entrance fee came up about 50 som per person.

Entrance to Aigul mountain in Batken
Aigul flower, endemic of Batken

What to do around Batken

Buy Leilek Carpets

Leilek has a long history of carpet weaving. The Kyrgyz traditions of the craft are represented by felt, pile and lint-free carpets. Carpets from Leilek are distinguished by geometric patterns and bright colors.
To produce the paints, the craftsmen use natural raw materials such as pomegranate, onions, walnuts in order to produce yellow, green, brown and pink colors.

Have a picnic in the nature

Batken inhabitants in the picnic near Aigul-Too

Visit Torkul Reservoi

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Trek to Ai-Kol lake

Ai-Kul Lake is located 145 km Southwest from Batken on the Northern slope of the Turkestan Range. The shape of the beautiful lake resembles the moon and lies at an altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, so you have to go a long way to see it. Unfortunately, walking along the coast of Ai-Kol is not easy, since it is surrounded by sheer cliffs. This is a reservoir of sedimentary origin. The water level increases in summer and drops in autumn and winter. From October to March, the lake is frozen.
mountain view from Batken
park in Batken

Visit Eko-Park "Muz-Bulak"

20 km southeast from Batken city at the Kara-Kulak village is located eco-park “Muz Bulak”. The park was created by the writer Muzafar Uson. In the 1980s, as a teacher, he was able to save the Aigul flower from extinction, preserving together with his students, the territory of the unique flower grows. He also encourages the authorities to further fence the territory of the  “Aigul Tash” mountain.

Authorities gave Muzafar the peace of land for his works and contribution to the school where he worked for 30 years. He chose particular overground land on the side of the mountain. People were surprised at his choice, but he handled it very well. He built a piece of paradise, thanks to the fact that a source of water is believed to heal wounds. For 20 years now, the writer has been planting trees with his own hands, clearing the area from reeds, and erecting sculptures that are mainly related to the epic “Manas”. 

Founder of Ming Bulak resort
Batken park Muz Bulak
Muz Bulak statues "holding" the rock near Batken

Get to know Batken region Geology

Batken is also a haven for the ones interested in geology and geological formations. Here you can easily see very different formation often also in vertical orientation which gives the formations sometimes almost like rainbow colored patterns. In Batken region there are also a lot of fossils to be found.

Petrified sea creature in Batken
Fossil in Batken

How to get to Batken?

Taxi / Marshrutka

From Bishkek in the West bus station you can take a shared taxi. The trip takes about 18-20 hours and price for shared taxi is 1500 – 2000 som. If you start from Osh, you can get shared taxi or a marshrutka. They leave from the square behind the Alay Hotel next to the equestrian statue or new bus station. Taxis mainly leave early in the morning, usually around at 7 or 8. Also if you are visiting any other bigger city in Ferghana valley on the Uzbek or Tajik side, you can easily travel to Batken through the Dostlyk border control point nearby Osh. The situation with the other crossing points for foreigners being let through or not, changes from time to time. 


Batken has its own airport, where you will be able to fly in about 1 hour from Bishkek. There are regular flights from Bishkek twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Another viable option is to fly to Osh and continue towards Batken by wheels from there.

Other sights & destinations in the Batken region

Page updated 3.12.2021

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