What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (2023)

Kyrgyzstan is emerging as one of the most popular tourist destinations in 2020. Many travelers have heard stories about how stunning the landscape is, how friendly its indigenous people are, and how untouched the country is by mass tourism.

Perhaps you have heard something similar before and have been planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan for some time. Where do you start? What do you need to organize before the visit?

There are definitely a few things you should know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan. Where to stay, what to do, who to contact? All this must be taken into account before embarking on the trip.

Below I'll cover some important things everyone should think about before visiting, from the do's and don'ts, tips and tricks, to general questions. By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of ​​what it takes to organize a trip to Kyrgyzstan and how to have the best adventure possible.

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    • Do's and don'ts when traveling to Kyrgyzstan
    • Frequently Asked Questions about Kyrgyzstan
    • Additional tips and tricks for visiting Kyrgyzstan

    Do's and don'ts when traveling to Kyrgyzstan

    So let's take a look at the yes and no, thatYes it isis inIt is notand what to do and what not to do when visiting Kyrgyzstan.

    DO: Try the local food and drink.

    If you arevisit to kyrgyzstanThen you MUST try the food. Kyrgyz cuisine is primarily a mix of Russian, Central Asian and nomadic cuisine. It involves a lot of meat, a lot of bread and a lot of sweets. Many people noticed that the cuisine in Kyrgyzstan is very similar to that of the Caucasus.

    Besides these foreign cuisines, Kyrgyzstan has some very, very interesting local dishes that you can't miss.

    manta, a Kyrgyz version of dumplings, is absolutely terrific, especially with a bit of yogurt. stay tuned tooshorpa: slow-cooked meat that literally melts off the bone.

    You should also try the most famous drink in Kyrgyzstan:moustache. It's fermented mare's milk that's been rendered semi-alcoholic, and while you probably can't drink that much, it's good to try at least once.

    If you want to try a unique delicacy in Kyrgyzstan,Horseit is eaten regularly and is very good when cooked properly.

    NO:Worry if you are vegetarian

    Kyrgyzstan is a very carnivorous country, but there are still plenty of vegetarian options.

    Salads, mainly Russian-style with tomato, lettuce, and/or cucumber, are common. Eggs are regularly served for breakfast and the local bread is so delicious and plentiful that you could probably live on your own.

    Fried rice (Pilaw) and macaroni (Truck driver) are also very common in Kyrgyzstan. Although they are usually prepared with some type of meat, you can order these dishes without meat. Be sure to ask whoever is cooking if this is possible. Say "YA ne yem myaso", which means "I don't eat meat" in Russian.

    DO: Spend a few days in Bishkek

    Bishkek gets a bad rap as a depressing post-Soviet city with nothing to do but GTFO.

    While Bishkek is not as interesting as other Central Asian cities like Almaty or Samarkand, I find it a bit unfair to say that it can be skipped.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (2)

    On the one hand, Bishkek offers a lot of natural beauty. There are many parks in the city. Plus, Ala Archa National Park, with numerous peaks over 15,000 feet and alpine hiking trails, is just 45 minutes from the city.

    Bishkek also has a surprisingly good nightlife. There are lots of great bars in the city, like Save the Ales and Blonder, and some speakeasies too. For those who want to know where one is, leave a comment and I'll get back to you 🙂

    Bishkek reminds me a lot of Denver, Colorado for its combination of outdoor opportunities and thriving bar scene. Granted, it's not as big or as busy as Denver, but it could be one day.

    NO: wait for a dry land

    Kyrgyzstan is a Muslim nation, but that does not mean that it is a strictly Muslim nation. Alcohol is still consumed in the country, sometimes in large quantities.

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    Vodka is the drink of choice in most regions and is often offered to guests. When drinking with Kyrgyz people, it's best to please them while clinking and downing your shot of vodka in one gulp. Toasting is an important part of Kyrgyz culture.

    The local cognac is also popular in Kyrgyzstan and can give you a pretty bad hangover. Beer is also widely available and very good too. There are many great craft beer bars in Bishkek including Save the Ales, Brewster and Blonder Pub.

    DO: Consider renting a private vehicle

    Kyrgyzstan is a large country with a lot ofepic places to visit. It is also possible to see many places by public transport.Marschrutkaso Minibuses connect almost all the main settlements in Kyrgyzstan, and private taxis are available where they don't go. These are relatively cheap, although not that cheap.

    If you REALLY want to experience Kyrgyzstan to the fullest, you need to have your own set of wheels. With the freedom to go where you want, when you want, you can see as much of the country as you want without worrying about schedules or hassles.

    When you drive in Kyrgyzstan you need 4WD and anything else would be a waste. Kyrgyzstan is a tough country and requires a sturdy car to get around.nomad eisenpferdeis the first and probably the best place to start looking for a rental car in Kyrgyzstan.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (3)

    NO: Feeling the need to drive alone

    If you decide to rent your own car in Kyrgyzstan, consider hiring a private driver as well. Roads in Kyrgyzstan, while generally good, can deteriorate quickly and the best parts are often completely off-road. An experienced local driver can handle both better.

    The drivers can also act as translators, which would be very useful in Kyrgyzstan, since hardly anyone speaks English. They can also help you arrange accommodation, tours, and maintenance in case your car breaks down, which would be a bad thing if you were in the middle of nowhere.

    Hiring a private driver in Kyrgyzstan can cost less than renting a car without a driver. The daily rates are pretty much the same and some drivers haul the fuel themselves, so if you're paying the same why not let someone else do the work for you?

    DO: Spend a few nights in yurts

    Accommodation in KyrgyzstanThey come in all shapes and sizes, but none are as iconic as the yurt. EITHERyurtaIt is a traditional nomadic dwelling made of felt and wooden beams. It is one of the most important aspects of Kyrgyz culture and a true sign of their nomadic heritage. Not sleeping in one of these during the visit would be a great shame.

    Yurts are similar to large tents, although much more resistant and spacious. They are also very warm, especially when the stove is blazing inside, and they keep the cold outside even in the middle of a snowstorm.

    In Kyrgyzstan there is a lot of accommodation in yurts. They are mainly found in the most popular tourist destinations in the country, such as Issyk Kul and Altyn Arashan. The best place to stay in a yurt is Song Kul. They are usually located next to the lake and the whole landscape really looks like a nomad paradise.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (4)

    NO: Forget bringing your own tent anyway

    Camping is really the most comfortable way to sleep in Kyrgyzstan. There is so much space and so many great campgrounds across the country - campers dream of situations like this. Surrounded by mountains, no one in sight, your trusty steed nearby and a cup of camp coffee brewing; Paradise.

    Camping is usually one of them.cheapest way to travelAll over the world. Kyrgyzstan can get expensive when you factor in transportation and orienteering, and your wallet needs a break every once in a while.

    Many B&Bs allow you to pitch your own tent on the property for as little as $5 to $10. Plus, you still get food and access to a bathroom, etc.

    If you are also traveling to the desert, there may not be any yurts or lodges nearby. In this case you will definitely need a tent.

    DO: Visit Southern Kyrgyzstan

    The south of Kyrgyzstan is like a completely different country from the northern part. It's more traditional, drier, and not really on the usual tourist trail.

    For backpackers, this should be an irresistible call to action.

    Visiting the south of Kyrgyzstan is an incredible experience. Apart from the fact that it has a richer history than the north, the food is also better and there are some unique things to do here.

    Osh is the capital of the south and one of the oldest cities in the world. It not only serves as a starting point for the epic Pamir Highway, but also for climbing Lenin Peak and exploring the remote Pamir-Alai Mountains. The Pamir Alai Mountains and the surrounding Batken region are among the most unspoiled and ripe parts of Kyrgyzstan for travel.

    TLDR: The south is where it's at.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (5)

    NO: only visit the main attractions of Kyrgyzstan

    Although Issyk Kul, Ala-Kul and Song Kul are amazing destinations and worth visiting, there aremore to do in Kyrgyzstan. There are plenty of hidden gems scattered across the land just waiting to be found.

    The Ak Sai Valley is becoming a very popular tourist destination, but further up are the unspoiled mountains of Kakshal Too. Knorcheck Canyon offers arguably the best desert scenery in Kyrgyzstan, not Fairytale Canyon. As we have just discussed, southern Kyrgyzstan is also full of untapped potential.

    Be sure to leave enough time in your Kyrgyzstan itinerary to visit the most talked about places in the country. But also spend some time exploring the lesser-known corners of the country. You will not regret.

    DO: Try to ride a horse

    Kyrgyzstan is probably the best place in the world for horse riding. They are an integral part of Kyrgyz culture, ubiquitous and very well educated. Almost anyone can ride here, regardless of prior knowledge; You just have to be comfortable with animals.

    Local horsemen constantly organize long-distance horseback rides for tourists. They're like multi-day hikes, except you're riding a horse most of the time instead of walking. These treks generally follow standard Kyrgyz migratory routes and you can even join a seasonal Kyrgyz trek.prisoners(tall grass) back to the valleys.

    if you want oneHorseback riding in KyrgyzstanDon't underestimate how sore you'll be. Riding all day can be deadly on your hips, thighs, and butt, and it's not always comfortable. Don't bite off more than you can chew and ride for a long time.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (6)

    NO: Underestimating time

    The weather in Central Asia can be harsh. It can snow at any time of the year - it snowed four times in June - and the heat can be unbearable in the lowlands. You never really know what you'll encounter in terms of weather when you travel to Kyrgyzstan, so it pays to be prepared.

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    Make surePack the right gearif you are planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Bring a good jacket, plenty of layers, good boots, and the usual gear for any alpine adventure.

    At the same time, don't forget to bring a bathing suit - there are many excellent hot springs in Kyrgyzstan, which are great for soaking in after a long hike. It is also possible to swim in Issyk Kul, although it is still quite cold in summer.

    DO: Live and relive a nomad game

    One way the Kyrgyz celebrate their culture is through nomadic games. They range from the incredible, i.e.I finish(fight while driving) to the downright embarrassing, that is.coke pipe(a game of throwing a goat's carcass into a hoop while riding).

    Games like this are organized on different occasions. Probably the biggest event is the World Nomad Games, which take place every two years in Kyrgyzstan. Other than that, the locals still play these games in their spare time. Foreigners are of course very welcome.

    Note that the Kyrgyz often participate in nomadic games in winter when they are in the valleys and have nothing else to do. Summer is usually the time to graze and work, not so much to play. Most of the nomadic games that take place in summer are organized specifically for tourists.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (7)

    NO: Run across the country

    Kyrgyzstan is a wonderful country and should be enjoyed at the right pace. Trying to do too much in too little time will disappoint you. You should also keep in mind that traveling across the country and planning on the spot will also take some time.

    Plan at least two weeks in Kyrgyzstan. This leaves plenty of time to organize activities and see the best of the country.

    If you don't have two weeks to spare, perhaps you're on a short vacation or have a tight schedule, consider a package tour to Kyrgyzstan. Having someone to plan your trip will help you maximize the time you have there!

    Frequently Asked Questions about Kyrgyzstan

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (8)

    Is it safe to travel to Kyrgyzstan?

    Many people think that Kyrgyzstan is a dangerous tourist destination for many different reasons. Here are a few I've heard in the past:

    1. "Kyrgyzstan is close to the Middle East, so it's violent."
    2. “He has the name 'stan'; Terrorists live in stans (like Afghanistan or Pakistan).
    3. "I've never heard of Kyrgyzstan, so it must be a chaotic third world country."

    All of these are ignorant, rude and couldn't be further from the truth.

    Actually,Kyrgyzstan is a very safe travel country.

    There is very little terrorism here and in fact the locals are VERY anti-radical in any form.

    Although the country has had its share of political problems in recent years - theTulip Revolution 2010It's been a busy period - these are rare and even rarer affect tourists.

    Ultimately, Kyrgyzstan is one of the safest countries I have visited. I never felt threatened there, aside from the occasional angry horse.

    If you want to know more about what to expect when you visit, be sure to read ourKyrgyz Safety Guide.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (9)

    Where is Kyrgyzstan?

    Kyrgyzstan is one of the 5-6 countries in Central Asia*. As the name suggests, Central Asia is located in the middle of the Asian continent between China, Russia, India, and the Middle East. Kyrgyzstan borders all other Central Asian countries except Turkmenistan.

    Due to its unique geographical location, Kyrgyzstan is a very diverse place. The geography is unlike anything else in this world and the culture is completely new. Those who visit Kyrgyzstan are in for a real treat.

    Due to its central location in the region, Kyrgyzstan is an excellent gateway for exploring the rest of Central Asia. From here, backpackers can start the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan, visit the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan, and venture into the Kazakh metropolis of Almaty, also known as the "New York City of Central Asia."

    Pakistan and China are also nearby, although you will need special permits/visas to visit them.

    *Some people consider Afghanistan to be part of Central Asia.

    What language is spoken in Kyrgyzstan?

    Kyrgyz is officially the native language of Kyrgyz, although more Russian is probably spoken.

    KyrgyzstanIt is a Turkic language similar to other regional languages ​​such as Kazakh, but not as close to the Turkish of Turkey. While it's quite an achievement to master the language, it's worth learning a sentence or two; The locals will appreciate this and be more friendly.

    first you need to knowGracia, which means "thank you" in Kyrgyz.

    Thanks to the old Soviet influence.russianIt is the unofficial language of Kyrgyzstan and is used mainly by business people and foreigners. If you already know some Russian, it's worth it when you're in Kyrgyzstan.

    Please note that there is very littleEnglishit is spoken in Kyrgyzstan and this can be the most frustrating part of the journey here. If you are concerned about clear communication with the locals, consider hiring a local guide or joining an organized tour.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (10)

    What is the best time to visit Kyrgyzstan?

    Kyrgyzstan has four seasons:

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    1. A short and rainy spring (April-May)
    2. A hot and dry summer (June to September)
    3. A short and pleasant autumn (October-November)
    4. A long and icy winter (December-March)

    Seasons and weather can really vary depending on where you travel to in Kyrgyzstan.

    For example, the south of Kyrgyzstan is generally warmer than the north, and autumn lasts a little longer. The mountains also have their own climate.

    If you plan to do a lot of hiking, July-September is really the only time to visit Kyrgyzstan. Depending on the year, June and October are sometimes good. Otherwise, the Issyk Kul and Osh regions are pleasant in spring and autumn.

    You can visit Kyrgyzstan in winter and there are still many things to do at this time. There is a ski resort in Karakol and cross-country skiing is becoming more and more popular these days, especially near Song Kul. Avoid Naryn: It is considered one of thecoldest places in the worldin winter.

    Is Kyrgyzstan a religious country?

    Islam is the official religion of Kyrgyzstan, although I wouldn't call it that.strictlyIslam. Kyrgyzstan's (majority Sunni) form of Islam is quite lax compared to other strictly Islamic countries such as neighboring Uzbekistan or Middle Eastern countries.

    For one, drinking in Kyrgyzstan is not illegal and many people participate (perhaps sometimes too many).

    Women are also not as isolated as in other Islamic countries. you won't see manyHandkerchiefduring a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Sometimes women even have bare shoulders and knees (more in the north).

    Kyrgyzstan is also firmly against any kind ofjihadismand the country has taken many measures to prevent this type of radicalization, although some of themthey were counterproductive.

    However, the Kyrgyz take their beliefs seriously, so it is important to be respectful. Keep an open mind and be aware of Islamic practices and you will be fine.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (11)

    Additional tips and tricks for visiting Kyrgyzstan

    1. Change your money before leaving Bishkek

    Apart from Osh and perhaps Karakol, Bishkek is the only real city in Kyrgyzstan. This is where most, if not all, of the country's financial centers are located, so it's also where you should exchange your money. Outside of Bishkek, money changers are quite rare.

    Before you travel to the rest of Kyrgyzstan, be sure to exchange your money in Bishkek. Most people suggest going to local banks, but they don't always offer the best deals. The best place to check is at the GUM mall. There are a few below that offer great prices and don't ask any questions.

    2. Stay in local accommodation

    No matter where I go, I always recommend staying at local accommodations instead of big companies. In my opinion, staying in guest houses or homestays is a much better experience and offers more opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture.

    ocommunity based tourismgroup, or CBT, is a pioneering association in Kyrgyzstan connecting local hosts with travelers. The group has existed since 2003 and already has a network of more than 15 different destinations throughout the country.

    Using community tourism in Kyrgyzstan is not just a way to further enhance your own experience. It is also a way to improve the lives of the residents themselves. By doing big business, you can be sure that your money is going directly into the hands of the people and not into a corporate bank account. In this way, the average Kyrgyz has a better chance of supporting himself and his family.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (12)

    3. Buy a local SIM card

    Chances are, you probably won't need to make many phone calls or surf the internet when you travel to Kyrgyzstan. For one thing, you have to explore the desert! On the other hand, the connection outside of Bishkek and larger cities is annoying.

    But the ability to call ahead and confirm lodging or contact a local guide is still very useful. Considering SIM cards are so cheap in Kyrgyzstan, around $10, it really hurts to buy one. I suggest Oh! but Beeline and Megacom are ok too.

    If you sign up for O! If you decide, you can also buy a USB dongle that, when plugged in, provides WiFi wherever there is data. We found it more convenient to use than hunting for WiFi in cafes, and we offer a pretty strong connection too.

    4. Search first

    There are certain countries where you can just shoot from the hip and visit without making any plans. Places like Thailand, India, and Peru are some places where you can show up without a guide or reservation and you'll be fine.

    Kyrgyzstan isNOreally one of those places.

    For one thing, tourism in Kyrgyzstan is very underdeveloped compared to many other tourist destinations in the world. Things like hotels, tour operators, and transportation for travelers are much rarer and much less obvious. You have to search first before you find any of them.

    So it pays to have a plan in advance of your visit. If you know in advance where there is accommodation, where to find guides and where to catch the bus in advance, your trip to Kyrgyzstan will be much more comfortable.

    We have written a detailed one.Guide backpack KyrgyzstanIt contains all this information and much more. Be sure to read it well before leaving.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (13)

    5. Escape from hostels

    Hostelling is not really a problem in Kyrgyzstan at the moment. Perhaps one day the country will be better known among travelers (and it will be), but for now the choice is quite limited.

    Instead, stay insideAlternative forms of housing in Kyrgyzstan.Staying in a yurt is an unforgettable experience and there are also many guest houses/homestays spread across the country.

    If you want to travel in Kyrgyzstan on a backpacking budget, it is best to bring your own tent. Camping is by far the cheapest form of accommodation to use during your visit.

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    6. Don't drive unless you feel safe.

    Although the horses used to transport hikers and tourists are usually very well trained in Kyrgyzstan, it is important to remember that they are still animals. They are sensitive creatures and can easily sense when you are nervous or restless.

    If you're scared, the horse will freak out, and a scared horse can be annoying.

    If you're not sure about riding, don't. You must have the confidence to ride one to control it properly. A horse needs strict instruction and otherwise does what he wants.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (15)

    7. Practice your handshake.

    The key to making a good first impression with the Kyrgyz natives is a firm grip and good eye contact. Kyrgyz people shake hands when greeting each other, and different types of handshakes indicate different levels of respect.

    A standard one-handed handshake is generally reserved for both new acquaintances and strangers. When someone takes the other hand and supports the arm you are shaking with, it means they are showing respect. The closer this grip is to your hand, the more respect you show it.

    After shaking hands, some Kyrgyz also touch the heart with the hand with which they used to shake hands. This is an additional gesture and is very easy to adopt (looks great). If you are in the south, some people also rub their face with their hands as if they were washing it; this is a muslim gesture and means good luck and health.

    8. Find out about the history before your visit

    Kyrgyzstan's history has been fairly uneventful until the last few decades. For most of its existence, Kyrgyzstan was primarily a place where nomadic tribes roamed, and only a few great dynasties left their mark here.

    But the history of the largest region of Central Asia is very fascinating. Here the Silk Road was born, empires rose and fell, and many of the world's greatest leaders were born, such as Barbur, Tamerlane, and Al-Khwarizmi. Central Asian history may take a backseat to Western civilization, but it was no less influential.

    I suggest learning a bit about the history of the area before visiting.Als Rotas da Sedaby Peter Frankopan offers a comprehensive overview of Central Asia in relation to the Middle East and Europe. I also recommend reading Peter Hopkirk's bookthe big game, which refers to the dark war waged between the Russian and British empires in Central Asia in the 19th century.

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (16)

    9. Visas are very easy to obtain

    Unlike some neighboring countries, obtaining a visa for Kyrgyzstan is very easy. Many nationalities qualify for a 60-day visa on arrival.

    To check if your nationality is eligible for a free visa, visit theOfficial website of the Kyrgyz Embassy.

    10. Prepare to have your mind blown

    Kyrgyzstan is one of the most amazing countries I have ever visited. The landscape is stunning, the people of Kyrgyzstan are super hospitable, and the culture is unlike any other. Travelers are beginning to realize this too.

    Kyrgyzstan and all of Central Asia will be the next great adventure destination. It won't be long before people from all over the world flock here in search of epic mountains, new experiences and unbridled hospitality. Get here before Kyrgyzstan is discovered!

    What you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan - Tips, tricks and answers - The Broke Backpacker (17)

    Travel insurance to Kyrgyzstan

    We have said it before and we will say it again, Kyrgyzstan is a very safe country to travel to. However, no matter where in the world you travel, disasters and illnesses can affect you, so it is best to have travel insurance. We use World Nomads dedicated to covering adventure backpackers like us.

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    And for the sake of transparencyPlease note that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy your equipment or take out insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you). However, we only link to devices we trust and never recommend services we don't think are appropriate. Thanks again!


    What to avoid in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Avoid large crowds and any demonstrations and follow the advice of local authorities. Security is volatile in the Kyrgyz-Uzbek and Kyrgyz-Tajik border areas. This includes the Ferghana Valley. Crime, civil unrest, terrorist activity, clashes and landmines are a risk.

    Is it safe for Americans to travel to Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Is Kyrgyzstan safe for tourists? Kyrgyzstan is a destination that is becoming more and more popular with each year and tourism is growing at an incredible rate. Apart from all the sights the country offers, it is, overall, a very safe place to visit.

    Are Kyrgyzstan people friendly? ›

    Kyrgyz people are generally welcoming toward foreigners, and there is little to be concerned about when it comes to serious safety concerns in this Central Asian country.

    Is it worth going to Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Kyrgyzstan is a hiker's paradise. The country has thousands of mountain trails that reach high peaks, gorgeous passes, and beautiful alpine lakes. For outdoors enthusiasts like us, this Central-Asian country was the perfect destination.

    What are the risks in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Reconsider travel to the border region with Tajikistan due to intermittent border clashes in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. Travelers are at heightened risk of injury or death when visiting or transiting that region. Armed violence may occur with little or no warning.

    What is a major issue in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Conflict at the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border. Freedom of Expression. Labor Rights. Violence against Women and Girls. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

    How long can US citizens stay in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    US citizens are permitted to enter Kyrgyzstan for tourism for up to 60 days without a visa. However, a visa is required if you are traveling to Kyrgyzstan for religious or business purposes, and this visa must be obtained in advance of arrival via the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Washington, DC.

    Can you drink tap water in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Is it safe to drink tap water? The water in Bishkek is safe to drink, but we recommend visitors boil it before drinking. Bottled water is available almost everywhere in Kyrgyzstan, and is safe to drink.

    Do they speak English in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Kyrgyz is written using an adapted Cyrillic script similar to Russian. Meanwhile, most people can speak Russian, and do so, especially in the north. English is widely spoken by those involved in tourism. Uzbek, Kazakh, Tajik, Korean and various other regional languages and dialects are also spoken.

    What is Kyrgyzstan famous for? ›

    Kyrgyzstan is home to three Unesco World Heritage sites. One of these is the Tien Shan mountain range. Another is the historic Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected China with Europe and the Middle East.

    What to wear in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Pack long pants or skirts and shirts with long sleeves and high necklines. Shoes should be comfortable and provide support for walking on dry, sandy ground. Shoes should also be easy to slip on and off as they must be taken off before entering many of the country's religious sites.

    How much do you tip in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Tipping is not part of the culture in Kyrgyzstan and is therefore not required. What is this? Restaurants in the larger cities usually include a 10-15% service fee in the bill.

    What is the best month to visit Kyrgyzstan? ›

    When is the best time to visit Kyrgyzstan? The best time to visit Kyrgyzstan is during the summer months of July and August. Although it's very hot, with temperatures around 30°C, this is when the country's bazaars are at their most lively.

    What is the most popular food in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Beschbarmak is the national dish of Kyrgyzstan, although it is also popular in neighboring countries. It consists of horse meat (mutton or beef) cooked for several hours in a broth and served over homemade noodles with parsley. Beschbarmak means "five fingers" in the Kyrgyz language.

    How much money should I bring to Kyrgyzstan? ›

    If you are travelling alone to Kyrgyzstan, 34 USD a day should be enough. If you choose a hotel for your stay in Kyrgyzstan, the price will rise to 39 USD. A couple will have to pay around 70 USD for one day in Kyrgyzstan. A family with two children should have 120 USD for one day stay in Kyrgyzstan.

    Is Kyrgyzstan safe for females? ›

    Is Kyrgyzstan safe for solo female travellers? Yes, Kyrgzstan is safe for female travelers, locals are always welcoming with smiles. Still, girls and women in Kyrgyzstan had assigned roles. The Kyrgyz society expects us to become good wives, have kids, and stay home to take care of the family and the house.

    What are the leading causes of death in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    The top cause of death and disability in 2019 is Ischemic heart disease, of type Non-communicable diseases, which has decreased by −3.94 percent since 2009. The axis shows the percent change from -38 percent to 30 percent.

    Is Kyrgyzstan under Russian control? ›

    Kyrgyzstan, known under Russian and Soviet rule as Kirgiziya, was conquered by tsarist Russian forces in the 19th century. Formerly a constituent (union) republic of the U.S.S.R. , Kyrgyzstan declared its independence on August 31, 1991.

    What Kyrgyzstan is best for? ›

    Top Attractions in Kyrgyzstan
    1. Ala-Archa Gorge. 763. National Parks • Geologic Formations. ...
    2. Issyk-Kul Lake. 553. Bodies of Water. ...
    3. Altyn Arashan. 207. Hot Springs & Geysers. ...
    4. Osh Bazaar. 372. Flea & Street Markets. ...
    5. Song Kol Lake. 185. Bodies of Water. ...
    6. Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks) 132. ...
    7. Ala Kul Lake. Bodies of Water. ...
    8. Panfilov Park. 210.

    What is unique about Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Kyrgyzstan is one of the least-crowded countries in the world. Kyrgyzstan produces the longest poem in history. Lake Issyk Kul - the world's second-largest high-altitude lake is in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan has three UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    What is the main product of Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. According to Healy Consultants, Kyrgyzstan's economy relies heavily on the strength of industrial exports, with plentiful reserves of gold, mercury and uranium.

    What is the longest a non US citizen can stay in the US? ›

    Visits must be 90 days or less, and travelers must meet all requirements.

    How long can a US citizen stay in another country without a visa? ›

    To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa. Apply for a visa through the embassy of the country where you will spend most of your time.

    Can you drink alcohol in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Can I drink alcohol in Kyrgyzstan? Although Kyrgyzstan is a Moslem country, alcohol is readily available in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

    What is Kyrgyzstan favorite drink? ›

    Maksym, a sour drink made from barley, wheat, millet and corn, is the national drink of modern Kyrgyzstan. Chalap (tan) is essentially ayran diluted with water. Maksym and chalap can be mixed to create a drink called aralash.

    Which is better Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan? ›

    For well-preserved ancient history and bejewelled Silk Road architecture, Uzbekistan is impossible to beat. But if your appetite is for unspoilt mountain landscapes, yurt stays and experiences of nomadic life, Kyrgyzstan may have the edge.

    What is the most popular drink in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Tea is the most popular drink; ethnic Kyrgyz prefer green tea while Russians generally favour black. Koumys (fermented mares' milk) is mildly alcoholic and an acquired taste.

    How do you say hello in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    It is polite and appropriate to greet people you see as you go about the village, in ways particular to the age and gender of the person to whom you are speaking. The most common form that I use is салом алеикум (salom aleikum), which you may recognize from other countries that have large Muslim populations.

    Do people smoke in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Kyrgyz Republic smoking rate for 2020 was 25.40%, a 2.2% decline from 2019. Kyrgyz Republic smoking rate for 2019 was 27.60%, a 0% increase from 2018. Kyrgyz Republic smoking rate for 2018 was 27.60%, a 0.8% decline from 2015. Kyrgyz Republic smoking rate for 2015 was 28.40%, a 1% decline from 2010.

    Is Kyrgyzstan rich or poor? ›

    Is Kyrgyzstan a wealthy country? Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked, mountainous, lower middle income country with an economy dominated by minerals extraction, agriculture, and reliance on remittances from citizens working abroad.
    Kyrgyzstan Economy Data.
    Currency Name and CodeSom (KWD)
    Industrial Growth Rate6%
    26 more rows

    What is the most beautiful city in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    1. Bishkek. Bordered by mighty Tian Shan Range, Bishkek is the capital city and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kyrgyzstan. Known as the doorway to Ala Archa National Park and Kyrgyz Ala-Too Mountains, Bishkek boasts of state museums, art museums, galleries, opera and ballet theatre.

    Does Kyrgyzstan support Russia? ›

    Economic cooperation

    For all the financial support that the world community has offered, Kyrgyzstan remains economically dependent on Russia, both directly and through Kazakhstan.

    Can I wear shorts in Bishkek? ›

    Pretty much anything you feel comfortable in will be acceptable here. In the summer months you can get away with capris or maybe even shorts and short sleeve shirts.

    What is the dining etiquette in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Etiquette and customs in Kyrgyzstan

    Guests should take a small gift (alcohol or sweets work well) and be sure to remove their shoes at the door. Eating and drinking are taken very seriously, and guests at a Kyrgyz dinner will be overwhelmed with food. Toasts are made frequently, usually with vodka.

    What are some traditions in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    One of the most famous traditions is a beishik toi, a celebration when a baby is born. Once a baby is given a name, the preparations for the celebrations start. Dozens of guests are invited, cattle is sacrificed, food is cooked, and people are entertained.

    How much tip should I pay? ›

    For the wait staff at sit-down restaurants, the tip should be 15 percent to 20 percent of the pretax bill. Tips are not necessary at fast-food restaurants.

    How much money should you tip? ›

    When deciding what to tip at a restaurant, tipping between 15 percent (for average service) and 20 percent (for very good service) is suggested, says Robin DiPietro, Ph. D., professor and program director at the University of South Carolina's College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management.

    How much should I tip at a hotel? ›

    Tipping is not required for someone fixing something broken or bringing something missing. A gratuity of 15-20% should be added if the hotel did not already include a room service charge on the bill. Tip 15-20% of the total beverage tab.

    Can you wear shorts in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    In fact in Kyrgyzstan, just like in Kazakhstan, dressing conservatively is not mandatory. You can hike in your shorts. However, do carry your hiking shoes to this country along with other hiking essentials such as a backpack, socks, fleece jackets, etc.

    What is the safest city in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    1, Karakol

    Karakol is a small city located in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan. It is known for its stunning mountain views, its proximity to the Issyk-Kul Lake, and its unique mix of Russian and Central Asian cultures.

    How many days do I need in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    If possible, we recommend that you try and budget to spend 3 weeks in Kyrgyzstan. This will give you the best experience and leave you wanting for nothing more than to come back again.

    What is a typical breakfast for the Kyrgyz? ›

    Kyrgyz start their day with a light breakfast between 7:30am and 8:30am that usually consists cheese, curd, bread, honey, cucumbers and pickled cabbage. Lunch is served between 1:00pm and 2:00pm and usually consists, of bread, pilaf, soup and/or mutton.

    What Kyrgyz dish looks the tastiest? ›

    Oromo. Not only pretty to look at, but delicious to eat. Oromo is a traditional Kyrgyz dish made with layers of handmade dough filled with cabbage and carrots (vegetarian version) or small bits of meat and onions (meat-eater version).

    What is someone from Kyrgyzstan called? ›

    Kyrgyz, also spelled Kirgiz or Kirghiz, Turkic-speaking people of Central Asia, most of whom live in Kyrgyzstan.

    Is USD accepted in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    The official currency is the som (KGS), which is divided into 100 tyiyn. US dollars are the easiest foreign currency to exchange at banks and official exchange offices. Major hotels in Bishkek usually accept credit cards, but Kyrgyzstan is predominantly a cash economy.

    Can I use USD in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Currency exchange Kyrgyzstan

    Rubles, US dollars and Euros will never be a problem. Kazakh tenge, British pounds and Chinese yuan should also be no problem.

    How many dollars can I bring to the US? ›

    You may bring large sums of money with you in the form of cash, money order, or traveler's checks. There is no maximum limit, however, any amount exceeding $10,000 USD must be declared upon arrival on both the Form 6059B and FinCEN 105. All forms must be filled in completely and truthfully.

    Is Kyrgyzstan safe for female tourists? ›

    Is Kyrgyzstan safe for solo female travellers? Yes, Kyrgzstan is safe for female travelers, locals are always welcoming with smiles. Still, girls and women in Kyrgyzstan had assigned roles. The Kyrgyz society expects us to become good wives, have kids, and stay home to take care of the family and the house.

    How long can Americans stay in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    US citizens are permitted to enter Kyrgyzstan for tourism for up to 60 days without a visa. However, a visa is required if you are traveling to Kyrgyzstan for religious or business purposes, and this visa must be obtained in advance of arrival via the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Washington, DC.

    Is it safe to walk in Bishkek at night? ›

    Safety. During the day, Bishkek is a safe city, generally speaking. However, after sunset Bishkek becomes a poorly-lit place awash with drunk men. We advise against walking the streets in the dark by yourself, and to definitely avoid parks at night.

    What is the etiquette in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Etiquette and customs in Kyrgyzstan

    Guests should take a small gift (alcohol or sweets work well) and be sure to remove their shoes at the door. Eating and drinking are taken very seriously, and guests at a Kyrgyz dinner will be overwhelmed with food. Toasts are made frequently, usually with vodka.

    What can I bring from Kyrgyzstan? ›

    You really shouldn't leave Kyrgyzstan without a piece of felt in your baggage! You'll surely find a souvenir to your taste, since Kyrgyz make just about anything with felt: dolls, animals (including the iconic snow leopard), Christmas decorations, wallets, bags, pillow cases, paintings…

    Is tipping customary in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Tipping is not part of the culture in Kyrgyzstan and is therefore not required. What is this? Restaurants in the larger cities usually include a 10-15% service fee in the bill.

    Can I drive in Kyrgyzstan with US license? ›

    To drive legally in Kyrgyzstan you need an International Driver's Permit (IDP) in addition to your license from your home country.

    What is the No 1 cause of death worldwide? ›

    Summary. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. The second biggest cause are cancers.

    Why is Kyrgyzstan so polluted? ›

    Some of the main sources of air pollution in Bishkek include the use of coal in homes for heating, a coal-fired heat and power station, the city's municipal dump, and vehicles. More than 70 percent of people living in the Kyrgyz Republic use coal to keep their homes warm during winter.

    What natural disasters occur in Kyrgyzstan? ›

    Nearly 94% of the country is located at over 1,000 meters above the sea level and 40% of it is above 3,000 meters. The Kyrgyz Republic is highly susceptible to natural hazards such as mudslides, landslides, avalanches and earthquakes.


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