The capital is Bishkek
Time in Kyrgyzstan is ahead of Moscow by 2 hours.
The state language of Kyrgyzstan is Kyrgyz. Russian is also the official language of the country.
The official currency of Kyrgyzstan is the som (S, KGS), which is equal to one hundred tyiyns. Banknotes of one thousand, five hundred, two hundred, one hundred, fifty, twenty, ten, five and one som are in circulation. In addition, there are coins in 1, 10 and 59 tyiyn. Som is the only legal tender in Kyrgyzstan, but in reality, euros and dollars are often accepted for payment. In the markets, you can sometimes get inflamed with Russian rubles.
Banks and currency exchange
Banks are usually open from nine in the morning to five in the evening, all week except Saturday and Sunday. Currency can be exchanged both in banks and in round-the-clock currency exchange offices, and even in some shops. It is best to exchange currency in the capital – it is more profitable than in the provinces.
Most banks and several large hotels in Bishkek accept bank cards for payment. It is almost impossible to pay with a card in stores.
To cash traveler’s checks, you must contact the offices of major banks or licensed exchange offices. There is a rather high commission for checks – up to 7%.
The Kyrgyz telephone system is considered quite outdated and is now undergoing intensive modernization.
To call using a street pay phone, you need to have a card that is easy to buy at tobacconists, shops, post offices or post offices. In the provinces, you can still find vending machines that operate on 10 som coins. To call to another city, you need to dial “0”, to another country – “00”.
To call Kyrgyzstan, you need to dial 8 – 10 – 996 (country code) – area code – subscriber’s number.
Major city codes:
- Bishkek – 312;
- Osh – 3222;
- Jalal-Abad – 3722;
- Karakol – 3922
- Police – 102;
- Fire Department – 101;
- Ambulance – 103;
- Ministry of Tourism – (312) 220-657;
- Telephone information – 109;
- Rescue Service – 110, 161 or 443-839.
The most popular transport for moving between villages and cities is a fixed-route taxi and buses. The first ones leave when all the seats are occupied, and the second ones – when the salon is filled to the maximum. Those who want to go immediately can simply pay for the available seats. According to this principle, a minibus can be rented at least for the whole day.
You can travel around the country by plane – Airlines connect the capital of Kyrgyzstan with Osh, Jalalabad and Batken.
The railway connects the cities of Balykchy, Tokmok, Bishkek and Kara-Balta. Trains cost about half the price of buses, but the travel time will be twice as long.
It is best to travel around large cities by taxi – the prices for them are not so high.
Rent a Car
In general, car rental in Kyrgyzstan is not very common – the quality of roads here leaves much to be desired, car insurance is not issued, traffic police often extort money (especially from tourists), and traveling alone away from cities is generally quite dangerous. If you wish, you can rent a minibus with a driver, which will cost up to $ 70 per day.
Kyrgyzstan is a fairly safe country for tourists from Russia. It is enough to exercise standard caution – do not walk in unfamiliar deserted places at night, carefully monitor your wallet and bag, bypass large noisy companies, etc.
Despite the fact that the main religion of the country is Islam, customs in large cities are quite free – here you can safely walk “by the hand” or in open clothes. But in the outback it is better to behave more restrained, especially for women.
Local police officers are very strict about violations of public order. The attitude towards tourists is wary, but polite and attentive. It is best to always have a passport with you – this will greatly facilitate relations with the police.
Shooting military installations and airports on camera is strongly discouraged.
Water in Kyrgyzstan can be drunk without fear, it is tasty and healthy, as it is supplied from springs. Those who are afraid can buy bottled water in stores, which is certainly safe to drink.
Food should be consumed only after careful processing, fruits and vegetables should be washed and peeled.
Since the climate in the country is hot and dry, it is best to carry water and sunglasses with you at all times. From clothes it is worth paying attention to things made of natural fibers in the summer, and very warm and comfortable in the winter. It is also worth stocking up on insect repellent.
Shops are usually open from 8 am to 5 pm. The markets are best visited early in the morning, when they have a wide range of products and are quite safe. See liuxers for Kyrgyzstan customs and traditions.
VAT in Kyrgyzstan is approximately 20% and is included in the price. Getting it back is almost impossible.
In stores, prices are usually fixed, but in the markets and bazaars you should bargain, however, it is very difficult to bring down the price by more than 30%.
As a souvenir from Kyrgyzstan, you can bring felt products, especially the local shyrdak carpet, which is quite expensive, but at the same time lives for many years. It is also worth paying attention to wooden products that reflect the national mentality. Leather cases for various purposes are also interesting. As a souvenir for the fair sex, you can bring Kyrgyz national jewelry.
The voltage in the network is 220 Volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets of the Eastern European type, without grounding, with two round pins, as in Russia.
Tips can be left in cases where they are not included in the bill, but this is not very accepted according to Islamic canons of hospitality.
The country has a well-developed network of public hospitals, but they often do not have many drugs, so if you have any diseases, it is better to take the medicines with you.
First aid can be obtained free of charge, but you will have to pay for the rest. Bargaining is appropriate in private clinics.
Before traveling to the country, it is better to carry out prophylaxis against rabies, hepatitis B and E, polio, cholera and typhoid. From June to September in the south of the country there is a risk of contracting a mild form of malaria.
To stay in the country for more than a month, you need a certificate of HIV testing.
Most of the large hotels in Kyrgyzstan are located in large cities and resort areas near Issyk-Kul. Almost all hotels have survived from Soviet times, so the decoration in them leaves much to be desired. Upgraded today, only a part of the hotels.