Kyrgyzstan is an open, welcoming country of unspoiled and rugged beauty. Breathtakingly-beautiful mountains and clear lakes beg enjoyment and exploration. The country's people and their warm, Central Asian hospitality draw you in.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Kyrgyzstan has a visa-free regime for 69 countries! Travelers to Kyrgyzstan are advised to check the travel and visa requirements of the Kyrgyz Republic in relation to their passport country.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Tourists may withdraw the local currency--Kyrgyzstan som (KGS)--from an ATM in the airport or at many locations around Bishkek; or they may exchange Euros, USD, etc. into KGS at banks or exchange offices. Daily exchange rates are clearly posted at currency exchange offices.
In Kyrgyzstan, SIM cards and weekly phone data plans are inexpensive and readily available to purchase at the airport upon arrival. Have your passport ready in order to register the SIM cards. To top up your phone plans each week during your visit, use cell phone payment terminals which are located all over Bishkek and beyond, in convenience stores, the marketplace, and in shopping centers.
WHILE YOU'RE HERE
European and American-style cafes and restaurants: Vanilla Sky, Terracotta, Relax Cafe, Social Coffee, Burger House, Yusa Cafe, Piervy Sierny, Papa Johns, Dolce Vita Pizzeria, Torro Burger, Cyclone Restaurant, Prego Club Restaurant, Madfood, and La Petite Maison. Within walking distance: Frunze Restaurant, Turkish Kebab.
Local fare: Cafe Faiza (2 locations in Bishkek) and NAVAT (several locations around Bishkek, with kids' play areas)
Coffee and pastry shops: Bellagio Coffee, Bublik Cafe, Giraffe Coffee, Feya Vipechka, Boris Cafe, and Kulikovsky Confectionery House.
Grocery stores: Alma, Frunze, Narodny, Globus--for packaged snacks, dry goods, cereals, granola, ground coffee, meats, drinks, etc. Shop the open-air markets for fruits and vegetables.
Marshrutkas (public transport vans) and busses (approximately 15 som each); metered taxis may be ordered through the Yandex App
HELPFUL APPS TO DOWNLOAD
Google Translate: for Russian translation
2GIS: A search company from Russia that develops digital maps and guides of cities in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries. Great navigation tool.
Yandex taxi app for Kyrgyzstan: Cheapest and safest way to order a taxi in Bishkek. Expect to pay approximately 500-700 som for a Yandex taxi ride from the airport to Philemon House.
Erkindik Boulevard is a beautiful, centrally-located park, a short walk from family-friendly Philemon House. Along the boulevard one will find several playgrounds for kids and many cafes.
Alamedin Gorge: located approximately 45 minutes outside of Bishkek; no entry fee
Panfilova Park: amusement park rides, central fountain, kids' games
Ala Archa National Park: 1-hour drive outside of Bishkek, 500 som entrance fee per vehicle
Photos, this page, courtesy of
Deep Soul Photography
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN BISHKEK
Souvenir shopping (TSUM Mall, Tumar Store)
Ala Too Square, with its fountains, statues, and mountain views
Vegetable and fruit markets (Osh Bazaar, Ak-Emir Bazaar, and Ortosai Bazaar)
Malls with clothing stores, food courts, and kids' play areas: Bishkek Park Mall, Asia Mall, Vefa Center Mall, Dordoi Plaza
Bishkek sightseeing and walking tours--see Trip Advisor