Official Name: The Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)
Location: Central Asia – Bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China
Population of Kyrgyzstan: ~ 6.6 million
Capital of Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek
Kyrgyzstani Money: Kyrgyzstani Som (KGS)
Kyrgyzstani Timezone: UTC +6
Visa Requirements for Kyrgyzstan:
Many nationalities can now enter Kyrgyzstan without a visa. Check your eligibility and additional requirements for entry HERE
However, you may still want to register with your embassy. You can get assistance for doing so HERE
Things to Do and See in Kyrgyzstan
Our Experiences Kyrgyzstan
In May 2012, Catch Our Travel Bug began a 6-month independent, budget trip along the Silk Route. We reached Kyrgyzstan in mid-July.
Back then, Kyrgyzstan was the best place to get onward visas for neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. The visa situation has changed a lot since then, but Bishkek is still worth a visit to organize transport and guides to other places close by such as Lake Issyk-Kul and treks in the mountains.
After staying far longer than we intended in a wonderful hostel in Bishkek, we headed south to explore other areas before heading into Tajikistan.
If you want to learn more about our experience, you can read about our time in the following destinations:
Bishkek – the capital
Osh – the southern capital and gateway to the south
Arslanbob – the biggest walnut grove in the world
Sary Tash – the hopping-off point for China and Tajikistan
Bear in mind that the country has opened up a lot in almost a decade, so many of the challenges we experienced won’t be a problem for you.
Visas are either not needed or easier to get. ATM’s are more prevalent to get cash, and the tourist infrastructure is better.
However, COVID-19 has bought a whole new set of challenges, so do your due diligence before heading there, or go with a well-established tour company that can help you avoid any headaches with logistics.
I’ve added a few tour options below:
Guided Tours of Kyrgyzstan
Not everyone has the time or desire to plan and complete an independent trip. So for those who prefer to have someone else do the organizing, or traveling with a guide, here’s a selection of tours on offer.
GPS My City has self-guided walks in Bishkek, Osh, and Karakol at the eastern end of Lake Issyk-kul.
Intrepid Travel has ten or so trips that visit Bishkek, including their Central Asian Explorer (17 days), Bishkek to Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) (26 days), The Great Silk Road (32 days), Tajikstan Discovery (17 days), Ultimate Silk Road: Beijing to Ashgabat (41 days), Explore Kazakhstan (14 days), Explore Kyrgyzstan to Turkmenistan (26 days), Nur-Sultan(Astana) to Tashkent (30 days), Central Asia: Five Stans Adventure (39 days) and Best of Central Asia(30 days)
GAdventures has four tours that visit parts of Kyrgyzstan
Tour Radar – Has a good selection of tours around Kyrgyzstan and the rest of Central Asia, taking in all the highlights.
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