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Below some practical information and recommendation to be ready for best travel in Kyrgyzstan.

Frequently Asked
Questions

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How does communication work during my travel to Kyrgyzstan?
WIFI
Most of the hotels and hostels in cities provide free Wi-Fi access. In rural areas, homestays and yurt stays generally have no internet access.

Local Sim card
You can buy a local sim card and use it on your phone if it is unlocked. Upon request, our guide may present you a sim card.

What language do people speak in Kyrgyzstan?
Kyrgyz and Russian are the official languages of the Kyrgyz Republic. Russian is spoken more in larger cities and Kyrgyz everywhere. The alphabet for both languages is Cyrillic. Kyrgyz language is similar to Kazakh, Uzbek and Turkmen and part of the Turkic family of languages. All our guides speak English, but overall in Kyrgyzstan very few people understand or speak English.
Is it easy to get in contact with locals in Kyrgyzstan?
Local population is friendly and hospitable, but not very sociable. You will be staying at guesthouses and yurts that belong to local families. You can bring a postcard with you and show where you come from and try to make simple conversations. If you are interested in getting in touch with locals we recommend you to familiarize yourself with social dos and do nots as explained in our blog article. Our guides are trained to be cultural mediators and will be happy to facilitate conversations with your hosts and translate for you.
What is the religion in Kyrgyzstan?
Kyrgyzstan is a secular state and population is predominantly Muslim. Religion is, however, not widely practiced and quite moderate. There are still influences from Zoroastrianism and people are quite superstitious. The ethnic Russians living in Kyrgyzstan are orthodox Christians.
How do I need to dress in Kyrgyzstan?
People in Kyrgyzstan do not dress more conservative than in Europe. If you visit Kyrgyzstan in Summer, feel free to wear same clothes that you would wear back home. It's that simple. Only exception to this rule concerns visits of religious buildings like Mosques or Churches. When visiting these places, you will need to wear long pants and women need to cover their shoulders and head with a veil.
Is it safe to drink tap water?
No, it is not and we recommend you to drink bottled water, use filter or boil it. Moreover, please do not use tap water for brushing teeth and order your drinks without ice.
Is there vegetarian food in Kyrgyzstan?
Central Asia is generally not an ideal place for vegetarians, however you can order side dish such as plain rice, mashed potatoes and in some places, even grilled vegetables. Most of the national dishes in cafes are made with meat, predominantly mutton. In guesthouses and yurt stays you need to talk to the guide so he can arrange something. In some cases, you can also alter some meals with quick noodles that can be bought in stores. More information of food in Central Asia you can find here.
Is there good coffee in Kyrgyzstan?
Bishkek has nice coffee places that look Starbucks alike, you can use there wifi for free and get some snacks. Outside the capital the best coffee you can get is an instant coffee, if you are coffee-lover we recommend taking little Italian coffee machine, coffee you can bring with you or buy in Bishkek.
It is possible to use credit card during trip?
Yes, you can use terminals during your trip. You can find ATM almost in all cities and big villages, however it is difficult to find them in the small villages and not possible to find in mountain area. In cities a lot of hotels, shops and restaurants accept credit cards, mainly Visa and less rarely Mastercard. Rural area the system of non-cash payment is not introduced everywhere, most of purchases and payment for services is made in cash. Exchange office is available in all cities and big villages, it is desirable to have a bit cash. You can find location of ATM of few biggest banks in Kyrgyzstan:

Demirbank
KICB
RSK
How much to tip in Kyrgyzstan?
In cafes, service of 10-15% is usually included on the bill, however this does not go directly to the waiter, he gets only salary. Usually the amount is rounded up and If you are very content with the service you can leave some tip.
What are toilets like in Kyrgyzstan?
Most of the hotels and hostels are clean and have western standard toilets with shower. Guesthouses differ in quality of facilities and services offered from place to place, but usually have shared shower and usually a western toilet. Yurt stays are naturally located in summer pastures and do not have shower and western style toilet. Toilets there are little self-made cabins with a hole on the ground. It is always handy to have roll of a toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a torch in rural areas.
Will I be able to do my laundry in Kyrgyzstan?
The most expensive services for laundry is in hotels, since they charge 1-3$ per laundry item. Hostel laundries are cheap and charge per machine load. In guesthouses, it is not always available and should be discussed there. In yurt stays or during camping we recommend you to use bio-degradable wash.
How are the general road conditions and transport in Kyrgyzstan?
Main intercity roads have been recently repaired, newly paved and well maintained. However, the roads in suburbs and in villages can be in poor condition or not paved at all. Kyrgyzstan is mountainous land with high passes and many passes have rugged roads. Not all roads have guard rails and proper signs. Our drivers are experienced and professional drivers who can drive you safely in Kyrgyzstan. All our vehicles are well maintained and checked before each departure.
Kyrgyzstan geography & features
Kyrgyzstan is a post-soviet country located in the heart of Eurasia, bordering with China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The country is known for its beautiful landscapes, unique sceneries and nomadic culture. Here you can see remains of real nomads and their lifestyle, in summer shepherds live in small grassland, which are named jailoo. This unique and endangered way of life attracts travelers from all over the world, who are looking for new undiscovered experience.

Around 93% of territory in republic is formed from mountains and it is a perfect place for different kind of activities, such as off-road, trekking, climbing and cultural tours. Our company can arrange various combined tours in Kyrgyzstan according to your preferences such as: Active tours, Cultural tours, Off-road tours, some of them offer visiting remote and abandoned places, close to China. We will have a great pleasure to support you and provide tour packages for you, if you are planning trip to Kyrgyzstan.
General questions about Kyrgyz Republic (or Kyrgyzstan)
1. What should I need to know about Kyrgyz Republic?

Formerly a part of the Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz Republic is located in Central Asia. It is a landlocked country of extreme beauty, with high mountains and alpine lakes Most of the country is mountainous, with the Tian Shan range taking up most of the central part of the country. This makes Kyrgyzstan a spectacularly beautiful place for trekking, climbing and enjoying with nature. Even though Kyrgyzstan is far from the ocean, the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul make for an ideal beach vacation. The landlocked climate means that summers can be quite hot, averaging around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the cities, making swimming and mountain escapes necessary, while winter brings snow and cooler temperatures (averaging around freezing), perfect for skiing and other winter sports.

Official name: Kyrgyz Republic
Population: Approximately 6 million
Religion: Islam and Christianity


Climate: Continental
Geography: Mountains
Highest point: Peak Pobedy 7,439m

Time zone: KGT (UTC+6)
Dialing code: +996
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz, European plug

More info here

2. When is the Best Time to Travel Kyrgyzstan?

It will depend of what kind of activity do you want to do and what you prefer. There are two best times to travel in Kyrgyzstan: summer and winter. In summer time you can make: hiking, trekking, climbing, off-road tour driving, horseback riding, swimming, cultural tours and etc. In winter time: skiing, freeriding, paraplanning, off-road tours and visiting hot springs. Throughout the year you can relax in health resorts and boarding houses.

3. What languages are spoken in Kyrgyzstan?

Government language is Kyrgyz:
and official language is Russian languages. At cities and villages people speak and understand both languages. Both languages is available on Google.Translate to communicate with locals. In the south of the country in some areas people communicate in Uzbek and Tajik in addition. Young generation speaking English more fluent rather older generation, however English is not very developed. Basically, only in cities you can meet people who know English.

4. What is a national currency of Kyrgyzstan?

National currency is SOM (KGS). Here you can check the currency rate:

KICB
DEMIR BANK

Web page of National Bank: NBKR
What about Visa and Documents?
1. Do I need VISA before visiting Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyzstan is one of the most open countries in Central Asia for tourists. The citizens of 60 countries do not need visa to enter the country. Visa free period varies between 30 and 90 days. The process of obtaining a visa for each country is different, it's all depends of which country you are citizen. Citizens of many countries in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan and other countries can stay in Kyrgyzstan without a visa for a certain period.

Here you can clarify about visa do you need or not, if yes there you can apply for visa. www.evisa.e-gov.kg

Here is a official website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic www.mfa.gov.kg


2. How to apply VISA to Kyrgyzstan?

Visitors who need visa to Kyrgyzstan can apply online for an electronic visa on www.evisa.e-gov.kg
You can pay for Visa fees through VISA or MasterCard It is taking 3 working days and costs from 40 up to 65 US dollars depending on duration (30 or 90 days) and number of entries. Note: Kyrgyzstan's electronic visa is valid only for arrivals and departures at three checkpoints: Manas Airport (Bishkek), airport in Osh and the checkpoint Ak-Zhol (Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border).

More info here: www.evisa.e-gov.kg


3. Do I need border permits before visiting border area in Issyk-Kul and Naryn state?

Getting to some of the most unique places in Kyrgyzstan, such as Peaks Khan-Tengri and Pobeda, Sary-Jaz valley, Kel-Suu lake, Ak-Sai valley, Inylchek glacier require special border permits because of their proximity to China. We are thoroughly experienced in the permitting process and can assist you in acquiring the needed documents for your adventure in visiting border area in Issyk-Kul and Naryn regions.
What is the food like in Kyrgyzstan?
1. What is the food like in Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyz cuisine is simple and it's mixed with Russian, Turkish a bit Chinese cuisine. Almost in every meal you can find meat. Also we have a lot options with dairy products and meals. So every tourists easily can find food which he prefere. More information you can find here:

www.zigzagonearth.com/food-kyrgyzstan

2. Are there vegetarian options available in Kyrgyzstan?

We do not have much vegetarian meals, but in big cities like Bishkek, Karakol, Osh you may find good cafes or restaurants and there available vegetarian menu. But in general almost every meal prepared with meat, but you can find alternative dishes with no meat. It is no problem with vegetarian menu, if you are travelling with our company, we will take into account all your food preference.

3. Is it possible to drink water from rivers?

Every river in Kyrgyzstan is coming from glaciers and it is quite clean and tasty. It is possible to drink but we don't recommend for people who don't got used to drink from springs and rivers. You better to drink bottled water or boil water or use some water purification tablets. If you are on the trek, you are in the wild to enjoy the nature and the thrill of it. Its very important that you stay healthy and do not take ill on the trek to have a joyful experience in the wild. Water is important during trekking. Water can be a cause of stomach problems on a trek. On the other hand, you need to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Water in some hills are also the source of water for animals and wild animals on the higher area. Always fetch water from running streams. The faster the better. Stagnant water has high risk of bearing pathogens, irrespective of the cold surrounding. Whereas, as fast gushing water has very low chances of bearing pathogens in it. It even has less particulate materials. You will be able to fill up water from natural springs, it's the best as it acts as a natural filter and has very less chances of having particles in it. Local people same as a lot of tourist don't have a problems to drink water from the source, however if you are not sure please bring water cleaning pills with you for the trek from your homeland. You will not be able to find water cleaning pills in Kyrgyzstan.

4. Is there available good coffee?

Yes, but only in big cities like Bishkek, Osh, Karakol. There is a lot coffee shops and available good options.
We are recommending you take coffee and equipment with you from homeland, if you are big coffee lovers and can't live without it.

5. What about alcohol?

Almost in every cafe, shop or market available different types of alcohol such as beer, vodka, wine, cognac. However, if you want some good wine, whisky, tequila, brandy and etc., you need to find special stores or big super markets. We are not recommending to drink a lot of alcohol in public places and not celebrate too loud if you are independent traveller.

What about Emergency & Safety?
1. Is it safely to travel in Kyrgyzstan?

Yes, it is safely to travel in Kyrgyzstan, however be careful with private items in public places and don't leave them without supervision. Trekking and climbing in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan is quite risky and not simple, we are recommending you to take at least guide with you, who will be responsible to bring you to write place and safe, we have bad experience when tourists were lost with fatal outcome.

2. What if something happened with me and what I need to do?

While you are travelling with us you are safe and you don't need to worry about it, however insurance is not included to price. We recommend that clients have their own travel insurance against illness, injury, loss/damage to personal belongings. In case of emergency our staff will make all the best to delivery you to hospital or other point and solve your problem, insurance will cover your charges, if you don't have insurance, you will be required to cover charges by yourself. Below contact numbers of Government organizations, however they will not speak English. Emergency numbers:

Fire station - 101 Police (Milicia) – 102 Ambulance – 103 Rescue service of the Ministry of Extreme Situations – 112 Here is link where you can find contacts of Karakol's organizations: https://visitkarakol.com/usefulinformation List of embassies in kyrgyzstan with contacts: www.embassypages.com/kyrgyzstan