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Money & costs


The Kyrgyz som is divided into 100 tiyin. Notes come in 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, five and one som denominations. Banks and licensed moneychanger booths (marked obmen balyot) exchange US dollars provided the notes are unblemished in near-mint condition and, if possible, post 2001. There are ATMs in Bishkek, Jalal-Abad and Osh that dispense both US dollars and som. Travellers cheques can be cashed in these places and in Karakol (3% commission). You will find that higher-priced items are generally priced in US dollars, although a few businesses in the hospitality industry fix their prices in euros. There is no black market for currency transactions.

If you need to wire money, MoneyGram has services at main post offices and Western Union works through most banks.