Currency

som

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than US$40

  • Hostel dorm (Bishkek) or rural homestay: 400–700som
  • Street snack: 40–60som
  • Self-service cafeteria meal: 60–150som
  • Museum admission: 50–150som
  • Long-distance marshrutka ride: 150–500som

Midrange: US$40–80

  • Midrange hotel: US$30–50
  • Full day horse riding with guide: 1800–3000som
  • Good restaurant meal in Bishkek: 400–1200som
  • Long-distance share-taxi seat: 300–1000som

Top end: more than US$80

  • High-end or boutique hotel: US$60–200
  • Long-distance car with driver per day: 3000som
  • Private kok boru demonstration: 17000som

Bargaining

Bargaining is extremely common, from bazaar stalls to CBT offices and more.

Money

Banks and licensed money-changer booths (marked obmen valyot) exchange US dollars and other major currencies. Trying to get change for a 5000som note will likely be met with a look of horror, even in cities.

There is no black market for currency transactions and changing money back out of som is not problematic. We quote prices in the currency that the businesses themselves use. That's normally som, but can be US dollars or euros for some hotels and tour companies.

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

ATMs are increasingly common in all major towns. Many dispense both US dollars and som and work with Visa, but for Mastercard and Maestro look primarily for Demir banks across the country.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$153.98som
CanadaC$154.06som
ChinaY110.31som
Euro zone€180.88som
Japan¥10062.38som
New ZealandNZ$150.13som
RussiaR11.15som
UKUK£188.65som
USAUS$168.85som

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Tipping

  • Restaurants and Bars Tips of 10-20% will be included in bills when appropriate.