Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/kyrgyzstan) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

CBT (www.cbtkyrgyzstan.kg) Community-based tourism, with contacts to and info on all CBT partner offices across the country.

GoKG (http://gokg.asia) News and info from around the country, and up-to-date info on events of interest to visitors.

Tenti (http://tenti.kg) Events and openings of tourism-related services across the country.

Trip to Kyrgyzstan (https://triptokyrgyzstan.com/en/map) Great interactive map of tourist sites.

Times of Central Asia (www.timesca.com) Foreign-hosted local take on current events, though much is hidden behind a paywall.

Top Tips

  • Kyrgyzstan's larger towns offer a handful of attractions in themselves, but the real draw is exploring the countryside, and our suggestions are just initial pointers.
  • The best way to explore is to simply head out into jailoos and hills and find your own way. But remember that everything is seasonal.
  • Always, always accept the offer of tea. Not only is it rude not to do so, but it may just be the start of a budding friendship.
  • Kyrgyzstan's mountains are notoriously fickle, weather-wise. Plan for snow in mid-August, sunshine mid-December, and several different seasons in the course of a single day.
  • Pick up some basic Russian – or even better Kyrgyz – and your way will be both easier and more delightful.

What to Take

  • Hiking shoes that can stand up to river crossings and days in the saddle.
  • Water-purification filters or tablets, which are nearly impossible to find in-country.
  • Waterproof rain-wear, for quickly-changing conditions in the mountains.
  • European two-prong plug adapters.

What to Wear

Quick-dry hiking gear will see you through the rural areas, but don't forget something a little smarter to wear while exploring Bishkek's nightlife or dining scenes. In churches and mosques, ladies should cover their heads while every visitor will be expected to cover their knees.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is eligible for visa-free entry, or, if not, that you've applied online
  • If you're planning to visit regions that require a border zone permit, contact tour agencies to begin the process (which can take up to one month)
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance.