From Halal Food & Travel
Bishkek (Бишкек) (population in 2009 approx. 835,000) is the capital and largest city in Kyrgyzstan.
Bishkek Halal Explorer
Bishkek is the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic and sits in the Tien Shan mountain range in the Chui Valley. It is a relatively new city and has limited historical sites, but it makes a great place to start your trips to the mountains and alpine lakes of the Tien Shans. Bishkek is, however, an interesting example of a czarist planned city; laid on a grid with wide boulevards flanked by irrigation canals and large trees, buildings with marble façades and Soviet apartment complexes. Many young travelers find Bishkek's nightlife a delight and the people are friendly and very hospitable. Bishkek is a city of many young people that hang out in Clubs and small cafes. Kyrgyzstan has the most liberal tourist visa regulation in Central Asia, so Bishkek makes a great place to start a tour of the silk road and collect your visas to neighbouring countries.
History of Bishkek
Bishkek was founded when the Uzbek khan of Kokand built a small clay fort by a settlement on a tributary of the Chuy River in 1825, to connect up several stop-off points on the Silk Road through the Tian Shan mountains. In 1862 it was captured and trashed by Russians, before they set up their own garrison. Russian peasants were soon lured here by land grants and the fertile soil of the Chuy Valley.
The renamed town of Frunze became capital of the new Kyrgyz ASSR in 1926, but it was renamed Bishkek (the Kyrgyz form of its old Kazakh name, Pishpek) in 1991.
Weather in Bishkek
See graph/information to the right.
How to travel to Bishkek
What is the best way to fly to Bishkek
Bishkek's Manas International Airport IATA Code: FRU https://www.airport.kg 43.0541,74.4697 The airport is a 30 min trip from the city centre. It is not modern, but efficient. Most of the international flights depart and arrive at very early hours of the morning.
The following airlines with world hubs operate to/from Bishkek:
- Aeroflot - Moscow Sheremetyevo (5 hr flight, Airbus 320)
- Turkish Airlines - Istanbul Atatürk, Ulaanbaatar
- Pegasus - Istanbul, Osh
and for closer destinations:
- Air Astana - Almaty
- Avia Traffic Company - Almaty, Dushanbe, Isfana, Jalal-Abad, Novosibirsk, Osh, Tashkent
- China Southern Airlines - Ürümqi
- Iran Air Tours - Mashhad
- Iran Aseman Airlines - Mashhad, Tehran -Imam Khomeini
- Kyrgyzstan Airlines - Batken, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Jalal-Abad, Kazarman, Kerben, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow -Domodedovo, Novosibirsk, Osh, Tashkent, Urumqi, Yekaterinburg
- Rossiya - St Petersburg
- S7 Airlines - Novosibirsk
- Tajik Air - Dushanbe
- Uzbekistan Airways - Tashkent
There are a few ATM in the basement of the airport and several small cafes and convenience shops that are open around the clock. Keep your baggage tag receipt with you as your receipt may be checked by airport security to make sure you have picked up the correct baggage.
Also keep your boarding pass. Customs have been reported to ask to see them.
To/from the airport:
- A taxi to and from the city centre can be arranged for approximately 500 som, but prepare to negotiate from a much higher price. Most international flights arrive in the very early morning hours, so the taxi drivers will demand a higher price based upon the late or early hours. If you share a taxi the price should be 150 som per person.
- Marshrutka 380 GPS 42.87775,74.57517 connects the city centre for 40 som. The drivers seem to ask an extra 10 som for luggage—only pay if you really have large luggage. The marshrutka parks right in front of the airport and stops at Chuy Prospektesi in the center of Bishkek.
Travel by train to Bishkek
There is a twice-weekly train service to and from Moscow, called the "Kirgizia" with two days operated by the Kyrgyz railways and the other two by the Russian railways. The train has 2 and 4-berth sleepers and a restaurant car. All trains go through Kazakhstan.
In addition, there is a service that goes to and from Balykchy on the western edge of the Issyk Kul lake. (In 2018) it starts in Bishkek, both station Bishkek I (no idea where it is!) and station Bishkek II (south of Ala Too Square), at 06:25 in the morning. The return service is at 17:08. One cannot buy tickets in advance, one has to go there half an hour before the train leaves and then the ticket office will sell them for 69 som per person. The ride takes 4½ hr but it is worth it to get in contact with local people. Especially those with many children will use the train instead of the marshrutka. The trip is quite scenic. As of Aug 2018 the train was about one quarter full on departure and it was easy to find a seat.
Travel by Bus to Bishkek
- Western Bus Station 42.88603,74.5671 | besides others, local marshrutkas 133 and 344 run between the Western and Eastern Bus Station Serves most international and south western destinations in Kyrgyzstan, but also Taraz and Almaty.
- Eastern Bus Station 42.8873,74.6296 | besides others, local marshrutkas 133 and 344 run between the Western and Eastern Bus Station Serves all eastern destinations including Karakol and Kochkor.
- Alamedin Bazaar 42.88695,74.63621 many marshrutkas go by Alamedin Bazaar: 134, 137, 147, 258, 285 Has marshrutkas from/to the Kyrgyz/Kazakh border (25-30 som) and from/to the begin of Alamedin Gorge (25 som). The marshrutkas to the gorge start from across from Mysi Jaliliya 152. The marshrutkas to the border stop on the northern side of the junction next to the bazaar, towards the border. Several marshrutkas lines go to the border, but they usually have таможеня written on their destination sign or shout it out when stopping. Sometimes even private drivers are willing to take people (~70-100 som per person), beside the annoying taxi drivers waiting here too of course.
- Ala-Archa National Park bus stop 42.8710269,74.5716845 - Opening Hours: 08:15, 10:50, 13:30, 16:15 to Ala-Archa and back afterwards Marshrutka 265 runs from/to here. If not, try one road further north GPS 42.8737039,74.5722535}}.
- From Osh lastedit=2022-00-00 There are no normal buses between Bishkek and Osh. The Bishkek-Osh highway is a narrow mountainous road in a good condition and big buses or marshrutkas are not allowed to cross the Tor-Ashu and Ala-Bel Passes. The most popular option is a shared taxi departing from the taxi stand near the Bazaar in Osh, (or from the Osh Bazaar in Bishkek until 20:00-21:00 in the opposite direction). You better start in the morning, not to miss the great view along the road. Try to reserve the front seat, even by paying a hundred som more, because the driver will squeeze 3 passengers in the back seat. In 2018 the price was 1,500-1,700 som per person.
A more comfortable overnight option is the cargo-passenger minivan ('busik', ‘бусик’) from Kara-Su market, which is located 30 km from the center of Osh. Shared vans or taxis between Kara-Su and Osh are frequent and cost 30-40 som. In Bishkek, the minivans arrive at the Dordoi Bazaar. The price is only 500-700 som, they have comfortable sleeping bunks, but windows are small and you will pass most beautiful scenery in the night. Minivans depart daily between 15:00 and 18:00. You don't have to book seats in advance: just come there and choose the car and the driver you like.
It is also possible to buy a seat from a truck for about 500 som. The truck leave the bazaar in Osh daily at 15:00.
The return journey is described here: Osh#Get in.
- From Almaty (Kazakhstan) - Bishkek is approximately a 3½ hr trip from Almaty along a relatively good highway. A marshrutka from Almaty Sairan bus station (bay 1) costs 1,800 tenge. There is usually a rest stop at a petrol station about 1 hr from the border. At the border you have to step out with all your luggage and go through customs control by yourself. After the Kazakh immigration control you have to walk over the border river bridge. Then the Kyrgyz immigration control follows. Usually the whole border procedure will only take 5-10 min while the marshrutka often needs longer. As of 2022, the Kazakh marshrutka does not cross with the passengers, but another marshrutka is waiting on the Kyrgyz side. Be sure to keep your bus ticket with you and the people from your ride in sight so that you can find and enter the correct ride later. The (second) marshrutka will drop you at the Western Bus Station.
If you miss your ride for some reason, do not worry. Ignore the money-hungry taxi drivers waiting for you. At the right of the road is a parking place where local marshrutkas depart to Bishkek center for 25-30 som.
There are also shared taxis (1,500 tenge per person) and unofficial marshrutkas (1,000 tenge) from nearby the Almaty Sairan bus station to the border. (Or you rent an entire taxi.) KLM and Lufthansa offer bus services from Almaty airport to Bishkek (and back again), so travelers can meet their early morning flights. However, as of Sept 2018 it was not possible to find any information about the Lufthansa/KLM bus at Almaty airport.
The return journey is described here: Almaty#Get in.
- To/From Taraz (Kazakhstan) - There are also additional long distance road connections from/to Taraz, Kazakhstan, connecting Shymkent & Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- From Kashgar (China) lastedit=2022-00-00 Truly adventuresome travelers may want to attempt to get to Bishkek via the Chinese/Kyrgyz frontier crossing over the Torugart Pass. The pass connects Kashgar via an important route that runs along what was once the ancient Silk Road, linking Western China with the heart of Central Asia. The pass tops off at a height of 3,752 m and has been known as one of the most frustrating passes in Central Asia, as both sides can be closed for holidays, early snowfall, or for other unknown reasons. Only attempt this route if you have time and your patience can handle it. You will need a special permit to cross the border at Torugart. For easier crossing from China, go first to Osh through the Irkeshtam Pass. In there you will find a bunch of people offering rides on the Kyrgyz side of the border. Bargain with them hard as they might suggest $100 for the trip to Osh from the beginning, in 2018 they settled for 3,500 som for the trip to Osh but could probably have gone lower.
How to get around in Bishkek
Travel by Bus to Bishkek
Checkout the 2GIS app, which is great for finding the right marshrutka or bus number in Bishkek and used extensively be the locals.
Kyrgyzstan's capital, like many places in the former Soviet Union, has an extensive network of minibuses, known as Marshrutkas. There are hundreds of mini-buses (marshrutkas) that ply all parts of the city. They generally cost 10 som, 12 som after 21:00. They typically have around 14 seats, with standing room for around ten extra people during busy periods. Marshrutkas are easily identifiable and display their number and basic route information (in Russian) on the front. There is a great English website for checking connections. To flag one down, simply hold out your right hand, parallel to the ground. Once you get on, pay the fare to the driver. When you want to get off say "ah-stah-nah-VEE-tyeh" or simply "Stop". According to the law marshrutkas should stop at bus stops only, but this is only respected if the driver sees a police car. So, in practice you can ask driver to stop anywhere and he will drop you off at any point on their route.
Bishkek also has a bus and trolleybus system which is less extensive and generally slower. They only stop at designated bus stops and operate only till 22:00. The fare is 8 som in buses and in trolleybuses. Passengers enter at the back door and leave at the front; they pay on exit.
Best way to travel in Bishkek by a Taxi
There are several private taxi firms in Bishkek that you can easily reach through their three digit numbers including: 150, 152, 154, 156, 166 and 188. Daytime taxis throughout the city are a flat rate of 100 som and 120 som past 22:00. There are also numerous "gypsy cabs" situated at nearly every intersection. While most travellers and long-time expats report no problems, you are cautioned to be aware, especially at night and near nightclubs. Generally tourists use the local taxi services which can be reached through several numbers: 150 Euro (Evro) Taxi, 152 Super Taxi , 156 Express Taxi and 188 Salam Taxi. Before 22:00 most runs in the city are 100 som and afterwards are 120 som.
Many taxis do not use flat rate, you negotiate a price in advance. Short distance inside city can be 80 som. A taxi for a day can be negotiated. An hour drive to mountain costs about 1,100 som while getting back is usually much more expensive because the driver has to run twice without passengers since during your stay he needs to return to the city to work.
There are only a few bike shops in town. They all rent bikes:
- Velo Leader | Moskovska 226 42.87047,74.57659 - Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00(The directions of Lonely Planet are wrong.)
- Elite Sport/Drive Bikeshop | Toktogula 170 42.87240,74.58981 - A giant bike shop.
What to see in Bishkek
Bishkek is a pleasant city to wander with numerous leafy parks, tall trees, peppered by Soviet era statues and monuments. However there isn't a great deal to see beyond this and the city can comfortably be 'done' in a day (or two if visiting the suburban markets). Most museums are closed on Mondays.
The Independence Monument on Ala-Too square, with the National Historical Museum in the background.
- Ala-Too Square 42.876389,74.603889 - Ala-Too Square - Bishkek square The main city square is a vast expanse of concrete that ceased to be called Lenin square in 1991 and is the site of frequent political demonstrations and regular festivals. A statue of Lenin was the focal point until 2003, before he was banished to a much less conspicuous location behind the museum and replaced by a statue of Erkidik (freedom). At night many vendors set up photograph and karaoke booths and there's a synchronised sound and light show in time with the fountains, however travellers should avoid visiting the square after dark. There is also a military monument with an hourly changing of guards.
The elegant marching of the soldier can be admired every hour. The ceremony starts about 10 min to the full hour.
- National Historical Museum 42.87773,74.60383 - This museum sits between Ala-Too Square and the Parliament building. On the south side is an enormous statue of Lenin that was moved from the north side of the building after the Soviet Era. The bottom story of this three floor museum displays seasonal exhibits, while the second highlights Soviet-era achievements during the Communist Era. The top floor showcases the history and culture of the Kyrgyz people. Entry costs 300 som. Closed Mondays.
- Panfilov Park 42.8797,74.6002 - Panfilov Park, Bishkek A While this park may be in need upkeep and renovation, it's a great look into the past when Kyrgyzstan was a part of the Soviet Union. Beware that few of the rides have any safety mechanisms and the safety mechanisms they may appear to have are probably not functional. The ferris wheel offers a great view of the greater city.
- Osh Bazaar 42.8750,74.5697 If you're looking for a fresh sheep's head, locally made Korean picked salad, shashlik or any other type of Kyrgyz snack, this is the city's best known food bazaar. Although it's certainly not Central Asia's most colourful bazaar, there are hundreds of products to choose from, especially in the spring and summer months when produce is fresh from farms in the outskirts of town. There is a separate clothes market south of the main produce bazaar. To get there you can take trolleybus 14 on Chuy, bus 20 or 24 on Kiev or 42 from Soviet. Like any crowded space, be wary of pick-pockets; however visiting the Osh Bazaar is a most and rewarding trip. There are also smaller markets including Alamedin Bazaar and Ortosay Bazaar, which are open daily but are at their largest and most interesting at weekends. Dordoy Bazaar is Central Asia largest market of imports, mostly from China.
- Monday Frunze Museum 364 Ul. Frunze 42.88139,74.61082 NE of Parliament (Look for cottage enclosed in government building) - This museum houses the home of General Mikhail Frunze, the World War I and civil war general born in Bishkek (of Moldovan parents) whose name Bishkek bore until the city was renamed after independence. There are many photos and displays of early Bishkek days from an era when it was mostly a Slavic city and few vehicles existed.
- Dor Doi Bazaar - Dordoy | 42.93333,74.62083 10 mins outside the city towards north east. - This is an attraction because it is the biggest market in northeast asia. Here you can buy everything you can imagine since it is the main market for trading Chinese and Russian goods. The market is divided into multiple sections based on the types and origins of goods.
Top Muslim Travel Tips for Bishkek
- Zhirgal Banya - Bath house | 42.87219,74.61794 150-300 som You can buy tickets from the ticket office around the side. There's a sauna, ice-cold pool and for an extra 200 som an attendant will lather you up, scrub you and then hose you down. For those into a little bit of self-flogging, birch branches are available free. Men and women are separate.
- Karven Club , If you want to swim, the Karven Club has an outdoor pool which is perfect for a blistering summer's day and there's a also a modern gym and fitness centre. For one hour it's 400 som but it's much better value to pay 500 for a whole day of use and hang around for as long as you like.
Study as a Muslim in Bishkek
Bishkek is a affordable place to learn Russian (or Kyrgyz). A private 1½-hr lesson with a native Russian speaker should cost between US$5–7. Courses are also available at the American University of Central Asia and the Kyrgyz-Russian-Slavic University. There is also a private school that caters to individual learning: The London School in Bishkek. This school offers Russian and Kyrgyz to anyone at anytime of the year for as little as 120 som/hr. During the warmer months they are often full so book in advance.
How to work legally in Bishkek
A number of international organizations have offices in Bishkek, however most employees are recruited from abroad. If you speak Russian, there might be occasional opportunities to find temporary or long-term work. There are also English language schools that will employ native English speakers.
Due to the unstable political situation, there is not a lot of foreign business investment, but there is the Kumtor Gold mine and many foreign exploration companies attempting to develop the natural resources of the country.
Shopping in Bishkek
Money Matters & ATM's in Bishkek
Exchange offices can be found around the corner of Kievskaya St. and Manas Av. GPS 42.87532,74.58818, or on Abdrakhmanov Sr. between Moskovskaya St. and Bokonbaev St. GPS 42.86789,74.61123. The rates here are excellent and barely 1% off the inter bank rate, for US dollars and euros. But also tenge and others can be obtained for a proper rate.
Muslim Friendly Shopping in Bishkek
If you want to fit in with the locals, be sure to get one of the stylish Kyrgyz felt hats (kalpaks) worn mainly by men. You can also get textiles such as traditional patterned carpets (shyrdaks), which are well-made but can be expensive. For affordable souvenirs, avoid the Tsum department store and head directly for the Osh Bazaar. You may have to dig around the stalls as there isn't as much variety or quality as in Tsum, but the prices can be far cheaper if you put your bargaining skills to the test.
- Dor Doi Bazaar - Dordoy | 42.93333,74.62083 10 mins outside the city towards north east. Dordoy Bazaar - E7866-Dordoy-Bazaar Open air market with hundreds of double stack shipping containers. It's divided into multiple sections based on the types and origins of goods.
- Geoid Kiev 107 - entrance on the left side 150-300som Geoid sells maps for trekking 1:200,000 and overview maps 1:1,000,000.
- Zum Department Store 42.87618,74.61449 - Mobile phones, clothing, wine, souvenirs, tobacco, make-up, electronics. This shopping mall is located in the centre of town off of Chui street. Complete with Mastercard and Visa ATMs, Zum also displays a great selection of food stands, just outside. Like anywhere in Bishkek, don't be afraid to haggle
Halal Restaurants & Food in Bishkek
Bishkek is probably the best choice for food in Kyrgyzstan. From typical Kyrgyz food like Besh barmak or central Asia classics as Plov, Shashlyk or Samsas can be found around the town. Also Russian dishes are fairly ubiquitous in Bishkek because of the large number of ethnic Russians who still live in the city. There are an also growing number of Halal restaurants and cafes catering to more varied tastes from Turkish to Korean. Also Uyghur food is popular and fit the taste of many westerners as well as locals. E.g. the chain Arzu have a few restaurants.
There are hundreds of stands that sell gamburgers, a local adaptation of hamburgers but really share little in common: they are sliced Halal Döner kebab-style meat served on a bun with cole-slaw, cucumber, mayonnaise, ketchup and some chips. They usually cost around 60 som. One of the most popular gamburger stands in Bishkek is at the corner of Sovietskaya and Kievskaya, across the street from the main post office. It's a popular area for local students to pick up a affordable meal and they even serve the rare chicken hamburger.
Throughout the city are a lot of street-side vendors selling samsis, which is a staple of most locals' lunch. The green kiosks opposite the Philharmonic Hall ticket office sell some of the freshest, cheapest and best prepared in Bishkek and they are popular with students from the nearby universities. You can usually find a row of shashlyk grills inside any bazaar or just outside any chaykhana (teahouse).
For some pre-independence nostalgia, try the cafeterias of government ministries and universities. For about one US dollar you can experience what it was like to eat Soviet-style cafeteria food.
- Fakir 42.877092,74.622783 Behind Bishkek City shopping mall - 80-160 som Provides authentic and safe traditional Kyrgyz food and is very popular with locals. Good sized portions and excellent prices. Open for lunch and dinner. Beer and non-smoking areas available.
- Faiza Jibek Jolu - - 80-160 som Excellent local food frequented by locals. Great samsas and laghman (noodles). Dirt cheap.
- Watari found on Frunze 557, serves delicious udon noodles, curries and soups and the numbers of Japanese expats that frequent this restaurant is a testimony to the quality of its food.
- Daamgyy - 24-hour self-service restaurant next to Apple Hostel on the western side of the western bus station. A main and a drink will cost under 100 Som/€1.25. Wide range of food which changes every day.
- Dragon's Den firstname.lastname@example.org 5557 Frunze St - - Across from Grand Hotel - Great food at great prices and a great expat hang-out, menu offers both great European and local favorites as well.
- Old Edgar - Stari Edgar | 42.877417,74.608550 behind the Russian Drama Theatre - This is one of the most popular places with expas. In the summer, there is ample outdoor seating and in the winter, the bomb-shelter style building decorated in a nautical motif is Bishkek's most original dining venue. The food tends to be average, but the house band has entertained generations of visitors.
- Aria - One block south of Vefa Center, this Iranian-owned restaurant serves good Iranian and Turkish dishes while also offering Russian fare. The multi-flavored kalyan-hookahs attract a varied, hipster-like crowd.
- Dolce Vita Pizza , on Akhunbaeva, to the east of Manas, about one block
~250-380 som Possibly the best pizza available in Bishkek. Its thin crust is baked in an open-fire oven; there is also a whole range of Italian dishes and pastas.
- Buddha Bar , corner of Akhunbaeva and Sovietskaya
~210-300 som Possibly the most popular restaurant in Bishkek. Regular entertainment and a menu featuring other dishes than pizza and sushi; shashlyk is also good here. The menu is in English.
- Metro Pub Chui and Turizbekova 42.876539,74.585058
~210-300 som This is where international aid workers, embassy staff, mining personnel and Manas Airport contractors come for a pint and a decent meal. Especially crowded on St. Patrick's Day and Halloween.
- Shao Lin Jibek Jolu and Isanova - ~210-300 som One of the best known Chinese restaurants in Bishkek. The quality is up to most GCC standards, but tends to still be a little oily. The soups are especially large - better to be shared.
- Steinbrau Pub https://www.steinbrau.com/ A. Herzen St 42.866829,74.622833 hidden away in a residential area near the train line, about 300m east of Sultan Ibaimov St. Taxi drivers usually know it - A German beer hall with patchy, but sometimes excellent, German food and genuine beer.
- Four Seasons Restaurant - (across from the Hyatt) Delicious food with a large selection of European and Asian cuisine. Outside dining is available in the summer. Live music year-round, baby-sitting for the kids and popular with foreign dignitaries. While it's not to be confused with the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City, it's a great dining experience nonetheless.
There are a few coffee shops in Bishkek that even feature wi-fi.
- Kafe Coffee - Two locations- 9 Manas Ave/South of Moskovskaya & 40/1 Togolok Moldo, which is south of the City Sports Hall towards Chui. Both locations serve a variety of non-alcoholic, heavily caffeinated drinks and feature free Wi-fi. The Togolok Moldo site also has outdoor seating. As of May 2010, The Kafe Coffee located on Manas uses the SAIMA CARD - a pay system of Wi-fi.
- Sierra Coffee Manas 57/1, VEFA Center - 3rd floor, Russian Business Center (Razakova St) and Tash Rabat Shopping Center (Gorky St) - - Opened its first cafe/restaurant in the Spring of 2012 on Manas St, next to the Russian Embassy, between Kiev and Toktogul. Excellent coffee and coffee specialist drinks. Breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads.. Free WiFi. Counter service by English speaking staff. A place to network and to meet other English speakers. Sierra also roasts their own coffee, offering fresh roasted coffee for sale in a variety of origins and roasts.
- Adriano https://www.adrianocoffee.kg/ Isanov 87 42.87561,74.62182 - Opening Hours: 24hours open 110₩
- Coffee Relax email@example.com Toktogul Street 140 42.8723,74.5936 Phone +996 312 46 09 01 Opening Hours: 08:00-24:00 200 som - 500 som Great quality in everything. Professional and polite service. Coffee varieties to the taste. Menu including European and Turkish Cuisine.
For young and single people, Bishkek's nightlife is impressive. Foreign Muslims are welcomed at most venues with open arms and many times they do not need to pay a cover charge. See the "Stay Safe" section for more on how be aware while you're having fun in Bishkek.
- 12 Bar - Razakova Str. 32 | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bar-12/169316186451908 , - Set atop one of higher buildings this makes a great place for a rooftop drink. A plush place where Bishkek's young and wealthy go to see and be seen - hence good idea to dress up at least a little. Drinks around $2-4 a pop.
- Fire and Ice - Chui and Erkindik - This popular, Pakistani-owned disco near the Bishkek town center is located right above a bowling alley.
- Retro Metro - You'll find the DJ spinning from inside the front section of a tube train engine (hence the name). The 80s souvenirs is a popular spot for really late night partying.
- Promzona - 600 som entry fee
A trendy Russian rock establishment with a mostly Russian clientèle. Jazz musicians play on Tuesdays with rock and blues acts on the weekends. Check out their extensive drink menu.
- Sweet 60s , Molodaya Gvardia and Kievskaya; near cinema Oktyabr - Live music everyday, with jazz evenings on Wednesday and Sunday.
- Golden Bull , On Chuy, next to the White House. Enter from the back yard of another building. - 300 som for entrance Beers cost 200 som. The new staff is not that friendly as it used to. Do not go alone in any condition.
- GQ Exclusive night club пр. Чуй - Located by Sonaba not far from the Sports complex and movie theater Phone +996 551 44 44 11 Generally 500 som entry unless you make connections. Upscale night club with dancing girls on the stages. Opaque floors that light up for ambience with the music. There's also a show at the bar where they light the bar on fire.
Muslim Friendly Hotels in Bishkek
- Homestel Timiryazev St. 118 - From the western bus station go east 100m down silk road ave. to the large intersection with young guard boulevard, cross the intersection past the petrol station and go 60mfurther on silk road ave, on the right (south) is timiryazev St. Dorms 410 som, private 1300 som House converted into hostel, quiet clean and close to the Western bus station - but further from the centre of town. 4 staff members take up a lot of the common room. Secure parking, wifi, washing machine, }}
- Versal Hotel Tashkentskaya 10 - Doubles from $30 Only 2km north of the city centre this small homestay hotel is a decent option in a quite neighboor of Bishkek. There are no signs outside and taxi drivers have problems to find it.
- Maria Guesthouse | https://www.facebook.com/guesthouse.bishkek firstname.lastname@example.org
# 223 Pobeda str. - 5 min. walking from Arzu restaurant Phone +996 778 320532 500/1000som
Checkout: 12:00 The guesthouse is very clear and pleasant, it has single and double rooms (10),WC + hot shower in each room. Guest kitchen, big hall, free Wi-Fi, free laundry. Pick up from International Airport Manas available. Parking inside.
- Nomad's Home | https://nomadshome.googlepages.com/ email@example.com Drevesnaya 10 - right behind the eastern bus station, coordinates: 42 53.300/74 37.755 Phone +996 312 299955 Per person: tent 150, dorm 300, double 400som, Yurt for 3 people: 500som - Two Kyrgyz women, Raisa and Gulnara, run this friendly homestay. Dormitories, double rooms and tent camping are available (with one of the double rooms inside a yurt!) Breakfast served sometimes. Pick-up from and drop-off to Manas International is available as well as visa assistance. Can be very crowded, with only one bathroom for all the guests. Has a yard which you can park your bicycle/motorcycle.
- Sabyrbek's Guest House | firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com 21 Razzakova (just south of Moskovskaya) - Opposite German embassy. The buzzer is broken, but banging loudly on the large metal door should attract their attention (or call). Phone +996 312 300710 or +996 312 300710 dm/dbl/yurt 450/600/350 som - The home of the famous Kyrgyz author T. Sydykbekov, is now managed by his son the amiable Sabyrbek. It is very centrally located. Guests are welcome to use the kitchen facilities. Internet is available and the showers are now hot.
- Sakura Guesthouse https://sakuraguesthouse.web.fc2.com/english.html firstname.lastname@example.org Michurina 38 42.88629,74.61384 Walk north from the crossing of Soviet and Jibek Jolu for 100m. Turn right on the small alley between two shops and keep walking for 50m, then turn right and you'll see the guesthouse, coordinates: 42 53.183/74 36.842 Phone +996-312-380209, +996 777-324024 (Mobile) Check-in: 8AM - 7PM / Check-out: 11AM dm/dbl/tpl 550/1500/2050 som This nice guesthouse, has several dorms and a collection of double and triple rooms. Bathrooms are plentiful and spotless, with Asian-style toilets. There is also a kitchen where you can do some cooking and an area for hanging out and chatting. Free laundry. Free wifi. Bikes and motorcycles are welcome to park inside. The alleys around the guesthouse are not lit and can feel a bit scary at night but are safe to go around.
- South Guest House | email@example.com , Phone +996 312 572623 - A great bargain with a nice view of the mountains outside Bishkek. The young Kyrgyz host, Nanchan, can help accommodate to your needs with traveling suggestions, sightseeing tours, before you arrive. Pick-up from Manas International is available.
- Vasiliy Guest House | firstname.lastname@example.org , Phone +996 772 956410 - A Kyrgyz family living in a Russian apartment block, run this friendly homestay. it can be easily reached by buses from centre. Breakfast with fresh bread and home made jams is delicious. The mother does handicrafts and have a good collection of traditional work for sale. Vasiliy is a guide who can give useful information on trekking and other out door activities. Pick-up from and drop-off to Manas International is done in father's old Lada.
- KG Friends Hostel https://www.kgfriends.com email@example.com 170/13 Toktogul Street 42.87206,74.58995 On Toktogul Street between Manas and Isanova Phone +996 773 58 57 86
Checkout: 12:00 dormm 500 som (USD8) The hostel is in the same yard as the Interhouse City Center Hostel. Self-serve kitchen. Free coffee and tea. The washing machine is free of use. The hostel opened in July 2015 and is run by two nice women. English, Italian or German spoken.
- Apple Hostel https://applehostel.kg/en/about-us/ firstname.lastname@example.org Chymkentskaya 1b - right next to the Western bus station Phone +996 551 210 303 or +996 553 280 881 (WhatsApp) Next to the main bus station. Dormitories as well as double/twins with private bathroom and A/C (the latter for 1820 Som/€22.75), breakfast included. If coming from the airport, get marshrutka 380 and get off at the junction with Jibek Jolu Avenue: from there it's a 10-minute walk.
- Futuro Hotel Bishkek https://futuro.kg/ email@example.com
Кыргызская республика, г. Бишкек, ул. Хивинская 29 42.87642,74.65440 Phone +996 312 98 68 68 Single/Double USD90 This brand new fantastic hotel offers great rooms with splurge facilities and latest multimedia as Wi-Fi, English channels and movies on demand. Great 24hr service and if you have an early flight they prepare a lunchbox for you. The only downside is the location 5 km east of the town center at the Chuy Ave, but there are frquent bus connections.
- Asia Mountains 2 https://asiamountains-hotels.com/en/hotel2 1-a Linienaya St 42.864408,74.620085 go south along Gogol St all the way to the train line, then look for Linienaya (pretty much a driveway) on the right - Reasonable hotel with some mountain views. A bit hidden away and a walk to the main streets but close to the Steinbrau pub. Asia Mountains 1 is on Gorky St south of the train line.
- Alpinist https://www.alpinist.kg/en firstname.lastname@example.org Panfilov 113 42.85985,74.60018 Phone +996 312 595647 A great value in the center of Bishkek; the Alpinist has single, double and triple occupancy rooms available with satellite TV and internet ports, a full service cafe, a conference room and - being true to its name - a climbing wall!
- Touristan Guesthouse | https://www.touristan.kg/eng 6 Koenkozova Street - Diagonally opposite Togolok Moldo Park Phone +996 312 315102 from US$60 Check-in: 14:00 / Check-out: 13:00 Solid mid-range option in a renovated building in one of the nicer parts of central Bishkek. Large rooms, free wifi, international TV, decent breakfast, powerful showers, Nespresso machine in reception.
- Crocus Guest House https://crocus.kg/en/ email@example.com Komsomolskaya 5 42.88270,74.65060 Phone +996 558 058026, +996 558 268505 Guest house, which has a cozy family atmosphere, offers an accommodation in 6 double rooms with shower, the satellite television, fridge and Wi-Fi connection. Guesthouse also offers a garden with a summerhouse and sauna with the swimming pool. Guest house is located in the quite east-northern part of city Bishkek, not far from the main street “The Silk Way”.
- MBA Business Center Hotel | Panfilov 237 - Phone +996 312 623120 - Lots of space, a friendly staff, but questionable comfort and some broken appliances at this hotel located inside an actual business center on the 4th floor. One thing worth noting is the absence of stairs that may bring you to safety in case of a fire: the elevator is the only way in (and out), since the staircase is blocked by a door at the 3rd floor. Anyway, the staff assures that "there will be no fire".
- Radison Guesthouse in Kyrgyzstan! | https://www.radisonhouse.com firstname.lastname@example.org Abdymomunova 259 - Phone +996 312 32 31 81 +996 312 32 31 81 - A guesthouse downtown with a garden, air conditioning, private baths (w/ 24 hr hot water), satellite TV and full concierge services.
- Ak Keme https://www.akkemehotel.com/ email@example.com Prospekt Mira 93 - Phone +996 312 540143 Check-in: 14:00 / Check-out: 12:00 Upscale hotel located around 8 kilometers from town center, offers a conference center, a health club, indoor and outdoor pools with bar access and spa services.
- Hotel Holiday | https://www.holiday.kg.kg/ firstname.lastname@example.org Abdrahmanova 204 - Phone +996 312 97 61 61 +996 312 97 61 61 Check-in: 14:00 / Check-out: 12:00 Popular and central hotel.
- Hyatt Regency Bishkek | https://bishkek.regency.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/ email@example.com Sovietskaya 191 - Phone +996 312 661234 Check-in: 12:00 / Check-out: 15:00 5-star hotel in business district, largest in the country. Popular with foreign dignitaries and businessmen.
- Jannat | https://www.jannat-hotel.kg/ firstname.lastname@example.org Micro Rayon 7 - Phone +996 312 911210 Check-in: 14:00 / Check-out: 12:00 This new hotel is located around 20 minutes outside the town center and is home to the Monte Carlo casino. Silk and felt textiles add a bit more of a Kyrgyz feel to the hotel.
- Club Hotel Bishkek | https://dostuk.kg/en/ email@example.com Frunze 425-B - Phone +996 312 683888 Check-in: 12:00 / Check-out: 15:00 This upscale luxury hotel is located on the 5th floor of the Dostuk Hotel.
- Park Hotel Bishkek | https://www.parkhotel.kg/ firstname.lastname@example.org Orozbekova 87 - Phone +996 312 665518 +996 312 622497 Check-in: 13:00 / Check-out: 12:00 Modern hotel in the business district.
Stay safe as a Muslim in Bishkek
Bishkek is safe compared to many major Asian cities. The most dangerous places are the streets during rush hours when you try to cross them. At night take the usual precautions. However even the parks are quite safe. If you go to out and plan to drink you should always take a taxi for about 120 Som because a drunken person stumbling around is everywhere in the world an easy victim.
Pickpockets are a major problem in and around markets, especially at Osh Bazaar. Look out for young men with large plastic bags "bumping" into you. Keep your valuables at your accommodation if you plan to visit the markets and if you bring a purse, camera, backpack etc. keep it in front of you.
Nightclubs and their surrounding areas can be a hotbed for crime in the form of theft, prostitution, or even assault by people waiting to take advantage of an unsuspecting traveler or expat. Ask locals or hotel staff which areas are safer than other and take precautions if you plan on club hopping. Do not walk from nightclub to nightclub at night; instead spend 120-150 som on a taxi. Potential muggers have been known to wait outside bars and clubs, especially the ones frequented by ex-pats, follow drunk ex-pats and then rob them.
Keep a cool head and be aware of your surroundings when hanging out inside and outside of nightclubs. Most clubs have numerous buff, semi-professional security guards, but you should be vigilant nonetheless. Do not leave any belongings on the table while you go to dance. Be careful around the taxi area outside the club; occasionally, unsavory characters pick this location to mug drunk foreigners as they leave the club late at night. You might not get much help from club security when it comes to theft.
Bishkek has a lot of prostitutes and sexual-transmitted diseases are on the rise in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Always take proper precautions if you plan on being sexually active.
If you are a victim of a crime, you are probably best served by reporting the incident to your embassy, rather than to the militsya (police). Sometimes militsya will approach foreigners and ask them for documents, such as your passport. It's best to keep a photocopy of your passport and leave the original at your hotel if you can. On the rare occasion that they make problems, be polite, but firm, in your refusal and insist that you be put in touch with your embassy first.
In the past it occurred that (fake) policeman approach you on the street, especially if you look like a tourist, such as carrying a big backpack and ask to check the belongings. Often, their aim is to steal your valuables and money. They can do it very professionally and you only will notice later, that something disappeared. The best way, is to pretend you don't understand them, trying to call your embassy, or just walk away asap. Also keep your valuables in a safe place and don't expose them to others all the time in Kyrgyzstan. Even sometimes normal local people, who invite you to have a tea at their home, if they see that you left some valuables unattended, may be tempted to steal.
Irrigation ditches and other holes in the ground can seriously injure the unaware person - especially when walking at night. Many streets are poorly lit or not lit at all and it is easy to fall into them. Avoid manhole covers, grates and similar fixtures - they are frequently loose and even missing.
Cope in Bishkek
Bishkek is more or less a museum relic of the former Soviet Union Bloc. Despite Kyrgyzstan's poverty and the decay of its infrastructure, Bishkek remains a relatively safe, clean, functional city. Bishkek is not an old city and possesses no ancient landmarks, but it nonetheless has its own kind of charm, which often arouses nostalgia in people who knew the old Soviet Union. For some visitors, Bishkek is merely a stop on the Silk Road to refresh supplies before returning to the mountains. However, expatriates generally consider themselves lucky to benefit from its easygoing lifestyle, open-minded spirit, party culture and low cost of living. If you come with the right expectations you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Embassies & Consulates in Bishkek
- Canada - https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/kazakhstan/offices-bureaux/bishkek.aspx?lang=eng email@example.com 189 Moskovskaya Street 42.871161,74.583303 Phone +996 312 65 05 06 +996 312 65 01 01lastedit=2022-00-00
|Hours of Operation=Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 China | https://kg.chineseembassy.org firstname.lastname@example.org Prospekt Mira 299/7 42.823304,74.579523 Phone +996 312 597-481 - The embassy has moved: the old address at Toktogula street is no longer valid. For obtaining a tourist visa a inviting letter is required. Travel agencies, which can provide it, are Kyrgyz Concept , Chui 126 and Mrs Liu, Chui 142. The price including consular fees is $US120–150, But the lower price you can find in the "GS-tour" company. The price is USD80 and higher. (☎English: +996555 51 52 52, +996708 51 52 52, ☎Russian: +996773 75 10 00) - Shopokava 29, 3.
- Germany | https://www.bischkek.diplo.de/Vertretung/bischkek/ru/Startseite.html Rassakova 28 - Phone +996 312 905-000 Germany offers the Schengen Visa in Kyrgyzstan.
- Kazakhstan https://mfa.gov.kz/en/bishkek email@example.com Tynychtyk Avenue (old name: Mira), 95 A - Phone +996 312 69-20-95 (Consulate)
The Wikimapia entry. Phone number of the embassy: +996 (312) 69-20-98. Payments for the visas must be made in Kazkommertsbank, the closest office is the Zhibek Zholy branch.
- Tajikistan | Karadarinskaya 36 - Take the trolley bus 17 to south and get off the bus at the Duplex Lounge Bar. The embassy is at the end of the road that goes to the left after Duplex. By bicycle head south on Soviet, turn left/east into Gorky, then south/right into Karl-Marx. Turn left/east at the 2.trafficlight. The embassy is at the end of the road. coordinates: 42 50.866/74 37.756 Phone +996 312 512-343 Opening Hours: 10:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00 30day USD90 + 50som, 45dayUSD$70 +50som ,GBAO permit is free. Tajiks visas are issued on spot.
United States of America - https://kg.usembassy.gov firstname.lastname@example.org Prospekt Mira 171 - Phone +996 312 551-241 +996 312 551-264lastedit=2022-00-00It is recommended that you visit the website for the embassy's hours and the process for arranging an appointment.
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