A great way to get introduced to anoter culture is to visit a market (a local one, not one dedicated to tourists). In Bishkek the main market place is the Osh Bazaar where all your senses will woke up!
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Bishkek Osh Market
The Osh Bazaar is the main market place in Bishkek. Its name is taken from the town of Osh is South Kyrgyzstan.
It is a great place to have a glimpse at the local life and culture as they sell eveything: fruits, clothing, carpetsn cleaning products, bread, flour, seeds, meat, hardware... On the day I visited, the place was not crowded and I enjoyed the atmosphere ad the people. We were offered to taste many things (candys, dried fruits, sweet cakes... and horse sausage), a real adventure for your palate, but most things were too sweet for my taste.
Entrance to the Osh Market
Osh bazaar: the safety question
Kyrgyzstan is a generally safe countries, however the Osh Market has a reputation of being a pickpocket playground and a way for policemen to make some extra cash. Some people had really bad experiences but others had a great time. Personnaly I have not felt any danger and it all went smoothly.
From what I have read, as tourism is growing, they are trying to address the issue. However here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Do not take too much money with you
- Pay attention to your belongings
- Have a photocopy of your passport ready or your passport, keep hold of it
- Keep some money easily accessible to pay for what you want to buy but the rest not easy accessed
- If the policeman does not look official, insist to see again is badge, ask people around if he is a policement. Some people impersonate them.
- Be confident and enjoy the place and the people!
I also read one comment when someone had problem with the shopkeepers. Personnaly I found the people very honest. Prices were written. One of us bought apples. He wanted the shopowner to keep the change but he refused!
Let's starts with the raw food: spices, oil, milk, seeds... The colors and texture all around were a feast for the eyes. The only issue was not knowing what most of those were (we really eat too much processed food in the Western countries...)
Kyrgyz people definitively have a sweet tooth. It is quite impressive. Just be ready: icetea, juices, biscuits, chocoloate: they add a lot of sugar. In the Osh market you really could realise the craziness of it with huge stands covered in many types of chocolates, candies and biscuits. I had an overdose just looking at it!
The prepared food
In the Osh Bazaar, you can also find some street food stands and many bakeries. I love their bread, very tasty (even though I still prefer the French bread...). Most of them are cooked round as you can see in the picture below.
And many other things
You can buy t-shirts for just 100 or 200SOM, shoes and many other products. Every shop is quite small so it is like a treasure hunt.
For more pictures, you can check the great post from Wild Junket about that same market
Want to see more of Kyrgyzstan's beauty?
Discover more planning information, things to do and places to see in my online Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide.
What do you like the most when visiting a local market?