Are you getting ready to visit beautiful Kyrgyzstan? Preparing and Packing? Lucky you! No stress, all is going to be great. And to help you finish getting ready , here are some information to prepare and pack for your trip.
GET YOUR PLAN TOGETHER
And if you want to go into dreaming mode, you can have a look at my video about the landscapes of Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz people speak both Kyrgyz and Russian. Not many speak English. We crossed path only with 2 people who could not speak Russian. Here are few useful words:
English / Russian / Kyrgyz:
- Hello - better to say: Assalam Aleykum or Salamatsyzby
- Goodbye / Sa sveedabya / Kosh
- Please / Pazhalsta / Suranych
- Thank you / Spaseeba / Rakhmat
- Yes / Da / Ooba
- No / Nyet / Jok
- May I take your picture? / Mozhno vas sfotografirovat (very useful to take beautiful portraits)
Check out this Kyrgyz phrasebook if you are interested in knowing a bit more vocabulary
WHAT TO PACK
Few things to think about when deciding what clothes to pack in your luggage:
- Summers in Kyrgyzstan get really hot
- Many people are Muslim, so some coverage is respectful
- The altitude is high and the terrain is mountainous therefore the weather can change quickly and nights can get cold
I recommend that you do not forget:
- thermal gear
- waterproof jacket
- good shoes
- Warm hat and gloves for your night in Song-Kul (3000m high)
- Sunglasses and protective hat
- Flashlight for when you want to get out of your yurt at night
Don't forget to bring binoculars to make the most of those views!!!!
Check out my guide to find the best travel binoculars for your needs.
And don't forget to purchase Travel Insurance!
I wish you a very smooth trip, but my policy is: better be prepared.
I personally use World Nomads. Get a quote online here.
Landscapes, landscapes, landscapes... It is so beautiful, it is hard to stop taking pictures. If you are into photography I recommend:
- Polarizer as the sky is very blue most of the time in Summer
- Tripod for astro-photography when sleeping under the yurts
- I don't have one but a wide angle would have been nice for some sceneries
When you take portraits of people, do not forget to show them the picture after!
MONEY: currency, tipping
The Money is the Kyrgyz Som.
- bank notes are mostly from 20 to 5000 SOM (although 5 and 10 exists)
- coins are 1, 3, 5 and 10 SOM
I recommend to take the cash you need in the ATMs in the main cities. However please note that they mostly accept Visa. It is harder to get around with Mastercard.
Most restaurants in Bishkek will add a 10% service fee. Other than that it is not customary.
At one point one of my fellow traveler wanted to leave the change to a fruit merchant at the Osh Bazaar but he refused.
However as more and more tourists visit Kyrgyzstan, we will see if this changes.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: what to expect
Expect quite yummy and huge portions. Because even when we asked for something very light we were served so much!!!
Check out my dedicated post about what to expect food-wise in Kyrgyzstan. It is full of pictures to show the cuisine which is a mix of Russian, Turk and Chinese.
I must admit that after seeing many Asian countries, the driving in Kyrgyzstan is quite peaceful. They do take over on lanes that do not exist. But their favorite passtime is not to push the horn.
The biggest danger on those roads are the herds of animals and the big holes. Most rides on or off roads get quite bumpy.
If you are driving by yourself, always check that the mountain passes are open and be ready to find snow at the top.
One time we even faced a herd of animals on a bumpy road surrounded by walls of snow...
OTHER USEFUL INFO TO KNOW
- Wifi: Bishkek was OK. We had wifi in Karakol and a bit in Tamga. However we had of course nothing in the mountains. Strangely the popular destination of Arslanbob was also disconnected (they did have a modem at the toursit office but not practical with and Iphone...)
- 3G: You can purchase a 3G card in the main tonws. You will just need an ID. You can then recharge with some credit. It worked OK in most places.
- Visa: Most Europeans, North American and Australian do not need a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan if staying under 60 days. Please check with the embassy
- No vaccine required.
- There can be mosquitoes near some Issyk Kul, but I did not encounter any during my stay
- Plug: the 200 volt PLug F (2 round pins) as in many European countries
Want to see more of Kyrgyzstan's beauty?
Discover more things to do and places to see in Iceland in my online Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide.
Don’t hesitate to share more advice or ask questions in the comments below
Enjoy your trip!