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Most Viewed Favorites in Kyrgyzstan

  • budapest8's Profile Photo


    by budapest8 Written Oct 19, 2010

    Favorite thing:

    Some travel companies can provide assistance by supplying a letter
    of invitation (visa support) for you to obtain a Kyrgyz visa.
    But do this in good time. I lived in the USSR/Russia for 5 years
    and OVIR are not to be messed about with.

    Kyrgyz visas can be obtained:

    · At the Kyrgyz Embassy or Consulate in the visitor’s
    home country before departure for the Kyrgyz Republic.

    · At the Consulate Department of the Ministry of Foreign
    Affairs in the airport of Bishkek upon arrival.

    · Citizens of 45 countries (*) can apply for a single-entry
    tourist visa up to one month in any country where there is
    a Kyrgyz Embassy or upon arrival to Kyrgyz Republic at the
    airport of Bishkek. The invitation is not necessary.

    · If there is no Kyrgyz Embassy in your country,
    a Kyrgyz visa can be obtained from the Embassy of Kazakhstan.
    This establishment will provide a visa only after receiving a
    letter of invitation sent to the Embassy by one of the registered
    travel companies of Kyrgyzstan.

    · Every foreign visitor (except citizens from countries listed below)
    should, upon arrival to Kyrgyz Republic, be registered in the local police department OVIR.

    (**) List of 16 countries whose citizens do not
    need a Kyrgyz visa to enter Kyrgyz Republic,
    but need registration in OVIR upon arrival:

    1. Armenia

    2. Azerbaijan

    3. Belarus

    4. Cuba

    5. Democratic_People’s Republic of Korea

    6. Georgia

    7. Japan

    8. Kazakhstan

    9. Malaysia (up to one month)

    10. Moldova

    11. Mongolia (up to three months)

    12. Russian Federation

    13. Tadjikistan

    14. Turkey (up to one month)

    15. Ukraine

    16. Vietnam

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  • budapest8's Profile Photo


    by budapest8 Updated Oct 19, 2010

    Favorite thing:
    (*) List of countries whose citizens can get a Kyrgyz tourist
    visa up to one month at any Embassy or Consulate of
    Kyrgyzstan abroad without invitation (visa support)
    and are free from registration in OVIR upon arrival:

    1. Australia

    2. Austria

    3. Belgium

    4. Bolgaria

    5. Bosnia and Herzegovina

    6. Canada

    7. Croatia

    8. Czech Republic

    9. Denmark

    10. Estonia

    11. Finland

    12. France

    13. Germany

    14. Greece

    15. Hungary

    16. Iceland

    17. Ireland

    18. Israel

    19. Italy

    20. Latvia

    21. Lichtenstein

    22. Lithuania

    23. Luxembourg

    24. Macedonia

    25. Malta

    26. Monaco

    27. Montenegro

    28. Netherlands

    29. New Zealand

    30. Norway

    31. Poland

    32. Portugal

    33. Republic of Cyprus

    34. Romania

    35. Serbia

    36. Singapore

    37. Slovakia

    38. Slovenia

    39. South Korea

    40. Spain

    41. Switzerland

    42. Sweden

    43. Turkey

    44. United_Kingdom_of_Great_Britain_and

    Northern Ireland

    45. United States of America

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • Visa issues

    by highmountaintrip Written May 27, 2008

    Favorite thing: Regarding Kyrgyz visa:

    Nationals holding passports of the following countries may receive entrance/exit visa in the consular agency of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic at the airport Manas under personal request for one month:

    The Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    New Zealand

    You can contact Kazakg embassy using this link :
    Uzbek embassy:

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel

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  • babar_1's Profile Photo

    Community Based Tourism

    by babar_1 Updated Oct 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Community based tourism (CBT) was initiated in May 2000. The main objective of the CBT is to improve the living conditions of people in remote mountain regions, by developing rural tourism without harming the natural environment and culture of local people.


    Fondest memory: The money you pay will help form and strengthen local institutions, build infrastructure, develop local income sources, conserve natural and cultural heritage.

    Map showing the CBT sites

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  • Lake Song Kul: into Kyrgyz nomadic way of life!

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Jun 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: While trekking around the Lake you can learn a lot about, and experience local Kyrgyz customs as you like -well, you have to...

    Life is, especially for the men, relatively relaxed. It’s their job to keep an eye on the grazing animals, and it’s most of the time delegated to their sons and dogs. It’s a beautiful sight to watch a 6 year old boy on a small horse running after a cow! In poorer families the men sometimes stay behind in town to try to make some additional money there.

    The women do most of the work. Milking the horses and cows, preparing food, producing large quantities of tea and kumus (fermented horsemilk), doing the dishes, taking care of the yurt, the children, the elders, the guests (e.g. neighbours and travellers) and all these things.

    All meals do basically consists of bread and different kinds of butter and are accompanied by some 5 cups of tea and 3 cups of kumus (horsemilk). Traditionally tea will be poured into the cup and back in the pot 2 times, before served to the guests, something I highly appreciated! Also I noticed an attempt to make cheese and even jam.

    Breakfast usually comes with meat (as experienced as a guest- but not common), and lunch and supper with fresh Song Kul fish and soup with undetermined contents. In the Lake there are 3 different species and the women know how to prepare these!!

    host  family at breakfast inside the yurt
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Farm Stay
    • Budget Travel

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  • Lake Song Kul: Shepherd's Life

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Jun 15, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Based in the closest town –Kochkor- a Swiss organisation runs a program called Shepherd's Life, aims to bring together foreign visitors and shepherds in a responsible way.

    The families that wants to take part in the project gets half day’s training after which they can receive guests at fixed fees.One of the conditions is e.g. to have a fenced hole in the ground for toilet, even if they’re used to go themselves in the open field.

    The initiative is on small scale, an average participant receives some 30 guests a year. The visitor will stay in the yurt together with the family and should adapt as much as possible to the primitive circumstances and local customs. The fees are paid directly to the family. In the summer of 2001 I paid on an average about $8/day, including guide, private horse, 3 meals/day and place to sleep (on a blanket on the floor).

    During our trek we were also guest of non-participating families who were equally welcoming and although levels of civilisation were sometimes less appealing, it was a great experience to live with them just the same way as they do.

    Other ways to explore Song Kul:
    Besides Shepherd’s Life, there are 2 other ways to visit Song Kul. Firstly you can go for a fully equipped and organised trip, direct or indirectly arranged through a professional Bishkek agency – around $25/day, but it goes without saying that this doesn’t improve mutual satisfaction, is less charming and doesn’t benefit the locals.

    Secondly you can go completely independently -very adventurous. In that category we met 2 travellers on a tandem travelling from Turkey to Pakistan. You can check out their fascinating website:

    host family
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Horse Riding

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  • Lake Song Kul: first time on a horse

    by Bonobo2005 Updated May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: In a yurt my occasional travelpartner Linda and I were warmly welcomed with tea and kumus (light alcoholic fermented horse milk). Our horses and guide (the father of the family) were ready. It was our plan to complete the circuit around the Lake –90 km.- in 3 days.

    I was pretty nervous. Never had been riding a horse before while Linda was experienced and our guide even a specialist!! How do you control a horse, it’s not a machine…

    My horse turned out to be really lazy, but I was told that it was my own fault. The problem was that the 3 horses differed of strength. The guide’s horse was always far in front, while mine could follow only with huge efforts and Linda’s horse, that was smaller, stayed behind. My horse refused following the guide but instead stayed around Linda’s horse. Once in a while she had the animal run fast fluently, which I couldn’t manage at all. But after a while I was doing a bit better.

    We rode for 8 hours, over the hills, along the shores and through grassland. And at dusk we arrived at a yurt for the first night. It couldn’t have taken any longer because my knees hurt and my bottom was almost skinless. I had almost to fall from the horse to get off!

    The family –who was not used to guests- did not participate in the Shepherd’s Life program, but was equally welcoming. The hygienic standards were indescribable, but anyway we had to adapt, eat and sleep (with 9 people in the yurt –quite cosy!).

    first time ever on a horse
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Horse Riding

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  • Lake Song Kul: party time!

    by Bonobo2005 Updated May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: Halfway the 3rd day my body hurt so terribly much from riding that horse that I decided to walk. When we arrived at our guides’ family yurt, his wife made us a fantastic dinner and announced party tonight! Surprise!!

    It was the most unlikely disco night in my life. Many neighbours came over and in the freezing darkness they parked a small truck, turned the lights on and played a tape loudly on it’s recorder. Huge supplies of kumus and a lot of fun. We kept dancing until midnight.

    At midnight, when the full moon was bright we continued the party with playing a traditional Kyrgyz game. Two teams (called hammer and sickle) were separated and a sheep bone had been hidden.
    Goal was to find the bone, shout loudly the name of your team, and try to bring back the bone home!
    Not much later the 16 of us were rolling over each other on frozen horseshit fighting the bone. We (Sickle) lost just 2-1. Afterwards we continued the open air disco night , this time enjoying vodka and (a kind of) wine, but soon I found myself on the sleeping mat.

    On day 4 the jeep of Shepherd’s Life came to pick us up and just before darkness we were back in Bishkek! It had been a very special and unforgettable trip!!!

    our local guide
    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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  • Lake Song Kul: peaceful and pasture

    by Bonobo2005 Updated May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Lake Song Kul is a remote area of peace and tranquillity at an altitude of 3016m, and is visited by travellers, who want to experience rural Kyrgyz nomadic life and enjoy nature.

    Shepherds pitch their yurts around the Lake to stay there for the summer with family and animals.

    Most of the area is protected because of the presence of endangered species like snowleopard (rarely spotted) and a big variety of birds (all over).

    yurts at the Lake
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Horse Riding
    • Backpacking

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  • Lake Song Kul: a bird observatory

    by Bonobo2005 Updated May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: Towards the evening we arrived at half a dozen of yurts, where we could stay for the night. It appeared to be the settlement for a bird observatory.

    A huge telescope was installed and they had to register the species and their numbers. Of course we could have a look as well, which was enchanting since we could observe not only birdlife but also a beautiful full moon at night!

    This time we were given a place in a guest yurt.

    people at the observatory
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Horse Riding

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  • Lake Song Kul: weather changes all the time

    by Bonobo2005 Updated May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: On the 2nd morning the sky was dark, even black, as lightning struck the lake. But we had to cover a distance today. So we left anyway and I have to admit that 4 hours later, I was about to give up.

    On our way it started to hail and the big stones did hurt not only me but also the horse, that was out of control and ran to the next yurt faster than I could imagine of such a lazy animal.
    I –as well as my backpack- were soaked and –in almost freezing conditions- terribly cold, wasn’t prepared for this. Hardly couldn’t move hands and my body hurt everywhere.

    But at the closest yurt we were warmly welcomed again; the lovely woman gave me a blanket and 2 hours later the world looked already different. Sun, sun, sun! My clothes dried in no time and, when we continued, I was ready to enjoy again!

    keeping my horse quiet for a pose
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Horse Riding
    • Backpacking

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  • kyrgyz's Profile Photo

    A magic land

    by kyrgyz Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Travelling along the Great Silk Road is preferable following such route:
    Bishkek - Burana tower - Issyk-Kul lake - Song-Kul lake - Naryn - Tashrabat caravan sarai - Eki-Naryn - Bishkek - Osh - Arslanbob nut forest - Uzgen - Irkeshtam to China or Tashkent or Alma-Ata

    Fondest memory: Issyk-Kul lake and mysterious caravan sarai is the most forgettable.
    Hunting Marko Polo (mountain sheep) is also touching!

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

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  • schielen's Profile Photo

    schielen's General Tip

    by schielen Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: After visiting the family in this yurt, I had a present for them in the form of a postcard from The Netherlands. It was higly appriciated, since these people have a great interest in how there visitors live at home.
    To my suprise it was put up at the 'wall'. beside an other postcard from The Netherlands (with a tipical windmill on it). It was left there by an other Dutch group that visited this family earlier that same week!

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  • schielen's Profile Photo

    Drink Koemis. This is a drink...

    by schielen Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Drink Koemis.
    This is a drink made of horsemilk. It's a little thicker then milk, and has a sweet/sour taste. In adition to that, is has an alcohol percentage of 3 up to 8!

    In the picture you see a Kyrgyz woman milking a horse.

    Fondest memory: When you visit a Kyrgyz Nomad-family in their yurt you will always be presented a bowl of Koemis, out of hospitality, even when there is a shortage of food. It's a good idea to have something with you as a present, best something practical were there is a shortage of like salt or fruit.

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  • Beefy_SAFC's Profile Photo

    Most of what I've said on my...

    by Beefy_SAFC Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Most of what I've said on my Uzbekistan page applies here also. So best to refer to that. Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country that only qualifies me visiting it, due to me walking across the border from Uzbekistan in the Pamir Mountains (I spent a total of five hours in Kyrgyzstan). So I'm not the best person to ask. There's also the Tian Shan Mountains, which makes for a great place to go trekking. The two main attactions I can think of (neither of which I got to) have to be Lake Kyzyl Kum and Osh Hippodrome.

    Beefy at

    Fondest memory: Has to be the mountain scenery...

    ...oh, and the deluge of rain that I got hit by in what was supposed to be the dry season. But that's how the weather works - it can be baking hot elsewhere and the mountains just seem to draw in the rain clouds from nowhere. So if you're in the mountains, pack a waterproof.

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