Learn a few language basics...and buy a map
The mini-buses (mar-shoot-ka's) are the best option most of the time. They have fixed routes and usually the price is 5 som (unless it's to a special destination like the market at Dordoi). When you get on one of these mini-buses be advised that it could be empty or completely packed solid. If it is the latter, then even if you know where you want to go and where you should get off, be aware you might not be able to see anything of where you need to get off. What helps in this respect is knowing the Cyrillic alphabet (to read the destination signs on the buses) and a few phrases to ask the driver to let you off at certain places (since you can't see where). If you know the name of the street or landmark that helps a lot. Also you should know this : "Osta-nivee-tyays ezdyace pazhalsta". That means "stop here please". Good luck and I hope you aren't claustriphobic.
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Every car a taxi
A convenient sorts of "public" transport are virtually all cars circulating around. If you see a car with only the driver in it just stretch out your arm and in 90 % of the cases he will stop and bring you for 50 Som (about 1 USD) to every place in Bishkek. If you want to go further (for example to Almaty, if you have the Kazakh visa) you should first try to find out with the locals what such a trip would cost. I paid for example tor the trip to Almaty 33 USD.
Tashkent/Shymkent to Bishkek
From Tashkent to Shymkent, check out my Shymkent tip. From Shymkent, the easiest way to Bishkek is via minibus. You first need to take one (from the main bus station) to Taraz. Then at Taraz you can catch one to Bishkek. Cost was about $6 total, or something in that neighbourhood.
Bus to Kashgar / China
From Main Busstation there is a Bus going to Kashgar in China on Monday, Thursday and Wednesday.
Its starts only with minimum of 6 Passengers. I had to change my ticket back to money on monday, because only me wanted to go.
The Bus has only sleeping-places (!) and its going 14 hours, starting at 4 pm.
The cost is 2170 com or 50 $
No Problems to get money back
!!! NOTE !!!
It has to be checked if this border Torugart, where this Bus crosses to China is open for private persons, who are not travelling in a group! It could be that thay will be send back!
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Really the only way for most...
Really the only way for most Westerners to get to Bishkek is by plane via Istanbul, London, or Moscow. Alternatives routes can bring you as far as Tashkent or Almaty, then you take either a short flight from Tashkent (~1 hour) or a taxi/minivan from Almaty (~3-4 hours).
The best way to get around the center of town is simply to walk, as most things are within a 20-25 minute walk of each other. For longer distances (or in the winter, when the sidewalks are covered with ice), taxis or mashrutkas (minivans) are the best option. You should be able to get just about anywhere in town for 50 som (~$1) or less (within the center for 30 or less, although I generally just pay 40 and don't haggle). Mashrutkas can be quite crowded and their routes hard to understand, but they only cost 5 som in the summer. I think that their price goes up in the winter. But, as they tend to be VERY crowded (and waiting on the street corner can be very cold), I usually take taxis in winter.
You can hire a taxi at any...
You can hire a taxi at any moment if you love travelling with comfort. It is quite cheap by Western standards. I used it all the time. Besides, it is hot there (I bet, you knew it!!) and it's much cooler in a taxi than inside a public means of transportation.
MARCHRUTKA TO AIRPORT
DURING DAY TIME ITI IS VERY EASY AND CHEAP TO GET TO THE AIRPORT.
NEAR OSH BAZAR, MINI BUS (MARCHRUTKA) NR.380 WILL BRING YOU TO THE AIRPORT
ABOUT 50 SOM.
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