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Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:04 pm
by velowallah
I hear a lot of stories of how everyone who travels there gets terrible stomach problems. Is it that hard to avoid? I've travelled a lot in Ladakh, India, and can navigate that pretty well. Is it comparable?

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:50 pm
by Christian77
The worst is the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. Maybe 1 in 3 or 4 has stomach problems if they're there for a week or more (but not all severe problems). But I rarely meet sick people in hostels in Kyrgyzstan (except may for Osh in the south). Stay away from Russian "salads" and go for fried over other types of cooking at the cheap-looking places. Or feed and cook yourself.

For reference, I lived in Bishkek for a year and never got sick to the stomach once. I don't recall anything more than minor stomach irritation outside Bishkek. But that's not just my one story, I'm also going off of all the people I've stayed with in hostels and guesthouses. I regularly meet sick tourists in Tajikistan, but not Kyrgyzstan.

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:24 am
by Lovetheworld
I think the danger is in low-end "restaurants" and homestays.

In Ladakh we also never got sick, but we cooked a lot ourselves, and went to decent places to eat in Leh.
And I don't really recall that there were homestays in Ladakh.

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 11:03 am
by Julia
Hi.
I travelled to Bishkek many times and never got stomach problems after eating in local restaurants.

Once got sick after a dinner in a restaurant at Issyk kul lake. But my friends were fine. Strange that only me got sick. Anyway it wasn't too bad and recovered the next day. Was a few times around Issyk kul and remember only this one case.

While trekking in Kyrgyzstan I ate only what I cooked so don't have experience with food from local homestays.

And I recently got back from one month traveling in India and surprisingly had never got any stomach problems.
Washed hands before eating, didn't order raw vegetables and fruits and that helped I believe.

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:08 pm
by velowallah
I bike toured all around Ladakh and stayed in many homestays and never got sick from any of them, nor from any of the Leh restaurants. But I always avoided any dairy or uncooked veggies.
So if you only cook yourself, what did you eat? From what I've been gathering, there isn't a whole lot available in terms of groceries outside Bishkek. Are the salty cheese balls sold everywhere safe?

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:18 am
by bwv812
Kurut uses such extreme levels of salt that I expect it is safe, but I also met a Swiss cheesemaker who was teaching locals in Arslanbob how to make cheese, and she said that based on what she had seen in terms of how kurut is made, there's no way she would eat it.

Re: Stomach health when in Kyrgystan

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:11 am
by Julia
While trekking I ate sublimated food, special dried food for camping. You add hot water or boil it for 15 mins.
Not sure if that kind of food is possible to find in Bishkek. I ordered it on-line in advance and brought it with me.

In Bishkek and other local shops bought dried fruits and nuts, rice, pasta or noodles, buckwheat, chocolate, cookies, bread, and different spices to flavor those simple ingredients.

All together that was good enough for proper and tasty meal.

I used dried food because like hiking in the mountains where can be difficult to find homestays so need to be self-sufficient.

Salty cheese is extremely salty to my taste. Don't know if it's safe, I tried it once or twice and couldn't eat anyway))
I think for hiking better to avoide it because after that amount of salt you'll be too thirsty.