There aren't tons of options for places to stay in Toktogul, approx. halfway between Bishkek and Osh, but there ARE at least three, so feel free to shop around. Even if you aren't staying for very long, it's still worth it to choose the best value for your time/money. We had mixed feelings about this little family - run homestay.
The best thing about this place is the owner speaks excellent French, and passable English. The food is OK, served by shy family members: children, ladies of various ages, and the beds are relatively comfortable.
On the other hand, we didn't manage to have more than a superficial conversation with anyone at the guesthouse - though we each tried several times. That wasn't a huge problem - maybe they were shy about speaking in another language. However, one thing that was a bit more difficult to deal with is they have a sad little dog tied up on a very short leash in the garden, food bowl among its feces...this, even though there is an excellent canine behavior and rearing book in French in the library in the dining room/lounge.
Also, after assisting us with a shared taxi from Bishkek and telling us the price onward to Osh for the following day, he refused to help and/or intercede with his business partner the driver; who, after refusing to take us for the originally agreed upon price and wanting around 40 usd more, then claimed in the village 3/4ths of the way there, to have car trouble and rushed to negotiate a cheaper taxi for us to pocket even more of the money. When we insisted on negotiating directly with the taxi driver, suddenly his car was working again. Needless to say, we went with the second, honest, taxi driver and would recommend that the Kuldanbaev family reconsider their working relationship with this dishonest and greedy driver.
The main take-away is don't feel trapped or pressured into taking any recommendations by your taxi driver, guest house owner, tour operator, whatever. While sometimes you can get a discount or have a good experience with referrals; other times, it can be more expensive and/or not the best value when you just accept a referral/recommendation without shopping around (this is especially true when a driver insists on driver another 45 minutes or hour to a "good" chaixana or restaurant, passing several good ones to go to the one owned by a friend/or where they get a discount.) At the end of the day, this is YOUR trip; you probably spent alot of time/money to get here; and these are just suggestions...you get the final say.
All about Kyrgyzstan.
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