Kyrgyz handicrafts should not be bought at the bazaar. Prices are low, but so is the quality. Either buy them straight from the source at one of the women’s collectives in Naryn, Kochkor, Tash Bashat or Bokonbaevo, or visit a reliable shop. For expensive/high-quality items try Tumar (Isanov-Kievskaya) and La maison du voyageur (Moskovskaya-Orozbekova). More run-off-the-mill gift shops are to be found at Chuy 128 (Iman), Chuy 134 (Kyrgyz Oyu), Chuy 138 (Koldo) Chuy 140 (Saima), Chuy-Togolok Moldo (Academy of Gifts), Kiev 133 (Art Salon), and the north and southeastern side of Ala-Too Square (the History Museum and Dairi).
Soviet souvenirs can be found on Orto Sai bazaar, on Sunday from 7 to 11 am. Great collections. There’s also a flea market stretching south of Osh on Sunday with interesting finds. Beyond this, there’s a great memorabilia shop at Toktogul-Manas and the top floor of TsUM (Chuy-Shopokov) has a few stalls devoted entirely to Soviet antiques, besides more handicrafts.
Outdoor, ski & bicycle shops
Cyclists: Nathan and Angie’s Athouse is the place to go to if you want to meet other cycle tourists, need a tool or need to order a part. Useful bike shops are Gergert Sport (Gorkogo str. 119) and Yuganov (Serova 14a). All other spare parts found in Kyrgyzstan are Chinese-made. Dordoi market has a couple of containers with bicycle parts as well, in the building tools section.
Trekkers and skiers: We have a forum topic on the availability of outdoor supplies in Bishkek. Know that tour operators in Karakol also have some supplies for sale or rent. Try the following shops for skiing and trekking gear (rent and sales): Mountain Project (216/3, Toktogul 216/3), Red Fox (Sovietskaya 65), Alpik (Mira 80), Gergert Sport (Gorkogo 119), and Sport Express (Mira 73/1).
Maps are available at GeoID (Kiev 107 Room 102). Sells Goskartografiya’s excellent Bishkek city maps/atlases (110/300som), as well as 1:100,000 trekking maps and 1:200,000 topographicals (200som to 370som). Almost all are in Cyrillic script. Phone two days ahead (+996 312 61 58 32 ) to ensure your required map is brought up from the storeroom. The entrance is on the building’s west side behind pseudo-historical Russian restaurant Pirogoff-Vodkin. (info copied from LP).[/su_spoiler]
The quality of Kyrgyz hospitals is questionable. Hygiene standards are low, and all the good doctors have left to earn more money elsewhere. Bribery during medical school is common, it’s also common in the hospital itself. Medical equipment as well as the knowledge of doctors is likely to be out of date. Most foreigners tend to leave if they need non-urgent medical attention.
If you know what you need though, pharmacies are everywhere and you don’t need prescriptions, even for antibiotics. The info below comes from the American embassy, where you can find a bigger list of specialised health facilities.
- NeoMed (46 Orozbekova) – general clinic with a number of specialists. It has a spiral CT scanner and modern ultrasound machines with good diagnostic capabilities. One provider-internal medicine/cardiologist speaks English. Her name is Janna Savchenko.
- City Trauma Unit Address: (Manas 41, cnr Toktogul/Manas) – Provides 24 hour first aid for minor traumas.
- Infectious Disease Hospital (Tolstoy street 70) – accepts patients with infectious conditions and fevers.
- Kamek Private Surgical Clinic. (surgery: Moskovskaya street 225, polyclinic Aynee 45)
- Eye Hospital and Clinic (5 Baytik Baatyr)
- Kairos (Ryskulov 10) – a modern state of the art dental clinic newly opened in 2009. Some English spoken, an orthodontist is available there.
- Health Care Facilities (51 Baytik Baatyr st / Gorky st) – excellent quality standards. No English speakers available.
- Alef (Sultan Ibraimova 40, cnr Bokonbaev) – specializes in children
- Manual therapy
- Dr. Fudashkin at the Family Medicine Center (Центр семейной медицины), on Bokombaeva 144A, 3rd floor
- Malika Sharipova: manual therapy, reflective therapy, massage, yoga and acupuncture. Adress: Tynystanova/Bokonbaeva – Tel: 555 228809 Price around 400 soms per visit.
Water is safe to drink!
For extensive embassy reports, see your destination’s visa page.
- Canadian embassy – 189 Moskovskaya Street, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].
- Chinese embassy – Prospekt Mira 299/7, ☎ , e-mail: [email protected]. The old address at Toktogul street is no longer valid.
- German embassy – Rassakova 28, ☎ .
- Kazakh embassy Prospekt Mira (southern part of Manas street), 95 A, ☎ , e-mail: (Consulate)[email protected].
- Tajik embassy, Karadarinskaya 36 (Take trolleybus 17 south and get off at the Duplex Lounge Bar. The embassy is at the end of the road that goes to the left after Duplex. GPS: 42 50.866 N, 74 37.756 E), ☎ . 10:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00.
- US embassy, Prospekt Mira 171, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. It is recommended that you visit the website for the embassy’s hours and the process for arranging an appointment.
- Uzbekistan, Tynystanov 213 (GPS: 42 52.390 N, 74 36.536 E), ☎ .
If you are a broke backpacker who falls in love with Bishkek: it’s very easy to find a job teaching. Mainly English, but I have known people teaching maths, tourism, marketing, German, photography,… no degrees are required. Pay will be around 5$/hour. Remember though that renting an apartment can be a considerable cost in Bishkek.
While peaceful and safe during daytime (exceptions are police and pickpockets), after sunset Bishkek becomes a poorly-lit, dark place awash with drunk men. We advise against walking the streets in the dark by yourself, and to definitely avoid parks at night. Go in groups, or take a bus or taxi. Violence or robbery is a distinct possibility for foreigners. Besides this, broken pavements and missing manhole covers can be a serious source of injury. Locals walk on the street after dark.
Pickpockets are a major problem in and around markets, especially at Osh Bazaar. Look out for young men with large plastic bags bumping into you. Keep your valuables in front of you or leave them at your accommodation.
Nightclubs and their surrounding areas are a hotbed for criminal activity in the form of theft, prostitution, or even assault by people waiting to take advantage of an unsuspecting traveler or expat. Ask locals or hotel staff which areas are safer than other and take precautions if you plan on club hopping.
Do NOT walk from nightclub to nightclub at night; instead spend a few dollars on a taxi. Criminals waiting outside bars and clubs to follow and rob drunk foreigners is a big issue. Keep a cool head and be aware of your surroundings when hanging out inside and outside of nightclubs. You might not get much help from club security when it comes to theft.
Bishkek has a large number of prostitutes and sexually-transmitted diseases are on the rise in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Always take proper precautions if you plan on being sexually active. The area around the Circus is known as the Red Light District and is extremely shady after dark.
If you are a victim of a crime, you are probably best served by reporting the incident to your embassy, rather than to the militsya (police), which exists almost exclusively as a state-sanctioned mafia rather than a force of law and order.
Police might approach you on the street. They want to isolate you, take you back to the office and part you from your money. 4 steps in this case: Pretend you don’t understand them, walk away immediately, make a lot of noise and ask passers-by for help, and call your embassy if they chase you. Keep your valuables safe, and keep a photocopy of your passport with you, while leaving the original at your accommodation.