How much money do you need to travel in Kyrgyzstan? Not much, if you try hard enough. No visas are required for most nations with high GDP, and tasty food and simple accommodation can be had for a fistful of dollars.
Even though you can get by on a very low budget in Kyrgyzstan, please consider spending a bit extra in the right places to pump some foreign money into this tiny economy.
For info on money exchange, withdrawing money, what currency to bring etc., see money in Kyrgyzstan.
Bishkek prices have risen sharply in the past few years and the days of the 3$ dorm bed are over – expect to pay at least 8$. In the midrange there are some decent options in the main tourist draws, but more are needed. Since you probably will spend some of your time camping or in a cold yurt, you might want to enjoy a bit of extra comfort on the off-days – so budget for it if you are the type.
- Dorm bed: 5-15$
- Yurtstay/homestay: 5-15$
- Double in a cheap hotel: 10-30$
- Apartment: 15-40$
- Double in a nice/very nice hotel: 40-120$
- Double in a 5-star hotel: 120-250$
More tips and info on your sleeping options at accommodation in Kyrgyzstan.
- Shared taxi Bishkek – Karakol: 6$
- Flight Bishkek – Osh: 35$
- Bus in Bishkek: 25 cents
- Taxi from the airport to the center of Bishkek: 8$
Renting a car in Kyrgyzstan has become a lot more affordable since the supply has grown, but demand is still higher than supply in summer, roads are taxing and people drive like nutcases when it’s not their own car. So prices are not super-low. Expect to definitely pay 50$ per day for a decent jeep, 100$/day for the top models.
More details about transport in Kyrgyzstan on the overview page.
2 plates of lagman with bread and tea in a simple local restaurant will cost around 3$. Fast food sells for 1-2$. At the market you can expect prices to be around 60-90% of Western prices for basic foodstuff. Don’t be afraid to try a slightly fancier restaurant, prices for a meal will rarely go above 10$. Very upmarket restaurants charge 15 to 30$ for a meal.
Almost all mid-range restaurants offer a filling lunch special, which goes for 3-7$. Take advantage of it.
Tours and activities
Tours in Kyrgyzstan are affordable. For example, you can go on a guided horse trek with horse, guide, food and accommodation included, for around 100$/€ per day. If you are traveling solo, it pays to find a scheduled group tour to cut costs and increase the fun.
There are always incredible bargains to be made, but you have to wonder if the quality is up to par. For some things, it’s better to pay a bit extra. We’ve met a lot of cowboys in Kyrgyzstan, literally and figuratively.
Skiing is very affordable in Kyrgyzstan if you are around in winter: a ski pass for the main Karakol ski resort costs around 15$.
Entrance to museums is negligible, say, 1$/€.
Visas and flights
How much does it cost to get into Kyrgyzstan? Depends on your nationality. People from high GDP countries go visa-free, but others should budget around 50$ for a visa, and 30$ more if you let an agent handle the process for you. You might need an invitation letter as well, which raises the price with another 50$. More info at visas for Kyrgyzstan.
If you are flying in and out of the country, expect to pay around (this is a very rough estimate) 250-400$/€ for a return flight from Europe or Asia.
Budget and expense questions for your trip are welcome in the Silk Road travel budget forum thread.