Bishkek’s Manas airport (Iata code is FRU for Frunze, the Soviet name for Bishkek) is 25 minutes north from the city centre. Many international flights depart and arrive here to/from Europe, Asia and the Middle East at ungodly hours, and there are some domestic flights as well to Osh and Batken.
Manas is not a big, modern airport, but it is clean and functional. ATMs and currency exchange are available in the arrival hall, and little cafes and shops with tired food and staff are open 24/7 (overpriced, no credit card). Some slow wi-fi can be caught.
Luggage storage is available if you are venturing out for a day on a layover. If you plan to catch some sleep, you will rejoice over the seats without arm rest, and the laid-back security which keeps the place quiet and does not hassle you. Also, it’s warm in winter!
There is an information counter, open during office hours. If you are a business traveler, don’t expect much from the lounge.
When arriving, keep your baggage tag receipt with you as your receipt may be checked by airport security to make sure you have picked up the correct baggage.
Airport to the city center
Depending on the time of day, there are a number of options to reach the city center.
Cheapest is the minibus. Marshrutka 380 departs from outside the airport terminal and goes to central Bishkek (intersection Chuy ave/Jash Gvardiya Blvd), between 6.30am and 8-9pm. The fare is 50 som (0,5 euro).
There are many aggressive unofficial taxi drivers awaiting all incoming flights. We advise to ignore them if you are not good with this kind of thing. They have been known to scam passengers, by working with a fellow “passenger” who stops the car between the airport and the city and extorts money from you to complete the journey.
Safer is to pre-book with your hotel, or book at the taxi offices in the arrivals hall. Manas Taxi and Super Taxi come recommended, with Super Taxi giving a receipt. The normal rate charged by the major taxi companies to the city centre is 500-600 som.
If you do decide to go for an unofficial taxi driver, catch one on the second floor (departures), where passengers are dropped off, where you can get a price below 500 som.
For more, see our Bishkek airport taxi (scams) Q&A.