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Bishkek Architecture Tour

The following article will introduce ten architectural sights in Bishkek. It is designed as a walking tour which is supposed to take about two to three hours. Most of the information was taken from the book ‘Architekturführer Bischkek’ by Henning Hraban Ramm and Benedikt Viertelhaus. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the buildings and history of Bishkek. Unfortunately, it is not yet translated into English or Russian. This leaflet only highlights ten sights from more than 130 mentioned in the book, though I hope to bring any reader a bit closer to the architecture of this exciting city.

  1. Holy Ressurection Cathedral (1984)

The bright blue spires of this Russian Orthodox cathedral, opened in 1947, stand out along Jibek Jolu. On the facade you can find various forms of crosses and circles, which is most impressive on the portal with its oculuses. The spartan interior, decorated with icons and studded with candles, is open to visitors.

 

  1. National Library 1981-1984

The official Library of Kyrgyzstan was founded in 1934, but the building that houses the collection opened in 1984. To get further into the library, you will need to do what everyone else does and buy a day access pass which is only 10 som.

  1. Wedding Palace 1987

In almost every former-soviet city in Central Asia there are elaborate wedding palaces. They are community based facilities, built to give the administrative act of a wedding a celebratory glamour. The wedding palace in Bishkek is a distinctive building and is similar to sacral building in many views. 

  1. Circus 1976

The stationary circus is part of Russian culture since the late 19th century. The one in Bishkek is formed after the archetype of the circus in Moscow. Similar circus buildings can be found in Tashkent, Dushanbe, Almaty and Donezk.

 

  1. Victory Square 1985

The Victory Square was opened on 9th of May 1985, the 40th anniversary of the victory against the fascist Germany. It emphasizes the importance of the “Great Patriotic War”.

  1. Museum of Fine Arts 1974

Together with the State Theater and the Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts forms a cultural centre around the oak park. Due to several renovations, some original attributes disappeared, such as the skylights and the intersections between the different rooms.

 

  1. State History Museum 1984

The former Lenin Museum used to be a branch of the Moscow-based Lenin Museum until the Kyrgyz independence. Right now (2018) the museum is closed due to restruction.

  1. Ala-Too Square 1984

Ala-Too Square is Kyrgyzstan’s main square, located in the center of Bishkek. Ala-Too in Kyrgyz means “great mountain”, symbolizing the mountainous terrain and nature of the country.

  1. White House 1985

The White House is the official presidential office building of the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. This building is one of the Soviet era buildings which are very interesting to see when in Bishkek, which is definitely one of the country’s landmarks as well.

  1. Sport Palace Koschomkul 1974

The Sport Palace Koschomkul (former W.I. Lenin) is part of a bigger sport area with the Stadium Spartak on the opposite of the street. The function room takes 3000 visitors. The entrance is at grade. To reach the function room you have to go one floor down.

To book this tour please contact us :

E-mail:applehostelbishkek@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media:Facebook | Instagram

Travel healthy

In some areas, stay healthy while traveling can be a challenge. Although it’s one of the most beautiful region on the planet, Central Asia is one of these risky areas for travelers. Some bacteria, parasites or virus which almost completely disappeared from our occidental countries, are still active here. If locals have developed additional defenses, our sometimes weak bodies are more sensitive to those attacks. But don’t panic ! Most of the infections you can catch here are benign, easy to avoid and treat, if you have appropriate habits and information. This is the purpose of this article.

Here we are going to help you to :

  • Know the risks
  • Avoid them
  • Know the symptoms of the main diseases
  • Treat the symptoms
  • Explain your troubles in Russian
  • Know where to find help

We are going to focus on the risks incurred in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

  1. Malaria

Malaria can occur from May to October in some Kyrgyz and Tajik regions. The risk is not high, but it does exist in : Gorno-Badakshan, Khatlon, Duchanbe, Leninabad, the western border of Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek area.

Malaria is an infection transmitted by mosquitos. They bite mostly during the night and in the evening.

Be aware of stereotypes ! Despite what most people think, mosquitos are not attracted by the light, so staying in the dark is not useful to avoid them. They are attracted by heat and bodies’ smell.

To avoid it, you can adopt some easy habits :

  • Wear large, covering and light clothes
  • Spray your clothes and skin with an insecticide
  • Cover your bed/tent with a net
  • Use repulsive electric diffuser to protect your room at night

Some medicines are available as well, but not necessary here due to the low level of risk.

Symptoms that you should be aware of :

There are difficult to spot because very commons (fever, digestive disorders, muscle aches…) but in case of persistent fever following mosquito bites, you should go to the doctor once back home.

2. Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is an infection due to a bacteria transmitted by water and food. It is highly contagious. It can occur evrywhere is Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

To avoid it, here are some simple rules of hygiene :

  • Wash your hands carefully after/before going to the toilets (use hydroalcoholic serum that you can easily find in pharmacies or even supermarkets)
  • Don’t drink water from the tap or from the rivers if you don’t have an efficient filter
  • Be careful with fruits and vegetables, if you can’t wash them with drinkable water, choose food that you can peel before eating (oranges, bananas…)
  • Be careful with hot drinks. If the water is boiled, most of the bacteria are destroyed but in many places, locals don’t boil the water for the tea for example, they only heat it. In that case, the risk of contamination is still high.

The best way to avoid typhoid fever is vaccination. Talk to your doctor before leaving your country.

Symptoms are pretty commons :

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach aches
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Digestive troubles (diarrhea, constipation)

To have a precise diagnosis, you should go to see a doctor and have some blood and feces analysis.

3. Intestinal infections

They are transmitted by parasites (sometimes some kind of little worms or their eggs) who will stay in your intestines after a contamination by water, food or contact with infected surfaces.

To avoid this risk (really high in the region), the rules are pretty much the same as for typhoid fever :

  • Hands hygiene
  • Avoid risky food (raw or not well cooked, fruits or vegetables which you can’t wash…)
  • Use a filter or drink only bottled water

Symptoms are quite similar as well :

  • Diarrhea +++ (feces are often watery and yellow)
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting
  • Sometimes fever

They last 4 to 5 days and are really invalidating. For the cyclists/people who camp, try to find a comfy place to stay, don’t stay alone in the nature, you will have tough moments !

4. Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness (or acute mountain sickness) is caused by rapid exposure to altitude, when your body struggles to adapt itself. This risk is high while traveling in the Pamir, because it can occur from 2500 m / 3000 m above sea level.

The most common symptoms are :

  • Headaches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Difficulties to fall asleep

To avoid it, there is no magical recipe. You can’t know if you will suffer from altitude sickness of not, our bodies are unequal. A good hydration can help.

One of the general rule is not to sleep more than 400m higher than the night before. So you should ride the Pamir step by step, to help your body to adapt to the reduction of oxygen in the air.

There is a preventive medicine : acetazolamide (Diamox) but it’s difficult to find in the region, better to take it beforehand, in your country. Ask your doctor. You can take a pill twice a day as soon as you start the ascent.

Be careful ! This medicine is a diuretic (it means that it helps to get rid faster from urines) so you should drink a lot to compensate (don’t wait to be thirsty).

Altitude sickness can lead to serious troubles, but fortunately it’s really rare for healthy people. It can be acute pulmonary edema or cerebral edema.

Symptoms are alarming and impressive, such as breathlessness (even when resting), loss of conscious, balance troubles, cough with or without sparkling spittle.

The main treatment is to go down ! In general, 500m are enough to help and it should not leave any aftermath.

 

If, despite all your precautions you still got sick, here are some medicines easy to find to treat the most common symptoms :

  • Fever/Headache : paracetamol (парацетамол), 1 g every 6 hours in case of persistent fever
  • Diarrhea : : *nifuroxazide (нифуроксазид) 200 mg every 6 hours (maximum 3 days) OR *smecta (смекта) ; 3 times a day (7 days maximum)
  • Nausea/vomiting : métopimazine Vogalène (вогален) 1 pill a day OR dompéridone (домперидон) 1 pill 3 times a day.

Be careful ! Those medicines are delivered without prescription because of the low rate of side effects and allergies. But, if you don’t know those medicines or if you have a chronicle disease, talk to your doctor. The advice on this article can’t replace a medical check-up.

Furthermore, Central Asia is a risky area for hepatitis A and B. Once again, the best way to prevent it is the vaccination (anticipate it before leaving your country).

About the medical facilities in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Unfortunately, even in big cities, medical standards regarding equipment, hygiene and facilities are very far from the occidental ones. Visiting a local hospital can be really scary for someone used to european health system for example. In case of serious troubles, even locals are going to India or China. Regarding visa issues, it would probably be easier for you to fly to Turkey where the medical system is really performing.

We can recommend some place still though :

  • Bishkek : Eldik Family Medicine Clinic (2 american doctors work there)

1,2 jash gvardiya boulevard (in front of the swimming pool Delphin ‘Дельфин‘)

Mail : info@eldikfmc.com

Phone : 0776 652 079

  • Dushanbe : Prospekt Medical Clinic

33 sanoi street

Mail : prospekt-clinic@tajnet.com

Phone : + 992 37 224 30 92

 

Except those places, it would be better for you not to go alone in a hospital, ask some help to locals. You’ll find a lot of “polyclinics”, those centers are not recommended because of the lack of hygiene and asepsis. Moreover, it’s common that the medical staff refuses to take care of foreigners – or ask for some kind of bribe.

Emergency numbers in Kyrgizstan: 

State’s services : 103

Private services : 1339

The public services are cheaper but the private services are faster. If you have an insurance or don’t mind paying more, we advise you to call the private services.

In case of emergency, if you need help to traslate, you can call our manager Aigul (whatsapp) :

+996 553 280 881

Be careful ! When you buy medicines, go to the pharmacies. There are a lot of medicines at the bazar but most of them are counterfeit.

 

Some useful worlds in Russian to explain what you have :

                     

I am sick : я болею

I have a headache : у меня болит голова

I have stomach ache : у меня болит живот

I have diarrhea : у меня понос

I vomited : меня вырвало

I have a nausea :  меня тошнит

Where is the hospital ? : где больница ?

I need to see a doctor : мне нужно врач

 

 

Osh bazaar Food Tour

Discover Osh Bazaar and try a number of famous Kyrgyz snacks, including kurut, various milks and wheat drinks, as well as Kyrgyz tobacco! All included within the tour which culminates with lunch, starting from Apple Hostel.

Duration: 2-3 hours | Price: 1000 per person


To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelbishkek@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

TAJIKISTAN with a local driver

Apple Hostel Apple Hostel collaborates with local drivers to offer our guests the best way to experience Tajikistan, by driving through it. Guests can choose between different packages, depending on their time schedule and budget.

PAMIR HIGHWAY

Osh — Dushanbe  // +- 1300 kilometers (gravel until Korugh).          Don’t miss Murghab’s cointainer bazaar.


Tajikistan has more to offer than just the Pamir Highway. Some of the popular side tracks are:

ZORKUL NATURE RESERVE

Murghab — Khargush // +- 250 kilometers (mostly dirt road and gravel). Don’t miss the Ak Bura meteor crater.


WAKHAN VALLEY

Side track from Pamir Highway – Khorugh // +- 350 kilometers (mostly gravel). Don’t miss the Bibi Fatimi hot springs near the Yamchun Fort.


SHAKDARA VALLEY

Side track from Pamir Highway — Khorugh / +- 160 kilometers (mostly dirt road and gravel). Don’t miss the view of Pik Marx.


FAN MOUNTAINS

Dushanbe — Iskanderkul — Alaudin Lakes –Haftkul // +- 400 kilometers (mostly gravel when leaving main road). Don’t forget to park your car and hike through these beautiful mountains to lakes and passes you can only reach on foot.


Some general information

 

Tours range from 3 days to 2 weeks. For price quote please contact the tour manager via what’s app +996553280881

Tours booked with food and accommodation start with lunch on the 1st day and end with lunch on the last day.  Bookings can be done via Aigul (+996 553 280 881). 


For further details and to book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

4 day tour: Karakol National Park – Alakol – Altyn Arashan

 
 

Day 1: Transfer from Karakol town to Karakol National park entrance by car. Hike to Sirota camp, 12 km, 4-5 hours. Lunch/dinner. Overnight in tents. 

Day 2: Sirota camp – Keldike gorge, 10 km, 5-6 hours. Lunch/dinner. Overnight in tents
 
Day 3: Keldike gorge – Altyn arashan, 10 km, 4 hours. Lunch/dinner. Overnight in tents
 
Day 4: Altyn arashan – Aksuu village, 15 km, 4-5 hours. Lunch. Transfer from Aksuu village back to Karakol town.
 
 Price for 1 person: 29800 som
2 ppl: 44300 som
3 ppl: 58950 som
4 ppl: 63280 som
 
The cost includes a tour guide service, meals as per itinerary, camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, mat), one porter for 1-2 ppl; one cook for groups of 3 ppl and above, two porters for 3-4 ppl , transfer from Karakol to the National park and from Aksuu village back to Karakol, park entrance fee, tent set up fee, hot springs fee. If there are 1-2 ppl there is no cook, since the guide cooks the food. 
Not included is the transport to and from Karakol. 

To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

3 day tour: Altyn Arashan – Alakol – Altyn Arashan

Altyn-Arashan, which means ‘Golden Spa’ in Kyrgyz, is the most popular hike near Karakol in the north-east of the country. The hike is relatively strenuous but certainly not impossible, with some lovely gorge viewsafforded on the way and there are rich rewards once you have reached the snow glistening mountain valley.

Furthermore, the site is famous for its several hot-springs where natural sulphur infused water flows into concrete pools housed in wooden sheds. The water is hot, around 50oC and is the perfect antidote to weary bodies.

Altyn Arashan is located 20km south-east of Karakol and near Issyk-kul Lake, in an alpine valley dominated at its southern end by the 4260m tall Pik Palatka (‘Tent Peak’).  The valley forms part of the Arashan State Nature Reserve which is famous for its unique wildlife, including snow leopards and a few wild bears. Don’t worry though, it’s very unlikely they will make an appearance and the only animals you are likely to see are the horses and sheep owned by local families.

Ala-Kol is on several popular trekking routes between Altyn-Arashan and the Karakol Gorge, and lies at an altitude of 3,532 m (11,588 feet) above sea level. Ala-Kol is set in a barren, rocky depression, and is surrounded by the peaks of the Terskey Ala Too range. Rocky paths and scree slopes are used to approach the lake.


3 day tour: Altyn Arashan – Alakol – Altyn Arashan

Day 1: Transfer by car from Karakol to Aksu village. Hike from Aksu to Altyn Arashan valley, 2600 m. Lunch. Dinner & overnight in a guesthouse;

Day 2: Breakfast. Hike to Alakol lake (3600 m) and back ( 26 km both ways). Lunchbox is provided. Dinner & overnight in a guesthouse;

Day 3: Breakfast. Hike back to Aksuu village. Transfer from Aksu to Karakol. Lunch on your own.

Price for 1 person: 17400 som / 2 ppl: 21300 som / 3 ppl: 25200 som/ 4 ppl: 29700 som 

The cost includes a tour guide service, accommodation and meals as per itinerary, transfer by car from Karakol to Aksu and back, hot springs fee. 


To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail:applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media:Facebook | Instagram

Boom Canyon Rafting

Located about 2 hours outside of Bishkek, Boom Canyon is a perfect spot for beginner to medium level rafters.

Duration: rafting lasts for up to an hour

Price: 2000 som

Transportation to the Canyon not included.


To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

Paragliding near Bishkek

Fly among the typical Kyrgyz landscapes nearby Ala-Archa National Park and get your personal footage of this unique experience ! Transportation to the departure spot and video are included. 

5-15 minutes fly: 2000 som

30-60 minutes fly: 4500 som


To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

Bishkek Bike Tour

Join us for a tour of Bishkek by bike! Ride the city in style and see the major sights, including the Philharmonia, the Orthodox Slavic Church, Oak & Panfilov Parks, Ala-too Square, the Gallery of Arts, Circus, and Victory Square. After the tour, feel free to continue exploring the city by bike! 

Duration: 2-3 hours

Price: 1000 som per person – includes bike and quide


To book this tour please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

Bishkek City Tour

“Stirrer for whipping kumys” – so translated Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz call their city “green” not only because of the abundance of ancient oaks and poplars, a thick shadow shading the busy boulevards, but also because of the soaring young spirit and optimism of the Kyrgyz capital.

Come join us for a free tip-based tour of Bishkek! Learn about the history of the city and visit its significant sights, including:

  • the Philharmonia;
  • Panfilov Park;
  • Oak Park;
  • Ala-Too Square;
  • the Gallery of Arts;
  • the White House;
  • the Lenin Statue;
  • and Victory Square!

Duration: 3-4 hours


To find out more information / book a tour, please contact us:

E-mail: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone num / Wats app: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram