Category Archives: Things to do

Cultural and National Show in Talas

Local people in Talas would like to formally invite you to our Cultural and National Show in Talas held at Kyzyl Moinok Jailoo.

Visitors will experience a true nomadic experience at the traditional Kyrgyz Jailoo!

Kok Boru Kyrgyz Traditional Games Festival - Trio of horse riders

Programme dates

Sunday 2nd May
Sunday 21st June
Sunday 12th July
Sunday 2nd August
Sunday 23rd August
Sunday 13th September

Programme

10:00 to 11:00:
Opening of the festival will start by Kyrgyz traditional games: Arkan Tartysh, Ak terek – Kok terek, Chukoo, Joluk salmai, Kurosh.

11:00 to 12:00:
Cooking master class of Boorsok, Kyrgyz fried bread and Vegetarian Plov, Kyrgyz rice dish.

12:00 to 13:00:
Lunch.

13:00 to 15:00:
Local horse games will begin with Ulak Tartysh, played with a goat carcass. After the game, visitors will be invited to take part in the game paired up with locals. The goat game will be followed by Kyz Kuumai, a horse chasing game. After showcase of the game, visitors will get a chance to participate as well. Tyin Engmei and Er Engish, wrestling on the horse, will complete the horse games.

15:00 to 16:00:
Eagle hunting show.

Costs

1,500 som per person.

Includes ticket to the festival and cooking master class participation (lunch).

Note: Costs do not include transport to and from Talas.

To book a ticket to this festival, please contact Apple Hostel on WhatsApp:

+996 553 280 881

Eagle Hunting Festival

Experience the traditional and beautiful art of eagle hunting in the Kyrgyz Traditional Games Festival in 2020. Central Asia is the birthplace of eagle hunting and has been in existence for around 6,000 years. At the festival, you will see expert eagle hunters and their majestic eagle companions display their perfected hunting skills.

Eagle hunting close up

2-Day Itinerary

Departure date:
Friday 14th August 2020

Day 1:

Depart at 10am. Lunch on the way on your own. Arrive to the yurt camp. Dinner overnight.

Day 2:

Attend the festival from 10am to 4pm. Dinner on your own on the way. Drive back to Bishkek.

Costs

It costs 3,500 som per person.

The cost includes:
Transport there and back, tour guide, accommodation for one night in a yurt, entrance ticket to the festival, lunch at the festival.

Note: Minimum of 10 people is required to sign up to have the tour.

To book a place at this festival, please book at Apple Hostel reception.

You can also contact us on WhatsApp:
+996 553 280 881

Cultural Night at Apple Hostel

If you ever wanted to learn more about the unique culture of Kyrgyzstan, come to Apple Hostel for an evening of discovery.

Learn more about Kyrgyz culture in this FREE event.

Apple Hostel cultural night

Join Apple Hostel every Wednesday or Saturday night (18:00
to 19:00) during summer when you will learn about Kyrgyz culture
and traditions, such as etiquette for greetings and
meals, society do’s and don’ts and much more!

To sign up for this free event (2 person min.), call or message Apple Hostel (WhatsApp):
+996 553 280 881

You can also sign up at Apple Hostel Bishkek reception.

Email: applehostelkg@gmail.com
Phone number / WhatsApp: +996 553 280 881
Social media: Facebook | Instagram

20 common questions about traveling in Kyrgyzstan (and the answers!)

You are thinking about going to Kyrgyzstan for your next trip?

Will be your first time there?

You’re asking some questions around and nobody is able to answer?

Great! This article is made for you!

We are going to answer to the 20 most common questions that people are asking about this amazing country.

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments section, we will help you to figure everything out! Don’t worry, there is no stupid question!

  1. Where is Kyrgyzstan and how can I reach it?

Kyrgyzstan is a large country (about 200 000 km²) located in Central Asia. It shares borders with Kazakhstan in the North, China in the East, Tajikistan in the South and Uzbekistan in the West. So, if you are traveling by land, you can cross easily from any of those countries by air and land. If you are coming by plane, many airlines offer good deals to flight to Bishkek, the capital city. 

2. Do I need a visa?

For some nationalities, Kyrgyzstan has a 60-days visa-free system. You only need a passport to come here and can stay up to 60 days. 

If you are not on this list, you may need to apply for a visa in any Kyrgyz embassy, or online with the e-visa system, or you will get one upon arrival at Manas International Airport in Bishkek. This works for people coming from :

If your country is not on any of those lists, you need to apply for a visa with an invitation letter to some specific embassies.

If you need more information, check the official website of the Kyrgyz MFA : http://www.evisa.e-gov.kg/

3. Is it safe? Is it okay for solo women to travel there?

Kyrgyzstan is indeed a really safe country with a pretty low rate of criminality. And, yes, it’s safe as well for solo women (this article is indeed written by a solo woman traveler! Of course, as in many big cities, you should watch out for your belongings while in a busy area (for example in the bazaars), but nothing more. Locals usually have a good attitude towards foreigners and they will help you if you have any kind of trouble. Behave positively, respect the culture and beliefs, and everything will go well! The main risk for you here, will be to fall in love with the country and to extend your stay!

4.  When is the best moment to go? What about the weather conditions?

The best moment to go to Kyrgyzstan varies depending on what you are looking for. 

If you want to hike, enjoy the colourful nature in the protected areas, watch wildlife, ride a horse, camp in the mountains, swim in magnificent lakes (and so much more!), then May to October would be the best for you. The temperatures vary where it can be really hot in summer but you will still see some snow high in the mountains.

If you want to ski, admire cities covered by snow, avoid the high season to feel the authentic local life in the villages, enjoy the hot springs while it’s freezing outside, then, yes, you can come even in winter ! Expect intense cold (it can be around -15°C) but if you are well equipped, it should not be a problem!

5. What are the traditional foods?

Kyrgyz food is mainly based on meat (sheep, horse, beef) and dairy products. You will find a large variety of traditional dishes, and you will need time to try everything ! Here are just some examples :

  • Paloo (also called Plov) is a typical Central Asian dish made with rice, meat, carrots, garlic, sometimes dried fruits – There are many kinds of Paloo ! And of course, in each region they will tell you they have the best!
  • Manty are steamed dumplings filled with ground meat and onions. You can find them in many outside kiosks all around the country.
  • Samsa (similar to Indian samosas) are available at every street corners and are usually made with bread filled with meat or vegetables or cheese, and so on.
  • Beshbarmak is a traditional Kyrgyz dish made of meat and flour. It is usually served with horse meat. Beshbarmak means “five fingers” in Kyrgyz language.
  • Lagman are fresh noodles mixed with peppers and some other vegetables. It can be quite spicy.

Tea and bread are also very popular in Kyrgyzstan.

Regarding beverages, you will find a lot of dairy products as kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) or fermented cereals as bozo, for example. For westerners, those drinks are really different from everything you have in your countries and the taste can be surprising. But it’s all part of the experience! 

6.  How can I communicate with people?

Kyrgyzstan has two official languages : Kyrgyz and Russian. They use Cyrillic alphabet (the Kyrgyz version and the Russian version). But don’t worry, if you can’t speak any of those languages, you will be fine. In big cities, you will find people who can speak English, locals are more and more used to the touristic industry. And if they don’t, be creative ! As everywhere else you can use body language, signs, drawings… You have many options !

7. What is the currency and how can I withdraw/exchange money?

The local currency is the Kyrgyz som (KGS). When we are publishing this article, the exchange rate is around 1 $ ≈ 69 KGS or 1 € ≈ 79 KGS. There are exchange offices all around the big cities, as well as banks with ATM. Visa is the easiest card to use, but some banks also accept Mastercard and American Express. The bank system is pretty reliable and stable in Kyrgyzstan, but usually the amount you can withdraw is limited (max 200 $ or 10 000 soms). Compare the rates before exchanging money. Note that in the exchange offices, they would prefer big, crisped and clean bills (100 $, 50 $, 100 € or 50 € ). For small or old bills (they are pretty picky…), the exchange rate will be lower.

8. Where should I go while in the country?

Kyrgyzstan has a lot to offer. Depending on what you are looking for, many areas will be interesting for you. The main cities are Bishkek, Osh, Karakol and Cholpon-Ata, but we strongly advise you to get a taste of the magical nature around. We provide a lot of tours that you will love. To find out more, check our Tours and treks page.

9. What is the cost of living there?

Compared with western standards, Kyrgyzstan is extremely affordable. You can eat in a canteen for 1-2 $ and have a full meal, take a long ride across the country in a minibus for less than 10 $, have a beer in a cosy bar for 1 – 2 $, … And in the market places, you’re invited to bargain ! 

10. What are the main religions?

Around 80 % of the inhabitants are Muslims, and 17 % Russian orthodox. It’s not really a conservative country compared with the countries around. You will be able to visit colourful mosques as well as gleaming cathedrals.

Russian Orthodox Church.
Russian Orthodox Church.
Central Mosque.
Central Mosque.

11. Can I go camping in the nature?

Definitely yes ! It will be very easy and safe, the summer season welcomes a lot of campers and locals are used to it. We encourage you to do it ! You should also try to sleep in a traditional yurt to understand how live the nomadic people. You don’t have your on gear ? Don’t worry, Apple Hostel can provide you whatever you need for a good trip deep in the nature! 

12. I am traveling by bicycle – How are the roads?

Kyrgyzstan became super popular among cyclists since the last 10 years. The roads are okay in most of the country, you would prefer the summer season though. The traffic can be a bit hectic in big cities but in the surrounding areas, you will have the whole road just for you! Furthermore, you will easily find places to fix your bicycle around the country.

13. How is the internet/wifi network?

Kyrgyzstan has a pretty reliable internet network and you will easily find wifi in the big cities. Cafes, bars, restaurants, malls and hostels offer free good wifi. If you are addicted to technology and need to be connected everywhere, you can buy a local sim card. Several operators offer pretty cheap packages with calls and 4G internet. We can also help you with that as we provide sim cards in our hostels!

14. Can I travel there with my kid(s)?

Sure ! They will enjoy the beautiful nature and the scenery will be a unique experience for them ! You will find plenty of activities to do with kids (short hikes, swimming, skiing, cycling, visiting amusement parks, and so on). We offer private rooms in our hostels where you can stay together, with a family atmosphere!

15. How will I travel around the country/cities?

Kyrgyzstan has a good public transport network. You can easily reach many cities or villages by marshrutkas (minibus) for affordable prices. There are many bus stations everywhere, don’t worry if you can’t read Cyrillic, the drivers are shouting their destinations ! Inside the big cities, you also have a lot of bus and minibus, as well as taxis. We advise you to install 2GIS (to find your way around a city) and Yandex (cheap taxis in the main cities) that will help you. We can provide shuttle services and we also rent cars and bicycles. Ask us about it !

16. What kind of souvenirs should I bring back home?

You will find a lot of souvenirs shops all around the country. Traditional hats (Called a Kalpak), musical instruments, clothes, horse equipment, flags, handicrafts, dolls… You will need space in your luggage ! You can find a lot of items in museums and bazaars, but we also have a souvenir shop just inside our hostel.

17. I am vegetarian/vegan, what could I eat ?

Yes, Kyrgyzstan is a meat country. But NO, you won’t die from hunger! You will easily find a lot of seasonal fruits and vegetables in the markets all around the country, as well as dry fruits, different kind of nuts, bread and so on. You will enjoy the place in accordance with your eating habits.

18. What should I do if I have a health problem there?

Kyrgyzstan can be pretty tough on some stomachs. But don’t worry, you just have to respect some easy rules to avoid being sick! If you have some troubles still though, we invite you to read our article about health in Central Asia.

19. Which books can I read about Kyrgyzstan and the region?

We advise you to read any of Tchinguiz Aitmatov’s books, the national writer of Kyrgyzstan. Most of his books are translated in several languages and he is really popular among locals; It is a nice topic to start a conversation in  a cafe.  About tourism, Bradt and Lonely Planet published several guides about Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia in general, it can help you to decide what you want to see.

20. Where should I stay while in Kyrgyzstan?

At Apple Hostel of course!

We have accommodation in Bishkek, Osh and Cholpon-Ata.

We are a family-run hostel well known by travelers, with affordable prices, comfy rooms, and all the facilities you need. Our hostels are the perfect places to meet other travelers !  For other cities, we can help you to arrange your stay in hostels/hotels/guesthouses from which we heard positive feedback from our guests. 

We hope to see you soon in Kyrgyzstan !

To book a room or dorm bed at Apple Hostel, please contact us:

Phone number / WhatApp: +996 553 280 881

Email: applehostelkg@gmail.com

Social media: Facebook | Instagram

How not to get (completely) lost in Osh Bazaar

The bazaar was built around 1983. It is built in the structure typical for Central Asia: A roofed market is located in the center while indoor halls for selling surround it.

The original bazaar should remind of traditional buildings with arches, arcades and towers at the corners.

In addition to the so-called “Green Market”, there is the Kiyal building. Kiyal (Кыял) means fantasy/dream in Kyrgyz language. Here you can find traditional clothes and souvenirs.

   

Basically, you can find anything you need at the Osh Bazaar, you just have to take your time (-;

 

This map tries to help you find your way around the bazaar. However, the bazaar is constantly changing, so we cannot guarantee that you will find everything in the same spot!

  

Have fun and don’t hesitate to ask, the sellers are very friendly!

To book this tour please contact us:

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

Things to do in & around Cholpon Ata

  1. Historical Museum (across the road from Apple hostel)

Entrance ticket: 50 som per person ~ 2 hours.
Open: From 9 am to 5 pm.

  1. Cultural Center Ruh Ordo (directions on geocaching.com, Cholpon Ata)

Entrance ticket: 400 som per person ~2 hours

Within 10 min walking distance from the hostel towards Karakol.
Open: 9 am to 5 pm.

  1. Issyk Kul beach shore (directions on geocaching.com, Cholpon Ata)

Free entrance for unlimited time. Always open.

Within 10 min walking distance from Apple hostel

  1. Petroglyphs (saimaluu tash – directions on geocaching.com, Cholpon Ata) Entrance ticket: 50 som per person ~ 2 hours. Guided tour is extra 50 som (for a group) Always open.

Taxi round trip: 300 som (waiting period at the museum: up to 1 hour)

Within 1-hour walking distance from Apple hostel (30 min by the main road, 30 min up to the mountain) (walk towards Bishkek and turn right after the BP gas station towards the mountains)

  1. Cholpon Ata bazaar (by the Bishkek Petroleum gas station)

Free entrance. Marshrutka: 10 som. Open: 8 am to 6 pm.

Within 30 min walking towards Bishkek from Apple hostel, on your left.

  1. Weekly Yarmarka in Bosteri village. The fair takes place every Saturday & Sunday. Free entrance. Distance from the hostel: 10 km. Marshrutka: 10 som.
  2. Horseback-riding  at hippodrome. 300 som per hour

Taxi round trip: 200 som. Open: after 5 pm.

Within 45 min walking towards Karakol.

  1. Eagle Hunting. A professional demonstration can be organized, ask the receptionist.

6000 som for a group of 3. Duration: ~2 hours. Always open.

  1. Yacht Club (directions on geocaching.com, Cholpon Ata)

Boat ride ticket: 300 som per person for 2 hours

Taxi round trip: 300 som

Within 20 min walking towards Bishkek from the hostel, and 30 min walking towards the beach. Open: 9 am to 6 pm.

  1. Shyrdak making master class in Tamchy (ask reception) distance from the hostel: 36 km

1500 som per group (1-5). Duration: ~2 hours

  1. Visit a famous local artist Orozbai aba, who created 30 kyrgyz traditional instruments and can play on 15 of them – (directions on geocaching.com, Cholpon Ata) distance from the hostel: 40 km. Free entrance.

Marshrutka cost: 50-80 som per person

  1. Grigorevskoe gorge (Take a marshrutka towards Karakol for 30 min, ask the driver to be dropped off at Grigorevskoe ushele, follow the mountainous path up) Free entrance. Distance from the hostel: 33 km. Always open.

Marshrutka cost: 50-70 som

  1. Semenovskoe gorge (Take a marshrutka towards Karakol for 40 min, ask the driver to be dropped off at Semenovskoe ushele, follow the mountainous path up) Free entrance. Distance from the hostel: 40 km. Always open.

Marshrutka cost: 50-80 som

  1. Snow Leopard Rehabilitation Center. There are 5 snow leopards that are being cared at the centre. The centre is located right at the entrance to Ananevo village up in the mountains. Free entrance. Distance from the hostel: 50 km. Marshrutka cost: 50-80 som. Open: after 6 pm.
    * you need permission to get in
  2. Hot springs in Chon Oruktuu (10 min drive from Semenovskoe gorge towards Karakol) Distance from the hostel: 50 km

Entrance ticket: 200 som per person for 2 hours

Taxi for a round trip: 1500 som for a group (1-4)

Open: 8 am to 8 pm.

 

Things to do in and around Bishkek

 

  1. Osh bazaar (Ошский базар)

Info: Osh bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in Bishkek, conveniently located 10 to 15 minutes away from the hostel. Here you can find everything from food to electronics, at low prices. Before you go make sure you leave your valuables at the guesthouse as there are many pickpockets at the bazaar. Also make sure to make a photocopy of your passport (main page and visa page) for identification in case you are approached by the police. The passport copy is enough to show, nothing else is required.

Location: Beishenalieva/Chui; 1.5 km from the hostel

Time Spent: 2-5 hours

Take marshrutka #132 from the western bus station; or walk down Jibek Jolu (across from the bus station) eastward until you reach the rosneft gas station, then take a right and continue until you reach the bazaar.

  1. Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Воскресенский собор)

Info: It was established in 1944 to replace one of the unfinished secretariat buildings. The building was designed by one of the prominent Soviet times architect Veryujskii. Today it is well taken care of and is often visited by catholic Russians.

Location: Jibek Jolu/Togolok Moldo; 2.5 km from the guesthouse.

Contact info:  0312325485; Entrance: Free

Office hours: from 7 am to 8 pm

Time spent: 1 -2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213, #214 from across the road on Jibek Jolu.

 

  1. State history museum (Исторический музей)

Info: The museum was established on 9th of December 1925. Today it has about 90 thousand museum objects. The pride of the museum is its archeological and ethnographic collections, materials that provide the information on state construction, development and achievements in economy, science and culture of the Soviet and sovereign Kyrgyzstan. It also has the materials about the prominent people of Kyrgyzstan.

Location: Kievskaya/Razzakov; 3.9 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312626097; Entrance: 30 som (adult); 10 som (kid)

Office hours: from 10 am to 5 pm (Mondays – closed)

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 on Jibek Jolu towards Fuchika and get off on Moskovskaya/Razzakova. Then walk down two blocks to get to Kievskaya.

 

  1. State museum of fine arts (Музей Михаила Фрунзе)

Info: Established in 1925 it is the first and only museum dedicated to life of Mikhail Frunze, one of the most famous Russian military. On the 1st of January 2001 there were about 6583 collections which include the personal clothes, dishes and library sent by the relatives of Mikhail Frunze. The whole atmosphere in the museum displays the life of Russians in Kyrgyzstan in 19th and 20th centuries.

Location: Logvinenko/Bokonbaevo; 4.5 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312660607; Entrance: 25 som (adult); 15 som (kids)

Office hours: from 9:30 to 5:30 pm (Mondays – closed)

Time spent: 1- 2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 on Jibek Jolu towards Fuchika and get off on Moskovskaya/Logvinenko. Walk up one block to get to Bokonbaevo.

 

*Cost of transportation:

By marshrutka: 10 som per person; by bus: 8 som per person

By taxi: 40 som initially + 12 som for every km per taxi (call 154/send sms to 1236)

 

  1. Kyrgyz national museum of fine arts named after Aitiev (Кыргызский национальный музей изобразительных искусств имени Айтиева)

Info: It was established on the 1st of January in 1935. Its first collections include 72 works from the Tretiakov gallery created by Russian artists which were personally picked by the founder of museum – Chuikov. Today there are about 18 thousand collections that showcase all stages of development of professional visual arts.

Location: Abdrahmanova/Abdymomunova; 4.2 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312661544; Entrance: 30 som (adult); 10 som (kid)

Office hours: from 10 am to 6 pm (Modays –closed)

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 from across the road on Jibek Jolu and get off on Jibek Jolu/Abdrahmanova (also known as Sovetskaya) Walk up one block to Abdrahmanova.

 

  1. Ala Too Square (Площадь Ала Тоо)

Info: The square was built in 1984 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Kyrgyz SSR. In 2003 Erkindik statue (the statue of freedom) replaced the statue of Lenin that was here before. Here you can observe the guards changing; ride bikes; take pictures. It serves as a platform for celebrating national holidays/events.

Location: Kievskaya/Razzakova; 3,9 km from the guesthouse

Time spent: 2-3 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 on Jibek Jolu towards Fuchika and get off on Moskovskaya/Razzakova. Walk down two blocks to Kievskaya.

 

*Cost of transportation:

By marshrutka: 10 som per person; by bus: 8 som per person

By taxi: 40 som initially + 12 som for every km per taxi (call 154 or send sms to 1236)

 

  1. Central Mosque (Центральная Мечеть)

Info: This mosque has been built in 1995 with the financial support of a Kyrgyz entrepreneur, Arabic sheikh and an Islamic fund. The mosque has 3 halls, the main of which can fit up to 600 people. On Fridays the territory of the mosque can fit up to 5-6 thousand people.

Location: Moskovskaya/Gogolya; 5.9 km from the guesthouse

Contact: 0312486536

Office hours: Open 24 hours

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 on Jibek Jolu towards Fuchika

 

  1. Aaly Tokombaev house museum (Доммузей Аалы Токомбаева)

Info: The Aaly Tokombaev museum has a collection of well presented displays on the life and times of this Kyrgyz literary icon. Relatives of the author maintain the building and are often on hand to answer any questions. All displays are in Russian/Kyrgyz – no English.

Location: Chuikova 109; 3.4 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312300357

Office hours: from 10 am to 5 pm (Mondays – closed)

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #114, and get off on Moskovskaya/Umetalieva. Walk up to Bokonbaevo/Umetalieva and turn left to Chuikova.

*Cost of transportation:

By marshrutka: 10 som per person; by bus: 8 som per person

By taxi: 40 som initially + 12 som for every km per taxi (call 154 or send sms to 1236)

 

  1. Toktogul literary museum (Литературный музей имени Токтогула)

Info: The museum was established on the 5th of October 1989 for the 125th anniversary of Toktogul Satylganov,  a famous Kyrgyz akyn, composer and komuz player. There are about 5000 collections of his at this museum. All over Kyrgyzstan there are 10 branches of this museum.

Location: Toktogula/Orozbekova; 4,6 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312623830; Entrance: 15 som (adult)

Office hours: from 9 am to 5 pm (Sat, Sun – off)

Time spent: 1- 2 hours

Take marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 on Jibek Jolu towards Fuchika and get off on Moskovskaya/Orozbekova. Walk down one block to Toktogula.

 

  1. Zoological Museum (Зоологический музей)

Info: Zoological museum was established on 30th of May 1926. It has expositions of animals, plants, coins, minerals etc. About 3000 people visit the museum annually. Since 2014 there are many art exhibitions as well master classes held for children.

Location: Chui 265 (Chui/Umetalieva); 2 km from the guesthouse

Contact info: 0312641980   www.zm.kg; Entrance: 30 som (adult); 10 som (kids)

Office hours: from 9 am to 5 pm; from 9 am to 3 pm (Saturday); (Mondays – closed)

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #132 at the west bus station and get off on Chui/Umetalieva. Walk back a little bit it should be on the left side if you are standing with your back to Osh bazaar.

 

  1. Dordoi Bazaar (Дордой базаар)

Info: It is a large wholesale and retail market in BishkekKyrgyzstan. It is one of Asia’s greatest public market places, comparable to Bangkok‘s Chatuchak weekend market orTehran’s Grand Bazaar. It’s been described by a Western journalist as “a modern monument to the power of raw commerce”

Location: Out of town ; 10 km from the guesthouse

Time spent: 3-4 hours

Take marshrutka # …   from the west bus station to get there. On the way take the marshrutka #252 to get to GOIN (Jibek Jolu/Sovetskaya), and catch another marshrutka #113,#114,#213,#214 to get to the west bus station.

 

  1. Ala Archa National Park (Национальный Парк Ала Арча)

Info: It  is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976, located approximately 40 km south of the capital city of Bishkek. The park, which includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River and the mountains surrounding it, is a popular destination point for weekend picnicershikers, horse trekkers, skiers as well asmountain climbers looking for challenging ice, rock and mixed routes. The park is open year round, although the most popular season is late summer and early fall. Every May 1, the Alpinada festival sees hundreds of people camp out in the valley and climb Mount Komsomolets.

Location: Out of town; 40 km from the guesthouse

Entrance: 450 som per car

Time spent: 5-6 hours (by taxi) 7-8 hours (by marshrutka)

Take marshrutka #265 from Toktogul/Beishenalieva to Kashka Suu. From there walk for about an hour or hitchhike to the gates of the park. Then walk 12 km to the alplager.

*You can get a taxi at the reception.

One way is 1000 som + 450 som park entrance fee

Round trip is 2000 som + 450 som park entrance fee (taxi waiting period is 4-5 hours)

 

  1. Raritet Bookstore + Museum (Книжный магазин Раритет + Музей)

Info: At Raritet you can find English literature for sale/postcards/maps. In addition to the bookstore, there is a museum inside which has expositions of all the people that live in Kyrgyzstan. It is unique for its diversity.

Location: Pushkina 78 (Chui/Razzakova); 1 km from the guesthouse

Office hours: from 9 am to 6pm (Mon to Fri);from 10 am 6 pm(Sat);from 10am to 5 pm (Sun)

Contact info: 0312663302; 0312664524 Entrance: Free

Time spent: 1-2 hours

Take marshrutka #132 and get off on Chui/Razzakova.

 

  1. Panfilov park (Панфилов парк)

Info: It is a small recreation park where it is nice to walk around, ride some roller coasters, eat ice cream and just enjoy the atmosphere. You can ride a devil’s eye here to get an eagle view of the town.

Location: Frunze/Panfilova; 3,3 km from the guesthouse

Time spent: 2-3 hours; Entrance: Free

Take marshrutka # 113, #114, ,#213,#214 from across the road on Jibek Jolu and get off on Jibek Jolu/Panfilova and then walk up the block to Frunze.

 

Check out ApplehostelKG on social media for the update on the latest events/concerts in town!

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Bishkek

Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan, the center of fashion, politics and a»better» life for locals. There is a steady internal migration from rural areas to Bishkek during the past decade. However, since May 2015, Kyrgyzstan has become a part of the Customs Union. The good side of it is that it stimulates domestic production. As a result, some people are moving back to villages to work on agricultural projects. You can read about it more @https://www.opendemocracy.net/anna-yalovkina/as-kyrgyzstan-joins-customs-union-business-finds-itself-in-standby-mode

For tourists, Bishkek is a small town quite developed and influenced by the international public that we have here (French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Turkish among others). Yet it still has some remnants of the Soviet Union (a statue of Lenin in the city center close to Panfilov park and several other statues dedicated to the Soviet army soldiers)  It is quite small considering that it takes only 40 minutes by a mini-bus to move from one side of town to another. Transportation is well developed and could take you anywhere in town for just a little over 10 cents. The main attractions include Osh bazaar, White House, Ala Too square, Cum (the first shopping mall), a Russian orthodox church and a Central mosque, Panfilov and Victory Parks all of which are located within a walking distance to each other.

As for a traveller, Bishkek is a great place to stop in Central Asia. There are plenty of coffee shops and cafes with free wifi and a good speed. The atmosphere is quite relaxing, people are friendly, it is easy to move around and everything is pretty cheap ($3 for a meal on average; a bottle of beer is less than $1) In Bishkek you can sort out most of your visas (to India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, with the hardest ones to get to China and Russia); get some work done (not crowded with tourists yet) and just enjoy life including its night clubs and entertainment centers.

Here is an article from Jonny, a travel blogger from Don’t Stop Living, about why he has spent more than a month in Bishkek @http://dontstopliving.net/why-im-spending-at-least-a-month-in-bishkek-magnetic-kyrgyzstan/

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