Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
96, Boulevard Erkindik, Bishkek,
720040, Kyrgyz Republic
Tel.: +996 (312) 30-46-17, 90-12-95
Fax: +996 (312) 90-12-95
e-mail: booking@inspiro.kg
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Bishkek travel information


Bishkek travel information

 
Bishkek (population in 2005 approx. 900,000) is the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan).

Bishkek is a relatively new city set along the Tien Shan mountains in the Chui Valley. Bishkek has little in the way of historical sites, but is a great base for trips to the mountains, Issyk Kul and other sites to the south. Many young travellers find Bishkek's nightlife a delight and the people are friendly and very hospitable. Bishkek is a city of largely young people that hang out in the parks or small cafes.

Get in
Bishkek is connected to Kashi in Western China via a pass that was an important link on the ancient Silk Road. You can also come from China/Kashgar over the Toragut pass, if you have the time and patience. Known as one of the most frustrating passes in Central Asia, both sides can be closed for holidays or seeming randomness.

By plane
Bishkek's Manas Airport is a thirty minute drive from the city center. Most of the international flights depart and arrive at very early hours of the morning. Bishkek Manas Airport (English)

You can connect to many cities of the world with the daily flights of Aeroflot to Moscow's Sheremyetvo and of Turkish Airlines to Istanbul airport. Aeroflot no longer flies the uncomfortable Tu-154, but the newer Airbus 320, making the five hour flight much more comfortable. In the summer season additional flights are operated.

BMI flies four days a week to London Heathrow with a fuel stop in Yerevan, Armenia. It is nearly an 11 hour flight and you are not allowed to leave the plane during the fuel stop.

Turkish Airlines flies daily to Istanbul, Turkey.

There are additional flights on local carriers to the following cities:
- Urumqi, China
- Yekaterinburg, Russia
- Dushanbe, Tajikistan
- Tashkent, Uzbekistan
- Novosibirsk, Russia
- Dubai, UAE

There are also occasional charter flights to Seoul, New Delhi, Sharjah, and Kabul.

There are also flights to the following domestic locations:
- Osh
- Jalalabad
- Kerben
- Batken

Residents of the US and most European countries can purchase a 30 day visa at the airport for $45 on arrival.

There is an ATM is the basement of the airport and several small cafes open around the clock.

Manas Airport is also home to a US Air Force Base that provides logistics support to the forces in Afghanistan. You will see American fuel tankers and cargo jets sitting along side old soviet passenger jets.

Beware: There are many aggressive taxi drivers awaiting all flights. The normal rate charged by the major taxi companies to the city center is 350 soms (~$9-10). You should attempt to get a similar rate when arriving.

By train
There is a 4 day a week service to Moscow. Two days are operated by the Kyrgyz Railways and two days by the Russian Railways.

In addition, there is also a service that goes to Balikchy on the Western Edge of Lake Issyk-Kul. While slow and accommodation is minimal, it is one of the most scenic railtrips in Eurasia sneeking through the thin mountainous alpine pass to the lake.

By bus

By car
Bishkek is approximately a 3 1/2 hour drive from Almaty, Kazakhstan. There are also additional long distance road connections to Taraz, Kazakhstan (leading to Shymkent & Tashket, Uz).

You can also share or rent an entire taxi to Almaty. Both KLM and Lufthansa offer bus service to Almaty airport to meet their early morning flights. The normal price for a seat in a shared taxi is approximately 500 soms.

See
The Independence Monument on Ala-Too square, with the National Historical Museum in the background.

Ala-Too square is the main city square. It is the site of frequent political demonstrations and regular festivals. At night many vendors set up photograph and karaoke booths. It is still dangerous at night for foreigners. There is also a military monument with an hourly changing of the guard.

National Historical Museum. This museum sits between Ala-Too Square and the Parliament building. On the North Side is an enourmous statue of Lenin that was on the south side of the building during the Soviet Era. It is three stories, with the first two about Kyrgyz history and the top floor unchanging since the soviet era highlighting the achievments of communism.

Panfilov Park. This entertainment park is between the Parliament building and the White House. While sorely needing upkeep and renovation it harkens back to the old days. Beware, few of the rides lack any safety mechanisms.

Osh Bazaar. This is the city's best known food bazaar where you can buy hundreds of different products from a fresh sheep's head to locally made Korean pickled salads. While some guidebooks warn of pick-pockets, most find this a safe and rewarding visit.

Learn
Bishkek is a cheap place to learn Russian.

A private 1 1/2 hour lesson with a native Russian speaker should cost between $5-7US. Courses are also available at the American University and Kyrgyz-Slavonic University.

There is also a private school to cater to each student individually.

Buy
You must get one of the stylish Kyrgyz felt hats.

Traditional pattern on carpets is other souvenir from Kyrgyzstan. Usually, not cheap.

Communications
Internet and E-mail Access
Internet access is very common in Bishkek.

Telephone
The country code is 996. International calls can be made from telephone offices (usually found attached to a post office) or from card phones (there are some on the streets in Bishkek, Osh, Karakol and Naryn). They can also be made from some hotels, but need to be arranged through reception or the floor attendant. Many Internet cafes offer IP calls much cheaper than traditional calling. Local calls within the city are free of charge if made from private telephones; hotels sometimes levy a small charge. To place local calls do not dial an area code. For example, in Bishkek a telephone number will consist of six digits: 55-55-55 (it is usually written in this way with dashes).
Street phones: Particularly in Bishkek, both coin and card operated telephones are abundant on the streets. The coin itself is called a "zheton" and is sold in newspaper-stands and kiosks. It costs 2 to 3 soms (depending on whom you buy it from) but makes only local calls with a pretty scratchy connection. To place a call with a zheton, first place the call, next listen for the receiver to be picked up and then insert the zheton. Card phones called "taxophone" can be used to make both local and long distance calls. Cards can be for 50, 100, 200 and 400 units. Prices for cards with different number of units are different and are set by Kyrgyz Telecom. Some kiosk vendors might add a small markup, but the general rule is that more units are on the card, the less the cost per unit.

Central Post and Call Office: (96 Chui Prospect; Tel.: 626045, 662561; Mon-Sat, 7-20:00; Sat and holidays 8-19:00): Variety of newspapers and magazines, phone, Internet, printing, document copying and money transfer.

Get out
Only thirty minutes away are 4,000 meter peaks of the Tien Shan (Celestial Mountains).

Ala-Archa National Park. This park goes the length of one of the most beautiful valleys and you can hike in several kilometers to a glacier. It also features a hotel and couple of small cafes.

Inspiro Group - Travel & Logistics


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