Bishkek

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Eco-friendly travel guide to Bishkek advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


  • Air quality: 3 / 5
  • Exploring by foot: 4 / 5
  • Exploring by bicycle: 3.5 / 5
  • Public transportation: 4 / 5
  • Parks: 3 / 5
  • Outdoor activities: 3.5 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 2.5 / 5
  • Safety: 4 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$10 - $300
  • Budget per day: US$25 - $500

Responsible Travel

Bishkek is the capital and largest city in Kyrgyzstan that was formerly known as Pishpek. Also, it is known to be the administrative hub of the country too. The city has more than 1 million residents and holds some of the famous attractions in the world.

Rich history, busy markets, and the natural beauty of this city are known around the world. You will be able to witness many historian monuments in the city that will help you to make your journey memorable.

  • Enjoy your stay while keeping the city safe from pollution by choosing green hotels. It will both help the city and your health to enjoy your stay in this city as an eco-friendly traveler.
  • Use the local transportation services as much as possible and avoid any others that increase pollution. It is your responsibility like local people to keep the city pollution-free.
  • Just like traditional cuisine, make sure to try the street food of the city that expresses the food choices and daily life of the local people very well. It will also help the small sellers to keep providing.
  • Visit the beautiful green parks in the city that will help you to get fresh air along with a very good experience of getting close to nature. As an eco-friendly traveler, you will be able to get a very good time visiting parks.
  • While visiting the city, make sure to buy things from the small vendors and shops as well to help them out and support them providing different items to travelers.


Air Quality and Pollution

The air quality is one of the most important things to keep in mind before traveling to a city. You will need to know if you need any precautions before visiting the city. The air quality of Bishkek city is always changing and most of the time, it is moderate or unhealthy.

It can be harmful to many people that have some of the conditions like asthma, serious breathing problems, and others. Even if you do not have any serious conditions, still you need to visit a doctor and take some medicines with you. It will help you to travel to the city very well and protect it.


Respect the Culture

The culture of this city is very diverse, you will get to see mainly three different types of religions in this city such as Islam, Russian Orthodox, and Roman Catholicism. This means there is a blend of different cultures which adds to the mystic nature of the city.

Make sure to explore every corner of the city to get the best experience of the culture and lifestyle. From food, fashion to buildings, the city offers a very rich historical feeling.

For any city the different things that make up its culture include the local food, the music, the art, the cinema or theatres so you have to see and try all these things to truly know about the culture of Bishkek.

A few things you should keep in mind are:

  • Always be respectful towards the people and their lifestyle. They might lead a very different lifestyle compared to yours but make sure not to be judgemental
  • Learn a few phrases in the local languages. People in Bishkek speak Kyrgyz which is a Turkic language. If you just pick up a few things like how to say hello etc they will feel appreciated and respected.
  • Do not haggle when buying souvenirs and local handmade products because these artisans are very hardworking and deserve fair pay.


Top 10 Places to Visit

In today's world, the city of Bishkek has been regarded as the most lovable holiday destination. The only reason behind this thing is that tourists from different parts of the globe love to visit here. But if you want to make your trip exciting, then these are some famous places where you have to visit.

  • Ala-Too Square - It is the central square and everything is at walking distance from this square. It is the perfect place to hangout. Your trip will be incomplete without going here.
  • Burana Tower - This is an ancient tower that was established a long time ago. After coming here, you will get brief information about the famous dynasty which you have been waiting to know. Never miss it by any chance because the opportunity might not come again and again.
  • Asanbay center - A famous center of art where you will get a wide range of paintings and sketches. Even if you are not an art lover, then also you have to try it because here, the paintings become a point of attraction.
  • Botanicheskiy Sad- It is a wonderful botanical garden where you will get some awesome bushes and trees. In the beginning, you will find this place boring, but later on, you would understand its true value.
  • Altyn Arashan - If you are a lover of nature, then this valley is a must-visit for you. Here the ambiance is calm, and you will also get a feeling of relaxation. People come here to find peace and get rid of all the depressions of their life.
  • Stella of Friendship of Nation - The architecture of this monument is perfect, and it is a real example of beauty. Make a double tick of this place in your travel diaries and mark it as a very crucial one.
  • Victory Square - If you Google out this place, then you would see that it is spread all over the internet. The reason behind this thing is that here you will get a fair knowledge of the Second World War.
  • Asia Mall - This shopping mall is beyond any words because it provides you with the best products. Rather than having any second thoughts, you should try them for once and then make any decision.
  • Galeria M - This place is for all those who love art and various forms of paintings. Here you will get a vast collection of them, and they will never dissatisfy you. And once you buy them, then there would not be any chances of complaints.
  • Saimaluu Tash - In this shop, you will get the most popular handmade crafts made by the artists of the city. Try them out for once, and you would never have any chances of disappointments or complaints.
Ala-Too Square


Explore

Now when it comes to exploring the city, then you have to visit some other places also. Those places do not fall under the aforementioned ones as they are totally different. If you want to know about them, then here they are mentioned below.


City Parks

  • Oak Park - Without any doubt, we can say that this park is awesome and also has some special features. These are such features that attract you to the fullest and give you the real joy of life.
  • Ata Turk Park - This park is clean, and it has greenery to its best. Bring your children over here, and they would love to have a lovely leisure time with you.
Oak Park


National Parks

  • Ala Archa - It was commenced in the year 1976 and is located in the heart of the city. Come here at least once, and it is guaranteed that you will get a different level of enjoyment.
The breathtaking Ala Archa


Beaches

In simple words, it is true that you would not find any beaches in Bishkek. But there is nothing to worry about because there is a district nearby where you can go for some favorite beach activities.


Landmarks

  • Holy Resurrection Cathedral - It is said that whoever visits this cathedral then they get all their wishes fulfilled. Visit here and pray for your wishes in a true heart so that all your dreams get converted into reality.


Museums

  • State history Museum - This museum is widespread all over the internet, and it also has got some special popularity. Here you will find some famous historical artifacts and know a greater significance about them.
  • Zoological Museum - It is a very older museum and has some renowned sculptures of birds and animals. Make a fair attempt to come here once and see how enjoying and fun-loving it is.
State history Museum


Eat

The city is very popular for having different kinds of foods and cuisines. Eating will help you to understand the choice of local people along with their lifestyle. Make sure to try every different restaurant in the city that are popular and street food on every corner to get an unforgettable time. From different cuisines to a wide range of street food selection, you will get everything here.

However, make sure to try the traditional dishes fast to get the raw flavor of the local dishes that you will never get anywhere else in the city. Being the capital of this city, you will get many different options available for eating. Here are some of the different sections given below with details to help you know more about eating options.


Traditional Local Restaurants

As mentioned earlier, this city is very well known for having traditional dishes and contains the flavor of foods. The authentic foods and dishes will help you a lot to get the best experience of the culture. In every part of the city, you will be able to see numerous restaurants from traditional to international.

You can visit these restaurants to eat different traditional foods and get a lifetime experience. If you want to get the best experience of eating the food in this city, then the best way is to know which are the famous restaurants and try them. So, here are some of the best restaurants in the city that you can visit for the best traditional food.

  • Chaikhana Navat - This is one of the best restaurants in the city if you want to try traditional foods in the city. They serve a wide range of dishes to their customers including some of the famous traditional dishes of this city.
  • Vinoteka - If you want to get the authentic traditional foods in the city, the best option for you is this restaurant. You will also be able to get other dishes like Italian, German, and European foods in this restaurant.


Vegetarian and Vegan

While the number of non-vegetarian travelers is high, there are many travelers who like to have veg meals on their trip and avoid any type of meat-eating. So, if you are one of them, then you will be glad that you have landed in this city. There are plenty of options available for you to get the best veg dishes throughout the city.

From traditional to different cuisines are available on veg. Also, you do not have to give up on the traditional authentic taste as some of the veg dishes also help you to get that. So, here are some names of the restaurants that serve the best veg dishes in the city.

  • Baan Baan Thai cafe - This restaurant is known to serve both veg and non-veg dishes to the customers. You will have one of the best experiences of eating in this restaurant as the dishes taste very good.
  • Wholeivanna - From vegan ice cream, vegan cheese to soy meats, plant milk, you will be able to get all of the different food products available in this store.


Street Food

No matter how many restaurants you have tried in this city and what different types of traditional dishes you have tried in this city. You will be able to get none of the best eating experience from the street foods. The street foods of this city are very well-known as one of a kind, and you will be able to get a different range of street foods available at every corner of the city.

Not only traditional, but there are some street foods from western countries that are available here as well that have been modified a little with the local spices and ingredients. Here are some of the places that you need to visit to get the best food in this city.


Drink

Food is necessary on a trip to get the best experience of culture but so is drinking. After roaming all the beautiful places in the city, you need to have a chill drink when you are resting under a shelter to get the best feeling. Also, there are plenty of places to cover in the city, which will need the assistance of some best soft drinks, hard drinks, and others.

You will be able to get plenty of choices in this city when it comes to drinking from local drinks to alcohol. The city is very well-known for having some of the best craft beers and many other dinks. Trying them once will help you to know more about the local people and the taste they have in drinks. Here are some of the different types of drinks given below that will help you to know what drink you need to have in the city.


Tap-water

Well, you will be able to save a lot of money by drinking water in this city as the tap water is completely safe to drink. As bottled water costs a lot, buying them throughout your whole trip can be very expensive. Even if the tap water is completely safe to drink, you need to boil or filter the water before drinking it.

Filtering the water is very important to get the iron and other harmful minerals out of the water. On the other hand, boiling will help you to get rid of drinking water with any harmful virus or bacteria. So, it is best to stay safe and take care of your health by drinking the tap water filtered or boiled.


Organic Cafés

Healthy choices will help you to stay healthy and fit in the foreign city and one of them is choosing organic food. Organic foods are one of the best ways to keep you active and energetic throughout the day. It is the healthier choice that will assist you to cover the different places of the city very comfortably.

You will be able to find many different restaurants in this city that serve organic dishes to their customers. While it helps to keep healthy, the prices of some dishes might be expensive as they are cooked with authentic organic ingredients. Here are some of the places that you need to visit this city to get the best organic dishes.

  • Ecoland - As the name suggests, this is a food store where you will find all the healthy and organic dishes. Also, they sell many healthy food products as well to customers like milk, ice-cream, and others.
  • Green Valley - It is a food store that will help you to get many different types of organic foods in this city along with some different ingredients. The place is very well known in local places because of selling healthy foods.


Breweries

You will be able to get international beers and other drinks in the city, but do not engage in them before testing the local ones. This city has a wide range of local beer available that attracts tourists and students. The local beers have an unmatched taste and the raw flavor of the beer is there too.

You can easily get them at a cheap price from local shops. Also, you can visit the nightlife of the city, where the most awesome brews get cooked. Nightlife will help you to get the full experience of trying different brews in this city. Try to visit earlier to get a seat successfully in these places.


Activities

The city contains many different attractions, but the best thing is the rich history of this place. You will be able to know some of the best stories and get to witness marvelous historical monuments in this city that will help you to get very nice experience.

As there are many stories to hear and places to see, you will be mesmerized. But if you want to do some outdoor activities, then the city has plenty of choices as well. You will be able to do hiking, trekking, paragliding, and do many other activities in this city. There are also some long activities in the city that will take you days to complete.


Yoga and Retreats

Along with doing all the different activities, you will be able to perform yoga in this city as well. Yoga is the best way to keep all the different mental problems at bay. It helps to keep you far from the crowd of the city and help you to improve your mental state.

A wide range of yoga centers is available in this city as the local people like to keep themself very healthy. Make sure to book the services online before visiting the city. It will help you to book a slot or course of yoga without any complications or last-minute hassles.


Accommodation

You will spend most of the day traveling in the city but that does not mean that any shelter is okay. You have to get a nice accommodation for you to get the best rest on the trip and get fresh and energy back in the morning to explore the city. Now, there are many different choices available in the city for travelers to stay. Different options are there that changes with time, money, and benefits.

You can choose the green hotels available in the city to get all the benefits of a normal hotel while keeping the city safe from pollution. Also, you can choose other options that will help you to stay more days in the city. So, here are some different options and details of various accommodation modes.


Green Hotels

As mentioned above, green hotels are the best option if you want to stay in the city and want the city to keep pollution less. Green hotels use different eco-friendly techniques that help to save resources and reduce the pollution of the city.

You might need some extra money to stay at these hotels but it is also your responsibility to keep the city clean. So, there are some green hotels in the city that you can choose from and enjoy your stay. Here are some of the names given below that are popular in the city for being the best green hotels.


Hostels and Guest Houses

If you want to extend your stay in the city, then you have to take the help of hostels or guest houses. This is a great option available in the city that will help you to stay as long as you want comfortably without paying a high price. Different hostels and guest houses offer various benefits to customers.

You can check them before booking one for you. The hostels or guesthouses around the city are very well known by the tourists. If you want to know more, you can check online and book them too for avoiding any last-minute hassle. Here are some of the best of them to make your stay memorable.

  • Apple Hostel Bishkek
  • Friend's Guest House Bishkek
  • Bishkek Ethno Hostel


Apartments

When you want to stay for months in the city, apartments are the best choice for you. Most of them are known for offering a nice and comfortable stay at a reasonable price. You will be able to rent many of them around the city.

This is a great option to understand the culture and daily life of the people in this city by staying with them. Some of the apartments offer useful benefits to customers and they are as expensive as some hotels. So, choose one based on the benefits and the price you are looking for.

  • Grand City Apartments
  • Elite Residence
  • Megacomfort Apartment


Couchsurfing

Another option that does not cost much but helps you to get a shelter and good in the city from locals is Couchsurfing. This option is getting very popular around the world and the members of this community are spread throughout the world. You need to search for a local member who belongs to the Couchsurfing community.

You can take the help of online services to find a host easily in this city. If you succeed to get one, then you will be able to stay like a local and get a lot of information about the city from a local citizen. Staying with one of the local people will help you to learn about their lifestyle and culture as well.


Camping

Another very good option to stay in the city is camping, which is well known to get closer to nature. Most of the travelers who like to participate in different adventures tend to choose camping as it offers a staying option in the city under the open sky. These places will take you very close to nature and help you to witness the green scenic beauty.

There are many options available that you can use to get the best camping experience in this city. Booking them online is the best way to get a tent easily. Here are some of the best camping spots that you choose for your stay in the city.

  • Tsentr Otdykha Bata"
  • Alp-Lager Ala Archa
  • Racek camp


How to Get There

Knowing the different ways to get to your destination is very important before going out for the journey. Generally, there are many different options available to reach the city from any country and city. But which one is the best for you depends on money, time, home country/city and many different things. However, most people choose to travel by air as it is the fastest way to reach the city.

There are many other ways available To reach but most of them are not directly available from other countries. Here are different ways of transportation and details about them given below that will help you to choose one.


Air

The air might be the most preferred way of traveling to Bishkek city from different countries and cities. It is the fastest route to travel in this city from anywhere in the world. You will get a very comfortable journey and a direct journey from most of the places. However, the fares for flights are far more expensive compared to any other mode of transportation.

You will need to book the tickets very early to get a good discount on the price. The city is very well connected with other countries and cities that help to reach the city without any problem. You will need to catch a flight to the Bishkek Manas International Airport and take a cab or others for reaching the city.

Manas International Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Bus

The bus is the cheapest way to travel around the city and get the best experience of the journey. You will be able to catch a lot of buses to this city if you are traveling from any cities inside the country. Bus stands to bus terminals, all options are available in this city that will help you to get a lot of buses to reach there.

However, from other countries, you will have to break your journey and catch many buses to reach the city. It will take a lot of time but will help you to get the best experience of traveling and enjoying the scenic beauty on the way.

A bus near the Victory Park in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Train

Trains might be the most common transportation method used to reach the city. You will get plenty of trains that will connect you to the city. The railway in this city is well-connected with other cities and countries. If you are traveling from a city in Kyrgyzstan, then trains are the best way to travel. There are many railway stations available in the city such as Bishkek Railway Station, Bishkek 1, Bishkek 2, and others.

All of these stations are very well connected to different cities, you might need a lot more time to reach your destination but the train journey is somehow unique and very different from the journey by air. You will be able to see all the beautiful places on your way to the city.

A train in Bishkek


Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking has managed to get a lot of popularity in the last few years as it is the most adventurous and cheap way of traveling to any city. Being the capital of the country, this city is connected very well with all the other cities. You will be able to hitchhike on different highways and connecters to reach the city.

There are many places that you can try for hitchhiking but you might have to wait a bit before getting a lift. Getting a lift can be harder for you on the way to this city compared to other western countries. Make sure to carry a map and other necessary things with you to stay safe and prevent getting lost.


Others

There are many other ways of traveling around the city but some are more tedious and time consuming than others. However, if you are looking for a different type of adventure on your way to the city, then you can take the help of four-wheelers, motorbikes, and others to travel by road.


Moving Around

Moving around to every corner of the city is very important if you want to learn everything about the local people. From famous spots to hidden treasures, you will be able to learn all the different things very well by moving around the city.

People choose different ways to move and explore the city based on their time of stay in the city, cost, and others. You will need to know the details about every available way to move to the city. So, here are some of the best ways to move around the city and other details given below that will help you to choose the best one.


Walk

Walking is considered to be the best way of traveling through the city as it helps to cover all the different places. You will be able to get in all the areas and explore all the things of this city closely. There are some of the places where you can not enter if you are not a pedestrian.

So, if you walk your way to the city, then you will be able to reach many different places without any problem. You might need a lot of time to reach different locations on foot but there are many shortcuts in the city that can help you out to reach the places. Carry water bottles and umbrellas with you while walking in the city to stay safe.


Bicycle

Bicycles are the most eco friendly mode of transportation. The way you will be able to explore the city on a bicycle can not be compared with any other mode of transportation. Staying healthy is a very important thing on the trip and traveling and exercise is the best utilization of time.

The city offers many cycle renting services, where you can visit to get a bicycle for yourself. Make sure to check your hotel if they provide bicycles for rent to tourists for free. Another good thing about using bicycles to get in the city is that it does not cause any pollution to nature.

Tandem bicycles which can be ridden by more than one person are pretty commonly found in Bishkek


Electronic Vehicles

When it comes to polluting nature, vehicles and motorcycles are the most contributing ones. But all of them are run by fuel, which is the main cause of pollution. So, you can choose electronic vehicles to explore the city without polluting the environment. It will both help you to save a lot of money and reach faster to your destination.

You will be able to get a cab very easily in this city but make sure to have some time on your hand along with patience. Because the traffic and signals can make you wait a lot in the city. You will be able to explore and cover most of the places in one day with the help of an electronic vehicle.


Public Bus

Exploring the city on a bus is a relatively eco friendly and also a cheap method of exploring. They have the lowest fare among all the other public modes of transportation. Yet they provide the best service along with best in class experience to the customers. It helps you to take you to different places very easily with great comfort. But just like cabs, you will need to wait in the traffic and signals.

Most of the buses have stops at famous destinations to help out the tourists. Many tourists or travelers prefer to choose a bus to explore the city instead of cabs despite the similarities, while many of them do it for money, others simply want to witness the daily life of the local people and observe them.


Tram, Train and Subway

As mentioned above, trains are a very good mode of transportation in this capital city as there are more than 3 stations available. You can visit any of them to hop on one and explore the city. The best thing about trains is that unlike cab or buses, they do not have to wait in the traffic. You will be able to reach your destination much faster without any interruptions.

The trains are quite frequent, which will help you to get a train very easily. Make sure to book the tickets earlier to avoid any last time hassle. There are no teams available in the city and subways can help you to get to some of the places easily saving a lot of time.


Sustainable Shopping

Any tour is not complete without having good shopping in the city. Shopping is an essential part of exploring the city as it helps you to understand the culture and tradition very well. Plenty of shops are available in the city that can help you a lot and get some vest souvenirs. Instead of normal shopping from the city, choose sustainable shopping.

Most of the western travelers are doing sustainable shopping around the world to reduce the waste and pollution of different cities. As an eco-friendly traveler, you can buy second-hand goods, goods from flea markets, antique, vintage, and others. Here is some information about the different sections given below.


Food Markets

If you are a food lover, then you need to first visit the awesome food markets of this city. The raw authenticity of local dishes along with the best crunchy foods will help you to get a lifetime memory in this city. You will be able to find multiple food markets in the city that will help you to get all types of foods.

From traditional to international cuisines, you will be able to eat many different types of foods in this city. However, you need to know what are the best places to visit in the city before visiting them to get the best experience and food. Here are some of the famous markets that you need to visit.

  • Osh Bazar
  • Dordoi Market
Osh Bazar


Flea Markets

Want to add rare items to your collection? Well, the best way to do that is by visiting the best flea markets in the city. Some of these flea markets are popular in the country for selling high-quality antiques, and vintage goods to customers. The real culture and traditional touch filled these pieces will help you to learn more about them.

Purchasing things from local shops will help people to keep providing and keep the environment of the city safe by reducing waste. If you want to know which are the best markets to buy goods, then take a look at these.

  • Orto Sai flea market
  • Osh bazaar
  • Arystaan
Beautiful blankets being sold at Osh Bazar


Second Hand Stores

As mentioned earlier, travelers around the world are adopting very well with second-hand goods. As an eco-friendly traveler, purchasing second-hand goods will help you to save a lot of money and also get the city free from waste. It will reduce the waste along with helping out the local people.

You will find many second-hand shops in the city scattered through different corners. Visit these shops to buy some of the best quality of clothes, bags, shoes, and other goods. Take the help of local people to find and get information about second-hand shops faster.


Eco-Fashion

Eco fashion means shopping consciously and buying clothes that are made of sustainable material and that are made in a way that is not harmful to the environment. Instead of being stuck in a cycle that fast fashion brands promote which means keep buying over and over again every month or every week, the idea behind eco fashion is quality over quantity. The eco fashion scene in Bishkek is not as developed as it might be in other regions on the face of it but you will still be able to find some great options when you shop from local stores especially clothes made by local artisans.


Recycling

Recycling is a very crucial step to take in every city around the world to keep the environment safe and reduce pollution. Although the initiatives are taken late, the officials and government have taken many different steps to recycle the waste and make the environment better for the city.

From different bin systems to management of waste, different steps have been taken to take care of the dumps. The locals and private companies also helped very much in the process to keep the city clean. You will be able to see many bins while visiting the lanes and make sure to dump the trash separately to help the city stay clean and recycled.


Waste

Just like recycling, waste management is another important thing in the city that can help you a lot to keep the city clean. More than 50% of the country's waste gets dumped near the capital city and used as a landfill. The area of this waste is as wide as half of a town, and it takes a lot of time to clean or collect the dump.

More than 1000 people are assigned to do the collecting and cleaning work. Although the dustbins and other methods are working correctly, still the waste is not getting properly recycled but the government is working on it to improve the situation in the upcoming time.


Work and Study Abroad

Working and here and studying in Bishkek will be a wonderful experience for you. If you are a remote worker then you will have a great time in this city. There might be limited employment opportunities if you do not speak the same language but you can always find suitable options that will fit your needs with a little bit of research.


Exchange Student

The exchange student is a very helpful method to study in foreign countries for students. You have to get nominated by the home institute to study in partner universities that are located in foreign countries. There are many universities in this city that offer this facility to students from other countries. As an exchange student in Bishkek, you will get to experience the true Kyrgyz culture and get to know about their lifestyle in a more intimate manner.


Au Pair

If you are new to the city and looking for different jobs to get settled in the initial stage, then you can take the help of Au Pair. It is one of the best services available for people that helps them to earn some money and get a shelter while looking for jobs. Both students and people who are looking for a job can use the Au Pair service by looking for them online. There are many Au pair jobs available in the city.


Volunteering

Want to keep the city more secure and safe from pollution? Choose to volunteer for different things in the city, which will help you to contribute. You can keep the streets clean, collect garbage, teach English to local kids, and many other things to help out the city.


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