Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide

Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide

TRAVEL WARNING

Country-specific safety information

Caution is advised when traveling within the whole of Kyrgyzstan. Violent clashes, for example in the context of demonstrations in connection with internal political developments in Kyrgyzstan, cannot be ruled out throughout the country. It is therefore recommended that you avoid crowds, stop walking after dark and keep yourself regularly informed about the security situation.

In the area around Tamga and Barskoon on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul (Jeti-Oguz Rayon) demonstrations and road blockades may occasionally occur in connection with protests against the Kumtor gold mine.

In the south of the country (Uzbek exclave Sokh or in Djalal-Abad), conflicts can arise due to the ongoing tensions.

Terrorism

In the south of the country in particular, there are Islamist groups with a potentially terrorist orientation. Attacks on Western facilities cannot be ruled out. In 2015, the Kyrgyz security authorities carried out counter-terrorism operations in the city of Bishkek, killing several suspected terrorists as well as civilian victims. On August 30, 2016, the Chinese embassy in Bishkek was the target of a suicide bombing.

Land / road travel

Overland journeys at night are not recommended as they are difficult and dangerous due to sometimes very poor roads, landslides, the often unsafe technical condition of the vehicles involved in traffic and the changeable climate (cold spells). The poor road conditions across the country and the driving style that deviates from Western European traffic habits mean a generally increased risk of accidents on the road. This also applies to the busy Bishkek-Almaty route.

In the event of accidents (including those that are not at fault), it must be expected that the driver will be held liable under criminal and civil law. In the case of foreigners, it may be necessary to await the outcome of a court case before leaving the country. The embassy therefore advises against self-driving travel within Kyrgyzstan.

In the border areas (with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and China) special rules apply (e.g. ban on photography). These areas can also be mined. The border line is not clearly signposted in many places. In the case of border crossings away from official border control points, there is a risk of longer prison sentences. It is therefore recommended not to travel to the border region without a local guide.

Border crossings

Border crossings can be closed ad hoc. Reliable information cannot be given in this regard, as the border openings or closings are announced without notice.

The Federal Foreign Office expressly points out that the Karamyk border crossing to Tajikistan is not an international border crossing. In the past, German nationals were often denied access to the border there.

Crime

In view of the significant increase in general crime, particular caution is required, especially in poorly visible places such as pedestrian underpasses and in the dark.

In the past, especially after dark, the capital Bishkek, which is generally very poorly lit, has been robbed even of foreigners. Travelers are advised not to walk when it is dark. Taxis are cheap in Bishkek and can be ordered by phone. Please be particularly careful in locations that are typically frequented by foreigners (e.g. near hotels, restaurants, bars). Beware of bag theft and trick theft in the numerous bazaars. Resistance is not recommended in the event of robberies, as the violence threshold is low.

Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide

MONEY

Currency

1 som = 100 tyjins. Currency abbreviation: KS, KGS (ISO code). Banknotes are in circulation in denominations of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 Som, coins in denominations of 10, 5, 3 and 1 Som as well as 50, 10 and 1 Tyjin.

Credit cards

Are seldom accepted. They can be used to withdraw cash in exchange offices and banks (Demir Bank, Unicredit Bank). Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.

ATMs

EC / Maestro card / Sparcard
In Bishkek and Osh there are a few exchange offices with ATMs from which money can be withdrawn with the EC card.

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.

Bank opening times

General Mon-Fri 8.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m. (cities).

Foreign exchange regulations

Unrestricted import and export of local and foreign currencies. However, there is an obligation to declare.

Currency Exchange

Foreign currencies (especially US dollars) are preferred, Russian rubles are also still accepted in Kyrgyzstan, a country located in Asia according to threergroup. All bills are usually paid in cash. Those who travel with tour operators pay for their trip in advance. As there is not enough change, visitors should especially carry small bills with them. You can change in banks and official currency exchange offices.

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