Russia - 1st timer to Bishkek
Jan 16, 12, 11:35 am
Husband and I will be travelling to Bishkek for 2 days in March and would like to know if anyone have experiences to share as there are limited travel information online. Is it safe to go around on your own or do you need a guided tour and if someone has any hotels or tour to recommend.
Thanks so much.
Jan 16, 12, 7:45 pm
I founded and head the Kyrgyz-North America Trade Council, promoting trade and investment between Kyrgyzstan and US/Canada, and have lots of contacts there (we hosted President Otunbayeva and Prime Minister Chudinov at conferences in NY and DC, and I made a presentation in Toronto last year on Kyrgyz investment issues:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cerbanet.org%2Fpublic%2Fi ndex.php%3Fpage_id%3Deventlist%26office%3D3%26Even tID%3D597&h=sAQFrsPM7AQGfwzbJlBijVUmSA53UuyfYbvoFgkjs2o1OgQ&enc=AZPEa3XG1uBFb8vZQxk6KSAfxWPtGgHYOWzbyhEYuC45gL Oh5UezukNSWNfdD68qhL26b9p4vEpv0AsV3fRySwFFczTmNcs7 MSBi05_EJxfddQ
Feel free to contact me and we can talk by phone. Safety wise, be cautious; a guide will be very very useful.
Till then, here is a link to House Hunter International's episode on Bishkek (along with the former Ambassador from Kyrgyzstan to the US/Canada, I arranged some of the logistics along with the 'real estate agent'):
Jan 17, 12, 10:03 pm
Having been there a few years ago, I certainly don't remember it being particularly dangerous. However, it is the Third World, so perhaps not what you are used to dealing with.
Even a few words of Russian will be helpful as will knowing the Cyrillic alphabet. Both Kyrgyz and Russian are written in Cyrillic. English is not widely known and restaurants rarely have English menus, although the younger generation might have a poor familiarity with it.
If you do read Russian, Anton Krotov's Akademiia volnykh puteshestvii book "Sredniaia Aziia" is perhaps the best out there for minute and up to date information.
Lonely Planet's "Central Asia" includes coverage of Kyrgyzstan and is certainly the best thing I know of in English about the -stans.
If you're looking for someone to help with guides, both Advantours (advantour.com) and OrexCA (orexca.com) can help you locate local guides, book hotels and airport transfers as well as travel to Lake Issyk-Kul or out into the mountains. As far as things to see: Issyk-Kul, the market, the former Lenin Museum.