Facts for the Visitor

US citizen: 1-month single-entry visa on arrival at the Bishkek Airport: US$60
In Beijing: 1-month single-entry visa processed in 1 day: US$50
No Letter-of-Invitation is required. OVIR registration is not required.
Japanese citizen: No visa required, visitors permitted to stay 1 month.
OVIR registration in Bishkek is required. Registration is free.

Language Skills Needed
Many people in tourist related industries speak English. Knowing numbers and how to say "how much?" in Kyrgyz and Russian is needed to ride transport, shop at markets, and eat at local restaurants. Learning the Russian and Kyrgyz Cyrillic Alphabets is needed to read street signs and recognize the telecommunications office, supermarkets, and mini-marts (magazines). A phrasebook is convenient but not essential.

Cash Machines

Currency & Currency Exchange
US$ 1 = Ks 45.3 (Kyrgyz som) on August 8, 2002. Banks and moneychangers give the same rate. There is no black market.

220V, 50Hz. Electrical outlets are mainland European parallel round pin plugs.

International Certificates of Vaccination are not required.

Tips are not expected.

Public telephones take tokens for sale at street vendors near the telephone. To call from a telephone office, leave a deposit at the counter, be assigned a telephone booth, and collect your change after the call(s). Oddly, after dialing the phone number and hearing your party answer, a "3" must be dialed in order for your party to hear you speak.

The international access code is 00. Neither collect call nor connection to a US calling card number (AT&T, Sprint, etc) is possible.

Every city has a 56 kbps connection for Ks 50 per hour. Computers and LAN equipment are new.

Budget accommodation is found in any city. Luxury accommodation is non-existent. In rural areas, staying with a local family is possible. Families normally ask for Ks 150~200 per person for lodging and dinner.

Within the country, only road transportation is available. Buses are dilapidated but cheap. An 8-hour 450km trip by bus costs about Ks 140 (US$3). Mini-vans service the same routes in less time for about 25% more charge. The only train line in Kyrgyzstan crosses the Kazakstan border, requiring travelers to have a Kazak visa.

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