Region: North & Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan adopted Islam reasonably late in its history and while many people may consider themselves Muslim, in reality very few people practice Islam. The country also has shaman traditions, Buddhist influences and Russian Orthodoxy.
The official language is Kyrgyz, a Turkic language closely related to Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek and Kazakh. Due to the previous Russian influence, most people speak Russian (particularly in the North) and this is considered the second official language. English is rapidly emerging as a popular language amongst those working in tourism.
Area (sq. km):
198,500 square meters
Kyrgyzstan is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
Kyrgyzstan has relatively low rainfall due to its continental climate, and has an annual average of 247 days of sunshine. In the mountain areas, temperatures range from -14ºC to -20ºC in January, and 8ºC to 14ºC in July. In the lower areas, the temperatures are between -4ºC and -6ºC in January, and 16ºC to 24ºC in July. Heavy snowfall in winter will close mountain passes between mid/late October and early/mid May.
Late spring and autumn are considered to be some of the best times to visit Kyrgyzstan. Winter sees consistently sub-zero temperatures across the country, while in July and August temperatures can reach 32ºC to 40ºC in the Fergana Valley. The countryside and mountain valleys are most pleasant from late June to late September.
Bishkek Manas Airport (FRU) is 30km (18 miles) north of Bishkek.
The international country code for Kyrgyzstan is 996, but Bishkek has its own international code of 312.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are used.
Traditional Kyrgyz cuisine is characterized by its nomadic influences. Mutton is a staple meat, with Chinese influences providing some spices and flavour, and commonly served as ‘shashlyk’(kebabs of skewered, charcoal-barbecued meat). As in many Central Asian countries, ‘plov’ is a common dish, with rice fried together with shredded vegetables (usually turnip or potato) and scraps of meat. Other dishes popular in the region are variations of noodles – spicy ‘laghman’ and ‘shorpur’ with meat and vegetables – and stuffed dumpling (‘manty’). Don’t forget to try other local specialities such as the beer-like ‘borso’ (made from fermented millet), and for those traveling in the spring, the national drink of kymys (fermented mare’s milk).
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Many nationalities no longer require a visa to travel to Kyrgyzstan for up to 60 days, including Australia, Belgium, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, USA and Switzerland. Other nationalities should check with their nearest embassy.
If you do require a visa we strongly advise that you obtain it in advance.
Peregrine Adventures have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.
Nationals of other countries not listed above should check their requirements at their nearest embassy. A LOI is rarely needed, but should it be required by your embassy please get in touch with The Visa Machine by going online at:
Or you can contact The Visa Machine on firstname.lastname@example.org or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
The Australian Visa Machine office can be reached on: email@example.com or call +61 (0)26 100 3077.