Kyrgyzstan Travel Tips
Practical info for traveling to Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is an open country for tourists. They welcome guests and tourism infrastructure is always being developed; there are new hotels built, new routes drawn, and entry visa procedures simplified. Though there are still local regulations as in any other country, which do not deviate from international standards. Present page suggests practical tips for your comfortable trip to Kyrgyzstan, including how and when it is better to travel, what customs regulations apply during entry and exit, and many other.
Preparation to the trip to Kyrgyzstan
To make sure of the availability of the hotels and tours you have chosen, we recommend you to make an advanced booking, especially when it falls on the high season, that lasts from April to October, and from December to March, with the beginning of the ski season. You can make an online booking before your trip to Kyrgyzstan using our online booking system.
How to get to Kyrgyzstan
The best way to travel to Kyrgyzstan
The most convenient way to travel to Kyrgyzstan is to fly to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, from main international airports in Europe and Asia. Bishkek works with several international airlines. Also, if you wish to get to the southern part of the country, the best way will be to fly to international airport of Osh. National air-carrier “Kyrgyzstan Airlines” operates regular flights from Bishkek and Osh to cities such as Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Islamabad, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tashkent, Urumqi and Khudjand. You can also reach Kyrgyzstan by car crossing over the border with neighboring countries – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and China.
Arrival in Kyrgyzstan
Upon arrival at the international airport or the border of Kyrgyzstan, you will need to fill out the customs declaration form in 2 (two) copies at the customs control point. Please do not forget to declare the exact amount of foreign currency and valuable goods such as jewelry, electronics and photo technology. You do not have to declare the amount up to 3000 USD. The customs officer will keep one copy of your declaration form, and the second copy with the stamp is returned to you. You are recommended to keep the second copy of your declaration form until your departure, as it has the information on the amount of valuable goods and foreign currency you have brought with yourself to Kyrgyzstan. Upon departure, tourists are allowed to take out valuable items and foreign currency within the limit of the amount shown in your declaration form at the entry. It is to note that customs control may be long and detailed. At the entry to the country, there is a restriction on import of cigarettes (no more than 1000 pieces), alcohol (1,5l) and pets should have a veterinary health certificate.
As of September 2005, for nationals of the countries with whom Kyrgyzstan had set no-visa regime, registration is not required (on the condition that the stay in the country does not exceed 60 days). It refers to the citizens of CIS, also for citizens of Russia and Kazakhstan visa extension can be made up to 90 days). Otherwise, you need to obtain visa in the embassy of Kyrgyzstan in respective country. More …
Every foreigner should be registered within 72 hours in the local police department (OVD or OVIR) upon arrival in Kyrgyzstan. Upon departure, visa duration and registration will be checked along with your declaration. Thus, please make sure your registration form is with you (better to keep it with the passport) before passing passport control point at the airport.
Tourism in Kyrgyzstan is actively developing, and traveling to Kyrgyzstan is getting more and more comfortable. There are excellent hotels built in Bishkek, Osh and Issyk-Kul, corresponding international standards. Besides, private hotels and guesthouses offer comfortable hotel rooms at affordable prices. Since Kyrgyzstan is very popular as the country of skiing resorts - ski and snowboard fans will appreciate the quality of accommodation in high-mountain hotels.
Cash and traveler’s check
You can exchange US Dollars, Euro, Russian ruble, English pounds and Chinese yuan into Kyrgyz soms in banks, hotels and exchange offices. Exchange offices and banks do not accept banknotes if they are old, torn, worn-out, creased or if there is written in pen/pencil. Besides, it is recommended to exchange currency in the capital city, as the rate in the regions is rather low. Credit cards are accepted in city banks and few big hotels in Bishkek. It is almost impossible to withdraw cash in the region. It regards the traveler’s check as well. Thus, it is preferable if you exchange the amount you need in advance.
Banks working hours: from 09.00-09.30 to 17.00-17.30 (except Saturdays, Sundays, holidays).
Currency exchange offices working hours: from 08.00 to 18.00, some work 24/7.
Medicine for personal use
It is prohibited to import drastic drugs and narcotics in Kyrgyzstan. There are no other significant restrictions. If you need to take medical drugs that are considered as restrained goods, we recommend you to declare them at the entry/exit, as well as to possess a doctor’s prescription which confirms necessity of intake. Failure to declare the drug or absence of a medical prescription entails responsibility up to criminal liability.
Preparation for departure
The procedure of departure at the airport is simple: you need to check in for the flight, go through customs control and passport control, pass the security service gate and board a plane. For international flights, passengers are required to arrive at the airport 2-3 hours in advance before the flight. Make sure you check the following documents before you leave the hotel: passport, registration form given in OVIR or OVD, customs declaration upon arrival, air-tickets, and valid visa in Kyrgyzstan in your passport. Please note that fines can be applied at the airport, if your visa has expired before you depart from Kyrgyzstan. If you need to extend your visa, please contact Advantour in advance (at least 5 days before departure).
Customs at the departure
Upon departure you will be required to fill out one copy of customs declaration at the customs control point. Please, show the exact amount for any currency available and all valuable goods. There is no formal restriction on the currency export amount. It is prohibited to export some food products and minerals without permission of respective instances, gold and precious stones. If gold and precious stones are components of jewelry goods, then you are required to note it in the declaration form.
Hand-made goods and souvenirs
At the check-point, the customs officer may ask you to show him/her hand-made goods and souvenirs that you have purchased to make sure you do not deal with illegal export of goods that represent cultural value or antiquaries. If you are exporting these goods, you are required to have corresponding documentation. For other souvenirs, you may have a check or certificate from the shop, which proves that it is a mass production good. Mass production items are souvenirs, carpets, embroidery, that have been produced in the last 30 (thirty) years and do not require special certificate. If you have purchased an item that is of cultural value, please contact our agent at Advantour in advance.