View Map

Overview

Just a couple of hours from Almaty and in many ways its younger brother, the Kyrgyzstan capital is a friendly city of Soviet-era parks, plazas, markets and monuments. At first glance there's not much to keep you occupied past a couple of days but the friendly young Kyrgyz and Russian population will soon show you there's more going on than meets the eye. The Russian and US air bases facing off by the airport hint at the struggle going on for the soul of the nation, as do the political demonstrations that occasionally hit the city. Bishkek's location is superb, with the snowcapped spurs of the Tian Shan mountains rising straight from the ...

Just a couple of hours from Almaty and in many ways its younger brother, the Kyrgyzstan capital is a friendly city of Soviet-era parks, plazas, markets and monuments. At first glance there's not much to keep you occupied past a couple of days but the friendly young Kyrgyz and Russian population will soon show you there's more going on than meets the eye. The Russian and US air bases facing off by the airport hint at the struggle going on for the soul of the nation, as do the political demonstrations that occasionally hit the city. Bishkek's location is superb, with the snowcapped spurs of the Tian Shan mountains rising straight from the southern suburbs, offering mountain climbing, skiing, and great treks in the Ala-Archa and Alameddin valleys, less than an hour from downtown. More than anything, Bishkek is the place to visit the Community Based Tourism office and organize a homestay, a display of eagle hunting or a horse trek out to the Kyrgyz high pastures. After a few nights eating boiled mutton in a herder's yurt, you'll absolutely have a new-found appreciation for Bishkek's restaurants and open-air cafes.

Bradley Mayhew
About the Expert

Bradley Mayhew is the author of more than 25 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, including Central Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Jordan, and is coauthor of the Odyssey guide to Uzbekistan.

view full overview

Bradley Mayhew for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, fall