Bishkek Travel Guide

Orthodox Cathedral in Bishkek © Petar Milosevic

Bishkek is a fairly young capital: though it was founded in the 19th century, most of the buildings and monuments are post-World War II constructions. All but unknown to most travellers, the city lacks real tourist development; English is not widely spoken among the local population, although the nearby US military base means there are always a number of expats around.

Bishkek's Manas International Airport is the gateway to the city, however once there the ubiquitous minibus is the most popular way of getting around and costs very little. Private taxis are also available, and are preferable late at night.

Travellers shouldn't expect an abundance of breath-taking architecture or world-class attractions, but there are some interesting sites to visit in Bishkek, including Ala-Too Square, the State Historical Museum, Panfilov Park, and the M Frunze Museum. Local bazaars are a fun way to spend an hour or two, especially on weekends when they are the largest.

A unique experience in Bishkek is a visit to the local baths, Zhurgal Banya, or the more upmarket Green City Spa.

If there's one thing the residence of Bishkek know how to do, it's have a good time. The city has the liveliest nightlife in the region, and the city's many bars and nightclubs are welcoming to tourists. Karaoke is a popular activity.

Biskhek is within four hours' drive of Almaty; the Kazakh city, with its mountain resorts, makes a great weekend excursion from Bishkek, no matter what time of year.

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