Discovery Kyrgyzstan
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008

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THE AIRPORTMake sure you have a window seat because as you descend towards Bishkek Airport, your can take in the entire essence of Kyrgyz natural beautify in one sweep. White mountain tops, green valleys and the capital just below you. As you taxi to the dock, you are most likely to catch a glimps of modern US army planes. No, this is not a US airbase, should the question arise, but the US is a good friend and alley.

TRANSPORTThe airport is about a 40min. Drive from the center of Bishkek and it's best to catch a taxi. The fair is US$10. Better still, organize airport pick up with you r Travel Agent or hotel. That's the smooth way to your destination. There are regular minibus shuttles to bus stops in town as well.

HOTELSThe choice of hotels covers every need. You have an option to stay in luxury at the "HAYATT REGENCY" (****) or at Hotel "AK - KEME" (****) the 11 SILKROAD LODGE"(****), or at a B&B such as the "Asia Mountains" Hotel.

SHOPPINGWith the rich tradition of arts and crafts, beautiful give aways and souvenirs can be bought and there's a good choice. Throughout the year, crafts fairs offer an ideal opportunity to shop for handmade items from Kyrgyzstan. Designers create stunning accessories and pret a porter with a very modern edge and are staring to make a name for themselves also abroad.

Osh Bazaar
Osh Bazaar is the biggest within the city limits and is the main bazzar in the town. It was built in 1983 on the site of a smaller local market, to replace what was then the town's central market (which was located on what is now Victory Square where it had stood since the 1800's).

Osh Bazaar is located at the Western end of Kievskaya and streches South upto Moskovskaya. It mainly sells food and produce although there are kiosks surrounding the complex - and shops built into the building surrounding the main area. A walk amongst the Fruit and Vegetable stalls is interesting to see what is available (much of it is local produce), as is a visit to the Meat and Dairy halls at the Western end of the main market. Behind the open air market are a number of market halls.

It is usually a crowded and lively place, so watch you pockets, bags, wallets and purses.

NIGHT LIFEFor nighttime entertainment, Bishkek's famous venue is the "Dasmya" center. If "rien ne va plus" is your order of the night, perfect, since Bishkek is p roba b ly the с ham p ion in Ce ntralAsiaforcasin os. On a balmy night, join the locals sitting on the steps of the Central Square, get yourself and ice cream and start a conversation with your neighbor who will be delightedto practice his English,German, French.

The information infrastructure of the city develops rapidly: There are Internet-providers and internet cafes a plenty. Your hotel too has the entire communication infrastructure you need to stay in touch with the world, global and corporate computer networks operate here. 3 cell phone providers are at your disposal (standards TDMA and CDMA).

MONEYThe banking system includes 21 banks with link to banks abroad. The majority of Bishkek banks handle international transfers electronically through SWIFT,REUTERS,SPRINTand WESTERN UNION.
Some banks are part of the VISA network and the EUROPAY international payment systems. Cashless payment can be done through the local ALAY CARD debit card system.

EATING OUTThere is no shortage of cafes, snack food places for something on the go. Or you may opt for Fine Dining at the Hyatt or Italian Cuisine. For those interested to taste some of the many national dishes, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, Dzungan cuisine, we recommend a tasty Laghman or Ashlyafa served with koumiss and shoro beverages.

"Street Food"
- It is possible to find at many places throughout the city street vendors selling local dishes, plof, samsy, piroshki ... but like "street food" anywhere - you should only really decide to try it if you are sure of yourstomach!!!

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #7

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