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November 18, 2017

Things to do in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan

Took a minivan from Almaty to Bishkek, it was going to be a quick 3 day visit to see Osh Bazaar and few other sites along the old silk road. I was presently surprised on lively city this is, really wish I had planned better. The road trip from Almaty Kazakhstan to bishkek was little over 3 hours.

So I arrived in the evening and my hostel had closed for good, so I went to tourist office and got a room at a nearby Airbnb for $12 USD a night, breakfast included.  In October 2017 1 USD = 68.5492 KGS Kyrgyzstani Som. After checking in I went for a walking tour of Bishkek.

During the walking tour I saw stretch limousines and asked the tour guide what was going on, well October is marriage season in Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek Kyrgyzstan

Wedding party picture I took at the Victory Monument, in Bishkek.

Victory Monument is more of a park with a structure in the middle with 3 arches symbolizing a yurt, and from there, We saw historical buildings and parks during the walk and came to the statue of Kurmanjan Datka. She has left her husband to be on the alter back in the 1800, it was unheard of back then, She was the Queen of the south. She is also on the 50 SOM Kyrgis currency bill. Kyrgyzstan is the only Central Asian country that has had a woman president, Roza Otunbaeva.

Our last stop before dinner was Ala-Too Square, the main square in Bishkek. There are 2 parts to the square from what I could tell, the main and then across the street with Government buildings behind them. There is a statue of Manas on a horse, He apparently had united the Kyrgz tribes to form a nation. Then there was a story about a poem, Here is the Wiki page on the poem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Manas

For dinner we went to a cafe, and I the travelling I did that day, it was bed time, before bed my BnB host proposed he would drive me tomorrow to Ala Archa National Park, Ata-Beyit, a Monument to those killed during 1916 events, Burana Tower and OSH Market for 70 USD. I agreed, next-day after breakfast we left bright and early.

Hike Ak Sai Trail at Ala Archa National Park

An hours drive from Bishkek, with just Amazing views, the hike is a little tough if you take the route through the hills, one can also take the road. A pleasant surprise, if you go deep into the mountains, there is a glacier one can hike, use a proper hiking company if you want hike the glacier 

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After the hike we rested at a picnic table, ate fruit and bread with Kyrgis cheese and fed some red squirrels. 

Ata-Beyit Memorial 

Ata-Beyit Memorial is not a popular tourist destination, there is a road block with armed guards that will question you as to why and what you are doing there. , We were the only people there. There is a 
Memorial, a museum and a site where mass grave was discovered. Mass grave is possible people murdered during Stalin's times. The grave was a brick well, now enclosed in a glass wooden structure.


The first picture above is the memorial, the tripod structure has horseshoes hanging from it. The second Picture is Chinghiz Aitmatov.

Chinghiz Aitmatov is a famous author who wrote in both Russian and Kyrgys. The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years is among his best works.

The whole complex is peaceful and quiet with some music playing. 

Then it was Lunch time, we went to Mustafas, there is several of them in Bishkek. The Mediterranean Greek salad is very good. 


Burana Tower 

Life along the old silk road, tower from the 10 century as per my guide, UNESCO world heritage site. I was the only tourist there on a Friday. Being a Silk Road explorer, this was a must see.

It is an hour and half drive from Bishkek, the original tower was destroyed in an earthquake. The tower has been rebuilt, its missing the dome. The are swastika's all over the tower  symbolizing a point of reference for travelers from any direction. I tried to go up the tower, the staircase was locked. 

There is a museum and there are all these Grave Markers, these are not original graves and these grave stones were bought down from a hill nearby. These grave stones or bal-bals are images of people cut in Stone.

The Sun was going down and we had an hour plus drive ahead of us. On the way back we met with heavy traffic along the textile market, as far as OSH market goes there are all these stories about it being from from the days of the silk road, as per my guide, its not even a hundred years old.

Late that night I went to a Night club to celebrate with my BnB host, folks in Bishkek sure know how to have a good time. 

From there my travels continue to India, and in November before thanksgiving, I am back in Texas, I need to renew my passport and get a few Visas taken care of, china and India which offer 10 year visas.

I'll be posting video of  Kyrgyzstan in the next few days, stay tuned. Any questions, feel free to comment.


  1. The hike at the Ak Sai Trail at Ala Archa National Park looks incredible. You're not kidding about the gorgeous views. What a great deal on your AirBnB, I love budget-friendly countries like that.

  2. $12 for room and breakfast. That is my kind of place to visit. How long was your hike Ala Archer NP? I have heard that Kyrgyzstan has amazing trekking opportunities.

    1. The hike on Ala Archer roughly 2 to 3 hours, depending on one fitness level.

  3. Aksai trail sounds and looks amazing. Heard a lot about Kyrgyzstan, about its natural beauty and warm people.
    Its so surreal to know that Bishkek was actually a park of the Old Silk Route. WoW!!

  4. I don't know much about Kyrgyzstan but it looks like an interesting place to visit. I find it interesting to watch weddings abroad, it's a great way to learn more about the culture. I've never hiked a glacier before and I hope to do that one day. I had no idea it was possible in Kyrgyzstan. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kyrgyzstan seems like an awesome travel destination. Bishkek seem like it has lots to offer. Magnificent pictures. That hat of the groom seems truly interesting, Arvin. ;)

    1. That's a traditional Kyrgyzstan hat. Most men wear those hats.


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