Dressing for the weather
Kyrgyzstan has an extremely varied climate. Even if you’re traveling in summer, you’ll need to pack warm, waterproof layers, a good jacket and plenty of thick socks. It can be 35 degrees in Bishkek, but still only 10 degrees up at Lake Son Kol. In the high plains and mountainous areas, it can get quite frigid at night! It can start snowing in parts of the country as early as September and can continue until April. If you are traveling in summer though, make sure you also have clothes for the heat. If you are visiting the famous Lake Issik Kol for example, one of the favourite holiday spots for people all over the former Soviet Union, make sure you’ve got beach wear, including of course your swimming costume. Yuri Gagarin even took a beach holiday there after he was the first person in space!
Bring very sturdy shoes. Even in Bishkek you’ll be navigating some pretty treacherous footpaths and crossing roads that have seen better days. Or just have never been sealed. It’s also a great city for walking in, so you could easily wear out a pair of shoes without ever leaving the city. As soon as you’re out of Bishkek though, you’re in the wilderness, and there’s so much climbing, walking, hiking, and swimming to do. This doesn’t mean you won’t want a pair of sandals or flip flops in summer, but do make sure you’ve got something that’s good for walking in.
If you are going to be there in winter, the footpaths can get very icy, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of boots or something with a decent grip on them.
Even though most of the time you won’t be needing to carry your luggage far, ie. From a hotel or guesthouse to a car, there are times, such as at Lake Son Kol or other remote spots, where things will be much easier if you have a backpack or something that you can easily carry yourself. On most of our tours of Kyrgyzstan you’ll be transferring between different types of transport as well – sometimes we’re in minibuses, other times you’ll be in small cars or 4x4s, so it’s really good if your luggage is flexible and as lightweight as possible.
Cameras and Drones
Drones in Kyrgyzstan are fine. The same sorts of rules and common sense courtesies exist that do anywhere, such as respect people’s privacy, and you can’t just go flying it over Manas Airport or the Presidential Palace, but there is no issue bringing them into the country, and when you’re up in the mountains or in some remote part of the country, there will be some great opportunities to use a drone.
Like most former Soviet countries (locally known as Aptekas) are everywhere! There are loads of things available without prescriptions that you probably can’t get at home, and most medicines tend to be very cheap.
Very useful for those nights in yurts, tents or mountain huts of course, but what you might not have thought of is that it can also be useful in the dark streets of Bishkek at night. It’s not a dangerous city, but one thing we often hear complaints about is how badly lit it is at night. The other Central Asian cities don’t have this issue, but having a torch around Bishkek can certainly be handy. Why not just use your phone, you might be thinking. Well, in Bishkek that’s a good point, but if you’re spending a night or three in a yurt with one powerbank worth of back up charge, you’ll likely be very happy not to have to use your phone as a torch!
There are a lot of narrow, windy, and pretty bumpy roads throughout Kyrgyzstan, so most people struggle to read or watch anything whilst driving. There are quite a few long drives though, so if you like to listen to things, bring that along.
In this modern day and age, with all of our gadgets, a powerbank will be extremely helpful in Kyrgyzstan, as more likely than not you’ll be staying in yurts that don’t have powerpoints. If you go and camp in the wild, or stay in a mountain lodge, you won’t have a ready source of electricity to charge your camera or phone with.
What not to bring
If you are unsure about anything here or have any questions about what you should pack for your trip to Kyrgyzstan, please contact us .