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Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide

Kyrgyzstan has its own unique beauty which attracts tourists from all corners of the planet. The uniqueness lies in its extraordinary natural beauty mainly on account of its pristine environment and variety. Only in Kyrgyzstan will you find everything that nature can offer - highland lakes, sandy beaches, mountains, rapid-flowing rivers, glaciers, forests and even deserts. You will also find an extensive history, rich traditions and the legends of nomadic tribes. 
Visa
In order to come to Kyrgyzstan you need a visa. Visa can be obtained as follows:
1. An invitation letter is not required to obtain a Kyrgyz visa. It is sufficient to put in a verbal or written request. You need to apply to the Kyrgyz Embassy or Representation in your country or the nearest country to yours where there is a Kyrgyz representation.
2. In those countries where there is no Kyrgyz Embassy or representation there is also the possibility to obtain a visa through the Embassy of the Russian Federation or the Embassy of Kazakhstan. But in this case you will need visa support.
3. It is also possible to obtain visa at Bishkek's "Manas" international airport on arrival in Kyrgyzstan.

Registration and issue of visas to the foreign citizens and persons without citizenship, arriving to Kyrgyz Republic through "Manas" International Airport is carried out upon their arrival to a check-point.
The argument for issue of visas is a valid foreign passport or its demountable document, issued by competent bodies of a country of citizenship or permanent residence.
Traveling via the third country as as transit passenger, for example via Russia, you will have to get the Russian transit visa if you don't have a Kyrgyz visa. If you have a Kyrgyz visa, you don't need a Russian transit visa if you are not going out of the transit area in Moscow.
Citizens of foreign states provided by appropriate list confirmed by the Government of KR can get a visa in a foreign representative office of KR or directly on arrival in the consular service in "Manas" airport on the basis of personal turning for a period to one month.

Citizens of the following countries can come to Kyrgyzstan without visa:
Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Belorussia, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina Croatia, Czech Republic,, Georgia,. Kazakhstan, Korean Democratic People's Republic, Cuba, Macedonia, Malaysia (official & tourist purposes up to one month), Moldova, Mongolia (up to three months), Poland, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Socialistic Vietnam, Tajikistan, Turkey (up to one month), Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and Japan.
You can get more complete information on the following site: http://www.airport.kg/eng/helpfulinfo.htm

Carrying passports
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is necessary that foreigners carry with them at all times when they outside their place of residence (e. g. their hotel), to carry passports, or other documents verifying their identity.
If a police patrol stop someone in order to identify their identity — they only have to show their documents. It is not necessary to show the contents of bags and pockets. They have no right to search you: do not allow this.
Refuse to pay any money if asked (refuse even to show your wallet as sometimes you may get it back lacking some of what was previously in it!) and simply show your passport and your hotel card. Police who have no business to do so may occasionally stop people in the street. If this happens please write down the number of the policeman — they should be wearing a badge. You can ask to see their documents — hold out your hand and say «documents». We also know of cases where people have been stopped by persons dressed as policemen (or in some cases in track suits) who were not in fact policemen (but who had some apparently genuine documents). Happily it is not a usual occurrence.
We would like to stress again that such problems are rare, but do sometimes happen.

Currency: The national currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyz SOM. There are no any problems with money exchange in Kyrgyzstan. $US or EURO are widely accepted in exchange offices throughout the country. But we recommend bringing only 100 or 50-dollar notes issued after 1996, as smaller and older notes are more difficult to exchange and attract a lower exchange rate.

General travel advice
Most travellers encounter no problems — but occasionally things do happen to upset your plans — but that doesn’t mean to say that they will be a disaster.
Before you leave: Study your destination : learn a little about where you are going and plan your visit. Learn about the local laws, customs and climate. Learn a few useful phrases in a local language. Your itinerary may well change — but try to be clear that you know and understand the main points. Get a good guidebook, and maybe a phrase book.
Once you arrive:
Local laws: remember that, as a visitor, you are subject to the laws of that country. Especially do not get involved with narcotics. penalties can be very severe and there will be no sympathetic treatment because you are a foreigner. Be especially careful at borders. Never carry a parcel or baggage for another person, don’t cross borders with people you don’t know or in someone else’s vehicle - don’t accept lifts. Remember - ignorance of the law is not a defence. Also, remember that you may also be liable under the law of your home country for some activities.

Valuables: keep your valuable possessions (passport, money traveller’s cheques etc.) with you at all times and keep your bag held close to you. Preferably keep your passport separate from other ID - don’t risk losing them all together. Don’t leave valuables (that includes documents) unattended in your hotel room or vehicle. If there is a safe - use it. Lock valuables out of sight. Don’t take anything you would hate to lose.

Baggage: do not carry baggage through customs for other people. Pack you own baggage and don’t leave it unattended or in the care of a stranger. Keep an eye on it at all times - especially in crowded areas like airports, bus stations etc.

Money: try to avoid being seen as «rich» - where possible use local currency and do not have large sums. Keep money, credit cards etc. distributed between several pockets. Avoid using unofficial exchange offices. Make sure you know if you need receipts when changing money - in Kyrgyzstan you don’t. Carry a list of contact numbers for reporting lost and stolen cards etc.. Have two credit cards - and keep them separate. Make a note of any credit limits and don’t exceed them.

Theft: Keep to well lit streets and avoid short cuts, dark alleys etc. Try not to travel alone at night. Keep aware for people who might be «distractions» for bag snatching and pickpockets. Report all thefts to the local police as soon as possible. If confronted or threatened, give up your valuables, «your money and passport can be replaced - you can’

Dealing with strangers: Be careful about what information you give to strangers, especially your home contact details, details of your itinerary and your hotel room numbers. Don’t let strangers into your hotel room - if you are meeting visitors - meet them in the hotel lobby. Be careful when drinking with strangers.

Taxis: avoid unofficial or unmarked taxis. In Bishkek there is a taxi agency which is reasonable and responsible.
Driving: If you are involved in an accident contact your insurers as soon as practically possible. Protect your vehicle against theft and don’t leave your documents in an unattended vehicle.

Post: If you decide to post some things home - be careful to observe the rules about what can be posted - and what can’t. Don’t post things that you would hate to lose. Ask how long it will take. Make a note of any details of the package and ask for receipts of postage. If you send postcards - don’t be surp[rised if you arrive home before they do.
Avoid public demonstrations and large crowds. If there is trouble on the street - stay indoors. Keep yourselves informed of current affairs that may affect your personal safety whilst travelling abroad.
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