Kyrgyzstan Travel Advice

Security travel advice for Kyrgyzstan

How safe is Kyrgyzstan?

Threat level: Medium
The current general travel advice is to be aware, as political unrest is rife throughout the country. There have been some reports of terrorism in the country but the underlying threat is not immense. In 2015, the Kyrgyzstani security forces conducted a number of anti-terrorism operations which lead to the death of many suspects and some law enforcement officials too.

The travel advice is that you should remain vigilant around the country’s borders as these are often areas of dispute, which can lead to clashes between countries along the border.

Protests and demonstrations frequently break out in the capital and around political buildings in the country, often with very little notice. Although many of these protests intend to be peaceful, they can often turn violent and aggressive so you should avoid such areas.

The border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan is not clearly demarcated, and as such, tensions between the two countries have arisen. Uzbekistan stationed around 40 soldiers on the border in 2016 to which Kyrgyzstan retaliated by employing its own troops. The border joining Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is also disputed and there can sometimes be clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In an exchange of gunfire in 2014, a Tajik citizen was killed in crossfire. You should exercise extreme caution if you are crossing the border.

In 2010, there was a serious inter-ethnic violence incident in southern Kyrgyzstan, which resulted in 400 fatalities and over 100,000 citizens displaced.

On the 30th of August 2016, a suicide bomber drove his car into the Chinese embassy in Bishkek. The explosion injured three employees. It was reported that the Turkestan Islamic Party was responsible for the attack.

Muggings and theft are regular occurrences, and crime is the biggest threat to travellers. You should take extra care during your travels, particularly at night time. You should not display large amounts of money or signs of wealth when travelling in Kyrgyzstan in order to reduce the likelihood of muggings.

Kyrgyzstan's International Relations

Kyrgyzstan has close international relations with countries such as Kazakhstan and Russia, based on their communal membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States. It also enjoys positive relations with the likes of Turkey who was the first country to recognise its independence. It is a member of the OSCE, the CIS, and the United Nations.

Kyrgyzstan’s diplomatic relations with neighbouring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are strained due to disputes in ownership of borders.

Travelling around Kyrgyzstan

The borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are liable to closures without warning, especially if there is an incident between the countries at the border. You should check in advance if you plan to travel via these borders. You should use only official crossing points in the area, as there is a risk of land mines at unrecognised crossing points.

Drink-driving and hit and runs are big problems in the country, so you must ensure you are alert when driving. Pot holes and poor lighting, even in the large cities, are common on the roads and can cause accidents if you do not drive with caution. Be aware that local drivers may not stop at red lights, however do not follow them if they choose to do this.

You must have an international driving permit, as well as a valid driving licence issued in your country in order to hire or drive a vehicle in Kyrgyzstan. If you are hiring a vehicle, it is advised that you do not hand over your passport as a deposit. Make sure you are fully aware of the fine print when hiring a vehicle, especially with regards to damage to the vehicle.

Public transport is not reliable and can get very crowded. Be vigilant in taxis too, as drivers often charge more if you do not negotiate a price beforehand. Do not use unlicensed taxis, or get into a taxi that already contains a passenger.

Earthquakes in the Dominican Republic

Regular tremors mean there is a high risk of earthquakes in Kyrgyzstan. You should ensure that you know the protocol for if you are caught in an earthquake before you travel to the country. You should also remain alert to announcements from local authorities and the Kyrgyzstani government.

Emergency services in Kyrgyzstan:

Police emergency: 102
Medical emergency: 103
Fire emergency: 101

Kyrgyzstan Overview

Capital: Bishkek
Official languages: Kyrgyz (national) Russian (official)
Religion: Islam
Currency: Som
Time now in Bishkek:

Consular information for Kyrgyzstan

U.S. Embassy Bishkek
171 Prospect Mira,
Bishkek 720016,
Kyrgyz Republic,
Kyrgyzstan
Telephone: +996 312 551 241
Telephone (Out of hours): +996 312 551 262
Email: consularbishkek@state.gov

British Embassy Kyrgyz Republic
21 Erkindik Boulevard,
Office 404,
Bishkek,
720040
Kyrgyzstan
Telephone: +996 312 303 637
Email: ukin.kyrgyzrepublic@fco.gov.uk
Consular enquiries: consular.bishkek@fco.gov.uk

Visa requirements for Kyrgyzstan

If your visit to Kyrgyzstan is less than 60 days, most foreign nationals including British, American and Canadians will be able to enter the country without requiring a visa. The validity of your passport should extend to at least three months beyond your intended stay. If you are unsure whether you require a visa for Kyrgyzstan, contact your local Kyrgyzstani embassy for more details.

Healthcare and Immunisations

It is advised that visitors to Kyrgyzstan are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations.

Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in Kyrgyzstan, if you have been in a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.

Medical facilities in Kyrgyzstan are not up to Western standard. You may have to travel outside of the country to receive medical treatment and basic medications may not be available. Hospitals and doctors will often expect cash payment before treatment, so ensure that you have adequate travel and health insurance.

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    Map of Kyrgyzstan

      Disclaimer:
      You are responsible for your own safety abroad and for making the decision to travel.

      The information contained in this Travel Advice for Kyrgyzstan is provided for information only. Whilst care is taken to ensure that this country brief is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, it is provided on an "as is" basis without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Intelligent Protection International Limited does not assume responsibility and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.