3-Day Bishkek Itinerary And Travel Guide With Budget All-In

3-Day Bishkek Itinerary And Travel Guide With Budget All-In

By DAN FORTEZA

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Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, is actually just a 5-hour drive from Almaty, Kazakhstan. But since I was entering the country through visa-on-arrival, I flew in to Bishkek airport (from Almaty) where my visa can only be processed. And just like Almaty, the Kyrgyz capital still has retained its former Soviet Asian flavor.

Read also my Almaty budget itinerary and travel guide blog.

With numerous green spaces, parks, and gardens alongside Soviet-era buildings and monuments, you’ll start to appreciate more of this underrated city. Even though you’re only staying for a short period of time, you’ll definitely enjoy the most of it. That’s why to help you jumpstart your next holiday here, I’ve compiled my 3-day Bishkek itinerary and travel guide which includes the detailed cost breakdown of my day-to-day expenses!

Hi there! First of all, I am Daniel – a solo backpacker from the Philippines. If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about how I quit my job in order to travel. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.

Me with the Kyrgyzstan flag | Dantravels.org

DO YOU NEED A VISA FOR KYRGYZSTAN?

Depending on your nationality, you might or might not need a visa. Check out my Kyrgyzstan visa guide to check if you’re legible for a visa on arrival or no visa at all.

Read also how I get my Kyrgyz visa-on-arrival at Manas Airport in Kyrgyzstan.

WHERE IS BISHKEK?

Bishkek is the capital city of Kyrgyzstan–the second Central Asian country I’ve been to. It is situated in the central part of the Chui Valley at the foot of the Kyrgyz range of the Ala-Too Mountains. It is only a 30-minute drive to the Kazakh border of Korday and approximately 5 hours to the big city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. By plane, it is a little more than 4 hours of flight from Moscow, Russia or almost 2 hours from Astana, Kazakhstan.

Language: Kyrgyz and Russian
Currency: Kyrgyzstani Som (KGS)
Airport: FRU (Bishkek-Manas)
Preferred mode of transportation: Bus / Marshrutka (Minivan)
Time Zone: GMT +6

FLIGHTS TO BISHKEK:

Finding a cheap flight ticket to Bishkek from Europe and Central Asia is relatively easy. I booked mine coming from Almaty, Kazahkstan via Astana Airlines. If you’re also entering Kyrgyzstan through visa-on-arrival, your visa can ONLY be processed at the Bishkek (Manas) Airport.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

HOW I GOT TO THE CITY:

I arrived at Bishkek-Manas International Airport (FRU)  at around 8:00 PM from a 30-minute flight from Almaty Airport (ALA).

I spent my first night in Kyrgyzstan sleeping within the airport’s waiting area. The next morning, I took the very first trip of Marshrutka (public minivan) going to the city downtown. Minivan #380 runs from Airport to Bishkek (and vice versa) as early as 6:00 AM.

I have a really weird story about losing my phone while taking this photo of Marshrutka #380.

Airport van (Marshrutka #380) | Dantravels.org
Airport van (Marshrutka #380) | Dantravels.org

NOTE: Same as in the Kazakh cities of Astana and Almaty, 2GIS offline maps app also works really well in Bishkek.

When plotting the route from the airport to my hostel using 2GIS map app, it has to be two marshrutka rides:

  • 50 KGS (0.72 USD) – Marshrutka #380  and then transfer to;
  • 10 KGS (0.14 USD) – Marshrutka #243

From getting off at the nearest bus stop to my hostel, I then walked about 10 to 15 minutes to reach my hostel (Imagine Hostel) using my 2GIS offline Maps.

WHERE DID I STAY?

  • Imagine Hostel (click here to book)
    • Hostel room type: Bunk Bed in Mixed Dormitory Room
    • Hostel rate: 217 KGS (3.10 USD) per night
    • How to get there:  10-minute walk from the nearest bus stop.

You can book a room at any hotel in Bishkek through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

If Bishkek hotel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 42 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link.

HOW TO GET AROUND BISHKEK?

    • By Bus (and Trolleybus). Buses run a fair network of routes in Bishkek. Single-trip tickets cost 10 KGS (0.14 USD). 
    • By Marshrutka. These minivans are faster and somewhat more frequent than buses. However, they can be uncomfortably overfull and with claustrophobically low ceilings. Single-trip tickets also cost 10 KGS (0.14 USD). 

NOTE: The very useful 2GIS offline map app helps you plot your route and shows you in real-time which numbered buses and marshrutkas are due to arrive at which bus stop. The 2GIS app also works even without internet data.

    • By Foot. Get your feet ready as you will walk to many places in Bishkek, too. And as I mentioned in my budget travel tips blog – “walk as much as you can!
    • By Taxi. Taxis are excellent but rather expensive.

MY 3-DAY BISHKEK ITINERARY

DAY 1

1st Stop: Ala-Too Square

Any visit to Bishkek will include passing by or spending some time at Ala-Too Square. The main attractions are all nearby, within walking distance – History Museum, various parks, shopping centers, etc. The Manas statue, the giant state flag, and the standing guards make each day special here. It is must-see for any tourist in Kyrgyzstan!

Ala-Too Square
Ala-Too Square | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got here: By Marshrutka from hostel (using my 2GIS Maps app)

2nd Stop: State History Museum

The museum was closed when I went to visit. But it is still a worthwhile museum to take a picture together with its huge building.

State History Museum
State History Museum | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • How I got here: By foot (this is within Ala-Too Square)

3rd Stop: Panfilov Park

This park has a lot of amusement rides that kids would love and adults alike. It is a beautifully designed park, and looked great during the autumn months, with the leaves changing colors. I enjoyed my time there just relaxing.

Panfilov Park
Panfilov Park | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got here: By foot from Ala-Too Square

4th Stop: Osh Bazaar

Osh Bazaar is one of the biggest marketplaces in Bishkek. The Bazaar offers an amazing assortment of just about anything from clothing to food, meat, cheese, dried fruits, and spices. This place is full of crowds during weekends though.

Osh Bazaar
Osh Bazaar | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-3 hours
    • How I got here: By Marshrutka from a bus stop near Panfilov Park (using my 2GIS Maps app)

DAY 2 (ALA ARCHA GORGE)

5th Stop: One-day tour to Ala-Archa Gorge

The must-visit Ala Archa National Park in the Tian Shan mountains is located 39 km from Bishkek. It is a perfect place for hiking or camping surrounded by impressive views on high rocky peaks and beautiful rivers.

Luckily, I found and joined a Couchsurfing (CS) event in Bishkek going to Ala Archa National Park. The event was organized by Mirel (a Kyrgyz local) and her friends. There were local Kyrgyzstanis who joined as well as myself—a foreigner. I was the only foreigner who joined from CS because other CS joiners have backed out. Well, it happens all the time in CS, I’m not surprised.

The Vika Tour team in Bishkek | Dantravels.org

But…kudos to Mirel and her friends who made this event a memorable one for me and for everyone else for sure. They actually have a facebook page in case you might want to contact them.

NOTE: I paid 500 KGS (7.16 USD) to join this event. It includes the cost of transportation and food. Not bad!

Here is a quick timeline for our activities:

10:45 AM – We left the meetup point at Moto Center, Bishkek.

11:00 AM- We had a stopover at Globus supermarket to buy some food and snacks.

12:00 NN – We finally arrived at Ala-Archa National Park

12:10 PM – We had a one-by-one introduction of ourselves. I don’t understand what they were saying ‘cause they all speak in Russian.

12:20 PM – We walked around and explored the areas of the national park, took pics and made all that goofy stuff like dancing—you probably would see me dancing in some of their videos. Haha. Please don’t tag me!

1:20 PM –  We went back to the car and headed to the picnic area. It was cold at 7 deg C but we had vodka to warm us up a bit. We also had other sorts of different snacks. We also cooked a Kyrgyz dish called ‘dymdama’.

5:00 PM – We packed up and left the picnic area and headed back to the city.

6:00 PM – We arrived back in Bishkek City.

Mirel and I at Ala Archa Gorge | Dantravels.org
Mirel and I at Ala Archa Gorge | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): the whole freakin’ day!
    • How I got here: By Marshrutska to the meetup point (using my 2GIS Maps app)

DAY 3

6th Stop: Victory Park

Victory Park is located on the southern edge of Bishkek and is not to be confused with Victory Square (my 8th stop). The park is a beautifully maintained area with many trees and flower beds. This monument with three columns joined at the top by a pyramid shape is the centerpiece of the park.

Victory Park in Bishkek
Victory Park | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got here: By Marshrutka from hostel (using my 2GIS Maps app)

7th Stop: Boulevard Erkindik

Boulevard Erkindik (also known as Dzerzhinka) is one of the most popular places in Bishkek. The long densely forested street is beautiful and is totally loved by locals.

Boulevard Erkindik
Boulevard Erkindik | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got here: By Marshrutka from Victory Park (using my 2GIS Maps app)

8th Stop: Victory Square

The Victory Square houses an eternal flame to those who perished in WW2. The three massive arches depict a yurt (a traditional nomad house in Central Asia) and the statue of a woman. When I visited it on a rainy afternoon, a wedding ceremony is taken place.

Victory Square in Bishkek
Victory Square | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • How I got here: By foot from Erkindik Blvd.

9th Stop: Bishkek Park (Mall)

Take your time and spend an afternoon wandering here. Bishkek Park is a new mall that has virtually all the brands under one roof. It has good food courts, supermarket, and many fashion retail stores.

Bishkek Park (Mall)
Bishkek Park (Mall) | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1-2 hours
    • How I got here: By Marshrutka from Victory Square (using my 2GIS Maps app)

10th Stop: Panorama Bishkek 

Panorama Bishkek offers you a good viewpoint of the entire city of Bishkek. I went here one evening with my Kyrgyz friend Bektur driving in his car.

NOTE: You can also get there by marshrutka #200 and then just walk for 30 minutes towards the viewpoint. Better if you go during daytime.

Panorama Bishkek 

The photo you see with those flashy lights is actually NOT the view Bektur and I have seen. But still…that’s a photo taken from the viewpoint which I randomly borrowed from Google. Haha!

Panorama Bishkek with smog

Unfortunately when we’ve arrived, it was dark and with no flashy lights as I would expect. I suspect it’s because of the smog that covers the city that night.

Anyhow, Bektur gave me a dinner treat after going to the viewpoint. A free Laghman (central Asian noodle dish) is not something disappointing after all! Haha!

A dinner treat from Bektur | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 3-4 hours
    • How I got here: By my friend’s car (but you can also go by Marshrutka then just hike up a bit!)

COUCHSURFING IN BISHKEK

On the next two days in Bishkek, I have actually spent it staying with a Couchsurfing host! I didn’t do much at that time since I was working on my two websites. That’s why I won’t be including my expenses during those two days.

But anyway, here is Ermek (right) from Bishkek–a very friendly host! We are having dinner together with his flatmate, Bakytbek.

Ermek (Right) from Couchsurfing Bishkek | Dantravels.org
Ermek (Right) and his room mate | Dantravels.org

MY 3-DAY EXPENSES IN BISHKEK

  • Day 0 (Arrival at Hostel, Rest)
    • 63.78 USD (4,454.12 KGS) – Flight from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I pre-booked it online at Kayak.
    • 50 USD (3,492 KGS) – visa-on-arrival fee
    • 50 KGS – Fare, Airport minivan #380 to the city
    • 10 KGS – Fare, Transfer minivan to my hostel
    • 867 KGS – 4-Night stay in Imagine Hostel
    • 120 KGS – sim card with internet
    • NOTE: I still have some bread and cup noodles I bought in Almaty
    • Subtotal:  8993.12 KGS (128.78 USD)
  • Day 1
    •  50 KGS – Some bread
    • 30 KGS – 3 x coffee in a pack
    • 38 KGS – Instant noodles
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Hostel to Ala-Too Square
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Panfilov Park to Osh Bazaar
    • 130 KGS – Laghman meal
    • 150 KGS – haircut
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Osh Bazaar to Hostel
    • Subtotal: 428 KGS (6.13 USD)
  • Day 2
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from hostel to CS event meetup point
    • 500 KGS – Tour fee (includes transportation and FOOD!)
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from somewhere in the city to my hostel
    • NOTE: Mirel lets me bring some leftover food and I had it for dinner.
    • Subtotal: 520 KGS (7.45 USD)
  • Day 3
    • 60 KGS – Cookies
    • 30 KGS – 3x Coffee in a pack
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from hostel to Victory Park
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Victory Park to Erkindik Blvd.
    • 50 KGS – Food (corn)
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Victory Square to Bishkek Park Mall
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from Bishkek Park Mall to Hostel
    • NOTE: I got a dinner treat from Bektur that night.
    • Subtotal: 180 KGS (2.58 USD)
  • Last Day (Departure)
    • 129 KGS – 3x Instant Cup Noodles
    • 10 KGS – Fare, minivan from my CS host to Airport bus stop
    • 50 KGS – Fare, minivan #380 to Bishkek-Manas airport
    • 10 KGS – Hot water for my Cup Noodles
    • 114.85 USD (8,020.63 KGS) – Flight from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I pre-booked it online at Kayak.
    • Subtotal: 8219.68 KGS (117.70 USD)

Read also my Tashkent budget itinerary with travel guide blog.

Total Expenses: 262.6 USD (13,331 PHP)

What do you think of this 3-day Bishkek itinerary?

I hope that you find this 3-DAY BISHKEK BUDGET ITINERARY and TRAVEL GUIDE blog useful!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.

RECOMMENDED PACKAGE TOURS

In case you’re also looking for package tours to simply jumpstart your actual itinerary, I highly recommend booking tours through Viator which is perfect for your Bishkek itinerary. See tours and packages I personally handpicked for you:

BOOKING ESSENTIALS

  • Hotel / Hostel
    • Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it for your Bishkek itinerary.  Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
    • Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Bishkek itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

  • Flights
    • KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

  • Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) Package tours
    • Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.

Click here to find the best Viator deals in Bishkek!

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