Australian Embassy, Moscow
Australia does not have government representation in Kyrgyzstan; all consular assistance is provided by the Australian Embassy in Russia.
The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
Kyrgyzstan is usually GMT + 5 hours. However during a certain period of time in the year, the timezone is changed to GMT + 6 hours making them 4/5 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com or www.timeanddate.com
Voltages and Plugs
Kyrgyzstan uses 220 volts. Plugs are generally of the two-round-pronged European type.
To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
The currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyz Som (KGS)
Kyrgyzstan Som = 100 tyiyn. Banknotes are in denominations of Som 5000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1.
Newly introduced coins exist in denominations of 1, 3 and 5 som plus 50, 10 and 1 tyiyn which can hardly be used anywhere.
Credit Cards and ATM machines
ATMs are the easiest way to access your money – WHEN AVAILABLE. They only available in Bishkek, Osh and Karakol. Most accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. ATMs are not available outside larger cities. Outside of Bishkek the acceptance of credit/debit cards is very limited. In Bishkek credit cards are accepted in some of the major hotels, restaurants and cafes, however they should not be relied on as your only means of accessing money.
Please note that using a credit card in foreign countries usually requires a “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
This country is predominantly a cash society. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and at authorised exchange offices which are located in abundance in Bishkek, Osh and the Issyk-Kul area. The US Dollar and Euro are the easiest currencies to exchange. You will get a better rate when changing largr denominations. Travellers Cheques are NO LONGER accepted.
Telephone & Communication
Most mobile telephones work in Kyrgyzstan and coverage is average in Bishkek (check with Telstra). Once outside of Bishkek you cannot be guaranteed of mobile coverage. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.
Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.
Internet access can only be relied on once you reach Bishkek.
If you have Web access while travelling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
Business Hours in Kyrgyzstan
Offices 09.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday.
Banks 09.00 – 16.00 Monday to Friday.
Shops 09.00 – 18.00 Daily including public holidays. Opening hours vary during different seasons.
- We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
- Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
- It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room.
- Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. You should avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket. Petty theft and scams are becoming more common.
- Trafic is a hazard. Please be vary careful of cars and bikes as they do not always obey the traffic lights.
What to Pack
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a raincoat or a waterproof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.
Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest
- comfortable walking shoes (very important)
- sunglasses, sunscreen, hat (for both hot and cold weather) and gloves
- raincoat and/or warm coat
- ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
- prescription medicines for the full duration of your time away and a written copy of your prescriptions including what they are for, provided by your doctor
- extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)
No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone; they may try to obtain money from you.
Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head covering (ie a scarf) in active churches. Men must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.
We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)