(Update, the blog is no longer active, but feel free to check out the archives!)
You’re going to Bishkek! Oh dang, what to do? Lonely Planet is probably long outdated and you just want something to eat. Calm down, pick a point, and go get a plate of lagman, or a coffee, or some really amazing ice cream. There are also places to avoid, a few night clubs and music venues, souvenir and antique shops, and places where you can see an opera or cultural show. Enjoy!
Note: This map is based on my personal experiences from living in Bishkek for three years. If something on this map is incorrect, it’s probably because either something changed since I moved away, or my memory disobeyed me. If you don’t see your favorite restaurant/shop/etc, leave a comment! I’m sure someone traveling to Bishkek would appreciate the advice, and I’m sure I’ll be bummed that I happened to miss out on such a cool place.
Star icon – a particular favorite of mine
Green – Restaurants and cafes
Blue – shopping
Red – sites to see
Orange – bars/night clubs/live music
Purple – hotels/guesthouses
Yellow – miscellaneous (grocery stores for particular items, tourism companies, transportation, etc)
Black – probably closed
(There are a few ski resorts that skew the initial overview of the map, so scoot it around and zoom in for the majority of the Bishkek locations.)
But wait, I’m not going to Bishkek/I’ll only be there for a day. Do you have tips for other places?
Possibly. I’ve been to several towns around Issyk Kul and Osh, Chon Kemin, Kochkor and Son-Kul. Farrell has been more towns than me, and we’ve organized research trips to even more. At the very least I could probably point you towards resources for places to stay/eat/etc.
But wait, I also spent some time in Bishkek and I can’t believe you didn’t put ____ on your map!
Leave a comment below if you’d like to recommend something that’s not already on the map, but know that it’s not meant to be a comprehensive map of everything that exists in Bishkek, just places that I know of and recommend (or not, check the notes). There are certain neighborhoods I spent little to no time in, so I don’t know what’s available. There are sites I never got around to seeing. There are new places that opened up since I’ve left. There are places that closed down before I arrived. Or maybe it is already on the map and you didn’t see it the first time you scrolled through.