Archive for the ‘Traveling Kyrghyz Republic’ Category

Kyrghyzstan currency is called som .

When I first arrived there on June 3rd of 2016 , one US dollar was about 73 som , and by the time of my leaving the country on July 15th of 2016 , it was about 68 som .

While the  Kyrghyz government tries to devalue the US dollar , privately owned banks prefer to give loans to their customers in the US currency  . Also , when I read  ads in the local newspaper , I noticed that most ppl wanted a price for their house , apartment , land , or a car written in US dollars . Some do that because they plan to move to a different country and don’t want to deal with an exchange of a large sum of som later on . Some take a chance and wait for the value of a dollar to go up and make money by selling it later . All this keeps the value of a dollar somewhat steady and Foreign Currency Exchange businesses in business .

Speaking of foreign currency exchange , there are many banks and small businesses in Kyrghyzstan that will do it for you , but you have to know a few things about how those banks and currency exchange shops operate .

Your dollar has to meet their criteria . If your bill does not meet the criteria , a business has the right to refuse to exchange it . And I’m not talking about fake bills .

1 . Your bills can not have stamps from other banks or any handwriting on them .

2. A hundred dollar bill is preferred . A fifty dollar bill is occasionally exchanged but not readily accepted by most exchange businesses .

3 . Twenty , ten , five , and one dollar bills are not accepted . At least in those shops I went to .

4 . Older hundred dollar bills without the blue stripe may be exchanged for lesser amount of som than the newer bills .

5 . Very old hundred dollar bills are not accepted at all even if they are in a good condition . ( I will follow up with an exact date in a few weeks ) .

As you can see on the photo above , my fifty dollar bill had a handwriting on it and a bank stamp in the back . Other bills were not just not accepted . I was insulted by a bank teller just for showing the bills to her . ( LOL , followed by a sigh  ). Yes , be ready to meat rude bank tellers .

In conclusion , if you want to be ready for your vacation in Kyrghyzstan , bring only new crispy hundred dollar bills with a blue stripe .

Fortunately for travelers , most people in Kyrghyzstan are very friendly . I think it makes up for a few encounters with rude ppl .


I was born in a small village in Kazakstan , a country that was a part of Soviet Union at that time . The village was a quiet place mostly because it was very far away from major cities . The life was very slow  and nothing ever happened there to be worthy of any news . Partly because there weren’t many opportunities job wise and in part because of cold winters , our whole family of eight made a decision to move south .

My mom picked a town in Kyrghyzstan . It had 12 public schools , a medical college ( which she graduated a few years later ) ,  paved roads , a train station , hospitals , shops , and a huge government financed sport complex where my dad got his job as a wrestling team coach . That was a big change …

Many years forward , most of my family members still live in Kyrghyzstan , while America is my  home now . I haven’t been to Kyrghyzstan ever since I left it in 1998 . This summer , I have an opportunity to visit there . I am excited and I have my concerns as well . My main purpose will be to see my family . I also want to take notes on how things have changed since Kyrghyzstan obtained its independence .

I went online to try and fish out any useful information on traveling Kyrghyzstan . Honestly , not much info out there that one can call useful . I have read the opinions of some travelers that had unpleasant experiences with the locals and some with the authorities , which makes you think going there is a bad idea …

If you are like me and have your mind made up about visiting Kyrgyzstan in a near future , I will do my best to make this blog as informative as possible to you or anyone who’s curious about this small country .

I got my ticket trough Travelocity , and I already have my new shiny American passport . The flight is on June 1st and I can’t wait .

To be continued ….