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 .