Kyrgyzstan. A country with spectacular nature, kind-hearted people… and super affordable!
A true traveller’s paradise.
In our 23 days of travelling the country we spent only 820€. For two people.
That make just 410€ per Person — an average of 18€ per Day!
Do I even need to continue?…
Well, here goes a complete cost report of our trip through Kyrgyzstan. I hope it will help you plan your budget for your trip to this amazing destination.
Note: I travelled Kyrgyzstan for a total of 5 weeks. Since my sister left me after 23 days, however, I only included those expenses as most of you will likely travel as a pair as well. Of course, it is always cheaper to travel with other people as you get to share many expenses like transportation and accomodation. If you are a solo traveller you might want to team up with some other people so save money.
With 177€ in total, accommodation was our second highest expense.
Since we had brought our own tent we always tried to camp for free as often as possible. If that wasn’t possible we usually chose simple guest houses or hostels.
Some accommodations, like the Trekking Center in Bokonbaevo, were more expensive but included full-board. In those cases we didn’t need to pay for any food which put the high price into perspective.
Moreover, we got invited by our friendly hosts to stay in their yurts or guest rooms for free a couple of times.
This way, in our three weeks of travelling, we only stayed in a payed accommodation for 16 nights.
|Accommodation||Nights||Amount in KGS||Amount in €|
|Capsule Hotel — Bischkek||2||KGS 2,600.00||32.8 €|
|Apple Hostel — Cholpon Ata||3||KGS 1,487.80||20.3 €|
|Camping at Nice Hostel — Karakol||3||KGS 600.00||7.5 €|
|Trekking Center — Bokonbaev||2||KGS 3,320.00||42.6 €|
|Guest House — Kotschkor||2||KGS 1,400.00||18.0 €|
|Ainura Guest House — Naryn||3||KGS 2,400.00||30.9 €|
|Guest House — At-Bashy||1||KGS 1,400.00||18.0 €|
|Amigos Hostel — Bishkek||1||KGS 560.00||7.0 €|
|Total||16||KGS 13,767.80||177.08 €|
As you can see, our average cost per night was 11€. Divide that by two and you end up with a ridiculously cheap 5.5€ a night per person.
Important to note is that this does not mean that we stayed in dirty, rundown 20-bed hostel dorms. Most of the times, we got a nice little double room and if we did end up in a hostel dorm, the owners usually tried to put you in an empty one so you never really had to share rooms with more than one or two other people.
Kyrgyzstan has a very functional infrastructure as long as you keep to the main tourist routes. As soon as you veer away from them you are often left with little to no transport options.
That’s why often our only choice was to take a taxi. However, these always require a set price in advance (unless in Bischkek) and are very affordable.
For long distances, we always tried to take Marschrutkas; small mini busses that have a (more or less) set time table and shuttle between bigger cities and towns. Everyone pays the same price and it leaves once the bus is full.
Pretty much anything below the Issyk Kul, however, has very bad infrastructure. As the country is very mountainous, the streets often wind up and down the passes in narrow hair-pin bends and are dangerous in bad weather. As of 2018 there were no main bus lines connecting the south with the north. In those cases we paired up with other travellers and locals and paid for a shared taxi.
In total, we still only spent 130€ (65€ per person) for transportation in three weeks of travelling across the whole country.
|Transportation||Amount in KGS||Amount in €|
|Marschrutka Tokmak — Cholpon-Ata||KGS 500.00||6.3 €|
|Trip to Burana Tower||KGS 550.00||6.9 €|
|Marschrutka Bischkek — Tokmak||KGS 100.00||1.3 €|
|Taxi to Bishkek Bus Station||KGS 110.00||1.4 €|
|Taxi in Karakol||KGS 70.00||0.9 €|
|Marschrutka Cholpon-Ata — Karakol||KGS 300.00||3.8 €|
|Marschrutka Ak-Suul — Karakol||KGS 60.00||0.8 €|
|Marschrutka to Karakol Market||KGS 20.00||0.3 €|
|Marschrutka from Karakol Market||KGS 20.00||0.3 €|
|Taxi to Starting Point of Trek||KGS 500.00||6.3 €|
|Marschrutka in Karakol||KGS 40.00||0.5 €|
|Offroad hitch to Karakol||KGS 500.00||6.3 €|
|Marschrutka Karakol — Bokonbaev||KGS 400.00||5.1 €|
|Trip to Skaska Canyon & Waterfall||KGS 1,200.00||15.2 €|
|Taxi to/from Bokonbaevo Festival||KGS 360.00||4.6 €|
|Shared Taxi Bokonbaevo — Kotschkor||KGS 860.00||11.0 €|
|Shared Taxi Kochkor — Naryn||KGS 600.00||7.7 €|
|Shared Taxi Naryn — At-Bashy||KGS 200.00||2.6 €|
|Taxi in Naryn||KGS 50.00||0.6 €|
|Marschrutka in At-Bashy||KGS 30.00||0.4 €|
|Shared Taxi At-Bashy — Naryn||KGS 200.00||2.5 €|
|Trip to Tash Rabat||KGS 2,000.00||25.7 €|
|Taxi in Naryn||KGS 40.00||0.5 €|
|Taxi in Naryn||KGS 30.00||0.4 €|
|Taxi Naryn — Eki-Naryn||KGS 500.00||6.3 €|
|Taxi Naryn — Bishkek||KGS 1,000.00||12.4 €|
|Total||KGS 10,240.00||130.0 €|
As the saying goes: “Spend money on experiences, not things.”
And that we did… Activites were our largest expense by far.
With just 351€ in total, or 175.5€ per person, we did a whole bunch of amazing things.
The most expensive one was a 4-day-horse trek but the price included three nights in yurts, full-board, transfer from and to Naryn, the horses and the gear as well as the pay for our lovely guide Nargiza. All in all, a very fair price.
And let’s not forget that we bought the three fluffiest, sweetest and most stubborn donkeys in all of Central Asia (at least) to take on a trek through the beautiful scenery of the Naryn region.
While Kyrgyzstan is a country where you can easily just explore the nature and never spend a single cent on organized activites, I highly recommend to try at least a few. You will remember the delicious Lagman you cooked up with the two old Kyrgyz ladies for the rest of your life — promise.
|Activities||Amount in KGS||Amount in €|
|Hot Springs Ala-Kul-Trek||KGS 400.00||5.1 €|
|Festival Tickets Birds of Prey Bokonbaevo||KGS 1,600.00||20.5 €|
|Horse Trekking Son Kul||KGS 18,700.00||240.7 €|
|Cooking Class||KGS 1,000.00||12.9 €|
|Handicraft Workshop||KGS 1,500.00||19.3 €|
|Donkeys||KGS 4,200.00||52.2 €|
|Total||KGS 27,400.00||350.7 €|
The Sightseeing-Category includes all our entries and things that didn’t really count as an activity. That might be a museums entrance or the entry fee for a national park.
These are usually very small expenses. The average entry fee seemed to range somewhere between 100 and 200 KGS.
|Sightseeing||Amount in KGS||Amount in €|
|Museum Cholpon Ata||KGS 160.00||2.0 €|
|Petroglyphs Cholpon Ata||KGS 160.00||2.0 €|
|Entrance National Park Ala Kol||KGS 650.00||8.2 €|
|Entrance Skaska Canyon||KGS 100.00||1.3 €|
|Entrance Tash Rabat||KGS 200.00||2.6 €|
|Total||KGS 1,270.00||16.1 €|
Since Kyrgyzstan is a very cheap country we usually didn’t bother to cook up our own meals and ate out most of the times. Our grocery expenses are made up mainly from ice tea purchases, to which we both got strangely addicted on our trip.
On top comes all the food we bought in advance to take on our longer treks and quick lunches from the market consisting of freshly baked bread with some cheese and veggies. Throw in the occasional snacks and ice creams and we end up with a whooping 44€ or 22€ per person.
As I mentioned before, food is very cheap in Kyrgyzstan and so we often ate our meals in small restaurants.
Kyrgyz meals are very diverse and combine elements from both Asian an European cuisine. Skip the touristy places with burgers and pizza and try to find those places the locals visit as well. You can get a full table of delicious traditional food for less than 5€ at these and in addition you get to see the real Kyrgyzstan.
An average meal cost us just 3€ per person and in total we spent 71.5€ (35€ per person) on restaurants on our whole trip.
|Restaurants||Amount in KGS||Amount in €|
|Dinner Cholpon Ata||KGS 900.00||11.3 €|
|Lunch Cholpon Ata||KGS 500.00||6.3 €|
|Breakfast Cholpon Ata||KGS 360.00||4.5 €|
|Dinner & Breakfast Ala Atscha||KGS 800.00||10.1 €|
|Dinner Kotschkor||KGS 370.00||4.8 €|
|Lunch Kotschkor||KGS 260.00||3.3 €|
|Dinner Naryn||KGS 470.00||6.0 €|
|Breakfast Naryn||KGS 320.00||4.1 €|
|Dinner Naryn||KGS 676.00||8.5 €|
|Lunch & Dinner Naryn||KGS 696.00||8.8 €|
|Lunch Gasstop||KGS 300.00||3.8 €|
|Total||KGS 5,652.00||71.5 €|
Shopping & General
While I did do my fair share of souvenir shopping in Kyrgyzstan, this category only includes relevant purchases such as maps, sim cards, laundry and fuel for our camping cooker.
Note: I disregarded my clothes and souvenir purchases as not everyone enjoys shopping. These expenses were pure extra luxury, just like other people pay more for the occasional alcoholic drink or for a specific hobby like diving.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to reserve a little bit of money for those luxury purchases when planning your budget.