About Kyrgyzstan

Area: 198 500 sq km (77 181 sq mi), 94% of which is mountains.
The country’s average elevation is 2750 m. About 40% of it is over 3000 m high, with three-quarters under permanent snow and glaciers
Location: Situated in the North East of Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan in the North, North-Western China in the South and East, and Uzbekistan in the West
Population: 5 482 000 people (2009)
Capital: Bishkek. Population: 865 527 people (2009)
GDP (nominal): US$ 863 per capita (2010)
Time: 6 hours ahead of GMT/UTC (no daylight saving time)
Climate: January: the warmest average is –4C/25F in the south and around Issyk-Kul Lake, the coldest average is -30C/-22F in high mountain valleys.
July: average is +27C/80.6F in the south to -10C/14F on the highest mountain peaks (6000m-7000m)
Continental, dry continental to polar in high Tien-Shan; subtropical in south-west (Fergana Valley)
Languages: Kyrgyz (state), Russian (official). English is widely spoken in travel agencies, hotels and medium & high end restaurants
Nationalities: Kyrgyz 69%, Uzbek 14%, Russian 9%, other 8%
Religions: Muslim 80%, Russian Orthodox 17%, other 3%
Health: No vaccinations for entry required
Safety: Usual precautions taken by travellers in any foreign country should be sufficient.
National currency: 1 Som = 100 tyiyn (October 2015: USD 1 = KGS 68 = EUR 78)
Changing Money: Money may be changed at banks or exchange bureaus. USD, EUR, CHFr, GBP in cash are welcome. Credit cards: VISA is widely accepted in ATMS, hotels and supermarkets in Bishkek, Mastercard much less so. No USD-bills issued prior to 1990 are acceptable because the silver thread is missing. Money changers will not accept folded, old, marked or tatty bills for exchange. They are unusually fussy.
Tipping: 5 to 10% extra for service in hotels as well as in the medium & high level restaurants.
No tips for taxis are expected.
Official holidays: January 1 – New Year; January 7 – Russian Christmas; March 21 – Nooruz, New Year Day of Equinox; May 1 – International Worker’s Day; May 5 – Constitution Day; May 9 – World War Two Victory Day; August 31 – Independence Day.

Muslim holidays determined by the Lunar Calendar: Orozo-Ayt and Kurman-Ayt

Best travel time: May through September
International Airports: Manas (35 km from Bishkek), Osh (5 km from Osh).