Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Expat Exchange Rental Properties

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

What do I need to know about living in Bishkek?

Live in Bishkek? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Bishkek, they said:

"Because of lingering Soviet-style centralization and unease with western entrepreneurship, as well as a lot of official barriers to foreigners doing much, try to set up something before you go. People are friendly and relaxed, compared to Almaty for example, so you should be able to do some networking. Rent is rising fast but still cheap, and most other things (except imports) are very cheap by the standards of any western country," commented one expat who made the move to Bishkek.

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Expats living in Kyrgyzstan interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

How do I meet people in Bishkek?

Live in Bishkek? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Bishkek about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Not many organized groups I heard of except the Harriers, a running/socializing group that meets every week. However, there are a load of volunteer activities, especially tutoring in English," remarked another expat who made the move to Bishkek.

What is life like in Bishkek?

Live in Bishkek? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Bishkek what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Family is easily the main focus, with work a distant second for all except the richest and poorest (which make up about half of the city and are busy but nearly unemployed). Socializing is pretty limited except the most informal family visits because there are so few evening activities and it seems pretty dangerous after 11 pm. For expats, dinner out is very common because it's pretty tasty and very cheap," commented one expat who made the move to Bishkek.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Bishkek accepting of differences?

Live in Bishkek? Answer this Question

"There is a fair amount of diversity, though not that many expats for a capital. No real ethnic areas. It isn't hard to meet people if you want, though it's hard to cast a wide net if you don't know Russian, and Kyrgyz are annoyed if you know none of theirs. The markets are a major diversion, especially the big Osj bazaar toward the west," said another expat in Bishkek.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Information about healthcare and hospitals in Kyrgyzstan.

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Bishkek, KyrgyzstanExpats Talk about Living in Bishkek

Expats talk about what it's like living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Bishkek Should Know

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Bishkek

One expat shares her experiences adjusting to life in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She appreciates the folk music and handicrafts, but has had lots of issues with food poisoning and squatting toilets!

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Bishkek, KyrgyzstanGuide to Living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Bishkek

Kyrgyzstan Forum Kyrgyzstan Forum
Join our Kyrgyzstan forum to meet other people living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Bishkek.

Healthcare in KyrgyzstanHealthcare in Kyrgyzstan

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek, KyrgyzstanMoving to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Bishkek: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Bishkek, KyrgyzstanExpats Talk about Living in Bishkek

Expats talk about what it's like living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Bishkek Should Know

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Bishkek

One expat shares her experiences adjusting to life in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She appreciates the folk music and handicrafts, but has had lots of issues with food poisoning and squatting toilets!

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