Your Unofficial Guide to Kyrgyz Republic

Made in KG: Show Me Bishkek — Bishkek Is Not Just a Transit Station

Made in KG: Show Me Bishkek — Bishkek Is Not Just a Transit Station

By Aidai Chekirova

And again GO KG is back with some more interesting businesses based in the Kyrgyz Republic worth your attention. Our list so far includes several from games and food manufacturers to peanut butter brands and eco-friendly houses. Our next section guest is Show Me Bishkek, a company, which proves that Bishkek is not just a transit station for trips around the Kyrgyz Republic.

We didn’t just learn something about Bishkek, we are a part of it.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek Manager

Bishkek, being one of the most popular cities in the post-Soviet countries, hosts many tourists, who enjoy its atmosphere and experience the country’s culture. It is not just a capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, it is a city with an interesting history and beautiful sights. Sometimes it’s even complimented by being called Berlin of Central Asia. No wonder there are companies, which help learning more about the city. Show Me Bishkek, a tour company offering a variety of tours around the city and its surroundings, is one of them. Andrey Osyanin, the company’s manager, told our journalist Aidai Chekirova what makes Show Me Bishkek unique.

The Idea

According to Andrey, the idea of tours in Bishkek came to him when he was in Berlin. He saw many different tour offers in one of the hostels. Andrey compared those with the Bishkek ones, which were limited to one city tour, a trip to Ala-Archa National Park and one to Burana Tower.

My team and I thought, why don’t we do something more. Why don’t we show day Bishkek and night city, why don’t we make a separate tour to Osh bazaar, tours to pubs, bars and interesting places. Many tourists are looking for night activities. Especially foreigners, who are afraid of walking to different places unaccompanied. We sat down and came up with 15 different programs at once.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek Manager

At the beginning, future guides were gathering and preparing at home. They put stickers on walls with names of Bishkek sights and tried to describe those places. Then the team began collecting more available information from Internet. It was followed by talking to people, who were older and knew more about Bishkek. As a result, Show Me Bishkek team put together something one will not find in a usual guidebook. Another benefit was that all Show Me Bishkek guides were local and knew a lot about their native city. The tours are available in four languages: Russian, Kyrgyz, English and French.

Despite that out project was launched out of the season, several tours were sold in December and January with more bookings for February and March. It was quite surprising and pleasant to me.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek Manager

Nooks and Crannies

Show Me Bishkek tour guides not only share some random facts about the city, but also share some personal experience and make visitors feel warm atmosphere of the city. For example, one of the guide’s mother has 18 years of experience at the Osh bazaar. She knows all the nooks and crannies where you can get fresh buns and nice clothes. 

Andrey himself has diaries of his great-grandfather, who moved to the Kyrgyz Republic in 1949. Reading them is even more interesting because of the emotional description of the events in them. Andrey shares those thoughts and stories of his great-grandfather with tourists.

Top Picks

The service includes a standard city tour, a Night Bishkek tour, one around Osh bazaar, a trip to the Ala-Archa National Park, one to Burana Tower and more to some other fascinating places. Andrey says the short standard city tour is the most popular one. It takes about three hours in the part of the city within Chui, Sovetskaia, Frunze and Panfilova streets. Guides show customers twenty attractions and two museums. The standard tour for one person costs USD 25.

At the beginning, we had a big city tour for the group, which lasted about seven hours. After five hours of walking, we invited our guests to one café and offered to try a Kyrgyz national cuisine. We had five hot meals with boorsoks (traditional fried dough) and tea. All customers went home satisfied and well-fed.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek Manager

One of the tours is to Supara complex. Apart from transportation and tour guides, it includes archery, visiting a yurt, meals and tea. There is a 40-minute folk show for guests before a meal. Show Me Bishkek also organizes workshops for customers: cooking Kyrgyz and Russian meals and those on working with felt.

According to Andrey, Show Me Bishkek is quite popular among Europeans. They also had tourists from Australia, Dubai, India, Russia and Brazil. The top destinations customers choose are a standard city tour and a trip to the Ala-Archa National Park.

Show Me Bishkek has a special card it gives to customers to fill out after every tour. It includes an assessment of guides, rating the tour, recommendations and proposals.

Usually people say our guides are informative. It feels good, because our guides were preparing hard. I really like the fact there are so many people, who support our project. They say it’s good and recommend places tourists should visit.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek Manager

What’s Next?

The company has lots of plans: they want to add at least 4 more tours to the mountains. Another addition is horse-back riding — while it’s very popular in our country, there are not so many groups offering it. Show Me Bishkek has already agreed with villagers from Kashka-Suu to make those tours together. 

Another Kyrgyz family of musicians offered Show Me Bishkek to make a joint tour to their home. Unlike usual folk-shows, where people just sit and look at the show, visiting a family of Kyrgyz musicians they will not just watch and listen, but they also can take part in the process.

We prepared a tour, where we take tourists to a family of Kyrgyz musicians. They meet guests wearing national dresses, playing national musical instruments and singing traditional songs. Tourists can also try playing those.
— Andrey Osyanin, Show Me Bishkek

The above tours are not everything, obviously we are going to see some more tours from Show Me Bishkek in foreseeable future.

World Nomad Games 2018: Official Dates

World Nomad Games 2018: Official Dates

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly

GO KG's Bishkek Events Guide Weekly