Made in KG: Show Me Bishkek — Bishkek Is Not Just a Transit Station
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The above tours are not everything, obviously we are going to see some more tours from Show Me Bishkek in foreseeable future.