Climbing in Bishkek

One of the trickiest parts of studying abroad long-term is anticipating how well you can pursue one of your hobbies as easily as you can at home. My fellow SRAS student Ross, for instance, arrived in Bishkek ready to rock climb. The Central Asian Studies program affords students enough free time to explore what the […]

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The Museum of Mikhail Frunze in Bishkek

Under the Soviet Union, Bishkek was called Frunze. Mikhail Frunze was a Red Army leader that was instrumental in crushing resistance in Central Asia during the Russian Civil War. In his honor, the city, which had previously been known as Pishpek was renamed Frunze in 1926 when Kyrgyzstan became the Kirgiz (Kyrgyz) Autonomous Soviet Socialist […]

Ne Prosto Orchestra at Bishkek’s Philharmonic

On Friday, September 20, Ne Prosto Orchestra performed at the Bishkek’s Philharmonic. Ne Prosto Orchestra (The Not Just an Orchestra) is based out of Almaty, Kazakhstan. They are a group of young musicians that specialize in playing movie soundtrack scores. Originally put together by a few recent college graduates trying to figure out how to […]

Swan Lake at the Opera and Ballet House in Bishkek

The Opera and Ballet House in Bishkek is striking. Officially called the Academic Opera and Ballet Theater named after A. Maldybaev, it looms large on Yusup Abdrahmanov street near Ala-Too Square. With large white columns stretching in front of the pink building, its elegance is alluring. After one of my teachers at the London School […]

Weekend Trip to Issyk Kul from Bishkek

As part of the cultural program offered to SRAS students studying in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, we visited Lake Issyk Kul. The weekend included various activities including learning to build a yurt (a form of traditional housing). One of the highlights of this trip, however, was having the opportunity to go on a horse trek to the […]

On the Wake Extreme Sports Center in Bishkek

Thanks to a couple of local friends, I had the opportunity to check out an extreme sports place called On the Wake, which I don’t think I would have ended up finding otherwise. I was told by my friends that this was an indoor trampoline park, which was true, but there was also a lot […]

Getting a Massage at Kamin in Bishkek

A former SRAS student in Bishkek took the time to compile a list of best places to go for services as diverse as getting a haircut, getting your nails done, and getting a massage. Some of the services listed are not those that a student would normally just splurge on, but I was intrigued by […]

Day Trip to Issyk-Ata Hot Pools from Bishkek

On Saturday, November 9th, thanks to a few local friends, I had the opportunity to go to Issyk-Ata. This was right around the time when it was beginning to get fairly cold in Bishkek. Therefore, taking a trip out to a hot springs resort, roughly an hour from Bishkek, was a treat. In Kyrgyz, Issyk […]

SRAS Student Trip to Kazakhstan from Bishkek

As part of SRAS’s Central Asian Studies program, students based out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan take a two-week class trip to neighboring Central Asian nations. These countries for Fall, 2019, included Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The portion spent in Almaty, Kazakhstan – just a four-hour drive from Bishkek – was the shortest of these trips and […]

Kashka Soo: Light Hiking Near Bishkek

Bishkek is located in a valley, which means you don’t have to travel too far outside of the city to find a decent place to hike. One quite easy but very scenic hike is Kashka Soo, located at a small suburb of the same name about an hour outside of Bishkek. It features a beautiful […]

Climate Fest in Bishkek

On Friday, September 20, 2019, Climate Fest was held. Millions of people around the world gathered together in support of a cleaner environment. Along with a fellow SRAS student, I attended the event at Bishkek’s Botanical Garden with a group of activists and invitees from the general public. While I personally found out about the […]

Beijing Tourist Event in Bishkek’s Dordoi Plaza

Dordoi Plaza opened in Bishkek about a year ago. It’s a shopping mall cousin to Dordoi Bazaar, which is Central Asia’s largest bazaar and owned by the same Kyrgyz company. Bishkek has seen several new malls opened in the past couple of years. Dordoi Plaza is the newest of them all and is located in […]

How to Train Your Eagle in Kyrgyzstan

SRAS students studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the Central Asian Studies often have the opportunity to visit Lake Issyk-Kul as part of their program abroad. This semester, the local excursions into the surrounding mountains included a presentation on local traditions surrounding trained eagles. Golden eagles have been used for hunting in Kyrgyzstan for centuries. […]

Packing List for Study Abroad (+what to do with your laptop, cell phone, etc.)

A semester or year stay abroad requires considerable planning. If you will be spending winter months in most SRAS locations, luggage can quite easily become unwieldy, which can mean airline charges for overweight bags. Planning what you need in advance can help you avoid this (and help you avoid forgetting something important). Invest in good, […]

An Extended Trip to Uzbekistan from Bishkek

As part of the SRAS’ Central Asian Studies program, I had the opportunity to travel around Central Asia, seeing Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan along the way. In this article, I’m going to write about Uzbekistan as I was there for the longest (about six days). Uzbekistan is also a country that holds a very special […]

Bishkek Central Asian Studies Program Review

For the last four months I have lived and studied in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and taken part in SRAS’ Central Asian Studies program. It’s been a whirlwind of classes, trips and local experiences. Here in this article, I’ll be giving a review of it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly! […]

A Vegan Guide to Bishkek

The first thing to know about Kyrgyz food culture is that it is heavily meat based, due to its nomadic history. It is not impossible to maintain veganism while in Bishkek, but it is difficult, as even vegetarianism is not common here. People assume that it’s purely for diet reasons, rather than ethical or environmental, […]

Karakul – Weekend Trip from Bishkek

It was Nowruz, Central Asia’s spring new year holiday, so I decided to spend the days off traveling to Karakul with a couple of friends. We spent two nights – one full day and two half days – and approximately $30 per person. It was an independent trip and turned out to be quite the […]

A Weekend in Talas from Bishkek

Talas is a small town in the countryside of Kyrgyzstan, situated in a rural, mountainous region. For the opportunity to meet locals and learn about Kyrgyz folklore, this trip is ideal. The London School and SRAS organized a weekend trip for us. They took care of everything – transfer, packed lunches on the road, home-stay, […]

A Vegan’s Homestay Experience in Bishkek

Wondering about staying with a local family while you’re in Bishkek? Though every family is different, hopefully my experience will give a glimpse into what to expect. As a vegan, I’d also like to share my experience abroad to help other vegans better prepare for their homestays. The House It was early morning when I […]

С Легким Паром Spa Review

Fighting jet lag, adjusting to new surroundings, and student life in general can be tiring. It’s important to take a break every now and then to get some TLC to keep your balance. Heading to a local spa for some self-care can be the perfect solution for an interesting cultural experience and some much-deserved relaxation! […]

Bishkek: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in Bishkek report spending about $30-50 a week average over the course of their stay. This covers groceries, eating at the university cafeteria, city transport, eating out, school supplies, modest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 70 som = 1 US dollar. 100 som is about $1.50. Prices […]

The Host Indian Restaurant in Bishkek

Craving good quality Indian food at a decent price? As with many restaurants in Bishkek, The Host is a fusion of multiple cuisines – BBQ, Chinese, and Italian to name a few, but specializing in Indian. It was a sleepy Sunday afternoon, so we decided to head to The Host for some tasty comfort food.  […]

Preparing for and Coping with Culture Shock

Some of our students report not feeling culture shock at all. Some are surprised by how much culture shock they experience. Often, those most affected are those who did not expect it. So how can you prepare to live in a new culture and get the most out of the experience? How do you prepare […]

Managing Your Cash While Abroad: A Student Guide

Eurasia today is quite affordable. Students are often surprised how far their dollars will go even in major cities like St. Petersburg and Warsaw – and very surprised at how far they go in places like Bishkek and Irkutsk. However, students can also be surprised at how easy it is to run into troubles – […]

SRAS Guide to Living in Bishkek

The following is a quick overview to some of those services and products that students often need in the course of a semester or summer abroad. This covers everything from haircuts to pharmacies and gyms to computer repair. Students should generally expect to need to speak at least some Russian when seeking out these experiences […]

Ecoland: Health and Specialty Food in Bishkek

In the past I have found health food stores hard to find while traveling off the beaten track…not so in Bishkek. Ecoland is a shop located directly across the road from London School and if you don’t see it, you’ll hear it. Speakers blast feel good music onto the streets from a “cabin in the […]

A Guide to Settling into Bishkek

So, you’ve arrived and are excited to jump right into experiencing a new culture…but you’re hazy with jet lag, adjusting to new surroundings and not sure what to expect from the next few days. Here, I’ll share my experience of arriving into Bishkek and give you some tips on how to settle in as painlessly […]

Souvenir Hunting in Bishkek: A Guide

Wherever you travel, finding souvenirs is likely going to be a part of the journey. Bishkek has many felt and yurt-themed souvenirs that allow you to remember your time in Bishkek fondly. However, Kyrgyzstan, and subsequently Bishkek, aren’t exactly hot tourist spots, so troves where you can find gifts for the whole family are limited. […]

Bishkek Nightclubs: A Guide

One hot Friday night, a group of fellow students and I made our way to a nightclub. Little did I know I would end up spending each of my subsequent free weekends dancing the night away in various Bishkek nightclubs. They are fun and cheap, so if you go with a group of friends, you’re […]

National Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek

There are three major museums in Bishkek: The State History Museum, Frunze Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Chances are you will be taken to the National Museum of Fine Arts on an as part of your SRAS Cultural Program in Bishkek, so you will enter for free. If you want to go […]

Metro Pub in Bishkek

If you find yourself wondering what to do in Bishkek on a Friday night, then you should check out Metro Pub. It has a massive dance floor in the back that plays electronic dance music, while the front has a smaller dance floor with a live band. The dance floors are packed on the weekends, […]

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