Area: 199,951 sq km
Climate: dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan Mountains; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone
Population: 5,587,443 (July 2011 est.)
Languages: Kyrgyz 64.7% (official), Uzbek 13.6%, Russian 12.5% (official), Dungun 1%, other 8.2% (1999 census)
Government type: republic
Independence Day: 31 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Currency: Som (KGS); 1 USD = 47.30 KGS
GDP: $11.85 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,200 (2010 est.)
Information for Foreign Students in Kyrgyzstan
Obtaining a Visa
Nationals of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia travelling as tourists need a visa, but must apply before arriving in Kyrgyzstan. While nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA can now obtain a tourist visa on arrival at Manas International Airport. But in all cases, you are advised to contact the embassy in order to check visa requirements.
Link for hotels, guesthouses: http://www.advantour.com/kyrgyzstan/places-to-stay.htm
Except for Osh and Bishkek, other cities hardly have hotels. When there are some, standards are pretty basic. For people who can, there is the Hilton in Bishkek. Otherwise, for other accommodation, throughout the country, many rooms in cities are attached to people's homes. Besides, there are also turbazas or 'tourist bases', an alternative to hotels. For a dollar or two in local currency, visitors have access to basic bungalow accommodation and three meals a day.
The tap water is bacteria-free but contains a high level of metal, so it is unsafe. Medical services offered to foreigners, except emergency care, require immediate cash payment and are somewhat limited. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies and travelers are advised to bring any necessary medication or equipment. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk owing to inadequate medical facilities.
Credit cards are accepted in some of the larger hotels in Bishkek and can also be used at banks to withdraw cash from the counter. ATMs exist but are rare.
Public transport: http://kyrgyzstan.embassyhomepage.com/kyrgyzstani_railway_kyrgyzstan_bus_bishkek_airport_taxi_kyrgyzstan_domestic_airports_kyrgyzstan_ferries_kyrgyzstani_motorway.htm
Keeping in touch
There are Internet cafes available in Bishkek and Osh, with limited access elsewhere.
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is limited.
International calls should be made from a telephone office which will usually be found attached to a post office; they can also be made from some hotels by asking at reception. All international calls from Kyrgyzstan have to go through the operator. Local calls (within the city) are free of charge if made from private telephones.