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Things to Buy in Bishkek’s Fascinating Markets: Kyrgyzstan’s Pride

Bishkek top buying things are diverse in nature and unique in essence. The markets in Bishkek are filled with things that speak of its eventful past. These bazaars (markets) also happen to be some of the best places to visit in Bishkek.

Home to some of Asia’s most pulsating and intensive bazaars, Bishkek’s shopping outlets will keep you on your toes all day. Bishkek is famous for its wonderful markets and you will find plenty of Bishkek top buying things which can be taken back home as souvenirs. 

Shopping in Bishkek markets offers a unique experience to the travellers. Here you can shop for a variety of unique local products. These include the meticulously designed Kyrgyz rugs, local spices & oils, handmade pottery and Kyrgyz jewelry. 

They say that a decent way to connect with a new place is to visit its markets. The essence of a travel destination lies on its streets, alleys and relics. Shopping at malls can be done anywhere in the world.  However, what makes a travel destination unique is its age old markets.

In this blog, I share with you I share with you my experience of exploring Bishkek through its the markets and will guide you through Bishkek top buying things. 

Also useful:

A traveler’s guide to nightlife in Bishkek

What are the best places to explore in Bishkek ?

Before I go into the details of Bishkek top buying things, I’d like to provide you with a brief overview of the markets and things to buy in Bishkek. This will help you in locating your preferred item in the correct market.

Bishkek Top Buying Things: What and Where to Shop ?

Recommended Item Place Where Available
Local Krygz clothing Dordoy Bazaar
Turkish clothing Dordoy Bazaar
Footwear Osh Bazaar
International brands for apparels Bishkek Park
Exotic clothing Dordoy Bazaar
Krygz souvenirs Osh Bazaar
Native spices Osh Bazaar
Native oils Osh Bazaar
Sweets Osh Bazaar
Freshly baked bread Osh Bazaar
Kyrgyz jewelry Osh Bazaar
Shrydak- Traditional embroidered Kyrgyz felt rugs Osh Bazaar
Accessories Dordoy Bazaar
Handmade Pottery Osh Bazaar



An Overview of Bishkek for Travelers

Bishkek is the largest city and capital of the Kyrgyz Republic or Kyrgystan. The city initially came into being in the early 19th century.

A  fortress was built under the Kokhand rule and Bishkek acted as a caravan rest stop along the silk route. Since then, it has become the financial centre of the country and its markets are renowned world over as one of Asia’s greatest public marketplaces. 

Important Travel Information about Bishkek

Before proceeding further and knowing about the Bishkek top buying things, it is important to understand Bishkek as a travel destination. A few tidbits about the place will help especially if you’re a first time visitor here.

Location Kyrgyz Republic (One of the previous 16 Soviet Republics)
Language Russian, Kyrgyz, English
Accessibility Throughout the year (Air, Road)
Currency Kyrgyzstani Som – KGS 

(1 US Dollar = 68.66 KGS)

(1 INR= 1.06 KGS); I’m mentioning the INR conversion here because I traveled to Bishkek from India.

Best Time to Visit March to September (Early Spring to Autumn)
Safety (families, backpackers, solo female travellers) Very Safe
Budget travel tip for first timers Book your accommodation at least one month prior to travel.

Prefer walking yourself to hiring a Taxi

Nearby countries to visit Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Russia

Now that you’ve been introduced to the basics of Bishkek, let me move straight to the markets and Bishkek top buying things, both for locals as well as for travelers.

Bishkek top buying things The markets of Bishkek offer visitors a range of locally produced items. Picture credits: Akriti Mattu

Recommended Places for Shopping Bishkek Top Buying Things

All the things to buy in Bishkek that have been on your list will be available from three main markets. These markets are full of life and colours.  A traveller must surely visit them to get an essence of Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan. 

Osh Bazaar
Dordoy Bazaar
Bishkek Park

 Osh Bazaar

Osh Bazaar is one of the largest markets in Bishkek. It is located on the western side of town and is just a 15-minute drive from the city centre. A taxi ride will cost you around 150 SOM. You can also hire a shared cab.

This is a place where you can find literally everything on your list of Bishkek top buying things. You can buy food products, common household clothes, souvenirs, etc.

This bazaar’s specialty is in spices, oil, seeds, nuts, different types of Meat (including Horse Meat), sweet items like biscuits, chocolates, crisp bread, shoes, clothes and souvenirs.

If you want to take home some souvenirs at reasonable prices, Osh Bazaar is a must visit. There are many alleys, and most shopkeepers are friendly and willing to bargain.

Location Western End of the town
Specialty Kyrgyz national items- clothes, carved wooden trunks, Hats, komuz-Kyrgyz musical instrument

Kyrgyzstan Souvenirs

Dried Fruits

Meat

Souvenir Options Fridge Magnets

Traditional Hats

Jewelry Boxes

Ideal Visiting Time 2 hours
Food Options Street Food and eating outlets near the market
Important Tips Try Haggling for Taxi Fare and Souvenir prices.

Take care of your belongings and valuables.

Always ask before taking pictures.

Interesting Food Kumis (fermented mares’ milk) – the national drink of Kyrgyzstan)

This is one of the best places to visit in Bishkek if you want to experience the local culture. The locals come here to shop for their daily needs.

Osh bazaar has a national gods section called Kyyal. You must visit this place. Kyrgyz national clothes and other Bishkek souvenirs are sold in this section.

The national goods section also sells called kalpak  carved wooden trunks, traditional hats, national cradles, small souvenirs, and many other locally produced items relevant to the traditional and modern culture of Kyrgyzstan.

There are a few eating options around the market. Street food is cheap and very tasty. A wonderful place to wander around and experience local culture.

Bishkek top buying things Osh Bazaar is the perfect place to buy antics and souvenirs. Picture credits: Akriti Mattu

Dordoy Bazaar

The Dordoy Bazaar or Dordoi Bazaar is the clothes bazaar where you can get inexpensive shoes, leather jackets, and dresses of almost a quarter of its original price.

This market is huge and it will take you a while to cover it. I was told that it is one of Asia’s greatest public marketplaces and by the size of it, I am pretty convinced it is the biggest.

The shipping container construction of the market is truly unique. The shops in the Bazaar are basically set up old shipping containers stored in two levels.

The place is on the outskirts of Bishkek so you need a taxi to visit and go back to the main city. The taxi will cost about 150-200 SOM.

There are many sections and alleys in the bazaar. There are lanes of Chinese imported items, European designs, Turkish brands, and also local Kyrgyz clothing. Here too, you can bargain and attain things at a good price.

Location North eastern outskirts of Bishkek
Specialty Clothes

Accessories

Ideal Visiting Time 3-4 hours
Food Options Street Food Options
Important Tips Try Haggling for Cab Fare

It’s a huge place and Be careful of the way so that you don’t get lost.

Although this place is much bigger than Osh Bazar, it is somewhat disorganized. If you are looking for some specific things to buy in Bishkek, it can get really difficult to find it here.

Osh Bazaar is more shopper friendly and it is easier to shop there. Despite this,  you will find a plenty of options to shop from and you can visit the place just to explore the huge market.

bishkek top buying things A shop of sweets and other edible goods at Dordoy Bazaar. Picture credits: Akriti Mattu

Both bazaars (Osh and Dordoy) have items ranging from 50 SOM to 1000 SOM – clothes are also very cheap at these two places in Bishkek.

Both these bazaars are striking, but time-consuming places to visit in Bishkek. Make sure you have a whole day planned just for shopping and souvenirs as you will be spoiled with choices.

Some souvenirs you can find here are wood carved key chains, wooden chess boards which have pieces carved with Kyrgyz characteristics, dolls, and very beautiful silk scarves.

Bishkek Park

Another place to shop at Bishkek is the Bishkek ParkThis is a mall where you will find many Italian, Japanese and European brands. Some brands also display clothes starting from 3000 – 7000 SOM. So if you looking for something expensive, you should visit this place in Bishkek.

You will find a number of international brands here. There is no scope of bargaining. There are also some decent restaurants here where you can grab something to eat.


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Lesser Known Places for Things to Buy in Bishkek

Besides the three main markets, there are other less known places for shopping Bishkek top buying things.

Recommended Item Place Where Available in Bishkek
Kyrgyzstan crafts Maison du Voyageurs
Natively prepared food products Ak Emir Bazaar
Toys for children Detskiy Mir
Kilims and rugs Asahi Ecological Art and Handicrafts
Kyrgyz souvenirs Iman
high-quality embroidery and pottery Tumar Art Salon
locally-made cognac Kyrgyz Cognac
Souvenirs Tsum Centre
Soviet Era Souvenirs Flea Market

Maison du Voyageurs 

One of the best places for creative things to buy in Bishkek. Each piece of craft bears the name of the creator

122-118 Moskovskaya Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Ak Emir
A vibrant market full of home made things to buy in Bishkek that is delicious. Find mouthwatering rare delicacies here.
78 Moskovskaya Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Detskiy Mir

This is the best place for children based things to buy in Bishkek. Find toys, games and fancy gifts here.

147 Chuy Avenue, Bishkek 720011, Kyrgyzstan

Asahi Ecological Art and Handicrafts

If the things to buy in Bishkek include gorgeous rugs and carpets, this is your digging spot. Go for it.
Central Bishkek
Iman

Buy souvenirs from here to take back home. Gift your loved ones unique items from Kyrgyzstan.

Chuy Avenue, Bishkek 720011

Tumar Art Salon

It is located close to Bishkek park. The place sells some high quality Kyrgyz handicrafts like pottery and felt rugs. Although the prices are almost twice of what you get at Osh Bazaar, the quality speaks for itself.

The felt goods made here are excellent but you can also get Kyrgyz souvenirs Kyrgyz jewlery, fridge magnets, dolls, calendars, photos albums, etc. here.

Isanov Str 80, Bishkek 720001, Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz Cognac

If you wish to try some locally-made cognac, this is the store where you need to go to.  It is located in the city centre.

233 Lenin Avenue, Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Tsum Centre

If you didn’t get to visit Osh Bazaar or missed some stuff there, Tsum Centre could be your refuge for Soviet or Kyrgyz souvenirs. the top or the 5th floor is devoted to Kyrgyz souvenirs. You can find a variety of these there.

There are also a few cafes, restaurants and fast food options around the building.

155 Chuy Ave, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Top Things to Buy in Bishkek from the Honey Market

The Honey Market in Bishkek is not a regular place. It is a seasonal market that comes up in the Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts. A separate room is fixed for the market. It is open to everyone – farmers, merchants, local people, travellers and students.

The wide variety of honey that is available is fascinating. Clear honey, opaque honey, brown honey, orange honey, honey from bees, honey from some kind of flora – you get every kind here.

bishkek top buying things If you have the time, do consume honey and related products at the Honey Market. Picture credits: Akriti Mattu

Important Things to Keep in Mind while Shopping Bishkek Top Buying Things 

When visiting all of the above mentioned markets, a few tips need to be kept in mind. I’m sharing them with you below.

Keep your purse close to you always.

Carry your identification documents because there may be policemen who wish to check you.

Try and scan the whole area first and then buy because sometimes you may get the same thing at a cheaper price from another vendor.

Frequently Asked Questions Bishkek Top Buying Things

Some of the commonly asked questions on things to buy in Bishkek by travelers are as follows –

What are the best Bishkek top buying things to shop for women travellers?

Locally hand woven clothes, Turkish clothing, footwear and handicrafts.

What are the Bishkek top buying things to shop for male backpackers?

Footwear, handicrafts and caps.

What are the Bishkek top buying things for individuals travelling as a family?

Locally woven rugs,  clothing, handicraft and labelled honey.

What are the recommended things to buy in Bishkek for the purpose of gifting others?

Kyrgyzstan souvenirs.

What are the recommended things to buy in Bishkek for first time travellers?

Locally prepared fresh produce and handicrafts.

As a traveler, you will truly enjoy yourself while exploring Bishkek top buying things, market places and local food items. Not to forget the hustle and bustle of these places.

Useful Tips to Keep in Mind while Shopping for Bishkek Top Buying Things

While at Bishkek, make sure you keep some handy tips in mind at all times.

Beware of pickpockets at all times. Make sure your belongings always hold your attention.
Save yourself some trouble and don’t fall victim to false cops. Check their identity.
Carry your passport with you at all times.
Stay polite with the local people at all times. They’re decent in their candour.
While shopping for food products, consume them within 48 hours. 

Bishkek is a vivacious city with many exciting places to visit. At Bishkek, you can get the best of both worlds – ancient and contemporary. Known for its fascinating markets, you will come across many Bishkek top buying things that will make your trip worthwhile.

Happy wayfaring 🙂

About the Author

Akriti Mattu

Akriti Mattu

Founder at Budget Wayfarers

Born amidst snow clad Himalayas in the dreamy town of Shimla, with roots from Kashmir and currently settled in Bangalore, I am a free spirit in every sense of the term. A maverick who doesn’t mind taking risks, I left a high paying but regular 9 to 6 job to follow my true calling – Travel Blogging. As somebody who has traveled across the expansive terrain of India as well as to unique destinations outside India, I happily spending my days creating travel content for all those who wish to explore the world without creating holes in their pockets. Along with my travelogues are travel stories of thousands of other wanderlust lovers who’ve successfully backpacked their way to destinations around the globe. Anybody who is passionate about travel and would love to share his/her tale of escapade with a global audience is welcome to be a part of the Budget Wayfarers family. I’ve always believed that the world is a beautiful place but only for those who are able to break the stereotypes and discover the true splendour. My journey to experience the magic of the world began long time back. Now it’s time to span it out and share it with all of you. After all, blogging makes me live. Travel makes me alive.

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