Bishkek has several markets, usually crowded and buzzing with customers and traders alike. Weekends are usually the busiest days, particularly Sundays for Dordoi. The largest of Bishkek's three main bazaars within city limits is the Osh Bazaar on Kievskaya/ Beishenalieva at the western end of Čüj Prospekti. Actually, it’s not the biggest market of Kyrgyzstan (not even of Bishkek, which has also a Kara-Suu-like Chinese market at the northern outskirts), but definitely the most interesting and colourful one.
This crowded market offers a genuine flavour (both literally and culturally) of the Kyrgyzstan countryside in the city. Selling mainly fruit and vegetables, but also meat, dairy and baked products, Osh Bazaar has both an open-air market and a covered area. The range of products offered is really impressive, including many products never seen in the Western hemisphere such as a strange kind of chewing tobacco sold in small portions for 2 som (0.05 CHF or 0.03 €) each, but also disgusting things like any type of cow giblets lying in the blazing sun. Apart from the formal part of the market, there are also many additional informal stall rows.
This is the place to stock up on fresh food, clothes and fabric. Its heaving with life, the typically Asian pyramid-shaped displays of fresh and dried fruits and spices tended by amused faces egging you on to buy. It is liveliest at weekends but is always busy with traders: bakers wandering the aisles with lepyoshka piled high on trays; Kyrgyz, Russian, Korean and Dungan vendors shouting out in their different languages to compete for business; and gypsies with smoking dishes of herbs wafting smoke over produce for luck. Right next to Osh Bazaar are some old underground nuclear shelters that now serve as shyrdak showrooms, with probably the best prices in the city. Trolleybuses go there from Kievskaya and minibuses from the Manas statue.
Alamyedin Bazaar offers a smaller range of similar goods and makes a good last minute stop en route to Almaty. It is in the north east of the city, on Jibek Jolu, east of the Alamyedin river. This is the smallest of the city bazaar's but still pretty big. Most activity takes place within a covered main hall that sells mostly food produce. Money changers congregate opposite the main entrance.
The Dordoi (also called Tolchok)This enormous market is around 7km from the city centre to the north. Dordoi covers a large area filled with shipping containers double-stacked on top of each other, with narrow corridors for shoppers leading between them. At the edge of the site are outdoor stalls selling fruit and vegetables and cheap clothing. This is said by some to be the largest market in all central Asia (although also see Kara-Suu near Osh) and this is easy to believe with what is said to be around 15,000 traders and an annual turnover of US$100 million. Bazaar sells mainly Chinese-made clothes and household items at knockdown prices. It is about seven kilometres north of the Batik Batyr/Moskovskaya intersection, from where minibuses run regularly to the bazaar.