Trans Eurasia travel

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General Safety

Kyrgyzstan is constantly engulfed in strifes and political turmoil, and several countries advise foreigners not to travel to Kyrgyzstan at this time. While the US travel advisory tells foreigners that some attacks on Westerners have occurred, the view of Kyrgyz people on this is varied. Fights and assaults generally focus around nightclubs and bars, just as in any other large city. There is to date no indication that Bishkek is particularly dangerous to foreigners. As for other cities in the Kyrgyz Republic, there is little evidence. Tourists will of course be drawn by Kyrgyzstan's amazing natural beauty although travel by car through mountain passes and villages is not advisable. Although bride-kidnapping is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, it is still common, particularly in rural areas, so women should be very careful - it would therefore be preferable that women travel with male family members or other men who they can trust to keep them safe. According to the United States Embassy, two American women were bride-knapped in rural Kyrgyzstan in 2007, and you certainly don't want to be one of them. In the past there have been occasional reports of foreigners being approached by persons impersonating police and asking for documents in order to find an excuse to extort monies. These reports are uncommon, but one should always be on guard.

As a destination for adventure and activities, travellers need to take necessary precautions before setting off into the mountains. Consider changeable weather patterns, extreme mountain terrain and altitude sickness before setting off. Make sure you have the necessary equipment including tent, sleeping bag, layers of clothing, maps, functioning stove etc. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

The combination of mountain highways and maniacal drivers makes travelling hazardous. Check the road readiness of your vehicle before setting off and, if in doubt, hire a car from a reputable tour operator. Kyrgyz cities are generally safe but travellers have reported theft in places like Bishkek and Karakol. Keep valuables locked in your hotel and stay on your toes when venturing out after dark.