Safety and security
Following protests on 31 May 2013, a state of emergency was declared in the Jeti-Oguz district (Issyk-Kul province) from 31 May to 10 June 2013. Security is reported to have been increased in both the Jeti-Oguz district and Jalal-Abad city.
Demonstrations on political and socio-economic themes occur both in central Bishkek and in other parts of the country. You should avoid all demonstrations.
Security was increased in border areas and we advise you to only use officially-recognised border crossings and to only travel in the border areas if absolutely necessary.
Be extremely cautious if you’re travelling overland from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. These borders are subject to closure without notice so always check in advance which officially recognised border crossings are open. There’s also a risk that uncontrolled Kyrgyz-Uzbek border areas may be land-mined.
Tensions exist over recognition of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek borders and a number of gunfire exchanges have been reported, most recently from the Jalal-Abad Oblast.
Keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
You should be aware of the continuing threat from terrorism, which Kyrgyzstan shares with other countries in Central Asia. There’s a history of terrorist activity and armed violence, particularly south and west of Osh, where there have been several terrorist attacks and hostage-takings in the past.
There is a risk that uncontrolled Kyrgyz-Uzbek border areas may be land-mined.
Mugging and theft regularly occur in both city and rural areas and foreigners are a particular target. You should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- During your stay you should carry a notarised photocopy of your passport at all times.
- Be wary of any strangers offering assistance or being over-friendly
- There have been reports of thefts committed by uniformed police officers and gangs
Avoid travelling in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there’s another passenger already in the car. We don’t encourage the hiring of private gypsy cabs instead of licensed taxicabs in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, taxis aren’t always metered and you should negotiate the fare in advance of entering the taxi.
Lost or stolen passports
If you lose your passport you must report this immediately to the police and get confirmation of the loss in writing. This report will be necessary when applying for an emergency passport from the Irish Embassy in Moscow.
The Embassy is able to accept applications for new passports, which may take between four and six weeks to be processed in Dublin, but is not able to issue new full passports in Moscow.
Passenger lists on aircraft aren’t always kept confidential. There have been cases of people being met by name from an aircraft and subsequently robbed. If you’re arriving at Manas International Airport, arrange your onward transportation from the airport in advance.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kyrgyzstan, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Moscow if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Kyrgyzstan, you should be extremely careful. Many cars aren’t safe and the roads are poorly maintained with roadworks or damaged roads often not clearly signposted. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, however little consumed, is regarded as a serious offence in Kyrgyzstan
- Use main roads when travelling in or around Bishkek and avoid large crowds
- Service stations and petrol/water access can be limited outside the cities of Bishkek and Osh. Make sure you take all you need for your journey
- Avoid driving at night
- Be aware that roads outside the capital are often blocked by snow during the winter months and avalanches and landslides frequently block roads in the spring
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
It’s not known whether maintenance procedures on aircraft used on internal flights are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by insurance. If possible, we advise you to fly directly to your destination on an international flight originating outside Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and avoid in-country and regional travel using domestic carriers. If you intend to travel to and from Kyrgyzstan, avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban.
We advise against using local buses and/or mini-buses as vehicles often lack seatbelts and are not well maintained. Theft on board is also a risk.
Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:20:49 BST