Be culturally correct in Kyrgyzstan – 9 tips

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When it comes to traditions, customs, accepted behaviour and unwritten rules, there are a lot to learn in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz people believe that all these should be followed even by foreigners. Lucky for you, they are simple and quick to learn, though we are sure that at least some of them won’t be new to you.

  1. Give your place to the elderly and women on public transportation. Also, remember that you are not alone, so do not speak or laugh too loudly. People might simply think that you are discussing them and their country (as they don’t speak your language) and for that you won’t get any approving glances.
  2. Kyrgyz people love their country a lot and once you are there, when you see mountains, rivers and valleys you will understand why. They are also proud of their country and sometimes it’s just hard for them to hear any criticism, any disapproving look might hit them hard and they might overreact. Just be careful with the way you talk about the most beautiful country in the world, as Kyrgyz say. A little diplomacy never killed anyone, right?!
  3. The most popular question will be: Where are you from? However, some people might find it difficult to place your country or have some strange stereotypes about your homeland. Don’t get upset, just remember when you first heard about Kirhg…what? And the time when you thought that there are only horses and mountains in that “Stan” country.
  4. If you are a foreigner with beautiful (or not so beautiful) big eyes, of course, you will get a lot of attention (from men and women). The attention will be noticeable as people might stare at you, might want to talk to you even if they don’t speak English, might want to introduce you to their friends even if they just met you in a shop, might ask you to add them on Facebook… That’s all right, just enjoy and feel like a star, but be a bit more soft and persistent in saying No.
  5. As we said earlier many people will want to look at you, but Kyrgyz people stare at each other as well, so don’t feel negative about that. Keep just one thing in mind, it’s not polite for you to stare back. Especially, if you are a nice guy don’t stare back at other guys and if it just so happens to be that you are a nice guy who loves smiling at people and saying Hello here and there….. just don’t. There is no need to exhaust your face with smiles, leave it for the mountains and the sky, they will appreciate that.
  6. PDA with your girl/boyfriend is okay unless it’s too hot, people might get sunstroke.
  7. When somebody invites you over don’t forget to bring something with you (a cake, pie, pastry, fruit, wine) even if they told you not to. We have a saying: “You don’t pay visits with empty hands”. Also, Kyrgyz people are very hospitable, and will always welcome you to stay at their place for a couple of days. They will give you a warm bed and nice meals and won’t ask a penny from you. However, it would be a great idea if you offer to buy some products or just do it without offering. They will be glad and happy.
  8. Some folks might offer you their daughter/niece/cousin in marriage but don’t be silly; of course they want a man who can slaughter a goat, and it’s probably not you, so relax. They might also want you to teach English to their kids/cousins/wife/husband, just smile and don’t forget the golden words “Maybe, we will see”.
  9. All in all, the best news is that you can wear whatever you want: short, long, tight, wide.

Whether you choose to follow our recommendations or not, it doesn’t matter. Kyrgyzstan will still provide the most unique experience for everyone and no matter what happens, the mountains will make up for everything!

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