What You Should Know About Homestays in Kyrgyzstan
What should I expect from a homestay in Kyrgyzstan? Friendly faces, good food, and variety of conditions to meet the needs of different travelers.
Staying with a local family during your travels through Kyrgyzstan is not only much more budget friendly than staying in hotels, but offers some unique insight into the daily lives of Kyrgyz people and gives you a much more authentic taste of Kyrgyz culture.
Many local families are opening up their homes to travelers these days as a way of extending Kyrgyz hospitality and earning some side income to help their families. Some have guesthouses to accommodate more people however, these guesthouses aren’t overly large. They are well organized and taken care of though and you’ll find them very quaint and comfortable. You’ll notice that homestays are available in village houses, for example, and some are in yurt camps, the traditional felt tents used by nomads. For a glimpse of nomadic life, yurt stays are a good option for travelers.
Hospitality is huge in the Asian world and Central Asia is no different. Kyrgyz people place a high value on hospitality and want to provide guests with the best they have. You’ll be overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of Kyrgyz hosts as you stay with them in the homes, guesthouses, or yurts! Many places will include breakfast in your stay, which may very well include fresh homemade bread, homemade jam, hot tea, or any number of local breakfast options ranging from porridge to eggs. Some places also provide dinner, sometimes for an extra fee. Don’t pass up a chance at these homemade meals! They’re a fantastic opportunity to try authentic Kyrgyz cuisine right from a local kitchen!
Yurt camps will not have any access to running water, so travelers shouldn’t expect a shower or western bathroom. Pit toilets and nearby rivers are available instead. Local residences and guesthouses may or may not have running water depending on the area. Some guesthouses have rooms with ensuite bathrooms that include a western toilet, some have communal bathrooms and running water, and some don’t have any running water and have an outhouse out back.
ROOMS & BEDS
Yurts are large, circular tents with beds arranged every night by laying out colorful sleeping mats, blankets, and pillows. You’ll be sleeping on the ground technically, but you’d be surprised how comfortable those cushy sleeping mats and layers of blankets can be! Local residences and guesthouses may also have the same set up of sleeping mats and blankets or they may have beds. Individual rooms and group rooms are both easy possibilities.
The nice thing about staying with local families or at their guesthouses as opposed to a hotel is that you receive a lot of personal attention. If you have questions about the area or need something at a random hour of the day, someone is always around and willing to help you. Many people are friendly and will enjoy just chatting with you if you’d like. So while you’re traveling in Kyrgyzstan, take advantage these kinds of opportunities. You’ll no doubt walk away with great memories and some cool stories to take home with you.