November 17, 2019

The Osh Bazaar in Bishkek is a place of contrasts. In this article, you will find some tips that you should learn before you go to this place.

If you are interested to see and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the most visited and contrasting places in Bishkek, then most likely you need to visit the Osh Bazaar. A contingent consisting of people living not only in the center but also on the outskirts of the city, that is, in the villages, is going to this place. This place is known for its superiority in one of the lowest prices, the widest choice, and the representation of the culture of the Bishkek trading side. Here you will find something that may not find in other famous markets of Bishkek. But it is worth noting that, as in any other crowded place, it can be very dangerous at the Osh bazaar.  In this blog, we will try to warn you against some non-ordinary situations and give you advice on how not to be deceived in the Osh market. No matter how ridiculous it may sound, the best way not to be deceived at the Osh bazaar is not to go to the Osh bazaar. But we all understand that not every self-respecting tourist will want to miss the opportunity to see with his own eyes a part of the life of local residents. Therefore, we decided to single out three main points in the instruction on how not to be deceived in this place.  We hope that our advice will be useful to you. Our first advice is to take with you a local resident who speaks Kyrgyz. It is even better if this person speaks not only Kyrgyz but also Russian. Why is it important?  Because there is an unwritten rule in the Osh bazaar, like in any other Kyrgyz market: prices for foreigners are always higher than for local residents. 

Therefore, as soon as the sellers hear that you speak another language or simply stand out from the crowd, the prices of all products will automatically be inflated for you. Here comes the help of a local resident. In addition, if you go to the Osh market in Bishkek with a local resident, it will be better if you dress like a local resident and do not talk much. It is better not to attract much attention. If you do not have the opportunity to go to the market with a local one, then we have other advice for you. Carry your identity documents with you, but do not keep them in your wallet with money or other valuable items. Keep your documents, money, phone and other things that have a value close to your body. Try to show them in public as rare as possible. (In fact, all these tips should always be followed, regardless of whether you are alone or with a local resident.) Why do you need to have your identity documents with you? In the market, people in a police uniform can approach you and demand these documents from you. You can provide them with these documents, but try not to give them into their hands.  And do not forget that you should not show them the presence of your wallet or other valuable things. It’s not a fact that there will be real policemen, perhaps it will be dummies. In this case, you need to ask them to provide their ID and give you the opportunity to take a picture of them. Most likely, they will ask you a few questions, and then they ask you to move to a more quiet and deserted place. In this situation, you should remember that they have no right to conduct a search without the presence of witnesses and certain documents.

Do not worry, they are unlikely to cause you physical harm, there are too many witnesses around. But they can rob you easily. Here, much depends on you, they usually try to just scare you by using their “official status”. Try not to give in and remember the power of the law. Well, the third advice that we can give you concerns about money. It may be too obvious, but we still remind you that in any market in Kyrgyzstan only cash is accepted. The concept of bank cards here simply does not exist. Therefore, leave all your cards at home, they will not be useful to you anyway, but the likelihood that you may lose them or that they may be stolen from you still exists. 

Bring small amounts of money with you, and do not go to exchange offices at the Osh Bazaar. Most likely, these items are not officially registered and you will receive the wrong amount.  In addition, going to the exchange office is another way of showing that you have a large amount of money.  Local pickpockets may be watching you and there is a possibility that you will be robbed soon. Therefore, remember no cards with you and exchange money only in the official exchange offices in the city. And finally, we have additional advice for you. A market is a place where there is rarely a fixed price. If you think that the price of a certain product is too high, you always have the opportunity to bargain. We want to wish you a safe acquaintance with Osh Bazaar and sincerely hope that our advice was useful and you will have the desire to visit this place again.

Photos from sources – en.wikipedia.org, gokg.asia, pinterest.com, destinationosh.com, grittytravel.com

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