Kyrgyz Som (KGS; symbol лв) = 100 tyin. Notes are in denominations of лв1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 50, 10 and 1 tyin. Coins exist in denominations of 1,3, 5 and 10 som, and 10 and 50 tyin.
Credit cards are accepted in some of the larger hotels and restaurants in Bishkek and can also be used at banks to withdraw cash from the counter. They are of little value outside the main cities. ATMs exist but are hardly commonplace in Bishkek or Osh and even less so elsewhere.
ATMs are easy enough to find in Bishkek, although smaller cities like Jalal-Abad and Osh have far fewer. Some ATMs issue US dollars as well as Kyrgyz Som.
There is limited acceptance of these, but some banks in Bishkek accept traveller's cheques, with US Dollars probably the best option; commission charges are high. Cash is recommended, with US dollars in the form of US$50 and US$100 bills being the most readily accepted.
Usually Mon-Fri 0930-1730.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding US$10,000 or equivalent must be declared.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at commercial banks and at authorised bureaux de change. The US Dollar is the easiest currency to exchange.
Kyrgyzstan duty free
The following goods may be imported into Kyrgyzstan by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 3L of alcoholic beverages.
• Goods to the value of €1,500 weighing no more than 50kg in total.
On entering the country, you must complete a customs declaration form which you need to retain until departure, and then hand over on the international flight. This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables which you must register on the declaration form. Customs inspection can be long and detailed.
Military weapons and ammunition (subject to special permit), narcotics, fruit and vegetables, live animals (subject to special permit), and photographs and printed matter directed against Kyrgyzstan.
Cultural artefacts (unless certified), or precious metals and precious stones exceeding US$25,000 in value.
You may only export up to 5kg of fish and seafood, and up to 250g of sturgeon caviar.