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    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

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    Nepal
    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

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    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

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    Although little more than a deserted peninsula, Qatar has a thriving culture based on technology and immigration, with Doha (pictured) taking the lead. Explore Qatar!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Kyrgyzstan

Behavior

In Kyrgyzstan, the most important behavioral factors to be aware of are in respect to dining. According to Islamic dietary restrictions pork should not be consumed and alcohol is forbidden. In Kyrgyzstan the restriction on pork is generally adhered to, but primarily due to the accessibility of lamb, chicken, and even beef. For the locals, alcohol is now a part of the daily life as the Soviets introduced numerous drinks to the people and today it forms a part of the culture. Again, only the strictest Muslims refrain from drinking alcohol.

To a degree the people also maintain the Soviet mentality as they rarely get involved in other people's personal affairs and tend to keep to themselves when in public. Due to this attitude, the people take offense at few things. Although everyone will notice odd behaviors and cultural abnormalities, rarely will anyone point out your cultural mistakes.

In addition to following the dress restrictions mentioned below and following the local dining etiquette (see our Kyrgyzstan Dining & Food Page), the most important behavioral restrictions tend to be common sense. Avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The traditional clothing in Kyrgyzstan varies greatly from region to region and many Kyrgyzs can tell where an individual is from based upon his or her traditional clothing. However, there are a number of similarities across the people, beginning with the distinct white hats, called ak-kalpak. In addition to this hat, the outfit traditionally consisted of fully sleeved shirts and pants, generally loose-fitting and durable as many people were nomadic so needed durable clothes, but not many outfits. Despite this, there were different outfits for different occasions. The clothes varied in warmth depending on the season, but in winters most people also wore a coat called a chapan, boots, and other warmer clothing.

Today most Kyrgyzs in the cities wear modern-western-styled clothing, but this is not true in the country and even among many older people in the country. The clothing, no matter the style, tends to be conservative as Kyrgyzstan is historically a Muslim country and even today most of the people are Muslim (with most of the rest being Russian Orthodox). Although the Soviets banned religion and few people are incredibly devote, the locals still tend to cover their arms and legs due to their religion. Many women who wear traditional clothing also cover their hair, but this is not always the case.

Due to the liberal state of Islam in the country, wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts is acceptable, although you may get some strange looks as the locals rarely to never wear these things. However, if in a business setting or in a mosque, be sure to cover up and dress on the more formal side, depending on the situation.

This page was last updated: November, 2013