How to get from Almaty to Bishkek

How to get from Almaty to Bishkek

You're in Almaty and you're heading to Bishkek! Cool! We spent a year in Bishkek and travelled frequently between the two capitals. We thought this post might be useful for anyone planning to make this trip for the first time. We prefer to go by marshrutka (shared minibus) and recommend this way because it's easy, inexpensive (about 1,300 KTZ) and it's pretty quick (about 5 hours). In Almaty, how do I reach the long-distance bus station from the city center? Marshrutkas to Bishkek depart from Almaty's long-distance Sairan bus station (международный автовокзал Сайран). The bus station…continue reading →

Bright Ideas: Energy Efficient Homes in Kyrgyzstan

During the month of July, we joined Kyrgyz NGO CAMP Alatoo in the village of Arslanbob to learn how they are teaming up with local craftsmen to spread energy awareness across the country. About Arslanbob Arslanbob is famous for its walnut-fruit forests. These ancient forests are the largest natural walnut forests in the world. Under Soviet forestry regulations the walnut forests were protected, and usage of valuable forest products was regulated under Soviet central planning. Today, however, the survival of this unique ecosystem is threatened. The biggest threat is from unrestricted grazing of livestock, which threatens…continue reading →

Conflict Management over Natural Resources in Kyrgyzstan

Many conflicts in Kyrgyzstan occur over natural resources. People in rural communities in Kyrgyzstan depend directly on natural resources like pastures, water, and wood to sustain their livelihoods. Pastures are particularly important: 94% of Kyrgyzstan’s territory is covered by mountains, and 80% of the available agricultural land is classified as pastures. Livestock and livestock breeding is a strong component of the rural economy and tensions over grazing rights and competition to use and manage natural resources is often a source of conflict both between neighbors and across international borders. We accompanied NGO CAMP Alatoo to Ak-Talaa…continue reading →

Talking “Citizen Science” in Kyrgyz Schools

Stay in Kyrgyzstan long enough and you'll pick up at least one phrase: Кош келиниздер! This phrase means “welcome” in Kyrgyz. It can be heard at the start of every public event, and seen at the entrance of every school across the country. The Kyrgyz Mountains Environmental Education and Citizen Science project—also known as KMEECS—is a project with which I (Stephanie) am personally involved in the design, implementation, and monitoring. I’m an intern at CAMP Alatoo in projects on climate change adaptation and conflict management over natural resources, and KMEECS is one of CAMP Alatoo’s climate change adaptation…continue reading →

Sustainable Pasture Management in Kyrgyzstan

During the months of June and July, we packed our backpacks, grabbed our sleeping bags, and headed for the pastures—the high mountain pastures of Arslanbob! We spent much of the summer traveling around Kyrgyzstan with the environmental NGO CAMP Alatoo to grab footage and do interviews (check out our previous post for more info). We’re making seven informational videos about CAMP Alatoo’s key activity areas, and Sustainable Pasture Management was our first one. We were in good company, joined by CAMP Alatoo’s Pasture Specialist Zhyrgal Kozhomberdiev and other pasture specialists and employees of the State…continue reading →

Meet CAMP Alatoo

Anyone who’s ever been to Kyrgyzstan—or read anything about Kyrgyzstan, for that matter—is aware of the country’s beautiful nature. Rolling green meadows, alpine lakes, glaciers, and most famously, snowcapped mountains, lend it the appropriate nickname as The Land at the Foot of the Sun (according to at least one souvenir-shop brochure). Since our arrival in Kyrgyzstan ten months ago, we've had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of organizations. One of those is CAMP Alatoo, a non-profit and non-governmental organization with the goal of improving people's livelihoods in the mountain regions of…continue reading →