Can I drink the water in Bishkek?

Yes and No.
I used to drink the tap water straight, and for over a year that was fine. Then this October it started to taste of chlorine and after a few days of drinking it I got really sick and had a terrible itchy, sore throat for about a week. Since then I’ve switched over to buying five liter jugs of water from Narodnie. I still use the tap water when I’m boiling water to make coffee or tea.
So – usually the water is fine. Sometimes the water treatment plant puts in too many chemicals. Taste the water and go with your own judgement.
As for the rest of the country (and hiking), Kyrgyzstan has a lot of fresh spring water. Locals drink it without problem. Generally, if the water is coming from a tap drilled into the rock or an underground stream it’s probably fine (and delicious), but you obviously want to be wary of drinking directly from a stream (giardia, etc…)

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2 thoughts on “Can I drink the water in Bishkek?

  1. When we lived in Bishkek we also started out just drinking the tap water. Then one day a salesman showed up with a water filtration system. He tested our water with some kind of Japanese device and the reading was like 147. He said that kind of water is only good for factory use. Drinkable water is anything 50 and under. He tested our water from Narodnie and it registered around 40. Then he hooked up his system and I think it was a 4. However, since the filtration system cost over $1000 I did not buy it, but instead I asked him which water company in Bishkek had the cleanest water for sale. He said that Ak-Bata came out at about 25, so we started ordering home delivery from them.

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    • I probably wouldn’t trust anyone selling equipment that costs nearly half the national GDP per capita)). Water quality does tend to go up and down in Bishkek (it now smells normal again, though I still don’t drink it…). I will check out Ak-Bata – thanks for the note!

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