Burana Tower Day Trip from Bishkek
The Burana Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site well worth a visit from Bishkek. It can be done easily independently in half a day and will just set you back 3-5 dollars!
Background: The Burana Tower is all that remains from an ancient city called Balasagun. The tower was originally 44meters high, but because of war and because Russians used its bricks as building supplies, the tower is now just 25 meters tall. Steep stairs lead to the top where you will have incredible views of the Tian Shan Mountains.
Getting there was really easy taking a mashrutka (minibus) to Tokmok for only 50 som (less than a dollar). From Tokmok you can take a taxi the last 16kilometers or hitchhike like I did.
Cost of entry is 100 som or just 50 som if you have a valid student ID. There is a yurt shop at the site with drink, snacks, post cards and souveniers. The entry lets you walk freely at the open air museum as well as a museum building with information in both English, Kyrgiz and Russian.
The most impressive part for me was the “balbals” (tombstones used by the turks when they were raiding Central Asia centuries ago) that were standing next to the tower. They all looked different but were facing the same direction.
Kyrgizstan is cheap, friendly and completely safe to travel around.