At the end of 2015 I was sitting in the Almaty Backpackers in Kazakhstan trying to plan my trip across the border into Kyrgyzstan. I had no idea where to stay in Bishkek, no idea where to even go next, but then I saw a flier in that hostel for the Apple Hostel in Bishkek. One e-mail later and the manager, Aigul, a local Kyrgyz lady e-mailed me back saying I had a dorm bed confirmed for three nights! I was pretty excited.
When I arrived in Bishkek, I had no idea I’d stay here for three days, for three weeks, in fact I stayed until April 2016, 5 calendar months! I’m normally just a few days and then I move on. But it just seemed like a perfect spot to me and it was my central Asian home from December 2015 to April 2016. Apart from 2 nights in the Evropa Hotel near the embassies for fast visa sourcement, I spent all my time in Bishkek here in the Apple Hostel and loved it. If you are heading to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, please please stay here, its the best hostel Bishkek has! Trust me, this is one of the coolest and most relaxed hostels from my journey so far. I mean, I stayed for 5 months and it could have been more if my visas weren’t on strict usage dates and I hope to return here again. It was a perfect base. Here are just five reasons why you should stay here.
1.Host Aigul and the Best Staff
Fronted by the most welcoming host of all time, Aigul Kubatbekova, the staff here become your friends. I spoke to Marat and Aim the other two main workers at length. My host Aigul made me feel like part of the family and she also helped me organise tours, Marshrutkas, taxis to embassies at ridiculous times and nights out. She even phoned the Pinta Pub for me one night to check if they were showing the Arsenal v. AFC Bournemouth match!
I cannot thank the staff enough, notably Aigul. A larger than life host. She literally gave up her time to take me on tours to the Central Mosque, Art Museum, Osh Bazaar and Nightclubs.
2.Family Atmosphere/Like a Homestay
The Stan regions of Central Asia feel very family orientated. This place feels more and more like a homestay than a backpacker’s hostel. I sit with the family at night watching TV, watching the youngest girl play chess, trying to talk to the rest of the family (wishing I could speak Russian!), it feels like home.
3.Cheap Food at Daamduu Restaurant
I’ll cover the food separately when I remember how to write and pronounce all the crazy and delicious food I have eaten here in Bishkek. Long story short – Apple Hostel is next door to Daamduu Restaurant, also a family run business by Aigul’s mother, Gulmira.
Every day I would eat my food here, working my way through every dish on my menu. The food for a meal and a drink is rarely over 90 Som, so about 80 pence for a good meal with a drink. In the backpacking world (at least through my 130 odd countries) it doesn’t get any cheaper than this for top class cuisine.
4.Wi-Fi in Room and Lounge
When you hear about countries like Kyrgyzstan you may think they are difficult places to get online. But the Apple Hostel has two Wi-Fi networks. One works downstairs in the cosy lounge – my writing desk home for a month! Much better than the horrendous Wi-Fi in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (sigh) and India.
The other network works fast in the rooms. During the month I stayed in a dorm room most of the time, but also was able to get a couple of nights in the private double room with an ensuite.
5.Location: Next to the Bus Station
When I arrived across the border and got my Marshrutka to Bishkek, I got off at the final stop – the West Bus Station in the north west part of Bishkek. How perfect is this!
Apple Hostel is just a 5 minute walk – straight across the hoardes of taxis and marshrutkas to the west side of the west bus station and you will see the Apple Hostel with its sign for Tourist Info Center as well as the restaurant Daamduu.
So you know the score now and if you are ever in Bishkek or Kyrgyzstan, head to Apple Hostel and say Hi to Aigul for me. This is an unforgettable hostel from my journey and also remembered fondly as luck shone on me with success in five visa applications! I headed onward to Tajikistan then Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan and Afghanistan to continue my journey.
Apple Hostel Bishkek,
Address: Chymkentskaya 1B, Бишкек 722110, Kyrgyzstan
Phone:+996 553 280 881 (What’s App), +996 558 25 35 45
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Manager email address: [email protected]
Some videos from my time at the Apple Hostel Bishkek: