The cost of living in Kyrgyzstan is relatively low in comparison to other international expat destinations. This is demonstrated in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2020, where Bishkek was ranked 206th out of 209 cities surveyed, making it one of the cheapest expat destinations worldwide.

Expats working for a large international organisation should expect a Western-style salary. Some companies consider Kyrgyzstan a 'hardship posting' and will offer an additional percentage on top of a basic salary to compensate for this.

Generally speaking, daily expenses in Kyrgyzstan are reasonably priced, as food is cheap, utilities are subsidised and real estate is much less expensive than other expat destinations. However, the costs of creature comforts and tastes of home can be shockingly high.


Cost of food in Kyrgyzstan

Due to food subsidies and the country's wobbly economy, prices for staples such as rice and flour will sometimes rise, but never to unreasonable levels for expats. Seasonal produce must be imported in the winter.

Bishkek is more expensive than the rest of the country in every way but also has the most diverse selection of food and imports. In larger cities, there are Western-style supermarkets, convenience stores and department stores. But with most items, if it's in one of these stores then it's likely also available and cheaper in one of Kyrgyzstan’s many bazaars.


Cost of accommodation in Kyrgyzstan

Prices for accommodation vary widely depending on location and size. Utility prices will rise or fall depending on various factors. Utilities from private companies can be more reliable but are much more expensive.


Cost of personal goods in Kyrgyzstan

Due to the high cost of good-quality furniture, appliances and clothing, many expats, especially those with families, prefer to ship most of their possessions. However, shipping to this landlocked, mountainous country with sometimes unreliable infrastructure can be an expensive, time consuming and often frustrating process, so expats should try to negotiate as large a shipping allowance as possible with their employer. Expats working for anything other than a well-established, well-funded organisation should expect to cover shipping costs themselves.


Cost of transport in Kyrgyzstan

Public transportation in Kyrgyzstan is quite affordable, but buying a car can be expensive, as all vehicles are imported or bought second hand in the country. Best practice for buying a vehicle is to purchase from another expat who is leaving the country.


Cost of education in Kyrgyzstan

Schooling options are limited for expats with children, as there are few international schools in Kyrgyzstan. Annual tuition fees are sky high and expats should try to negotiate an education allowance or subsidy into their contract.


Cost of living in Kyrgyzstan chart

Prices vary across Kyrgyzstan. These are average costs for Bishkek in December 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

KGS 25,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KGS 15,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

KGS 45,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

KGS 26,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

KGS 92

Milk (1 litre)

KGS 44

Rice (1kg)

KGS 72

Loaf of white bread

KGS 22

Chicken breasts (1kg)

KGS 280

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KGS 90

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

KGS 250

Coca-Cola (330ml)

KGS 34

Cappuccino

KGS 118

Bottle of local beer

KGS 70

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

KGS 1,700

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

KGS 2.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

KGS 1,300

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

KGS 3,000

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

KGS 12

Bus/train fare in the city centre

KGS 10

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

 KGS 44

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