Don’t get me wrong: I love summer. But the mercury’s been hovering around 95 degrees in Bishkek the past two weeks, and everyone’s desperate for a way to beat the heat. Luckily, Bishkek has its fair share of pools. Some can best be described as concrete swimming holes in a school, and while those options may be inexpensive (100 som/hour, or about $2/hour), they’re a little short on relaxation. Enter Sun City.
With four swimming pools, a bar and restaurant, and an adjacent sports complex, Sun City invites you to come in, relax, and cool off in style. It is pricier (650 som/day or about $13, plus any food or drink), but since I’ve spent at least 6 hours there each time I’ve visited, I’d say I got my money’s worth. Two of the pools are kids’ pools, and Sun City is full of families. While one of the kids’ pools is a shallow splashing pool, the second makes me wish I was a child again. It’s chock full of toys, inflatable glaciers to climb, and multiple water slides; if kids aren’t your cup of tea, I’d recommend snagging a seat far away from the shrieks of joy that emanate nonstop from this pool.
The other two pools cater to the adults. One is large, with both shallow and deep ends, while the other is smaller and flower-shaped, and about 5’ deep all around. The water is very cold, but one jump in and you’ll quickly forget that the air temperature is pushing 100 degrees. The smaller pool is usually less crowded, and right in front of a stage with DJs playing club remixes of popular English and Russian songs. Lifeguards roam the borders of all the pools, and while diving is permitted, the one rule I’ve learned is that you’re not allowed to wear your sunglasses into the water.
After hours in the sun, you’re bound to get hungry and thirsty. Each pool is surrounded by tables, so you don’t have to leave the scene to get food. Servers in yellow shirts run around taking and delivering orders, but despite their appearance of hustling, the service is incredibly slow. The menu is large and diverse, with everything from salads to pizza to sushi, and plenty of cocktails and drinks. Prices are a little more expensive than other restaurants in the city, but only by about $0.50 or so. When the food does finally arrive, it’s quite tasty and always hits the spot.
As the temperature keeps pushing upwards this summer, I’m sure I’ll be back as Sun City for another dip in the pool!
2 Chuy Ave/просп. Чуй 2
Day Pass 650 som ($13)