Kyrgyzstan is constantly engulfed in strifes and political turmoil, and several countries advise foreigners to not travel to Kyrgyzstan at this time.
While the US travel advisory tells foreigners that some attacks on Westerners have occurred, the view of Kyrgyz people on this is varied. Fights and assaults generally focus around nightclubs and bars, just as in any other large city. There is to date no indication that Bishkek is particularly dangerous to foreigners. As for other cities in the Kyrgyz Republic, there is little evidence. Tourists will of course be drawn by Kyrgyzstan's amazing natural beauty although travel by car through mountain passes and villages is not advisable.
Although bride-kidnapping is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, it is still common, particularly in rural areas, so women should be very careful - it would therefore be preferable that women travel with male family members or other men who they can trust to keep them safe. According to the United States Embassy, two American women were bride-knapped in rural Kyrgyzstan in 2007, and you certainly don't want to be one of them.
In the past there have been occasional reports of foreigners being approached by persons impersonating police and asking for documents in order to find an excuse to extort monies. These reports are uncommon, but one should always be on guard.
You could also work for local language schools. The London School in Bishkek is usually good for working as a TEFL teacher or learning Russian and Kyrgyz languages.
Your biggest risk in Kyrgyzstan are car wrecks and accidents while crossing the street or falling into a hole in the sidewalk. You should also exercise caution around stray animals and avoid approaching dogs.
Food and drinking water safety vary substantially by region. Kyrgyz claim the national drink, Kumys, is extremely healthy and will cure you of innumerable ailments.
Western norms of respect are standard. Though nominally a Muslim country the Kyrgyz people are highly westernized. No special dress codes are in effect. Although standards of dress in Bishkek are Western and often revealing, in the south of the country women would be advised to dress more conservatively or risk attracting unwanted male attention. Evenings can be charged as alcohol intoxication can be quite prevalent at this time. Proceed with caution.
A popular local source of information for tourists is the regularly published ex-pat run Spektator (http://www.thespektator.co.uk) magazine which features tourism and culture articles focusing on Kyrgyzstan and the wider Central Asian region.
The languages of Kyrgyzstan are Russian and Kyrgyz, a Turkic language related to Uzbek, Kazakh, and, of course, Turkish. Kyrgyz is more common in rural areas whereas Russian is the urban language of choice in fact it's not uncommon to meet ethnic Kyrgyz people in Bishkek who cannot speak Kyrgyz. English, while becoming more popular, is still rarely spoken, so in order to effectively communicate one must at the very least learn a few basic words yes, no, please, thank you, etc. in Russian or Kyrgyz, depending on the location. If you are lost completely, try to ask young people, especially students.
Like most of the rest of the former Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which can present a problem for Western travellers. However, the characters are not too hard to learn and once that is done you'll find that many of the words are familiar. For example, "ÑÐµÑÑÐ¾ÑÐ°Ð½" in latin is "restoran," which means, "restaurant." But be careful. They use it for Kyrgyz language as well!
See the Wikitravel Russian phrasebook and Kyrgyz phrasebook for more information.