Kyrgyzstan - World Tour

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Kyrgyzstan

Imagine you wake up in a yurt. You step outside your humble shelter to an unspoiled landscape of mountains and lakes waiting to be explored. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan – one of the most beautiful natural treasures in the world.

Kyrgyzstan is a progressive landlocked country, almost entirely covered with mountainous landscapes. The Tien Shan mountain range is the main attraction and provides plenty of hiking opportunities. Summer is the ideal season for exploring the country as most of the rural roads get closed during the winter season. Apart from hiking, a motorbike trip to Issyk Kol is another popular activity you can do. Kyrgyzstan is known for its nomadic culture and traditions; experiencing it can be once in a lifetime opportunity. Speaking of Nomads, Son Kol is the perfect place to start your nomadic adventure, which includes horseback riding and staying in a yurt. Visiting the high-altitude lakes like Kol Tor, Ala Kul and Kol Suu is mesmerizing. The UNESCO certified nature reserve of Sary-Chelek is also worth adding to your itinerary.

The country’s capital Bishkek is a charming city with lots of greenery. You can relish art galleries and nightclubs when in town. Also, try mouthwatering Kyrgyz food, which will do perfect justice to your tastebuds. However, most of the dishes are meat-based, so vegans and vegetarians should check the menu carefully before ordering anything.

As a travel destination, Kyrgyzstan’s sole purpose seems to be to lure nature lovers with its abundance of natural beauty. So far it has been a win-win for both the Kyrgyz as well as the tourists.

  1. a nation defined by its natural beauty.
  2. Joyously unspoilt mountainscapes, stark craggy ridges and rolling jailoos (summer pastures) are brought to life by semi-nomadic, yurt-dwelling shepherds
  3.  a well-developed network of homestays and visa-free travel, and it’s easy to see why Kyrgyzstan (officially the Kyrgyz Republic), is the gateway of choice for many travellers in Central Asia.
  4. vast majority of attractions are rural and high altitude,Summer is ideal with hikes and roads generally accessible.
  5. Landlocked and mountainous
  6. one of the more progressive post-Soviet governments in the region.
  7. called the Switzerland of Central Asia.
  8. Kyrgyzstan has a wide mix of ethnic groups and traditional cultures
  9. The languages of Kyrgyzstan are Russian and Kyrgyz, English, while becoming more popular, is still rarely spoken
  10. The classic way to see Kyrgyzstan is on the saddle of a horse
  11. Kyrgyz food is the product of a long history of pastoral nomadism and is overwhelmingly meat-based
  12. Drinking (tea, kymys, or vodka)  is one of the great Kyrgyz social traditions
  13. Bishkek – capital –
    • Delightfully green and full of post-Soviet anachronisms
    • a cultural hub
    • Explore the culinary diversions, arts scene or nightlife of Kyrgyzstan’s capital city
    • gateway to the Tien Shan.
    • Ala-Too Square –
      • Bishkek’s nominal centre is architecturally neobrutalist in style but has a photogenic quality – especially when slowly goose-stepping soldiers change the guard beside the soaring national flagpole
    • Osh Bazaar –
      • Bishkek’s most central bazaar has a certain compulsive interest and is an important city landmark. 
    • Chunkurchak Ski Complex –
      • Attractive mostly for beginner and intermediate skiers, this ski base not far from Bishkek makes a great weekend trip in winter.
    • State Museum of Fine Arts
  14. Son-Kol –
    • Distantly ringed by a saw-toothed horizon of peaks, the wide open landscapes of Son-Kol create a giant stage for constant performances of symphonic cloudscapes
    • the lake’s water colour changes magically from tropical turquoise to brooding indigo in seconds as the sun flashes or the storms scud by in a vast meteorological theatre.
    • a sublime place to watch the sun come up or to gaze into a cold, crystal-clear night sky heavy with countless stars.
    • between June and September herders’ yurts dot the shoreside meadows every few kilometres
    • the area offers an unparalleled opportunity for yurtstay visits or multi-yurt hikes and horse treks
  15. Alay Valley –
    • Platoons of vast, ever-snowy mountains march along the southern flank of the Alay Valley
  16. Kol-Suu –
    • Remote even by Kyrgyzstan standards, magnificent Köl-Suu lake stretches over 10km through a sheer mountain gorge that reaches nearly to the Chinese border.
    • It’s hard to grasp the true scale until locally run boat trips strike out for the centre of the lake
  17. Karakol –
    • has limited sights but lots of activities
    • a good base from which to access some of Central Asia’s best skiing and most gloriously accessible alpine trekking
    • The town offers clear-day backdrops of snowy peaks contrasted against the old blue shutters and whitewashed walls of some remnant antique colonial-period houses.
  18. Jyrgalan –
    • Founded as a coal-mining village but finding new life as an ecotourism base
    • insight into Kyrgyz village life
    • a launching point into the mountains that start just outside your guesthouse door.
  19. Ala-Kol –
    • The two-day trek to stunning Ala-Köl is for many visitors a highlight of the entire Kyrgyzstan experience
    • Though less than 1.5 km², the range of massive peaks that backs the long curve of the lake makes the view from the pass down to Altyn Arashan one of the finest and most accessible anywhere in the north of the country.
  20. Issyk-Kol –
    • the world’s second-largest alpine lake.
    • The name, meaning ‘hot lake’, comes from a combination of extreme depth, thermal activity and mild salinity, which ensure the lake never freezes even in the fierce Central Asian winters – despite lying at an altitude of over 1600m
    • backdrop of the snow-dappled Ala-Too mountains.
    • the main attraction for Western travellers tends to be the accessible mountain hiking
    • The central Tian Shan range accessible from the lake settlements comprises some of the finest trekking in Central Asia
  21. Sary-Chelek Biosphere Reserve –
    • Though the full Unesco Biosphere Reserve includes seven mountain lakes and numerous rare flora and fauna, the star attraction for most visitors is the massive Sary-Chelek lake itself.
  22. Kol-Tor Lake –
    • This turquoise-hued glacial lake is one of the most beautiful in Chuy oblast, and the surrounding peaks and verdant pastures certainly don’t do anything to dispel that notion.
  23. Ak-Kol –
    • Winding 10km up a dirt road off the Kazarman–Chaek highway, brilliant Ak-Köl lake reflecting the surrounding peaks and the village beyond are a real delight
    • It’s possible to use the village as a base for horse rides or trekking

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