Kyrgyzstan – is a picturesque mountain land, located in Central Asia. It borders with China in the southeast, Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the west and Tajikistan in the south.
Breathtaking picturesque landscapes, snowy peaks and crystal clear lakes make Kyrgyzstan an irresistible travel destination. Thanks to its diverse landscapes it offers a wide range of travel experiences, from a beach holiday to a trip to the snow-capped peaks and is annually visited by more than 2 million tourists from near and far abroad.
To make your trip unforgettable, the Travel Land agency has compiled a list of places definitely need to visit in Kyrgyzstan:
Visit the main square
Arriving in Bishkek, be sure to visit the main square Ala Too. This square is one of the favorite places of the citizens, where large-scale events and open-air concerts are held. On its territory there is the residence of the president, a historical museum, a monument to the great hero Manas and a huge flag with a height of 45 meters.
Since approximately 94% of the territory of Kyrgyzstan is occupied by mountains, it offers great opportunities for hiking enthusiasts. Regardless of the level of experience, from beginners to absolute climbers, hiking provides plenty of moments and retreats to just be with yourself and your thoughts.
If you are lovers of active recreation, you can go on multi-day hikes to spend nights in tents, far from civilization, meeting the dawns and enjoying a delicious breakfast cooked over a campfire.
There are also many options for day hikes near the city of Bishkek. Among them, Ala-Archa National Park, known for its dense coniferous forests, deserves special attention. This national park located about 40 south of the capital and is one of the few locations that is easily accessible to visit regardless of the time of year. This is a great place to have a picnic by the river and escape from the city and the beautiful landscapes of foothill steppes and mountain forests will help tourists get an unforgettable aesthetic pleasure.
Lake Issyk Kul
If you are visiting Kyrgyzstan, especially during the summer season, trip to lake Issyk Kul, which is the second largest alpine lake in the world. Thanks to its diversity of flora, fauna and picturesque surroundings Issyk Kul lake considered one of the main attractions of the country.
This is an ideal place, where beach lovers can sunbathe on the beach, and in the evening go for a boat trip along the coast and enjoy all the beauties. For lovers of outdoor activities, there are many spectacular canyons and gorges. One of them are the Jeti Oguz and Barskoon gorges, which consist of several waterfalls. Another favorite place of tourists are Aksai canyons, from the top of which you can admire the amazing view.
Visit the Petroglyph Museum
The Museum of Petroglyphs which is also often called the “stone garden” and houses more than 4000 years old rock paintings. This open air museum is located in the resort town of Cholpon Ata, in Issyk Kul region.
The figures and scenes depicted on the petroglyphs are very realistic and reflect the way of life of ancient people, hunting scenes, fighting with animals and much more. In addition, you can find many tombstones and boundary stone fences there.
These petroglyph figures are widely used in the creation of Kyrgyz traditional carpets and other felt products.
Try Yurt construction
Since ancient times, yurts have been an integral part of nomadic culture and symbolized wealth and prosperity. It was a portable dwelling that people had been building and using for thousands of years. Despite the fact that people have become settled, the yurt is an important attribute, reminiscent of the nomadic past. In some regions, you can meet families who still make yurts, keeping all the rules and traditions. One of these families live in the village of Kyzyl Tuu, Issyk Kul region. This family will not only show the installation process, but also give you the opportunity to take part in it.
Eagle hunting is probably one of the most exciting sights that is definitely worth watching. It carried out by nomads in ancient times and has been passed down from generation to generation. This art is considered one of the most difficult and requires a lot of effort and knowledge. The training of a small eagle begins at four months, they try to adapt it to the society of people, learning to trust and not attack children and animals and only then they begin to teach hunting.
Today, this kind of art can be found on the southern shore of the lake Issyk-Kul, where whole families hone their eagle hunting skills.
Since the Kyrgyz were a nomadic people, horses were indispensable in everyday life and always occupied a special place. Almost every child from an early age mastered the skills of riding, and confidently rode a horse.
On holidays, men organized various horse games, competitions to show their dexterity and courage. The most popular games such as Kok Boru, Kyz Kuumai, Tyyn Enmei and many others have survived to this day and are often held among young people. This addictive games are definitely worth your attention.
Every Sunday, a livestock market is held in the city of Karakol, where hundreds of people gather to buy or sell their livestock. The fair starts early in the morning, before sunrise and ends before lunch. Despite the congestion of people and chaos, visiting the fair will give you a lot of new impressions and let you feel the local flavor.
Stay at the yurt camp
While travelling in Kyrgyzstan, we definitely recommend enjoying the night in the yurt. A yurt is a circular, portable nomad dwelling covered with felt. Presumably they appeared in the late Bronze Age and were an integral part of the nomadic culture.
Nowadays they can be met on Son Kul Lake, where shepherds stay with their flock in the summer. There is an opportunity to stay in these yurts, watching the daily life of the locals: how they graze sheep, prepare a drink kymyz, play national horse games and in the evening light a fire and enjoy the starry sky. It’s one of the best places to see and photograph the milky way.
Sacred mountain Sulaiman-too
The sacred mountain Sulaiman-Too is the first object in the country included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The mountain is located in the center of the city of Osh, and is surrounded by religious buildings and petroglyphs. The mountain received its current name in the 20th century, legend says that it was named after the prophet Sulaiman.
On the mountain, be sure to visit the caves of Chakka Tamar and Tepeunkur. It is believed that these caves have unique healing properties, and people are cured of headaches and other diseases.
Also make time for the museum on the mountain, which was made from the largest cave. More than 33 thousand exhibits are stored in this cave, among them there are ancient manuscripts, household items, coins and much more.
Before leaving the city, don’t forget to go shopping at the central market “Jaima”. This is a huge oriental market where you can find not only food, but also clothes, household goods, textiles, souvenirs and even a cattle row.
Trip to Arslanbob
The village of Arslanbob is located in the Jalal-Abad region and is famous all over the world for its walnut forests. This unique forest covers an area about 700,000. In total there are more than 130 varieties of trees, the age of some walnut trees exceeds 1000 years.
In addition to the walnut forest, Arslanbob is known for its waterfalls. The most famous are the big and small waterfalls, at an altitude of 80 and 25 meters. A walk to the small waterfall will take about 50 minutes, and hike to the big one takes 1.5 hours and passes through the walnut forest.