One of our most intriguing destinations, Kyrgyzstan is also one of the least explored. For those in the know, Kyrgyzstan is the place to travel for those seeking traditional culture, outdoor adventure, and untamed landscapes. National heritage is strong in Kyrgyzstan where nomadic hunters show off birds of prey and horsemanship skills, and family workshops of wool and felt produce beautiful carpets and iconic household items in profusions of geometric designs. The warmest welcome awaits visitors at traditional celebrations and exciting nomadic games throughout the year.
The first thing you'll notice in Kyrgyzstan is the Tien Shan or Celestial mountains. 93% of this country is mountainous. In Kyrgyz, they're called "Ala Too" or colorful. Wherever you go, the stunning mountain vistas shift, revealing snowy peaks, alpine pastures, and striking rock formations. This fabulously unspoiled country impresses with its breathtaking panoramas, high altitude lakes, culture of hospitality and nomadic traditions. Cheerful smiles welcome guests to the campfire, a cosy yurt and a night under the canopy of stars.
You'll most likely start in Bishkek, the capital city, with its Soviet-era architecture, wide, tree lined streets, colorful bazaars and easy day trips to the surrounding areas. A short way from the city rises the 11th c. Burana minaret. A UNESCO site, it also features a mysterious collection of stone faced figures and stylized petroglyphs. Wildlife viewing, bird watching, hiking, climbing, rafting, and trekking on foot or horseback to secret lakes, canyons and wilderness areas lure nature lovers to all parts of Kyrgyzstan during the short summer season. Winter offers a paradise of ski and snowboarding options. Extreme altitudes and extreme climate here means amazing fresh powder and affordable, pristine rides all winter.
Choose your activity level and we'll do the rest. Our guides will get you to the burial mounds of Scythian kings and the deep, warm spring fed waters of Issyk Kul Lake. Explore the picturesque pastures and turquoise waters of Son Kul Lake, the Sary Chelek UNESCO Biosphere nature reserve, the craggy, glacier-fed Kel Suu lake, and Merzbaher - the disappearing lake. Peaceful, remote yet accessible, Kyrgyzstan offers beauty and tradition to those who seek it.
Best Places for Shopping:
- The bustling Osh Market in Bishkek
- Kochkor village handicraft museum and shop
- Kyzyl Tuu village yurt production workshops
Top Restaurants for Local Food and Hospitality in Bishkek:
- Supara: traditional Kyrgyz cultural center
- Navat: designed in the traditional Kyrgyz-Uzbek style
- Arzu: Uigur cuisine
UNESCO Heritage Sites:
- Burana Tower historical complex
- Sulaiman Too, the sacred mountain
Most Popular Souvenirs and Gifts
- Felt shyrdak carpets and handicrafts
- Silk scarves with felt design detail
- "Ak Kolpak" the traditional men's felt hat
- The Green Yard Hotel, Karakol for the best breakfasts in the country.
- The Ashu Tor Guesthouse, Chon Kemin valley for unique design and variety of activities
- The Asia Mountains, Bishkek is a cosy, homelike boutique hotel
- The Reina Kench resort, Jyrgalan province offers guest access to their racing stables and horse farm
- Glamping and yurt camps abound and in Bishkek you'll also find larger luxury hotels like the Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Orion and Jannat Regency
- April: 3-day Bishkek Jazz Festival
- August 31st Independence Day. Dancing and music in every city and in Bishkek, there's a kok boru a nomadic-style horseback game in the hippodrome.
- During the beautiful summer weather nomadic games and festivals are organized for tourists and locals alike in a variety of locations. Make sure to see the Salbuurun Festival of Nomadic arts and hunting at Issyk Kul Lake.