Why we like Kyrgyzstan
The mountain vistas alone are reason enough to visit Kyrgystan but, while visitor numbers are increasing gradually, a short tourist season and the relative difficulty of reaching it have ensured that Kyrgyzstan is unlikely to ever become a mainstream travel destination. This means that those adventurous travellers who do make the effort to come are guaranteed a unique and unforgettable experience.
What to expect on your Kyrgyzstan holiday
Sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of Central Asia, the landscapes of Kyrgyzstan are surprisingly varied, with snow-capped peaks, pine forests and glaciers giving way to open plains dotted with nomadic encampments, flocks of sheep and gleaming blue mountain lakes.
The fact that the country is so little known is mostly down to its isolation and a lack of awareness of its very existence. Kyrgyzstan has only been a country in its own right for two decades or so.
Architecturally there is little to see in Kyrgyzstan but this is more than compensated for by the truly magnificent views which can be seen when riding or trekking in the mountains. Since independence from the former Soviet Union, life has been hard for the people of Kyrgyzstan, with no natural wealth apart from a little gold. For the visitor, however, it is a land of peace and tranquillity where many people are still nomadic, living in yurts and tending their sheep and goats.
Be warned that the infrastructure leaves much to be desired, but a holiday to Kyrgyzstan is all about getting away from smart hotels and cities and instead drinking fresh yoghurt with a tribal headman while, through an interpreter, he tries to understand how you survive with no sheep.
Some ideas for a Kyrgyzstan holiday
- Visit the petroglyphs near Cholpan Ata and the 11th century Burana Tower, all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun.
- Spend a night with a local nomadic family in their yurt for a taste of the traditional life.
- Go riding or trekking in the Tien Shan (Heavenly) Mountains.
- The Turugat Pass from Kyrgyzstan into China and Kashgar means that Kyrgyzstan is a natural stop over on any Silk Road journey.
Beyond the ordinary
Go hunting with the famed eagle hunters.
our Kyrgyzstan expertise
Paul has been criss-crossing Central Asia for nearly two decades and there are few places he has not seen. His knowledge of little-known border crossing points is legendary and makes for fascinating itineraries. Charlie has recently returned from Kyrgyzstan, still amazed that he could trek in such beautiful surroundings and not see another foreigner.