Reasons to Visit
Kyrgyzstan is home to two pristine and deep alpine lakes, Issyk-Kul which never freezes over and provides the main lakeside towns with a pleasant climate and Song-Kol, which although smaller is equally beautiful.
94% of Kyrgyzstan landscape is mountainous, with jagged, rugged, peaks towering above the flatter plains. Most of the peaks form part of the dramatic Tian Shan range which sweeps through Central Asia into China.
The Kyrgyz have always been a nomadic nation, with customs today developing from the ancient traditions of nomad ancestors. From living quarters to how communities are run the nomadic heritage remains vitally important in Kyrgyzstan.
Terrain in Kyrgyzstan is difficult and barren, often treacherous and unknown. However some of the world’s greatest journeys begin here, including crossing the stunning Torugart Pass.
The opportunities for light hiking or more adventurous trekking are endless. Two of our favourite spots are Ala Archa Canyon and the Jeti Oghuz Valley.
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China, Russia & Central Asia
Discover the Burana tower amongst Sogdian ruins just outside Bishkek.
From the road, Bishkek is almost obscured by trees. It is one of the world’s greenest capitals and has a reputation for being laid-back and welcoming to visitors. The best hotels in Kyrgyzstan can also be found here.
Located at the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul, Karakol is the largest town in the area. The main reason to come here is for the superb scenery nearby, with trekking and horse-riding possibilities as well as multiple opportunities for photography.
At the very roof of Central Asia, the Inylchek Glacier, one of the largest non-polar glaciers in the world, carves its way slowly downhill, overlooked by the pyramidal peak of Khan Tengri and the massive bulk of Pik Pobedy.
Towering over the park are the highest peaks of the Kyrgyz Alatau Range, including Peak Korona (4860m) and Semenov Tianshanskii (4895m), both higher than anything Europe has to offer.
From Karakol a short 30 min drive west along the lake brings you to the head of the Jeti Oghuz valley, where you head north toward Jeti Oghuz village. A few minutes up the road you reach Broken Heart Rock, the reverse side of the famous Seven Bulls, a tremendous red limestone formation towering above the village.
Perched between two of the greatest deserts on Earth, remote and mountainous Kyrgyzstan glows in lush contrast to its dusty neighbours. Highlights include its leafy capital, Bishkek, which makes a pleasant entry or exit point and the great inland sea and renowned beauty spot of Lake Issyk-Kul.
A tour of this congenial capital makes for an interesting and relaxing day. The city can offer a poignant National History Museum, with exhibits on Kyrgyz victims of Stalin, as well as some interesting displays on Kyrgyz applied arts.
Our escorted small group tours are different from our tailor-made holidays in that travel is always in small groups with the services of an experienced guide throughout the trip.
9 hours (via Istanbul)
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout KyrgyzstanCountry Guides
Other countries in North Asia & Russia:ChinaJapanMongoliaRussiaTibetUkraineUzbekistan
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