what to Do in Kyrgyzstan
What to do in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is most known for its nature and the alive nomad culture. During a visit you should at least sleep in a Kyrgyz yurt, try some horseback riding and try the delicious local foods that are for sure to the liking of a meat lover. The mountain lakes of Kyrgyzstan are also a must thing to see even during a short visit to this very mountainous country. Don’t miss the Kyrgyz culture either shown by the handicrafts and often horse related sports or games. It might come as a surprise but Kyrgyzstan also has some amazing ancient and medieval sights for the ones that want to step a little bit aside from the beaten path.
Ride a Horse in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is a land of horses and a culture is centered around the horse. Horse riding is therefore one of the Must-to-do things while visiting Kyrgyzstan because the landscape is perfect and trying horseback riding is very affordable in Kyrgyzstan. If you’re a beginner we recommend taking a shorter tour in a flatter areas and ask the guide or instructor to teach you how to control the horse and to keep your balance while horseback.
Observe Bishkek city
Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan has a lot to offer for the tourist from soviet remained architectures to the vast choice of various cuisines from around the world.
Bishkek bazaars are another highlight to observe the life of the locals. Here life boils and they have always been the heart of any Central Asian city.
Travel around Issyk Kul Lake
Lake Issyk-Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world and the number one beach resort in Kyrgyzstan. The lake is surrounded by snowy capped mountains even during the hottest summertime.
The huge water mass of the lake is keeping the climate more temperate during the wintertime and due to the hot springs at the bottom of the lake, it never freezes even though the temperatures go way below zero in the wintertime.
Trek up to the Kyrgyz celestial mountains
Kyrgyzstan is home to the majestic Tien-Shan mountain range, which offers many trails for lovers of trekking. Trekking through the gorges, valley and mountain trails is a great way to observe the natural beauty of the country.
Get to know the South of Kyrgyzstan
Southern Kyrgyzstan is still unknown land for most tourists but it has a unique charm and different feeling, unlike the northern part of the country.
The city of Osh, also known as the capital of the south is an ancient city that once was a major Silk Road stop. Surrounded by the lowlands of Fergana Valley, in Osh you really feel the scents of close neighboring cultures.
Swim in the Alpine Lakes
Even though Kyrgyzstan is far away from any sea or ocean, it has its little pearls, about 2000 alpine lakes which are homes to thousands of rivers and streams. When you trek up to the mountains those stunning lakes attract you to swim and be ready for cold alpine lake waters. Here are some alpine lake of Kyrgyzstan: Issyk Kul, Sary-Chelek, Ala-Kul, Kel-Tor, Merzbacher, Song-Kul and Kel-Suu.
Take a day trip to Ala-Archa
If you have just a day in Bishkek, you can take a quick tour to Ala Archa National Park, which is just about 40 km south of Bishkek. Ala-Archa is an easy way to get to know Kyrgyz mountains, flora and fauna.
The park is also a suitable place to visit with kids and there are tables along the walking way where you can have a picnic and walk safely in the shade given by the trees in the picnic area.
Explore Kyrgyzstan by Motorcycle
Surrounded by alpine landscapes, summer pasturelands and exquisite tracks along the beautiful valleys offer a vast field for the bikers to enjoy.
While motorcycling across mountainous Kyrgyzstan, you can experience the rhythm of the nomads and observe the gems of a country. Motorized adventures and unimaginable impressions await you!
Follow the footsteps of the Silk Road
Following in the footsteps of the Great Silk Road, you get closer to the culture of Kyrgyz nomads. You can experience the freshness of Kel Suu Lake and a closer look at the snowy peaks of the Tian Shan mountains. Kel-Suu is an isolated alpine lake located at At-Bashi district in the Naryn region next to the Chinese border at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level. This remote lake is surrounded by sheer cliffs that rise abruptly above its blue-green water.
Visit 10th-century Karakhanid empire Burana Tower
Visit of Burana tower site, on the ruins of the ancient Karakhanid’s capital, Balasagyn that ruled the area about 1000 years ago. The tower is part of an old mosque and it served as one of the minarets of it. The city was destroyed by Mongol hordes and the Burana tower sustained heavy damage in soviet times but was reconstructed during the 1970s. There is a small museum worth visiting nearby the tower where guides can tell more about the history of the place.
Hike to the highest waterfall in Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan is one of the two water-rich countries in Central Asia because of its massive amount of glaciers which are the sources of hundreds of rivers and waterfalls spread around the country. The 400 m Shaar waterfall is the highest waterfall in Central Tian Shan and the whole Central Asia and is surrounded by amazing nature.
Learn about Kyrgyz crafts
Apart from nature and adventure-related activities in Kyrgyzstan, you should also get to know with Kyrgyz crafts that are closely related to Kyrgyz nomadic history where the Silk Road has also played an essential role.
In the nomadic culture, the wool and felt were the primary fabrics to produce crafted carpets and and the yurt’s interior decoration.
Visit Tulpar Kol in Alay
Tulpar Kol is one of the several small but marvelous alpine lakes South of Sary-Mogol village in the Alai valley at an altitude of 3500 m in the mountains of the Trans-Alai Range. Certainly do a day hike to the lake and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Tulpar-Kul is a favorite destination for tourists and climbers visiting the Alai Valley. On clear days, the panorama of one of the highest peaks of the Pamir-Alai – Lenin Peak is reflected on the water surface of the lake.
Visit Saimaluu Tash Petroglyphs
Kyrgyzstan has several sites with ancient petroglyphs. Saimaluu Tash is the most impressive and covers located in an open airfield. Saimaluu Tash petroglyphs are listed on the World Heritage List and are under the protection of UNESCO. The stones contain different types of images like single symbols as well as several pictures displayed as a story or event.
Watch or play Kyrgyz Game
Although Kyrgyz people became semi-nomad by the 20th century, they have preserved a large part of their traditions and nomadic heritage, including some games that are still quite popular today. Join and play national games to test your strengths and earn new experiences. However, some games like Kok Boru (some call it national football) might be quite rough for a new player.
Relax in Altyn Arashan hot spring
Do you want to try to bath in an open-air pool in winter surrounded by a picturesque scenery? Then head to Altyn Arashan hot springs. At the height of 3000 meters from sea level there are several hot springs where the water is collected into either outside pools or inside wooden cabins. The hot springs can be reached by hiking along the Arashan river along the Western side of the valley or by a rugged 4 wheel drive jeep.
Stay in the yurt
Experience nomadic life and learn how Kyrgyz people have lived for generations. Yurt is a nomadic dwelling used mostly by Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Mongol people. In Kyrgyzstan, it is referred to as “Booz Yi” which translates as a grey house. Stying in the yurt is going to be an unforgettable experience in touch with nature and nomadic culture.
Discover origins of Kyrgyz epoch
Learn about the birthplace of Manas the Magnanimous, who is the hero of the Kyrgyz epoch and people consider Talas region being the cradle of Kyrgyz culture. “The Land of Manas” and indeed the region has a lot of places related to the legend. For instance the Gumbez (mausoleum) of Manas in the regional center or Manas Ordo is an entire complex dedicated to the legendary hero Manas.
Swim in the Salt lake
Do you want to just float and read the newspaper in the water? For that you should travel to Tuz-Lake at the south-west side of Issyk Kul. Tuz Kol is a highly saline lake getting its water from saline groundwater which is then being evaporated and the salt is being left in the lake.
While swimming, you can also coat yourself with the sulfur-rich black mud (you can tell also by the smell). Some believe that it acts as a mud bath and can improve your skin.
Page updated 15.1.2022