'The Switzerland of Central Asia'
Kyrgyzstan epitomizes natural beauty; an unspoiled world of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, blissful alpine lakes and endless pastoral countryside. Trek through picturesque valleys on horseback then unwind under the stars in a yurt and experience the Kyrgyz nomadic life-style first hand. A love for the outdoors and a strong pair of boots is all you need to explore one of Central Asia’s best kept secrets, and trust us it won’t be a secret for long!
Kyrgyzstan at a glance
|Main Language(s):||Kyrgyz, Russian|
What to Expect
Culture and Traditions
Modern day culture in Kyrgyzstan is greatly influenced by the nations nomadic heritage. An incredible folk creation is the Kyrgz Yurta, an easy to assemble portable tent like creation that can be transported from one destination to another. Kyrgyz are renowned for their unique sense of hospitality, this stems from families living in high altitude pastoral areas in isolation to ensure enough grass for their livestock. This meant that when graced with the luxury of guests they were treated like kings and this tradition has continued through to the modern day. Fashion in Kyrgyzstan is practical and warm due to the harsh climate and outdoor lifestyle. Sheepskin coats called ‘Chapans’ and silk tunics are worn to provide insulation against the bitter cold. The infamous Kalpak is a white hat worn by most men, it is made from wool and felt and is a recognized symbol of the nation.
Weather and Climate
A land of extremes in many ways, rugged Kyrgyztan’s continental climate of harsh winters and hot summers are no exception. In the lowlands such as the capital Bishkek winters are milder however they still reach as cold as -10°! Summers in these such regions can get as hot as 40°! Moving up into the mountainous regions (which cover most of the country) temperatures fall as low as -20°, summers here are milder peaking in the mid 20°s. If you’re an avid skier, winter months in Karakul are a dream!
Kyrgyzstan shares its borders with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China. With over 90% of the country being above 1500m this rugged gem is perfectly crafted for those who love to explore. The Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) proudly dominate the country providing dramatic landscapes of rolling emerald hills and snow-sprinkled summits. Cradled amongst the peaks lie some of Asia’s largest lakes, from the enormous Issyk-Kul lake in the north to the dramatic Sary-Chelek, a dramatic alpine lake in the west.
The Ala Archa National Park
Nestled in the surreal Tian Shan mountains lies the Ala Archa National Park, a mystical world of glacial canyons, pristine mountain passes and over 50 rugged summits. The Ala Archa river flows through the peaks creating the perfect ambiance and a stunning alpine waterfall attracts many visitors to marvel at its beauty. Whatever your zeal there is a way to experience this natural phenomenon, whether its hiking, climbing, horse-riding or simply observing the beauty from the safety of the lower ground!
This peaceful town is the perfect gateway to experience authentic Krygz culture. Located on the east of Lake Issyk-kul Karakol encompasses many stunning sights from the Chinese built Dungan Mosque to the Impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Skiers flock avidly to this region to experience the famous slopes and admire stunning views of the lakes from the peaks! The true highlight of visiting this quaint location however is undoubtedly people watching, rise early on a Sunday morning to watch local life flourish in the biggest cattle market of the region!
Besh Barmak is a term meaning ‘five fingers’ and is used to describe an authentic Kyrgz meal eaten with one’s hands. This sacred dish is created from boiled mutton that is then mixed with pastry and cooked as a broth. The meat dish is often mixed with noodles and served in a large oval shaped dish with a final sprinkling of parsley. When serving Besh Barmak the head of the sheep will be given to the most honoured guest!