Kyrgyzstan at a glance
|Main Language(s):||Kyrgyz, Russian|
|Time zone:||GMT +6|
Top 5 Kyrgyzstan Photography Adventure Highlights
As you will trek through picturesque valleys on horseback and unwind under the stars in a yurt, you will fall in love with Kyrgyzstan.
So what do you need to experience the Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle first hand? A love for the outdoors and a strong pair of boots. This 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!
However, whether you have booked a Kyrgyzstan photo tour or are going solo, you still need to know more about the hidden gems of this country. So here are the top five reasons why you need to visit Kyrgyzstan.
1. The ancient tradition of eagle hunting is still alive in Kyrgyzstan
If you are going on our Kyrgyzstan photo tour, you will get the chance to meet and photograph the Eagle Hunters of Salburun Federation. If you are not, you still need to make sure that you meet them because they are a fascinating community. Eagle hunting is a millennia-old tradition that involves training golden eagles to help nomadic communities with sustenance through hunting. Kyrgyzstan is one of the few places on Earth where you can still find these communities and observe how they train the eagles and use them to hunt for foxes or other animals.
2. Experiencing the nomadic culture
Kyrgyz people have a lifestyle that is dramatically different than that of Western civilization. In Kyrgyzstan, you can still find nomadic communities that spend their lives traveling through snowy mountain peaks and lush valleys. They spend their nights in traditional yurts and never stay too long in one place. During our Kyrgyzstan photo tour, you will get to live like a nomad, among these fascinating communities.
3. Horseback riding through breath-taking mountain valleys
Horses are instrumental to Kyrgyz people and they are highly respected in this country. Kyrgyz people take really good care of these beautiful animals and form powerful bonds with them. A horse trekking over a 4,000-meter mountain pass is an unforgettable experience. In our Kyrgyzstan photo tour, you will have the chance to feel the absolute peace of riding a horse through stunning mountain meadows.
4. The stunning Son Kul Lake
As you will find out during your photography adventure, Son Kul Lake is an alpine lake in Kyrgyzstan that offers one of the world’s most spectacular views. Surrounded by broad summer pastures and snow-capped mountains, the Son Kul Lake is a natural wonder that you shouldn’t miss during your Kyrgyzstan tour.
5. Karakol & the Fairy Tale Canyon
Ok, these are technically two reasons but, on your way to Karakol, you will pass the spectacular Fairy Tale Canyon. Set on the ancient Silk Road, Karakol is a splendid city with gorgeous buildings, welcoming people and breath-taking views. During your Kyrgyzstan photo tour, you will also see the famous Fairy Tale Canyon with its eerie Mars color and unusual rock formations.
CULTURE & TRADITIONS
Modern-day culture in Kyrgyzstan is greatly influenced by the nation’s nomadic heritage, as you will get the chance to see during your Kyrgyzstan photo tour.
Kyrgyz are renowned for their unique sense of hospitality that 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 would treat these guests like kings. This tradition has continued through to the modern day.
During a Kyrgyzstan photography adventure, you will also get to see the Kyrgyz Yurta. An incredible folk creation, the yurt is an easy-to-assemble portable tent that can be transported from one destination to another.
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 & CLIMATE
The climate in Kyrgyzstan is a continental one. There are frosty winters, but hot summers with high temperatures at low altitudes. If you find yourself in Bishkek during your Kyrgyzstan photo tour, expect temperatures around 35/36 °C (95/97 °F) in the summer. However, if you are in the mountain area, the temperatures will be lower, with a range of 11 – 24 °C (52- 75 °F). If your photography adventure will take to you in the Kyrgyzstan mountains, then the best time to visit this country is in the summer.
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. During your Kyrgyzstan photo tour, you will get the chance to see some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. 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.
Kyrgyzstan Photography Essentials
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 and a must during your Kyrgyzstan photo tour. 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! During your Kyrgyzstan photo tour you will get the chance to taste this traditional meal.
5 Things to Photograph on Tour in Kyrgyzstan
Epic Photos of the Eagle Hunters of Salburun Federation
Any Kyrgyzstan photo tour should include a couple of days with the fascinating community of Eagle Hunters. Capture unique moments of the hunters and their majestic golden eagles.
The Surreal Night Sky in Kyrgyzstan
Take a moment to appreciate the fascinating beauty of the night sky in Kyrgyzstan. In the mountains, where the air is crisp and there is no light pollution, you will see the most impressive sky you have ever seen in your life.
The Best Landscape Photographs at the Fairy Tale Canyon
Hike around Karakol area and make sure to capture the wild beauty of the Fairy Tale Canyon. The eerie crimson rock formations will take your breath away during your Kyrgyzstan photo tour.
The Beauty of Life in a Yurt Camp
Make sure to visit the traditional communities living in yurt camps in the mountains. If you are looking to take spectacular documentary photography, then yurt life in Kyrgyzstan is a must.
The Sun Setting over the Issyk-Kul Lake
In this serene place, you have the chance of seeing and photographing one of the most spectacular sunsets. Make the most of it during your Kyrgyzstan photo tour.