Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains offer incredibly scenic, if rugged, road networks. Outside of the main byways, a 4wd vehicle is necessary. Visitors can rent or hire vehicles in the capital of Bishkek. Parts of the Silk Road are popular with motorists, in remote rural areas it is adviseable to have a guide who can help with the language and navigation. In populous areas traffic does not follow western standards, be alert and wary of other motorists.
What to bring: Water, spare petrol, proof of insurance and your drivers license
When to go: Summer and fall. In winter snow makes most mountain roads impassable, and spring runoff creates deep mud and raging torrents which frequently wash out bridges.
Kyrgyzstan is colored by its rich and vibrant traditions. Handcrafts include feltwork, embroidery, leatherwork, silversmithing, and pottery. Shyrdaks, felt rugs made with strong geometric patterns, are one of the country’s most famous exports.
Many Kyrgyz still live very traditionally— join a shepherd’s family in their home to experience a real nomad’s lifestyle. Witness extraordinary horsemanship, traditional musical performances, and even eagle hunting. Travel to a jailoo, learn how traditional foods are made and try kymyz— fermented mare’s milk.
What to bring: an open mind, photos from home— everyone will be just as curious about you as you are about them
When to go: all year round
Discover colorful and unique destinations in Kyrgzystan and create long-lasting memories on our family tours. Experience local life, spot nomadic life and take part in exciting activities whilst the family relax with all of the logistics taken care of by us.
Kyrgyzstan hosts over 80 different cultures and nationalities. Kyrgyz, Uighar, Russian, Dungan, Uzbek, and Korean influences help create one of the most diverse cuisines of Central Asia. Kyrgyz food relies heavily on meat, dairy and bread, and is light on spices. Each meal ends with an «omin», a motion which gives thanks to God.
The strong and self-reliant nature of nomadic tribes, combined with the diverse influences of ancient artisans, has resulted in some truly unique national products. Kyrgyz people value things which are both useful and beautiful, and much of what they produce reflects just that.
Horses are an integral part of Kyrgyz life. A trip on horseback, whether for a few hours or a few days, will give you a unique perspective of the nomadic world. See enormous Lake Issyk Kul, the summer beauty of Lake Son-Kul, the rolling green hills of the Alay valley, and much more.
Bring: Warm clothes, sturdy close-toed shoes, gloves
When to go: Summer and fall. Herders must carefully maintain their horses through winter and spring. In summer and fall the animals are strong and healthy.
With a large network of mountain roads— many of which are barely traversable by car, Kyrgyzstan offers some spectacular routes for bikers. Travel parts of the old Silk Road, the Pamir Highway, or go off the main routes and explore remote mountain regions.
What to bring: Waterproof layers, bicycles are available to rent from some companies but serious bikers may prefer to bring their own.
When to go: Summer and fall. Mountain routes are inaccessible in winter and spring because of the snow.
If your idea of a perfect holiday is one jam-packed with activity, adventure and exhilaration, with different experiences to challenge mind and body, then our multi-active tours may be just right for you. Depending on the location you can enjoy thrilling activities as diverse as rafting, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and much more.
On our multi-active trips, you don’t need previous experience to try any of the activities, just a sense of adventure and a liking for adrenaline!
Kyrgyzstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes for millenia. Only 6.7% of Kyrgyzstan’s soil is arable, and harsh, unpredictable conditions make growing food difficult. Nomads live by constant movement— using the resources provided by the earth in the place and time they become available. Nomadic lifestyle is inseparable from the change of seasons, and the life cycles of the animals on which they depend.
Winter temperatures drop below -20 in the high mountains. The wind is sharp, and fantastic cloud formations whirl above sharp white peaks. In a nomadic homestead, the family sits around a dung fire surrounded by bright colored felt carpets and hangings which keep the dwelling cozy. Though winter temperatures drive them indoors, their hands are always busy— weaving, braiding, leatherworking, or plucking warm notes on the apricot wood komuz. Outside the animals shelter in a sod walled shed, staying close together and waiting for spring.
The spring thaw begins in May. It is a tense time for herders as food stored for winter runs low— the animals are thin and the weather dangerously fickle. The herders begin to breath easier as the new green grass sprouts and the weather warms. Young lambs frolic in spring sunshine, weary goat mothers follow their mischievous kids up talus slopes, and mares graze peacefully with bobtailed foals at their sides. The mothers and their young grow stronger, but there is not enough food for them in the lowlands. Families pack up their things, and follow their herds to the high mountain meadows.
In summer animals lose thick winter coats, becoming sleek and glossy. The grass in the highland pastures has a short growing season, and quickly makes up for lost time. Brilliant wildflowers vie for the attention of dusty honeybees— orange and red striped tulips grow native, as do fragrant, star-shaped edelweiss. The children are eager to play in the sunshine, as are the adults— summer is the time for horse games. Families set up felt walled yurts in the same way their ancestors have since ancient times. As young animals grow old enough to be weaned, dairy is abundant and traditional milk products are enjoyed by everyone.
Fall is marked by gifts from the mountains. Wild walnut trees, apples, apricots, mountain raspberries, currants, and gooseberries provide sweet fruits, some of which are preserved for winter. Nights become cooler, and the livestock and families move back to the lower pastures, which have had time to grow in their absence. Grass is cut and dried in preparation for the cold months ahead. Excess animals are eaten or sold, and families move back into their winter homes.
Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous terrain creates pockets of isolation in which diverse plant and animal life thrive.
There were many trading routes established linking East and West, collectively they were called the Great Silk Road. Traders, migrants, explorers and armies used these pathways to cross dangerous and unstable terrain which had previously isolated the two regions. This resulted in an unprecedented exchange of culture and a period of drastic change and growth.
The waypoints on the Silk Road shared in this interchanged. Nearly all major roads in Kyrgyzstan were once part of this ancient network. Ethnic identities along the route also changed— a 12th century account describes the arrival of a tribe from the lower regions of Siberia whose members were fair and red-haired. In Kyrgyzstan they joined Scythian and Persian tribes. The Macedonians, Chinese, Mongols, Arabs, Turks, and Sogdian Persians all traveled through, each leaving their footprints in the snow capped mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan.
There are innumerable remnants of the Great Silk Road scattered throughout Kyrgyzstan, including Burana Tower, Tash-Rabat, and the still lively bazaars of Osh.
The heart of the Tian Shan, Kyrgyzstan is more than 80% mountainous. There are incredible opportunities for hikers, ranging from mellow visits to alpine valleys to peaks over 7000 m. Tourism supports many budding local entreprenuers in rural areas, and visitors can stay in traditional shepherd’s yurts or Kyrgyz homes. Explore red sandstone canyons in Issyk-Kul, the peaks and gorges of the Chuy region, and the UNESCO protected Lake Sary-Chelek.
Bring: Warm clothing, good hiking boots or shoes. Gear can be rented from a variety of organizations, though climbers and mountaineers may with to bring their own.
When to go: Spring, summer, fall. Different areas in Kyrgyzstan offer seasonal trekking opportunities.
Events & Festivals
Birds of Prey Festival, CBT Bokonbaevo
Date: August 12, 2017, Saturday
Place: Jaichy yurt camp, southern Issyk-Kul Lake
Kurak and Terme festival, CBT Jalalabat
Date: August 05, 2017, Saturday
Place: Kara-Alma village, Jalalabat province
Horse Games Festival, CBT Kyzyl-Oi
Date: July 30, 2017, Sunday
Place: Kyzyl-Oi village, Suusamyr Valley
Horse Games Festival, CBT Kochkor
Date: July 29, 2017, Saturday
Place: Batai-Aral yurt camp, on the north-eastern shore of Son-Kol Lake
Yak and Horse Games, CBT Sary-Mogol
Date: July 22, 2017, Saturday
Place: Sary-Mogol Village, Alay district, Osh province
People have already fallen in love with Kyrgyzstan
At Visit Kyrgyzstan, we have run adventure holidays since 2004. We are passionate about what we do and we love to travel. Our experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all regions of Kyrgyzstan, make us one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in Kyrgyzstan.
We currently have over 100 tours available in all Kyrgyzstan, offering a choice that is second to none. Our wide range of activities and experiences, excellent tour leaders, commitment to responsible travel and a pinch of adventure spirit, keeps our team on constant move ahead.Read more
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