I knew Kyrgyzstan was a special place when I first visited in 2003. Now after three trips and 15 years later, I still believe what I first encountered there was a genuine adventure travel experience. Endless hiking opportunities, beautiful mountains, and a country full of welcoming people is just the beginning. After revisiting Kyrgyzstan last summer, I knew I wanted to return with a small group of travelers. So I created: Experience Kyrgyzstan: Trekking & Local Culture, a 13-day trip with an incredible itinerary that takes in the best, as well as some of the off-the-beaten-track highlights of this central Asian country.
A trip to Kyrgyzstan might be right if you…
Love getting outside
Kyrgyzstan is a great place to get outdoors. There is outstanding hiking and even mountaineering. Lenin Peak soars to 7,134 meters (23,406 ft)! High altitude pastures and lakes make very picturesque scenery. Shepherds graze sheep, goats, and horses. Horse trekking is even an option for those who prefer not to hike. Swimming in Issyk Kul is popular in the summer. Skiing in the resorts around Karakol is good in winter. Check out this post for: Where to Get Outside in Kyrgyzstan
Interested in different cultures
Curiosity has always been my main motivation for traveling. If you are curious to learn more about how the semi-nomadic Kyrgyz people live, then a trip to Kyrgyzstan might be in order. You’ll learn how to set up a yurt. What kind of animals get milked and when, and eat some delicious homemade Kyrgyz food. You’ll also get to stay overnight in a yurt for the real nomad experience. Plus, there always seems to be a local willing to strike up a conversation with any curious traveler.
Want to travel to a place few foreigners will reach
Tourism has picked up a little the past few summers, but chances are, people you know back home won’t have been to Kyrgyzstan. You shouldn’t travel for bragging rights, but you might have to explain that Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia. That will turn some heads. Few foreigners even reach this landlocked region. The Mongols came through in the 13th century and the Russians colonized the area in the 19th century and of course, Silk Road traders passed through. But largely, the world doesn’t know much about the Kyrgyz people.
Enjoy new eating experiences
Have you ever eaten lunch in a yurt? Received endless cups of tea? Dipped homemade bread into fresh cream? In Kyrgyzstan, you’ll have lots of new eating experiences as well as trying a bunch of new foods: from the Uighur-influenced lagman noodles to the Uzbek plov, to typical beshbarmak, which is lamb and noodles (with horse sausage). Eat boorsok with tea or refresh yourself with kumis, fermented mare’s milk! Delicious fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in the lower elevations of the western part of Kyrgyzstan and meat and dairy are mostly consumed in the higher elevations.
Or are interested in learning other new things
The Kyrgyz are expert felt makers. You might go home with some new felt slippers or a felt carpet after witnessing a felt making demo. The art of eagle hunting is still practiced in parts of Kyrgyzstan. You’ll have an opportunity to see one of these eagles and its master. Lucky travelers in Kyrgyzstan will see a game of pick up kok boru, a game where two teams of men on horses fight over a goat carcass.
Love an adventure
Things in Kyrgyzstan don’t always work like they’re supposed to. I don’t say that to turn you away but to prepare you for the unexpected. Prepare yourself for alternatives. Look at a trip to Kyrgyzstan as an adventure and know you’ve got to be flexible. Traveling is all about going with the flow of the adventure. Right? Trekking in Kyrgyzstan is also a great place for a digital detox. Give your smartphone a break and recharge your mind.
Travel with us – About our trip
Our Experience Kyrgyzstan: Trekking & Local Culture trip is an awesome 13-day adventure with an incredible itinerary that takes in the best of the country. Make the 4-day trek to Kol Suu with us by foot, horseback and raft. Visit a 15th century Silk Road Caravansari, stop at beautiful Song Kol, stay overnight in a yurt, experience the nomadic life, meet an Eagle hunter, and a whole lot more. Max 10 person group.
Travel with us on our Experience Kyrgyzstan: Trekking and Local Culture Tour
Visit DiscoverKyrgyzstan.org for more information
This trip was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.