Kyrgyzstan

If mountains are your thing, then Kyrgyzstan is your place. Tucked into the heart of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s skyline is dominated by craggy peaks and alpine lakes. Pull on your boots and get trekking to really experience its spectacular beauty. You’re likely to come across spectacular glaciers, be invited into a yurt for some yoghurt or ushered to the sidelines of a ferocious game of goat polo.

Kyrgyzstan Tours & Travel

All our Kyrgyzstan trips

Ashgabat to Bishkek

30 days from
USD $3,465
CAD $3,709
AUD $3,555
EUR €2,629
GBP £2,294
NZD $4,423
ZAR R35,427
CHF FR3,225

Follow the Silk Road through Central Asia and travel to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. See Kyrgyz Mountains and travel to...

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Mountain Kingdoms of Kyrgyzstan

16 days from
USD $1,950
CAD $2,111
AUD $2,085
EUR €1,427
GBP £1,176
NZD $2,309
ZAR R20,705
CHF FR1,721

Traverse the Mountain Kingdoms of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This challenging tour through Central Asia's mountains...

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Bishkek to Ashgabat

30 days from
USD $3,990
CAD $4,324
AUD $3,960
EUR €2,919
GBP £2,424
NZD $4,733
ZAR R42,427
CHF FR3,530

Follow the Silk Road through Central Asia and travel to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. See Kyrgyz mountains...

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Beijing to Istanbul

96 days from
GBP £7,620
NZD $14,806
ZAR R132,807
CHF FR11,051
USD $12,490
CAD $13,535
AUD $12,455
EUR €9,135

Travel to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. See the Great Wall of China and Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. Discover Baku...

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Tashkent to Bishkek

16 days from
USD $1,705
CAD $1,766
AUD $1,800
EUR €1,287
GBP £1,076
NZD $2,084
ZAR R16,590
CHF FR1,516

Begin this journey in one capital and end in another: Tashkent to Bishkek, across Central Asia, through ethereal...

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Xi'an to Bishkek

27 days from
USD $3,275
CAD $3,376
AUD $3,457
EUR €2,496
GBP £2,068
NZD $4,101
ZAR R31,455
CHF FR2,962

Journey from Xi'an to Bishkek and encounter the legends of the Silk Road, vibrant Tibetan culture, ancient imperial...

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Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan Explorer

16 days from
USD $3,455
CAD $3,565
AUD $3,495
EUR €2,395
GBP £1,995
NZD $3,890
ZAR R34,985
CHF FR2,895

Travel through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Discover ancient petroglyphs, stretch out on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul...

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Kyrgyzstan trip reviews

Our Kyrgyzstan trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews in the last year.

Mountain Kingdoms of Kyrgyzstan, October 2013

Articles on Kyrgyzstan

6 Asian hotels you really have to see to believe

Posted on Mon, 22 Sep 2014

What is it about Asia that throws up strange and unusual places to rest your head?

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11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia

Posted on Sun, 8 Jun 2014

If I was to give you one tip about travelling in Central Asia, it would be expect the unexpected. Everything about the region is surprising; the extraordinary landscapes, fascinating history, [...]

Read more

The do’s and don’ts of travel in Kyrgyzstan

Posted on Sun, 25 May 2014

Kyrgystan: Central Asia, west of China and south of Kazakhstan. Dominated by the Tian Shan (Heavenly Cloud) mountainous range with verdant green gorges, tall peaks and high altitude lakes. Through [...]

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A photo journey through Central Asia

Posted on Wed, 14 May 2014

The Silk Road originally extended over 6,000 km through ancient China, India, Persia, Europe and Arabia, linking the mighty civilisations of the East and the West. It’s an intrepid traveller’s [...]

Read more

About Kyrgyzstan

At a glance

Trips Available: 6
Capital city: Bishkek (population 835,000)
Population: 5.5 million
Language: Kyrgyz, Russian
Currency: KGS
Time zone: (GMT+06:00) Almaty, Novosibirsk
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code: +996

Best time to visit Kyrgyzstan

Like most of Central Asia, the best time to visit Kyrgyzstan is spring and autumn. As well as being the best weather, in spring the desert flowers bloom and in autumn markets fill with fresh harvest produce. Summer can get very hot and winters are bitterly cold. Winter can also get quite wet and some roads may close due to snow.

Kyrgyzstan weather chart

Geography and environment

The Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) range
With around 90% of Kyrgyzstan above 1500m, your adventure is sure to reach some heady heights. The Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) range takes up most of the country and around every corner appears another rolling hill or majestic peak. Kyrgyzstan is also home to some of Asia’s largest lakes, the most famous being Issyk-Kul in the northwest. Kyrgyzstan shares borders with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China.

Top Picks

Lake Song-Kol

Top 5 Back to Nature Places in Kyrgyzstan

1. Bush Camp

Bed down for the night in the Tian Shan ranges under a blanket of glittering stars. The only noises are from distant nomads herding their stock through the valleys.

2. Lake Song-Kol

This zoological reserve is surrounded by pastures that are favoured by nomadic herders. Don’t be surprised to see a fierce game of ulak-Tartys (goat polo). You may even get to ride out with the shepherds on their hardy ponies.

3. Djety Oguz Valley

Spend days hiking canyons and valleys surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Seven spectacular red sandstone cliffs stand guard over the entrance to the Djety Oguz Valley. Local tradition says that the cliffs were once wild bulls, immobilized by the gods to stop them terrorizing local yurt dwellers.

4. Karakol

Even in urban areas, Kyrgyzstan’s natural beauty abounds. Karakol is surrounded by orchards and mountains, with a lovely Russian church and colonial houses. Explore tree-lined streets that slope up towards glaciers and pine forests.

5. Lake Issyk-Kul

Take a beach break with a difference. This alpine lake has been a favourite holiday spot for locals for centuries. After relaxing on the beach, be sure to see the petroglyphs that date back to 500 BC.

FAQs on Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN:

Many nationalities no longer require a visa to travel to Kyrgyzstan for up to 60 days, including Australia, Belgium, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, USA and Switzerland. Other nationalities should check with their nearest embassy. Nationals of other countries not listed should check their requirements at their nearest embassy. A LOI is rarely needed, but should it be required by your embassy please contact Intrepid or your agent immediately after booking as this can take up to 15 days to be processed and is not included in your trip cost.

Tipping is becoming more common in Kyrgyzstan. 10% should be sufficient.
There are internet cafes available in the main towns.
Mobile phone coverage is fairly limited, even in major centres. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Toilet facilities may be very basic. Expect drop toilets outside of hotels and bring your own toilet paper as there may be none.
Bottle of soft drink = 25 KGS
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 40 KGS
Cup of coffee = 45 KGS
Three-course meal = 1000 KGS
Short taxi ride = 80 KGS
Drinking tap water in Kyrgyzstan isn’t recommended. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards are accepted in major shops and hotels in Bishkek.
ATMs are available in Bishkek but harder to find outside of the capital.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 7 Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
Mar 21 Nowruz (Persian New Year)
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Constitution Day
May 9 Victory Day
Aug 8 Orozo Ait (End of Ramadan)
Aug 31 Independence Day
Oct 15 Kurban Ait (Feast of Sacrifice)

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:
http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Kyrgyzstan/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Kyrgyzstan Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Kyrgyzstan

1. Be considerate of Kyrgyzstan’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully.

5. Smoking is banned in public places.

6. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

7. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

8. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

9. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

10. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Roaming Kyrgyzstan: Beyond the Tourist Track Jessica Jacobson
The Tulip Revolution: Kyrgyzstan One Year After Erica Marat
The Lost Heart of Asia Colin Thubron
This Is Not Civilization Robert Rosenberg
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia Peter Hopkirk