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
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Articles on Kyrgyzstan
The natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan
Posted on Tue, 22 Feb 2011 by Sue Elliot
"Intrepid travellers have said that it looks like Kyrgyz Switzerland. But better – thanks to there being few tourists and the lack of luxury hotels and invasive infrastructure..."Read more
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Bishkek (population 835,000)
- 5.5 million
- Kyrgyz, Russian
- Time zone:
- (GMT+06:00) Almaty, Novosibirsk
- Type C (European 2-pin)
- Dialing code:
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.
Geography and environment
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.
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
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 40 KGS
Cup of coffee = 45 KGS
Three-course meal = 1000 KGS
Short taxi ride = 80 KGS
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
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:
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. KYRGYZSTAN (DRAGOMAN OVERLAND):
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 follow the instructions for applying through The Visa Machine. If you do require a visa we strongly advise that you obtain it in advance.
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 New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
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.
|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|