Where in the world is Kyrgyzstan? This happens to be a normal response when people are confronted with the country of Kyrgyzstan in conversation. To answer that question, Kyrgyzstan resides in Central Asia as a peaceful, beautiful oasis just west of China and south of Kazakhstan. It’s a small country covered almost entirely with mountains with a population of about 5 million. Most of the population is concentrated in a few large cities, but otherwise, there are just small villages and nomads that are scattered amongst Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai Mountains, making the country feel open, raw, and unexplored. The great thing about Kyrgyzstan is that it doesn’t have a huge tourism industry even though the country’s beauty is stunning! So travelers can experience this country without all the fake bells and whistles that come with popular tourist countries. To give you an idea of what Kyrgyzstan holds, take a look at these 6 travel-worthy Kyrgyzstan destinations:
LAKE SARY CHELEK
In Kyrgyzstan beautiful places abound, but none are quite like Lake Sary Chelek. Lake Sary Chelek is an alpine lake located within a biosphere in a remote part of Kyrgyzstan. The emerald green waters of Sary Chelek provide a tranquil atmosphere for travelers. Horseback riding and trekking are recommended around the biosphere. Wildlife in the Sary Chelek Biosphere Reserve includes 157 bird species, porcupines, deer, wild boars, and the long-horned ibex.
OSH, THE SOUTHERN CAPITAL
One of the most famous places in Kyrgyzstan is the bazaar in the southern city of Osh. The Osh Bazaar is said to have been open and operating for over 3,000 years and was a popular stop along the Silk Road. Feast your eyes on endless bags of dried fruit, nuts, and spices, fresh bread, handmade carpets, musical instruments, traditional Kyrgyz clothing, saddles, household goods, and so much more.
ARSLANBOB WALNUT FORESTS
Travel to Arslanbob to visit a stunning Kyrgyzstan destination that even merited mention by Alexander the Great during his travels. Arslanbob houses the largest naturally growing walnut forests in the world! These walnut forests produce over 1,500 tons of walnuts every year.
Ala Archa National Park is located 40 kilometers from the capital city of Bishkek and holds 20 glaciers, 2 rivers, over 50 mountain peaks, waterfalls, and springs. This is one of the most popular Kyrgyzstan destinations with hikers and mountain climbers. Trails within the park are extensive and training classes are held within the park for mountain climbers looking to make their way up Ala Archa’s glaciers and peaks.
Karakol is the 3rd largest city in Kyrgyzstan. The slopes around Karakol are some of the most famous places in Kyrgyzstan for skiing and parasailing. Inside the city of Karakol, travelers can also visit a Dungan Mosque built without the use of a single nail, a famous Russian Orthodox Church, and several local museums.
LAKE ISSYK KUL
The most famous place in Kyrgyzstan by far is Lake Issyk Kul, nicknamed “the Pearl of Central Asia.” Lake Issyk Kul is the world’s second largest alpine lake. It’s ringed by snowcapped Tien Shan Mountains, offers a variety of water sports and resorts, and also houses the remains of ancient settlements in its depths.
The lake is close to several exquisite gorges and travelers interested in experiencing Kyrgyz culture can visit one of the many small villages that rest at the water’s edge.
TRAVELLING TO KYRGYZSTAN
All of these beautiful places in Kyrgyzstan are merely a taste of what the country has to offer. Kyrgyzstan is filled with Silk Road relics, picturesque canyons, hundreds of alpine lakes, thousands of rivers, endless mountain peaks, and an authentic personality. Travelers interested in touring Kyrgyzstan should be aware that Kyrgyzstan has recently gone visa free for citizens of 44 counties including the US, Canada, and most of the European Union. Travelling inside the country has very few restriction and the Kyrgyz people are warm and hospitable. So as you’re making plans for your next vacation, take advantage of tourism in Kyrgyzstan and experience a country that you’ll want to come back to again and again!
Photo by Daniel Korzhonov, photo from source: www.mountpix.livejournal.com