In our environmentally conscious world, ecotourism has become the new way to travel. A definition of ecotourism is basically tourism that leaves little to no footprint on the destination or culture one visits. People want to preserve different habitats and cultures and leave it in the same shape or better than when they arrived. During an eco tour, the goal is to absorb and appreciate the natural beauty, flora, and fauna of a given area and come in contact with genuine cultures. In this regard, there’s no better place than Kyrgyzstan for the ecotourist. The majority of Kyrgyzstan is untouched wilderness that was part of the ancient Silk Road. The landscape is so wild and rugged that 70% of the roads connecting different regions of the country are dirt and gravel. The best way to take this tour of the Silk Road is by cycling, trekking, or horseback riding. This country is the poster child for embracing eco-friendly tours.
NATURAL BEAUTY FOR THE ECOTOURIST
Kyrgyzstan is extraordinary due to the fact that most of the country is remote, untouched, and pristine. It soars above its Central Asian neighbors, being almost entirely composed of snowcapped mountains skirted with vibrant green pastures, alpine lakes, and crystal clear rivers. Most of the country’s population is located in the larger cities of Bishkek, Osh, and Jalalabad, leaving the rest of the country sparsely inhabited. It sits an open frontier of natural beauty waiting for the responsible explorer to traverse its paths.
For animal lovers, Kyrgyzstan is home to some rare species. The most famous animal in Kyrgyzstan is the endangered snow leopard. Its natural habitat is in high, secluded elevations of Central Asian mountain ranges anywhere from 3,350-6,700metres (10,990-21,980ft). While exact numbers can’t be calculated, it’s estimated that there are between 4,000- 8,000 snow leopards left in existence. The Marco Polo Sheep and Siberian Ibex are yet other celebrities in the Tien Shan Mountains. Also found at high elevations, these regal, long and spiral horned beasts dominate the mountaintops and pastures of Kyrgyzstan.
ECO TOURS TO SEE UNEXPLORED FLORA
There are so many flowers blanketing the mountainsides in Kyrgyzstan that plant species in the Kyrgyz Republic rival the number of species found in all of Europe. It’s prime ground for people that want to find something never seen before on an eco-travel tour. Plant life in Kyrgyzstan has to withstand temperatures of -30C to +30C, so it is resilient to say the least. Visitors can see entire fields of flowers blooming 3-4 months out of the year.
CULTURE WITHOUT CAMERAS
Many countries show you their culture through rose-colored glasses. However, people looking for a cultural experience that hasn’t been hyped up for the tourists can find it in Kyrgyz nomad tours. Kyrgyzstan has a long history of nomadic traditions and families are starting to open their doors to tourists these days for a taste of nomadic life. Since farming and herding aren’t lucrative professions in Kyrgyzstan, tours with nomads are a great way for tourists to contribute to the local economy by staying with a Kyrgyz family and sharing their traditions. Eco-friendly travelling is more than manageable in this Central Asian country. Most Kyrgyz people living in the countryside already travel this way on a daily basis, so tourists can easily make it work. Grab yourself a horse, bike, hitch a ride on a donkey-drawn cart, or just start walking. This natural way of travelling will allow you to experience Kyrgyzstan in a way that has you coming back home revived, but still wanting more.
Some other interesting eco-friendly travelling ideas you can find at Travel Blog Directory.
Photo by Beebyme, from sources: www.cycling4cancer.wordpress.com, www.mountpix.livejournal.com, photo by Steven Hermans, photo by Franz Walter.