September 20, 2014

Summer in Kyrgyzstan: What Are My Options?

54832381_Александр-Залесский Summertime in Kyrgyzstan comes with a lot of perks.  Some of the things on the top of my list are the fresh melons, the juicy, red tomatoes, and all the syrupy jams available on the side of the road!   There’s more to summertime in Kyrgyzstan than great food though.   Kyrgyzstan has a lot of activities and adventures to offer as well.

When summertime hits in Kyrgyzstan, the whole country changes and you can feel an undercurrent of energy start flowing out of the land.  The trees show off their leaves, the flowers unfurl, the lakes shimmer, and the mountains ache to be tread.  Summer is a great season for lots of outdoor sports, relaxation, and exploring.  The Tien Shan and Pamir Mountain Ranges provide a gorgeous backdrop for any place you might go in the country.  Everyone gets out of their houses in summer and nomadic families begin herding in the high _DSC2839_Tatiana-Potaninamountain pastures.   Much of the population takes a break from the larger cities and goes to Lake Issyk Kul or peaceful mountain villages for vacation where they can enjoy the green mountainsides and cooler weather.

If you’re on the lookout for stuff to do in Kyrgyzstan this summer, have no fear!  There are plenty of options available to you.

Kyrgyzstan has a rich nomadic heritage and a fascinating culture.  To gain more cultural experiences in Kyrgyzstan, there are lots of things you can do to spend time with Kyrgyz people to learn about their lifestyle and traditions.  You can learn about the traditional practice of hunting using eagles from a local Kyrgyz hunter.  DSC07129cFor an eye-opening experience, sleep in the yurt of a nomadic family in the high mountain pastures of the Tien Shan.  For the more adventurous, get hands-on experience of nomadic life by taking lessons from nomads that will teach you how to accomplish some of their everyday tasks: herding, horseback riding, cooking, carpet weaving, Kyrgyz hospitality etiquette for men and women, cooking, making kymyz, etc.

If you’re more of an extreme sports fan, try rafting in Kyrgyzstan.  White water rafting is superb in the summer and some of the rapids you’ll find in Kyrgyzstan are quite challenging.  For novice rafters, there are places that will help you ease into it, like the Chu River, which has good rapids to start on.  For more experienced rafters, check out the Chong-Kemin or Kekemeren to try your hand at some class 4 and 5 rapids!

Water not your thing?  How about paragliding?  Paragliding flights are offered in several 48_костикdifferent places around Kyrgyzstan.  Paragliding tours are also available for those interested in seeing the entire country from a different perspective!  Just pick out the areas you you want to explore and go from one to the other, paragliding over each region of Kyrgyzstan.

For people that prefer their feet to remain firmly on the ground, go on a horseback, cycling, jeep, or trekking trip.  Kyrgyzstan’s mountains are perfect for these activities in the summer.  Lower elevation temperatures can get positively boiling, but in the mountains the temperatures are more refreshing.  Take advantage of the opportunity to check out some of Kyrgyzstan’s alpine lakes.  Some lakes are tucked away so high in the mountains that they can only be reached in summertime, for example, Lake Kel Suu, a mysterious lake imprisoned by img_8646cave-riddled cliffs near the Chinese border.   Hikers and horseback riders will enjoy Kyrgyzstan’s gorges and canyons with their red rocks, flowing rivers, and regal waterfalls.  The peaks of the Pamir-Alai and Tien Shan are also great for mountain climbers who want to tackle some of Kyrgyzstan’s virgin or 7000+ meter peaks.  Some popular peaks include Boris Eltsin Peak (5168m) in the Tien Shan and Lenin Peak (7134m) in the Pamirs.

Whatever your vacation and travel preferences are, summertime in Kyrgyzstan’s got something for everyone.  Whatever you decide to do, you’ll have beautiful weather, see stunning scenery, and get to meet some really awesome people.  Just pick the adventure you want to tackle and start making your plans.  Don’t have any regrets this summer – make memories you’ll never forget!

Photo by Alexandr Zalesskiy, Photo by Tatiana Potanina, photo from source: www.mountpix.livejournal.com

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