When it comes to outdoor-centered vacations, Kyrgyzstan is a fantastic destination for active travelers looking for mountain hiking holidays. Don’t know much about Kyrgyzstan? Kyrgyzstan is a small Central Asian country located west of China and south of Kazakhstan with a growing tourism industry based primary on its stunning mountain scenery, outdoor activities, and unique culture. Ninety-four percent of the country is covered with mountains and it’s not overpopulated with people. In fact, it’s not even cluttered with lots of buildings. The Kyrgyz people come from a long nomadic heritage and traditionally lived in yurts (portable felt tents) instead of permanent buildings. These days, Kyrgyzstan sports several larger cities, but once travelers leave those few cities, the country is wide open wilderness prime for mountain trekking holidays. What can you expect to find in Kyrgyzstan?
THE LAYOUT OF THE COUNTRY
Kyrgyzstan is covered by 2 different mountain ranges, both of them especially popular for mountain summer holidays: the Pamir-Alai and the Tien Shan. The Pamir-Alai compromise just over 10% of the mountains in Kyrgyzstan but are exquisitely beautiful with peaks that seem to reach up and touch the sky. In fact, the name originates from Farsi that means “roof of the world.” The Tien Shan Mountains stretch across 80 percent of the country and are also popular with travelers for mountain walking holidays in Kyrgyzstan. The Tien Shan are known as the Celestial Mountains because there are constantly white, fluffy clouds that cover, surround, or hover above its snowcapped peaks, giving them a peaceful, heavenly feel.
Both ranges are decorated with beautiful gorges, sparkling alpine lakes (one of them being the second largest alpine lake in the world), hot springs, and exotic plant and animal life (snow leopards, marco polo sheep, ibex, etc).
Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate, so at lower elevations it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. However, travelers going on summer mountain holidays should expect cold weather up in the mountains even in the summer. The country has some precipitation in the summer, but it’s infrequent.
LODGING IN KYRGYZSTAN
Depending on the kind of walking vacations travelers decide to take in Kyrgyzstan, lodging can range from camping out in tents to staying at local guesthouses in the rural areas to staying at hotels if near a larger city. Travelers interested in just short day walking trips into the mountains will likely find themselves staying at a hotel or guesthouse. Hotels in Kyrgyzstan are very nice and have a more professional feel. Guesthouses in Kyrgyzstan are usually run by local families and travelers are treated more like guests than customers. Guesthouses may or may not have running water.
When traveling around Kyrgyzstan’s lakes and mountains holidays wouldn’t be complete without stopping in a local café or yurt camp for some traditional Kyrgyz food. Kyrgyz cuisine is heavily meat, grain, and dairy based. Expect lots of meat and carbs when you sit down for a meal in a home or restaurant. An example of a typical meal would be hot tea, fresh bread, and monty, steamed dumplings filled with meat, fat, and onions.
As you meet people along the way during your guided walking tours in Kyrgyzstan, you’ll notice that hospitality is huge in Kyrgyz culture. Kyrgyz people come from a long line of nomads that herded and continue to herd livestock on the steppes and in the mountains of Central Asia.
In this country, guests are always treated with great amounts of respect and honor and hosts will do everything within their power to make your experience in their home or in their country a pleasant one.
MOUNTAIN HIKING HOLIDAYS IN KYRGYZSTAN
Whether you end up taking 2-hour-long guided walking tours or dive into a week-long mountain trekking holiday in Kyrgyzstan, the experience will leave you breathless at the beauty of the country and give you a great appreciation for the giving nature of the Kyrgyz people. Kyrgyzstan is filled with such untamed scenery and ancient history that it makes it a place you’ll want to come back to again and again. So try Kyrgyzstan for your next mountain hiking holiday and walk away with memories you’ll cherish for years to come!
Photo by Daniel Korzhonov, photo from source: www.mountpix.livejournal.com, photo by kallisto08