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Let’s make a journey to a country, located deep in亚洲的心脏。A country, which is far from the noise of the mass tourism, far from the crowded and popular destinations. But at the same time, this country is incredibly beautiful, full of breathtaking, fantastic landscapes. This isKyrgyzstan– a kingdom of snowy mountains, gorgeous forests, grasslands, yurts, horses and nomads. Follow this First Timer’s Travel Guide to Kyrgyzstan and get some inspiration for adventures in this dreamland!
Basic facts about Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is a small country in Central Asia, and its capital is Bishkek. About 95% of its territory consists of mountains. Most of these mountains are various subranges of Tianshan, and on the south are the northern subranges of Pamir. Both Pamir and Tianshan are some of the highest mountains on the Earth, and some of their highest peaks are located on the borders of Kyrgyzstan with the neighboring countries Tajikistan and China.
However, Kyrgyzstan is relatively difficult to travel. There is only one highway between Bishkek and Issy Kul Lake. All other roads are smaller, narrow, often mountainous with many curves. So, traveling from Bishkek to the second largest city Osh, located in the far southwest of the country takes a long time for travel, unless you take a plane.
如果你想探索吉尔吉斯斯坦,活力it its most representative destinations, and taste the most typical of the country. So, let’s identify these destinations and areas.
吉尔吉斯斯坦的首都比什凯克,largest city. It is not a „modern mega city” like Shanghai, Singapore or Mumbai, and there is not too much history to see. But although it is a capital, it is a very quiet city, with nice parks and calm streets, and almost no high buildings. Yet I would still recommend to spend at least 2 days there, especially if you come to Kyrgyzstan for the first time. And here is what you can see and do in Bishkek.
The center- it consists of a large Soviet type of square, called Ala-Too Square, with its Manas Monument, some other monuments (including the monument of Lenin), and several parks, of which the most popular one is the pentagram-shaped Panfilov Park.
Osh Bazaar– the most colorful place in Bishkek, full of local life and culture, as well as a lot of local products to buy.
诗歌塔– a remnant of Balasagun- the capital of the ancient Karakhanid Kingdom, located 80 km east of Bishkek. It is a minaret, a site with historic significanse.
阿拉阿尔沙文– a gorgeous valley in the nearest to Bishkek branch of Tianshan Mountains, located only 30-40 mins far from the center of the capital.
现在，让我们来看看Kyrgyzstan-区的东北部，围绕“大蓝眼睛” - 伊塞克湖。
There are a lot of towns and villages on the coast of the lake. Of them, the largest one is Cholpon Ata.
This is the main town-resort in Issyk Kul region, located at the northern lake coast. The resort is far from the class of the luxurious resorts in the world, but its location, its calmness and its people make it an impressive place to relax and enjoy the fantastic panoramas of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
This is one of the most beautiful and popular areas in Kyrgyzstan, especially for hikers and adventurous travelers. The area is alpine, with stunning valleys and peaks, rising up to more than 5000 m altitude. What makes it different than the other areas is the gorgeous coniferous (spruce) forests, covered its northward opened valleys.
Now, let’s take a look beyond the southeastern end of Issyk Kul Lake. There is one of the larger cities in Kyrgyzstan- Karakol.
这是吉尔吉斯斯坦的第四大的城市。大多数卡拉科尔组成笔直的街道和房屋的乡村式的，只有几个更高层的楼宇。但也有一些有趣的地方参观。第一个地方是Karakol-与许多商店和餐馆的一些美味的当地食品丰富多彩的区域的中心。不远处是俄罗斯东正教，并在北向城市的木制顿感Mosque-两个重要的标志性建筑。也不要跳过历史博物馆和普尔热瓦尔斯基博物馆 - 两个地以高教育山谷。
卡拉科尔is located on the northern foot of Terskey Alatau- one of the most beautiful mountain ranges on the Earth. It makes the city a popular starting point for some amazing mountain trails. They pass through some of the northward alpine valleys, covered by fantastic coniferous forests, grasslands and glaciers in their higher parts.
卡拉科尔Valley- 这是谷直接从南部下降到卡拉科尔市。今天，它变成与外国人250 KGS入场费为国家公园。
Altyn Arashan and Ala Kol-a gorgeous valley, famous for its hot mineral spring baths. Ala Kol is a lake between Karakol and Arashan valleys. There is a popular trail connecting these three valleys and the lake.
Now, let’s take a look to the central parts of Kyrgyzstan. There are again mountains and mountains, but amidst them, there is a splendid jewel, called Song Kul, one of the most beautiful lakes in Tianshan Mountains.
Naryn and its surrounded area include the southernmost ranges of Tianshan, to the borders of China and Tajikistan, where Tianshan links to Pamir Mountains. Again, this area is full of endless grasslands and wild alpine landscapes. And there, in one of the valleys, a mysterious stony caravanserai is hidden. It is called塔什拉巴特，并且它虽然糊涂账谁建立它，什么是它的确切目的与著名的丝绸之路。各地塔什拉巴特整个地区是一个惊人的旷野，如果你还继续与中国接壤，可以到达另一个辉煌jewel-寂寞高山ChatyrKol Lake, and the famous Torugart Pass.
But now, let’s take a look at the southwestern part of Kyrgyzstan. There is the second largest city in the country- Osh.
Osh is the cultural capital of Kyrgyzstan. It has a long history, which is presented by monuments, churches and mosques. But its most significant place to visit is Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain. It is a small mountain, hiding secrets from several thousand years till now, and is the most complete „sacred mountain” in Central Asia. Now there is a Cave Museum, presenting artifacts from the whole history of the region. For these reasons, this site is now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is a village and a valley in the mountains. But the most significant part of this area is its walnut forests. These forests are more than 1000 years old and were planted by a historical figure called Arystanbop, hence the name Arslanbob. In addition, there are gorgeous waterfalls in the area, making the whole landscape even more strange and beautiful. All this makes Arslanbob one of the most interesting places to visit in Kyrgyzstan.
But the whole picture of Kyrgyzstan would not be full without taking a look to the highest mountains in the country- the snowy giants of Tianshan and Pamir.
Khan Tengri Range
Tianshan is one of the highest mountain systems on the Earth. And its highest part is called Kakshaal Too- a range, shared by Kyrgyzstan, China and Kazakhstan. There is the highest peak of Tianshan- Jengish Chokusu (7439 m). But the prize for the most beautiful peak, considered by some „the most beautiful peak in the world” is given to the second highest mountain- Khan Tengri- a giant with perfectly-looking pyramidal shape, which rises to 7010 m with its snow cap.
This giant is located in a wild, remote border area, and even its foot is difficult to reach. But if you can join a trekking to the best views of Khan Tengri, it would be an impressive, unforgettable adventure.
Another high mountain area is Pamir. And the northern parts of Pamir are located in Kyrgyzstan, so let’s take a look there too.
Pamir and Lenin Peak
Lenin Peak (Avicenna Peak) is one of the highest mountains in Kyrgyzstan. It is known as one of the easiest to climb 7000-er, because most of its slopes are not steep and don’t require mountaineering skills. In other words, you can just walk to its top in a normal hiking. But of course, don’t forget its extremely high altitude. Don’t forget also about its location on the border with Tajikistan (which is border area)- as you can expect, its hiking requires a lot of experience, money and permits.
But you can enjoy its magnificient image from Alay Valley, which can be explored from the village of Sary Moghul. The wild and fantastic landscape is worth reaching and spending at least several days.
To build your Kyrgyzstan itinerary, you have to consider the transportation between the points on the map. And it is not so simple. First, 95% of Kyrgyzstan’s area consists of mountains. With some short exceptions near Bishkek, there are no highways, but only endless curving mountain roads. There are no trains too. So, how to travel around Kyrgyzstan?
This is the most popular vehicle, used for public transport in Kyrgyzstan. The word „marshrutka” is a Russian word, which means „route vehicle”. It is a van, traveling on certain route, playing a role of a bus, in other word- a small public bus. It is used within the large cities, and between the cities and villages around the country.
的苏式小巴比大公交车方便多了。它们可以运行在山路上行驶速度更快，一样的大巴士，他们有“avtovokzal”（在俄语意为‘公共汽车站’） - 就像世界上任何其他公交总站，但不是公交车，有这些货车。他们有自己的时间表，自己的路线和自己的价格。您在“avtovokzal”从驱动程序，如果你是在其路线的中间买票从售票柜台或直接。
Other ways of transport
The marshrutka is good, but it doesn’t go everywhere. There are places like Tash Rabat, Song Kul orAltyn Arashan你必须使用私人交通工具,你的啊wn vehicle or just… your own legs. You can rent a car, but if it is just a normal small car, it also can’t go further that the marshrutkas go. You would need a stronger SUV, 4×4 vehicle. Some yurt camps also offer transport from the nearest larger settlement (where marshrutkas reach) to take you to their site.
From Karakol, you can spend several days for a trekking through Jeti Oguz, Karakol and Arashan Valleys. Then take a marshrutka to Kochkor. From there, you can reach Song Kul Lake, but only by private transport (and if you contact in advance with a yurt camp at the lake, they can arrange it for you). After that, you back to Kochkor, and take the next marshrutka to Naryn, or they can take you directly to Naryn.
Naryn can be your starting point for visiting Tash Rabat and Chatyr Kol Lake. Again, you have to arrange a transport from a Tash Rabat yurt camp (Omurbek’s and Sabyrbek’s yurt camps are the best), and make a trekking to Chatyr Kol Lake. Finally, they would take you back to Naryn.
From Osh, you can reach Arslanbob by easily changing three marshrutkas- the first to Jalal Abad, the second to Bazar Korgon, and the third- to Arslanbob. Finally, from there you have to travel another 2-days journey by changing shared taxis and marshrutkas to Bishkek. Or, to back to Osh and take the plane back to Bishkek.
What else would you need to arrange your Kyrgyzstan itinerary? The accommodation is an important part too. There are a lot of hostels, hotels and guesthouses in all these places of interest. You can book them in advance from Booking.com, but it is not so reliable. Some properties just don’t have a good connection with Booking, or there is another reason that I don’t know, but when we booked our hotels in advance and arrived there, they couldn’t find our booking.
But don’t worry, there are still a lot of other properties that you can find. In Altyn Arashan, and in Tash Rabat, we personally found their guesthouses and yurt camps straight from Facebook or their own websites and directly communicated with them. Finally, you have to know that there are many nomad’s yurts that would accept guests, and it would be good if you just give them some little money for thanks. And don’t forget something important: ALWAYS put off your shoes before enter any property!
If you are more adventurous, you can also bring your tent. There are not especially arranged campsites, but the whole mountain is „yours”- you can sleep wherever you want, and in general, it is safe. Just keep the nature around you, be careful with fire!
Internet is good in the big cities, and there is wifi everywhere. But when you go to places like Altyn Arashan- forget about wifi, and any kind of mobile signal. When you go there, you are just „out of the world”.
最后，一切都在吉尔吉斯斯坦是很便宜的。从食品到运输，从衣服到住宿，吉尔吉斯斯坦是世界上最便宜的国家之一。有在城市的一些银行机器，但再次 - 当你去到山野菜，忘掉它。
All of this should inspire you to plan a journey to this amazing country. Yes, it challenges you with adventures, but if you accept the challenge, you will remember this experience for the rest of your life.
Krasen是来自保加利亚旅游博客和博客背后的声音，Journey Beyond the Horizon。他热衷于探索地球和享受我们这个星球的地理和历史。他与他的队友旅游和中国配偶盈盈走在欧洲和亚洲，主要是因循守旧地区在一起。他们喜欢通过提供有价值的信息和第一手经验分享关于自己的博客他们的旅行冒险。