The Switzerland of Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan is a very beautiful and unspoiled tourist destination.
Kyrgyzstan is central to the story of the Silk Road. When Chinese general Chang Chien arrived here from China in 138 BC in search of horses ‘that sweated blood’, he discovered the Sogdian people’s love of silk and thus the Silk Road was born.
The vast majority of goods that entered or left China on the newly founded ‘road’ did so over the Torugart and Irkestam passes through the Tien Shan (Heavenly) mountains.
The land of the nomad forming the link between China and the rest of the Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan culture retains many of its ancient traditions untouched by the influences of Western (or Eastern) cultures.
|Time Zone||GMT +6|
|Best Times to Visit||May to September|
|Visa Information||UK, USA, Australian passport holders no longer require a visa|
|Currency||Kyrgyzstan Sum (KGS) obtainable on arrival|
Although the Mongols put paid to many of its Silk Road-era sites, Kyrgyzstan offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world and was aptly named the ‘Jewel of Turkestan’.
The semi-nomadic roots of the Kyrgyz people are very much in evidence today, and temporary yurt camps appear in the high pastures and on the shores of high altitude lakes from summer through to early winter. This traditional culture extends to the warm hospitality shown to visitors, who are viewed as honored guests in this friendly and beautiful country.
When To Go
Kyrgyzstan, like its Central Asia sisters, has a continental climate. In winter, temperatures can drop as low as -6°C in the south and -20°C in the highlands, making it the perfect snow sports destination. May to October is the best time to visit and June to September is the prime period for hikers.
Key Areas To Visit
Enjoy the views of the Tien Shan Mountains from the comfort of the big city. Here you will reconnect with modern civilisation with many hotels, restaurants and bars to keep you entertained day and night.
Located in the Fergana Valley, Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and worth a visit for its dramatic views alone. But for a big bite of culture and charm, be sure to head to the Jayma Bazaar, where the city comes to life with trade and trinkets.
- There are 88 mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan – that’s over 70% of the country dominated by stunning mountainscape.
- ‘Kumis’ is the favorite national drink to be had. It is fermented horse milk which is often sold in bottles across the country.
- The World Game of Nomads is held in Cholpon-Ata City every September and the event sees sportsmen from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan (and further afield) take part in competitive games.
Import Travel Information
Travel to Kyrgyzstan may require a visa so always check before you travel. For anyone visiting Bishkek or the Oblasts Provinces (Osh, Batken or Jalal-Abad), it’s important to remember that political demonstrations can occur and you should avoid proximity if you should come across a demonstration en route.