Kyrgyzstan, an offbeat destination renowned for its trekking and horse riding, is an ideal place to discover nomadic culture at a grassroots level. There are plenty of rarely-visited locales to explore throughout this centuries-old Central Asian nation. Many people are drawn to the country with romantic notions of seeing magnificent eagles swooping on to the outspread arms of kalpakwearing Kyrgyz, or galloping at speed on horseback through Elysian-like fields of swaying grass, and then finishing off the day sharing beshbarmak and kymyzwith herdsmen inside of their yurts. All these things, and much more, are possible here. So if you’re heading out this way, be sure to stop by and visit Kyrgyzstan, the cultural epicentre of Central Asia.

TIEN SHAN RANGE

Tien Shan Mountain RangeAlso known as the Mountains of Heaven, the Tien Shan range has drawn in countless explorers and travellers over the centuries. Extending for 2800km through Central Asia, over half the range passes along the Kyrgyz border with China. The Tien Shan is a superb location for trekking, mountaineering and attempting countless unclimbed peaks.

LAKE ISSYK KUL

Lake Issyk-Kul KyrgyzstanOne of the most beautiful lakes in Central Asia, it is also the tenth largest in the world by volume and the second largest saline lake in the world after the Caspian Sea. Located at an altitude of 1600m, its surrounded by giant alpine peaks and its clear blue waters make it a great stopping off point for any journeys to or from the steppes/mountains.

OSH

Osh Bazaar KyrgyzstanThe second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, Osh has an ethnically mixed population of Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Russian, Tajiks and other smaller groups. The Great Silk Road Bazaar is the most central feature in the city as it is the largest in all of Central Asia. The main feature in Osh is Sulayman Mountain, which overlooks the city and was once a major site for Muslim pilgrimage. Nowadays Osh is most popular with foreigners as being the starting point of the Pamir Highway which extends all the way in to Tajikistan.

BISHKEK

Bishkek KyrgyzstanBeing the capital city of Kyrgyzstan there’s a lot to see and do here ranging from the State Historical Museum in Ala-Too Square, the busy Dordoy and Osh Bazaars and on the outskirts one can take day trips to the Ala-Too Mountain Range, as well as Ala-Archa National Park which is a 30 minute drive away.

VISAS

No visa requirements or visa on arrival for most nationalities. For those that require visa necessary to visit Kyrgyzstan embassy or consulate

WEATHER

It can get cold in Central Asia, especially at night. Temperatures at night can drop below freezing.

MONEY

For up to date exchange rates please have a look at www.xe.com

ELECTRICITY

Two prong European style systems (types C and F). Although adapters are extremely common.

WIFI

Poor internet connection/speed.

FOOD

Meat is dominant in all Kyrgyz cooking. Traditional cooking uses mutton, beef and horse meat. Milk products also commonly feature alongside bread.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is permitted and is widely available

LANGUAGE

Kyrgyz and English

RELIGION

Sunni Muslim majority with minority Ahmadi.

DRESS CODE

No special dress code.

SAFTEY & SECURITY

The FCO considers Kyrgyzstan to be a low risk region to travel.

RECOMMENDED READING

TBC

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