For tourists interested in an adventurous blend of culture and untapped nature, take an unforgettable trip to Kyrgyzstan.
Situated on the northwest border of China, Kyrgyzstan will astound you with its nomadic culture and mountain-filled scenery to let you escape modern life and head straight into the wilderness. The country’s valuable location at the peak of the Eurasian continent places it in prime location to receive a desirable mix of Western, Russian, Islamic-Asian and Buddhist-Chinese culture.
It’s also easy to visit thanks to a relaxed visa policy for Westerners and a nice range of affordable tours that won’t break your budget.
Nestled among the Kyrgyz Ala-Too mountains at 800 meters above sea level, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, offers spectacular natural views, but little else apart from urban tourism: cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and saunas. In short, one or two days should be more than enough before moving on.
Those travelers looking for a break from civilization will not be disappointed. The summer months are the perfect time for traveling through the wilderness and most popular locales, including Son Kul Lake and Jeti-Ogyz Gorge.
A typical treatment will include drinking large quantities of alcoholic kumis roughly five times a day.
Adventurers will also appreciate both destinations for the insight into an age-old nomadic lifestyle, where shepherds can be widely seen traversing the area with large herds of cattle. For those interested in a more hands-on experience, a small payment will unlock a rare opportunity to stay a night in a traditional yurt and horseback ride along the shoreline.
The most important aspect while staying in a yurt is enjoying a kumyso lechenie, which essentially translates to a kumis cure resort. Kumis is a fermented dairy product, which is traditionally made from mare’s milk. The Kyrgyz people proudly declare it as their cure-all solution.
A typical treatment will include drinking large quantities of the alcoholic kumis roughly five times a day. For a special treat after lunch, join a cattleman to the pasture and watch them milk a mare right before your eyes. A single cup of “just out of the dug” mare milk, combined with cup of kumis is believed by the Kyrgyz people to protect the body from a year’s worth of chronic diseases. Individuals who strongly follow this tradition will take part at least once per year.
Still, perhaps the success of the kumis treatment is not only due not to the beverage, but also to the favorable summer climate, unique procedure and peaceful harmony in nature. The most respected resorts have no internet or phone connection and travel to and from this isolation is generally made by horses.
Kyrgyzstan’s rugged terrain is also home to incredibly large mountain ranges like Tian Shan and Pamir-Alai, which feature some of the Earth’s highest peaks at Khan Tengri and The Victory. The staggeringly beautiful mountain environment offers hundreds of hiking trails and more than dozen ski resorts. Extreme sports have become quite popular over the years and Kyrgyzstan is a great place to go mountain biking, rafting, glider flying and parachute jumping.
Try Kyrgyzstan in the summer to best enjoy the more than 200 high altitude lakes. Of these, don’t forget to visit Lake Issyk Kul, the wealth and pride of the Kyrgyz people. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, but it never freezes. The distinct geographical location and natural conditions create a special climate that maintains cool water and breezy air. The comfortable climate is not only great for enjoying the beaches and water, but also ideal for exploring nearby mountains.
This year is expected to be rich with cultural activities, thanks to a governmental declaration that 2016 is to be a “Year of Culture.” Plus, with the Second World Nomadic games being held in Kyrgyzstan in September, there has perhaps been no better time to make your way to this beautifully pure country.