22 Reasons to visit Kyrgyzstan

I first went to Kyrgyzstan in October 2015 and absolutely loved it. I raved about it so much to my friends and family that some of them even booked trips there! In 2018 I got to go back, not once but twice and I fell in love with it even more. So, I thought it was only right that I should share some of my ramblings about why you too, should visit Kyrgyzstan. 

Since I emote visually this is more of a photo essay but I’ll give you some basic information on the country first. Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country, 80% of which is covered by the Tian Shan mountains. It’s considered the Switzerland of Central Asia, so as a self-confessed mountain girl, there is no wonder why I love it so much. If you love to hike or ride horses, then Kyrgyzstan should be at the top of your bucket list. Also, It’s visa free for most citizens which makes a visit to Kyrgyzstan pretty easy.

As a post Soviet country, Kyrgyzstan gained independence in 1991. It is one of the world’s least crowded countries, which is probably another reason why I love it so much and just 36% of the population live in rural areas. Finally, they have gold, lots of it! Kumtor Gold Mine in the Tian Shan mountains is one of the largest gold deposits in the world, so unsurprisingly, gold is Kyrgyzstan’s biggest export. 

Top nerdy fact: Proper nouns aren’t allowed in Scrabble but if they were, Kyrgyzstan would score 30 points. There’s only one other country that would score higher (write in the comments below if you know the answer!)

Scrabble scores aside, here are 22 reasons why Kyrgyzstan is one of my favourite countries.

  1. They have the most amazing alpine scenery.
Beautiful aqua blue alpine lake with snow capped mountains. Ala Kul lake hike is popular for tourists visiting Kyrgyzstan
Ala Kul Lake
Lake Kol Ukok
Altyn Arashan

2. But it’s not all just mountains and lakes…

Fairytale Canyon
The Severn Bulls, Jeti Orguz

3. The roads are fun to drive!

Road descending from the south side of Song Kol Lake
Typical bridge crossing in Jeti Orguz

You might also be interested in this post about overland travel

Road from Bishkek to Toktogul

4. Traffic isn’t too much of an issue…

Road from the Chinese border to Naryn

5. They have some of the best yurts.

If you visit Kyrgyzstan you should stay in a yurt like this one in a remote location surrounded my mountains
Tash Rabat

6. And they put them in the best locations.

Lake Kol Ukok

7. Selfie spots in awesome places are easy to find

Altyn Arashan
Kara Kul

8. Even the animals hang out in awesome spots!

Song Kol Lake
Atyn Arashan

9. Their idea of sport is a little different…

Trying to see a game of goat polo should be top of the list for a visit to Kyrgyzstan
Kok Boru (aka goat polo), Chong Kemin
Picking coins off the floor, Song Kol Lake

10. You can do some amazing hiking.

A man hiking amongst arid mountains. Hiking is on of the best things to do on a visit to Kyrgyzstan
Mountains above Tash Rabat
High pass over Ala Kul
Lake Kol Ukok

11. You can camp on the beach….

South shore, Issyk Kul

12. Or in the mountains…..

Jeti Orguz

13. Or in the sand dunes!

Naryn Province

14. They have some badass Soviet trucks….

Atyn Arashan

15. And Yaks….

Song Kol Lake area

16. And Eagle Hunters.

An Eagle Hunter with his Eagle. Seeing the Nomadic culture is a great reason to visit Kyrgyzstan
Taldor the Eagle Hunter, Barskon valley

17. The night sky is unreal….

Song Kol Lake

18. And the sunsets are pretty good too.

Song Kol Lake

19 They have some interesting history.

Tash Rabat is an ancient Caravanserai and a must for any visit to Kyrgyzstan
Tash Rabat, A 15th Century Caravanserai. This was a motel for traders moving along the Silk Road.
Burana Tower. An 11th Century minaret and all that remains of Balasagun, an important Silk Road city.

20. Finding places to rest is easy.

Putting my feet up next to a lake on a recent trip to Kyrgyzstan
Kol Tor Lake
“Small lake”, Altyn Arashan

21. When you go horse riding you’ll be provided with these awesome Bob the Builder helmets!

A photo of me horse riding which is something I love to do on a trip to Kyrgyzstan
Song Kol Lake

22. And after you’ve finished all that….the capital city Bishkek has Micro Breweries and gigantic beers!

Well earned beers in Bishkek.

And there we go, my 22 reasons why you should visit Kyrgyzstan. Hope you enjoyed! As always if you want to see more photos of my time in Kyrgyzstan head on over to my photography website.

The best guide book for Kyrgyzstan is Bradt which you can pick up here.

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Goodness these photos are goooorgeous! Kyrgyzstan looks like such a beautiful place to hike and see those stunning mountains!

    What is the food like?

    1. Hey Josy, yes the hiking is incredible with all the fabulous scenery. The food is typical of Central Asia – lots of kebabs, noodle soup and dumplings! Not a huge amount of variety but I like it 🙂

  2. I enjoyed this post and think that the photos of the landscape were breathtaking, I can understand why friends and family have visited Kyrgyzstan after you told them about it. The hard hats for horse riding is different!

  3. I love all the pictures and I didn’t know it can be snowy in there! It looks like you’re having a good time in seeing this beautiful gem that not all travelers able to visit.

  4. Wow!! your photos are truly mesmerizing. I never gave serious thought to Kyrgyzstan as a travel destination. But now I have to consider it. You were right about it being Switzerland of central asia.

    1. Thank you Nitin 🙂

  5. Wow, how do you pick a favourite thing to do, by your photos, it looks fantastic! There is something about visiting a country that is least populated. I can see why you have returned. I hope to get there one day. Thank you for inspiring.

    1. With so much natural beauty everywhere, doing anything outside is always a must in Kyrgyzstan! Glad to have provided some inspiration 🙂

  6. Amazing photos! I’ve always been interested in ‘The Stans’ but I never knew Kyrgyzstan was so beautiful. So much natural beauty and such modest sized beers to top it off!!

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