Why We Will Return to Kyrgyzstan

Our Personal Memorabilia

Our Personal Memorabilia

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, December 2012

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Defined by the CIA World Fact Book as: A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, 45 days in Kyrgyzstan for us were not enough to unveil it´s true beauty.

Kyrgyzstan has an average of 2,750 meters above sea level with 94% of it´s overall topography ranging within the neighborhood of 1,000 meters. Before entering the country, Annika and I knew this and had already decided to cheat by grabbing a transport that would take us all the way to Bishkek 500 km north from the border of Uzbekistan form where we were. Our decision was made in part by the urgency of having to apply for the Chinese visa in Bishkek and with my 15 day visa limit in Kyrgyzstan.

After one day of cycling in the country, its beauty conquered us and we decided to cycle all the way to Bishkek and worry about a visa extension later. For reasons explained with more detail in our travel diary we were only able to cycle until the second mountain pass before reaching Bishkek. From then on, a series of unfortunate events stopped us from cycling in the country. We wanted to cycle all the way to China, but lost too much time in Bishkek. Instead we were forced to grab transport after transport that robbed us from the opportunity to discover one or two magical corners hidden within those peaks and mountains that make up this country.

In the end we were able to stay in Bishkek for a month. In that short period of time we had the opportunity to visit the State Historical Museum, go for a two day horseback ride nearby, party in Bishkek’s distinctive night life and take a short hike in one of the nearest mountains. After the 45 days that we stayed in this country Annika and I were left with a void in our Kyrgyzstan craving. Due to the weather and bad luck we felt that we really did not get to taste the country as much as we wanted.

Kyrgyz Soms

Kyrgyz Soms

The following are only a few reasons why we want to go back and explore more of this beautiful country. If you are considering traveling or cycling to this country, the following activities, dishes, places and things will also serve you as suggestions that will help satisfy your Kyrgyzstan craving.

Try the fermented horse milk Kumis with a group of Kyrgyz (with a population of 5.2 million citizens in the country and their proven hospitality it should not be hard to find a willing group) and get drunk listening to their music. The milking season runs from the beginning of June til the end of October.

Watch a game of Kok-boru in Barskoon and if it possible participate in a game. Even more incredible would be to win and get the chance to get a new T.V if we win our match. I wonder how we shall carry that on our bikes.

Visit Lake Issyk-Kul and cycle along the skirts of Peak Jengish Chokusu. With 7,439 meters it is the highest peak in the country.

Cross the Ferghana Valley by bicycle and stay a couple of nights in a typical nomadic house: a true Yurt. Yurts are made, among other materials, out of wool, sheep skin and bones. It is a good protection against the cold in winter and the harsh summer sun. Inside it smells like within a herd of sheep. Usually the nomads also cook sheep.

Take a 4 days hiking trip to Ala Archa National Park waterfalls and it´s surroundings.

Take many landscape pictures of the Tian Shan mountain range in summer which would be a very ambitious project because the range makes 80% of the whole country´s landscape.

Go skiing.

Explore more of the Naryn river in a canoe or inflatable boat.

Discover hot springs that are still untouched by the tourism industry

Cycle from Bishkek to Sary Tash through the long road by Lake Issyk-Kul.

Watch or participate in an Eagle hunting event

Stay at least one week in Osh and accept Dia´s and Cola´s invitation for a Kyrgyzstan BBQ and beer on a Sunday.

Visit the lesser known Lake Song Kul.

Take a 3 day horseback riding, again, near Toktogul in fall, spring or summer. Because last time we rode through a winter storm of snow and hail, which made the experience more painful than enjoyable. Horseback riding is a very important part of Kyrgyz identity due to its nomadic heritage. The mere experience of horse riding through their mountains gives the visitor an honest feel of how the people see the world from the back of one of the most wonderful animals on earth: the horse.

Most of the times travelers leave a country with the feeling that they did not get enough. It is normal. The problem comes when you measure the potential, like we did in Kyrgyzstan, and still leave with a feeling that we could have done much more. In the future it will even be more accessible to visit Kyrgyzstan. Just recently the government introduced a 60 days visa-free regime for citizens of 44 countries. Sadly, Mexicans are still not included, but we hope that when we decide to come back this will change.

So if you have an opportunity to visit this country please do, and let us know how it went. We would like to add more activities to our list.

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  1. Pingback: Razones por las que vamos a regresar a Kirguistán | Tasting Travels

  2. Hola,Roberto. Ya hace 3 an’os que escribiste este blog sobre Kyrgyzstan y yo apenas lo encontre hoy.
    Yo recomendo visitar Son-Kol lake y tal vez Tash-Rabat y pasar sobre la montan’a que separa Tash-Rabat con chatyr-kol lake. Son como unas tres horas de camino, el “Kok-Kiya” Pass es alrededor de 4000 metros sobre el nivel de maro, por otro lado vas a ver lago Chatyr-Kol (3500 meters over the sea level).
    Ojala vas a hacer tu segundo viaje. Si necesitas algun informacion, ay estamos para servirle en Kyrgyzstan.

    • Muchas gracias! Annika y yo queremos regresar a Kirguistán y seguramente vamos a tomar tus consejos, tanto que ver en el mundo! Nos gusta muchísimo tu país!

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