Kyrgyzstan Tours & Holidays
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
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The Kyrgyz Republic, to give it its proper title, is quite simply one of the most beautiful countries on earth. The Mountains of Heaven that stretch majestically across its length and breadth are lush, high and wild, dissected by sweeping steppe lands, primal forests and turquoise lakes. And far in the distance, scratching the belly of the endless sky, is an ever-changing vista of lofty snow-capped peaks that, up until a decade ago, were ...
The Kyrgyz Republic, to give it its proper title, is quite simply one of the most beautiful countries on earth. The Mountains of Heaven that stretch majestically across its length and breadth are lush, high and wild, dissected by sweeping steppe lands, primal forests and turquoise lakes. And far in the distance, scratching the belly of the endless sky, is an ever-changing vista of lofty snow-capped peaks that, up until a decade ago, were strictly off-limits.
Home to glaciers, deserts, alpine meadows and several 7,000 metre plus mountains, the country rises up from the fertile slopes of the Ferghana Valley to the heights of Mount Pobeda (7,437 m) on the Chinese-Kyrgyzstan border. Scattered with over 2,000 lakes, a third of this breathtaking country is permanently covered in snow. But despite this natural bounty, it is the people themselves who bring this astonishing landscape to life.
Over the years we have developed relationships with local people and businesses and a stay with some of the local families provides a rare insight into their nomadic lifestyles. So, whether you are visiting eagle hunter, Aslan Bek and his family on the shores of Lake Izzyk Kul, or Noorgul and her family at Son Kul, you will find ordinary people with proud nomadic traditions and a great sense of hospitality, living some quite extraordinary lives.
Start your journey
Travel to Kyrgyzstan with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.
Whether you want to travel on one of our award-winning itineraries or build your own journey from scratch, our expert consultants will help create the perfect tour for your tastes and budget. Below are a few suggestions of the kind of trips we can offer, all of which can be tailored to you.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KYRGYZSTAN
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
Marvel at Ala Archa National ParkHead out to the mountains of the Ala Archa National Park and take in a hike amidst the unspoiled nature. Enjoy the fresh mountain air and journey through the fragrant pine and juniper forest, spotting the President’s summer palace, butterflies and wild tulips.
Admire the ancient Burana TowerVisit the Burana Tower in Tokmok, an 11th century minaret, all that remains of Turkic Karakhanid, once a powerful city on the Silk Road. Over time, various earthquakes destroyed the city and reduced the towers height from 42 to 24 meters that you see today.
Relax and enjoy nomad lifeFrom your comfortable and cozy yurt, relax and take in the wonderful mountains and meadows dotted with yurts. Witness traditional life in the Kyrgyz summer pastures while sipping kumyz, the Kyrgyz national drink made from fermented mares' milk.
Explore Son Kul Lake area on footThe alpine lake lies in a remote valley surrounded by high mountain pastures, the nomadic Kyrgyz herdsmen use fertile marshlands to let their livestock graze in the lush green meadows. The perfect place to experience the life and culture of the Kyrgyz nomads.
Admire the Silk Road in Tash RabatSimply relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounding of Tash Rabat. The lush and green valley, just 35km from the China border, groans with horses, yaks and sheep all owned by the nomads who live in the area. Enjoy a homecooked lunch and dinner at your yurt camp.
Walk the ancient paths of Tash RabatExplore on foot a major route of the Silk Road as it winds through remote mountain scenery, remarkable history, local nomadic culture and the possibility of animal sightings from the ancient caravanserai of Tash Rabat to the 4000m high pass.
Experience incredible Eagle HuntingOne of the most fascinating Kyrgyz traditions is eagle hunting. Take in the history and skill of these strong local hunting traditions and learn about the way it has shaped the livelihood of locals for centuries.
Enjoy a meal at Reina Kench Eco-FarmThis beautiful and peaceful Eco-Farm was built from scratch after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is run by the same family that still live and work here. Enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch in the restaurant where most of the produce has been grown on site.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT
WHEN TO GO
The weather conditions can be extremely varied. In the mountains you will often be travelling at heights in excess of 3000 metres, and even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter with snow falling; at the same time mercury in the thermometers of Bishkek can be nudging 40 degrees. All in all, British summertime is considered the best time to visit in terms of favourable conditions.
Health and Vaccinations
There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Kyrgyzstan though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. We recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Kyrgyzstan, the official unit of currency is the Som.
To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.
The first thing to say about travelling in Central Asia is that most areas, particularly the cities and towns, have a much more laid-back approach to Islam than their neighbours to the south in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In places such as Bishkek you won’t believe the length of some women’s skirts! However, it should also be remembered that it is technically a Muslim region and therefore a little bit of caution should be applied in certain places. Shorts and T-shirts are fine for both sexes but if visiting mosques, women should cover their shoulders and wear trousers or skirts that fall below the knee, and men should not wear shorts.
Language & Religion
Kyrgyzstan is one of the two former Soviet Republics in Central Asia to retain Russian as an official language. In the early 90’s Kyrgyzstan became an official bilingual country adding Kyrgyz as another official language. You will also find ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks in some parts of Kyrgyzstan due to previous Soviet policy.
80% of the population are Islamic with just over 15% following Russian Orthodoxy.
Kyrgyzstan is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
The food in Kyrgyzstan tends to be based around meat and rice, although the salads and vegetables on offer are very varied. As you travel you will have a chance to experience local specialities of the region, which often overlap with the cultures that have lived and moved around over the centuries.
With regard to alcohol, the choice is mostly limited to vodka or beer so anyone wanting something different - Scotch or Gin for example - should buy it duty free and bring it out. However, be advised that mixers, like tonic water, are extremely difficult to find in Central Asia!