Few people could tell you much about this former Soviet republic in Central Asia, but Kyrgyzstan is, quite simply, among the most beautiful places on the planet. Bisected by the Tianshan, or ‘Celestial Mountains’, it forms a rugged buffer between the great Eurasian Steppe to the north and deserts of Chinese Xinjiang to the south. Around 90% of the country lies above 1,500m, and more than a third of it is permanently snow covered. From the foot of its ice-encrusted summits roll pristine forests of fir and spruce, wind-eroded canyons, and expansive grasslands cradling vivid blue lakes.

For thousands of years, these contrasting landscapes supported populations of semi-nomadic herders, who grazed their goats, sheep, horses and yaks at altitude during the summer months, sleeping in felt yurts and migrating back down the valleys in winter. Decades of Stalinist rule left this age-old way of life in sharp decline, but pockets have endured, and today these form the basis of a unique travel experience.

Unlike neighbouring Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan is not somewhere to come for monuments or remnants of elite culture. But for anyone wanting to gain a sense of what life on the old Silk Road may have been like between the great bazaars of Bukhara and Samarkand; the yurt camps, astounding scenery and welcoming people of this surprisingly little-visited country will provide plenty of inspiration. Whether a memorable interlude in long overland journeys through the Stans, or as a stand-alone destination in its own right, Kyrgyzstan is a country ripe for exploration.

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Suggested tours to Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan - Art of the Nomads

Kyrgyzstan - Art of the Nomads

13 days from £1995 per person

Departure 20th June 2021 Experience the sublime landscapes and fascinating nomadic culture of Kyrgyzstan in summer on a special TransIndus group tour, devised and led…

Nomads and Mountains: Kyrgyzstan

Nomads and Mountains: Kyrgyzstan

16 days from £3795 per person

One of our absolute favourite tours in Asia is this adventurous route trip through the wilds of Kyrgyzstan. It involves a memorable, and at times…

Ultimate Silk Road

Ultimate Silk Road

28 days from £7500 per person

For anyone hooked on the romance of the ancient Silk Road, this epic, month-long tour has it all. You get to experience the full gamut…

Legends of the Silk Road

Legends of the Silk Road

23 days from £6595 per person

Follow in Marco Polo’s footsteps on a journey from the imperial heartland of China’s eastern seaboard to the dry, dusty capitals of Central Asia –…

All Small Group Tours in Kyrgyzstan All Tailor-made Tours in Kyrgyzstan Make an enquiry

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Kyrgyzstan Places and Experiences

Bishkek

Bishkek

A city of wide, tree-lined boulevards and marble-fronted municipal buildings, Bishkek retains the feel of a Soviet-block capital circa 1990, though it makes an engaging place to find one’s feet before heading into the nearby mountains. Top…

Issyk Kul

Issyk Kul

Dominating the east of Kyrgyzstan is chimeric Issyk Kul Lake. Around 113 miles (182km) in length, it’s the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca, and one of Central Asia’s most spellbinding sights. In fine weather, the su…

Song Kol

Song Kol

This high-altitude lake in central Kyrgyzstan is one of our very favourite destinations in the region – a spot that has everything you come to this part of the world to see, in abundance. Framed by a backdrop of snow peaks, its turquoise wa…

Karakol

Karakol

At the eastern end of Issyk Kul, Karakol was created at the end of the 19th century as a Russian military garrison town, and is today the region’s main hub. A sleepy grid of down-at-heel wooden houses, the place springs to life on Sundays w…

Balasagun and the Burana Tower

Balasagun and the Burana Tower

Rising from a grassy plain against a backdrop of windswept ice peaks, the Burana Tower in the Chuy Valley forms a superbly iconic spectacle. The remains of a minaret that once stood 45m (145ft) tall, it is virtually the sole surviving vesti…

Torugart Pass

Torugart Pass

In the annals of Central Asian travel, the bleak, windswept, snow-prone Torugart Pass looms large. Forming one of only two crossing points in the Tianshan range between Kyrgyzstan and the Chinese province of Xinjiang, it stands as a gateway…

Tash Rabat

Tash Rabat

If any sight in Kyrgyzstan could be said to encapsulate the atmosphere of the ancient Silk Road, it’s this mysterious monument in the lap of the Tianshan mountains. Enfolded by denuded, snow-streaked hillsides, the building was originally c…

Trekking and Horse Riding in Kyrgyzstan

Trekking and Horse Riding in Kyrgyzstan

For the most vivid experience of Kyrgyzstan’s dramatic mountain landscapes, it pays to venture away from road level and up to the remote ‘jailoos’ where the region’s nomads look after their flocks and herds during the summer months. Our tri…

Felt Makers

Felt Makers

The collectivization policies of the Soviet era had a devastating impact on the Kyrgyz way of life. Some aspects of the old culture, however, are enjoying a renaissance thanks to tourism – among them the art of felt making, which has revive…

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Plan your 2021 Adventure

With the world beginning to open up again, now is the time to begin planning your 2021 holiday to Asia. Our Travel Specialists are ready to take your call and discuss the adventure you have spent 2020 dreaming of.

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