Vowel-challenged Kyrgyzstan, tucked between the giants of China and Kazakhstan, is carpeted in rolling velveteen hills, studded with rocky outcrops, gorges and glaciers and adorned by immaculate mirrored lakes. Its cities are a fascinating study in the Soviet hangovers of politics and crumbling architecture, but in the countryside nomadic traditions still prevail.
Your days are filled taking in the extraordinary landscape, much of which you have to yourself, preferably on horseback or on foot (although you’ll need to be driven between places). You might learn about the use of eagles in hunting or witness the extraordinarily raw and ferocious game of kok boru, involving skilful horseman wrestling for the corpse of a headless goat.
This is not a luxurious destination and it’s not for everyone, but if you are interested in travelling somewhere truly different, this may be the perfect place. There is a true feeling of being ‘away’. Accommodation is at best clean and comfortable. Some of the yurt camps are in the most beautiful locations but really you are here to be out and about.
Need to Know
– Bishkek is about a 9-hour flight away from London, touching down en route.
– Getting between destinations within the country will be by car. Where possible we can incorporate hiking and horse-riding as well.
– May–September are sunny and warm with April and October being less predictable but also less busy. November–March are bitterly cold, but there is excellent skiing.
Visa/ entry requirements
– Tourist visas are issued on arrival.
Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
– Festivals celebrating birds of prey, horse games and national arts and crafts occur throughout the summer months. If you are interested in visiting during one of these events let us know and we’ll check on current schedules.
When to go:
Broadly speaking from April-October with May, June and September being most pleasant.
From £1800 per person.
"The Great Game’ by Peter Hopkirk is an extraordinary and hugely entertaining introduction to the fascinating history of the region in the 19th century."
Comfortable shoes. This country is made for walking.
Did you know?
Mountains cover 80% of Kyrgyzstan while 90% of the country lies 1500 meters above sea level.