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Horse Milk Tourism: It’s a Thing

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beautiful horse

Kyrgyz horses in the wild.

Pat and I considered ourselves lucky on the Silk Roadistan tour. When we arrived in Bishkek, a place we knew we wanted to spend a few weeks in, we didn’t have any plans after our 4 days at the Rodem House hostel. So, we searched around to make travel plans for sooner rather than later, especially if we couldn’t find a temporary apartment in Bishkek, and that involved us wandering into the local Community Based Tourism office.

On a whim, I happened to ask the main guy there if he knew of anyone with an apartment to let for a couple weeks. He thought hard, and even though he took our number down, I didn’t expect him to actually call us back!

Sure enough, he had a friend that had an empty place fully furnished in a fairly convenient part of town. He also spoke perfect English, and when we met to view the place, he rocked up with a baseball cap and a Chicago t-shirt on. Awesome.

As we started talking, of course we had to ask about his work and how he knew America and English so well. Well, his mother (whom we ended up staying with in Kochkor) is a professional felt rug maker, and she actually traveled to America a couple of times to present her work. Our apartment owner helped his mother with her work, but he also works in tourism.

The latest project: a kumis resort.

brooke holding a horse in her hand

Mini horses!

If you didn’t catch my last post about kumis, it means horse milk. Yes, those words do in fact go together. People do actually venture to resorts where the focus is… drinking horse milk!

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday as it completely caught me off-guard. We were in the elevator, my voice was hoarse because that’s when I was extremely ill, but still I managed to ask as many questions as I could despite my self-prescribed remedy of “no talking”. I mean, geez… this Kyrgyz guy just told me that there are entire resorts set up where the focus is drinking milk from horses. Who could be quiet?!

It turns out that horse milk resorts have been around for a while, but many of them were located in Russia’s Siberian region. Now that Russian resorts are getting more expensive, the nice kumis resort in Kyrgyzstan has become popular with Russians and other Central Asian visitors.

The point of these resorts is to cleanse your system. Horse milk is said to be extremely healthy, easy to digest, and a way to cure a number of ailments, or at least alleviate the symptoms. Basically, you drink horse milk and only horse milk repeatedly throughout the day… perhaps every half hour. The guest drinks fresh horse milk, uses the restroom, and then drinks again.

By the end of two weeks, the guest is supposed to feel light and healthy… or like flying as I was told.

horse milking

Milking a horse. Would you drink horse milk?

Well… I couldn’t let that one go. I did some searching, and I found a kumis resort in Kyrgyzstan: Koumiss Resort “Baitur”.

Yep, folks, horse milk tourism is in fact a real thing. Mind blown.

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5 Responses to Horse Milk Tourism: It’s a Thing

  1. Emily in Chile August 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I love horses and am usually up for trying new foods and travel experiences, but going to a resort just to drink horse milk is not my kind of tourism.

    • Brooke August 16, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Haha yeah it’s not normal. I think they treat it like a health retreat.

  2. Sophie August 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Did you try horse milk? I’ve tried donkey’s milk before; imagine it’s similar. Can’t say I became a huge fan…

  3. Callie August 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Unbelievable!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The August Express 2012 | Brooke vs. the World - September 1, 2012

    […] times in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. In Kyrgyzstan, we drank the horse milk, discovered that horse milk tourism is a thing, got our haircuts at the Osh Bazaar, and talked about how modern Bishkek is in […]

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