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What’s there in Kyrgyzstan?


The Turkish sunshine was warm, so the first break we got from the Gallipoli tour, Pat and I ventured over to the souvenir and tourist trap side of the road to pick up a couple scoops of ice cream. As we lapped up the pistachio flavored treat, it was the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation or two with one of several Aussies in the mix.

gallipoli sunshine

The sun is shining in Gallipoli, Turkey.

One couple, from Sydney, had been traveling for some 7 months together, venturing to the Middle East and Turkey among several other hot spots, but when they heard our future travel plans to head to Kyrgyzstan, the first question was:

“What’s there in Kyrgyzstan?”

brooke pat mairam

Brooke and Pat with Mairam, Kyrgyz local in Kochkor.

I get this question a lot, and it is not the easiest to answer… because Kyrgyzstan is a different place. You don’t really go there to see a huge, popular monument, and you don’t go to walk around all day in a famous museum. Kyrgyzstan doesn’t have that sort of draw — let alone the tourist infrastructure to cater to the foreigner’s needs beyond CBT.

It’s a place you go to see, overall.

So, I usually struggle when answering. There are tons of beautiful mountains circling valleys or rolling hills. You can hike, bike, or sleep in a yurt. In the summer, Lake Issyk Kul makes the perfect place to relax next to the cooling waters. There are mountain passes to nearby Central Asian countries to follow, but if K-stan deserves more of your time then you can explore the food culture, either on your own or by staying in a guesthouse provided by CBT. Russian language lessons are quite affordable, so students and wanna-be polyglots will find the country enticing.

naryn monument

And this is the point where either the person’s eyes glaze over, or they become intrigued and want to add it to their future travel list. It’s a tale of two travelers and why Kyrgyzstan might not be a place for everyone.

But, hey, that’s ok! More for me and you, right!


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6 Responses to What’s there in Kyrgyzstan?

  1. Arianwen June 11, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I’d love to sleep in a yurt! Kyrgyzstan sounds intriguing to me, and very pleasant. Good on you for going somewhere a little bit different!

    • Brooke June 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Well you should go, Arianwen 🙂 Let me know if I can help!

  2. Erik June 24, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    I love undiscovered destinations, and it sounds like much of Central Asia is that way. One of my dream trips is a long ramble along the old Silk road routes.

  3. Ryan Hoody July 1, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I love going a little of the beaten track to countries that offer the holistic experience, rather than certain, overly done sites. Kyrgyzstan looks like an amazing country with some breathtaking sceneries. Is there a particular time of the year you recommend going?



  4. Katie November 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Sounds cool. Kyrgyzstan wasn’t on my radar before but will be after this article.

  5. Jess June 19, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    Hi Brooke,

    I’ve been looking for travel information on Kyrgyzstan for the longest time and am so happy I finally landed here. Really, this is the most comprehensive info for Bishkek I’ve come across.

    I’ll be backpacking there for 3 weeks this summer as a solo female, so a bit apprehensive about all the unknown!


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