Kyrgyzstan is tucked into Central Asia’s geographical vortex amid a massive knot of colliding mountain ranges. Monster mountains and valleys associated squalid, glaciers, ice streams and lakes of blue dominate over 90% of the country. Of hiking or horseback riding? Just choose a wide – not much to choose from – like the Pamir Alay Range in the Alai Valley or the Central Tian Shan. In true nomadic style, spend the nights camping under a starry sky full of people or the bed in a yurt. Be warned though, the Kyrgyz are renowned for their hospitality and guests are often treated with fermented mare’s milk and bowls of fresh yogurt.
In fact, nomadic traditions are alive and well in Kyrgyzstan. You can take the hills around Lake Issyk-Kol, the earth’s second largest alpine lake, with a formation of an eagle to hunt rabbits or cheer wildly with locals during a game of kok Boru, a fierce battle riding the drivers fight each other the body of a headless goat. Lake Song-Kol in the center of Kyrgyzstan is a similar place picturesque, ideal for camping and meet shepherds who bring their animals here in the summer months.
Local cash-strapped, struggling Eek life in post-communist Asia, tourism has become for help. The creation of sustainable projects are revolutionizing the travel budget, pushing Kyrgyzstan to the forefront of tourism in the community and bring some extra money for families. On the contrary, now that the long arm and inflexible Russian law is no longer on the scene, corruption of officials and political turmoil are part of everyday life.
Kyrgyzstan may be small, can often be overlooked, but, like players in a game of kok Boru, this tenacious nation packs a powerful punch yet can get away with the award as more attractive and accessible republic Central Asia.