Kyrgyzstan, also known as "The Land of Celestial Mountains" is an exciting travel destination in Central Asia. Surrounded by breathtaking mountainous terrain, many travelers choose Kyrgyzstan so they can trek toward the massive glaciers, ski mountains, and immerse themselves in the rich, cultural heritage of the land. The vast, rugged terrain draws in thrill-seekers and sports enthusiasts, while the folklore and history attract those looking to expand their knowledge of the world. Whether you're in the mood for a new outdoor adventure or someone who appreciates the uniqueness of foreign lands, Kyrgyzstan has something for everyone.
For a unique history lesson, head over to Chuy Valley and to see the structure from the city of Balasagun. What used to be the rest of the city is now grassland, and the minaret tower belongs to the city's only mosque. If you're curious about what's on the inside, there is a staircase that leads to the top of the minaret.
For an exhilarating day in nature, visit Ala Archa National Park. This vast wonderland sits about 25 miles from the capital of Bishkek, and it's filled with glaciers, lush greenery, and amazing wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard. If you're up for some exercise and adventure, bring your skis along and hit the trails. The park also provides a great backdrop for picnicking and horseback riding.
If you like camping under the stars, Song-Kol Lake is a must-stop destination on your Kyrgyzstan holiday. The lake and surrounding terrain is inhabited and safe for camping and outdoor activities between June and September, and you can rent a yurt and outdoor supplies from one of the local herders in the area. The north shore of the lake is a great spot to watch sunrises and sunsets, so make sure to have your camera handy.
Take a trip back in time and learn how 15th-century travelers saw the world with a visit to Tash Rabat. Also referred to as a caravanserai, this historic roadside inn provided shelter to travelers following a long day in the caravan. The inns were meant to be a safe haven for people crossing through Asia. Today, Tash Rabat is only open for tours, but you can rent a yurt from the caretakers if you want to spend the night.
Shop until you drop at Osh Bazaar, a bustling shopping hub in Bishkek. The market has everything from spices, dry goods, and fresh fruits and veggies to candy, clothing, and electronics. Pick up a postcard or hand-crafted token as a memento from your trip, or purchase some fresh pastries for the next day's breakfast. Even if you're not interested in buying anything, the Osh Bazaar is worth a visit for the energy and atmosphere alone.
Also referred to as "Too Sacred Mountain," Sulaiman-Too Mountain sits directly in the center of Osh, and not only is it a sight to behold, the stories and legends that surround this magnificent rock are truly unbelievable. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sulaiman-Too provides guided tours of the area, during which, you'll get a chance to learn more about the sacred mountain and even get the chance to participate in a few ancient rituals practiced by both the locals and pilgrims.
For an icy adventure, sign up for a trek of the Engilchek Glacier. The glacier is the largest in all of Kyrgyzstan, with peaks ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 miles high. The tour leaves out of Bishkek and heads into the Tiup Valley. Your guide will take you through miles of lush greenery and past beautiful hot springs, where you can stop and dip your feet before heading toward the glacier. Depending on the tour you book, treks can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and you'll be provided with lodging and equipment to ensure a comfortable journey.
If you're up for a little sightseeing, head over to Victory Square in Bishkek and visit the statue dedicated to the Liberation of the USSR. The statue houses an eternal flame that's guarded by a Guard of Honor from the National Guard of Kyrgyzstan, and the statue is surrounded by three red granite ribs in the shape of a yurt. Every hour, a changing of the guard ceremony takes place. This landmark is treasured by the residents of Bishkek and a must-see for any visitor.
You can't visit Kyrgystan without visiting a museum inside of a mountain. The Muzey Sulayman Too sits inside a combination of natural rock formations and man-made caves, and visitors enjoy amazing views through a series of windows on the mountain's side. The museum features 13 exhibit rooms, each filled with archaeological items, religious artifacts, artwork, and more. Head to the museum any time between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm for a one of a kind experience.