Joy's very rough guide to Kyrgyzstan

in #steempress2 years ago (edited)

34807DD6-A53D-4163-9AC7-109A81AFE76D.jpeg


Some of my old friends back in China have asking me which country is the most beautiful. I often tell them it's just next door (theoretically, not really technically), Kyrgyzstan! Although I've only visited a tiny bit of Central Asia, I can say I loved it, nice food, untouched nature, unique shepherd lifestyle, etc.

Itinerary


So my trip to Kyrgyzstan was around 20 days, I went to Bishkek, Osh, Naryn, Kel-Suu, and Issyk Kul.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=11WPmqvWwjyHsJIUlZ6HaHMBCviN1okVV

  • To get to Naryn from Osh, had to take a detour via Bishekek because the road C-D wasn't open (May 5, 2018)
  • Didn't go to Song Kul (E) due to there still snow on the way, can't reach Song Kul in early May.

Transportation

There's no trains in Kyrgyzstan, so you'll have to depend on minibuses or Marshrutka, you probably find it hard to get any info online regarding timetables, because there isn't timetable, they get going when it's full. Many other countries use this system as well.

Marshrutka isn't bad, I mean, it's not very comfy of course, but you see more local life as well, I've met some Kyrgyz singing ladies on the way.

https://joythewanderer.com/transport-in-kyrgyzstan-marshrutka-experience-with-local-kyrgyz-singers-on-the-way-to-osh/


Bishkek


Central Asia cities aren't the most pleasant, I mean Bishkek and Osh aren't bad, Astana also isn't bad, but they just aren't the best cities, expect if you are really interested in those huge empty Soviet style squares ans statues .

https://joythewanderer.com/first-impressions-of-bishkek/

but of course you find more life and culture in markets there

https://joythewanderer.com/osh-bazaar-in-bishkek/

Osh


Osh is an old market city along the ancient Silk Road, you still see quite a big markets in the city, There's also a holy mountain called Sulaiman. But I think the city isn't that impressive but that's just Central Asia in general I believe.

https://joythewanderer.com/old-market-city-osh-and-holy-mountain-sulaiman/

Had to take a detour from Osh to Naryn:

https://joythewanderer.com/taking-a-detour-via-bishkek-from-osh-to-naryn/

Naryn Region


Kyrgyz nature was stunning, I was totally fascinated by the out of-the-worldly beauty of Kel Suu lake Tian Shan Mountains are just breathtaking.

https://joythewanderer.com/kelsuu-kyrgyzstan/

On the way to the lake it was absolutely beautiful.

https://joythewanderer.com/along-the-dusty-road-from-naryn-to-kol-suu-lake/

My favourite part in this region is the Kyrgyz traditional life : the region is lack of modem accommodation outside Naryn city, in the summer you can find many yurts but when I was there, there weren't many yet, so I just stay in the local's house.

https://joythewanderer.com/shepherd-family-in-the-most-remote-kol-suu-lake-in-kyrgyzstan/

Was invited for a tea inside one of the very few newly set yurts along the way, but they didn't accept guest stay yet:

https://joythewanderer.com/a-look-at-kyrgyz-shepherd-lifestyle-and-their-wool-felt-yurt/

Song Kul


Song Kul is the lake most famous for the dotted yurts and traditional shepherd life. I was supposed to get to Song Kul when someone in Naryn comfirmed it's possible, but in the end had to skip the lake and go to Issyk Kul instead.

https://joythewanderer.com/trip-report-wasted-trip-to-song-kul/

Issyk Kul


The most visited place in Kyrgyzstan, my Kazakh friend told me that many Kazakh would travel to Issyk Kul in the summer, the only swimmable lake in the region. There are many beautiful lakes in Central Asia, but few of them are warm enough to swim. When I went there in the middle of May, water was still quite cold though, so I did horseriding, went to the animal market and did some sightseeing.

https://joythewanderer.com/horse-trekking-to-the-pano-view-of-issyk-kul/

https://joythewanderer.com/100-years-old-wooden-dungan-mosque-in-karakol/

https://joythewanderer.com/karakol-sunday-market/

Loved the Karakol Sunday Animal Market!

 

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Central asian countries seem to be very underrated to foreigners. I dont know anyone that told me they went to Kyrgyzstan before until reading this. It really does look beautiful. I met a guy from Turkmenistan in China and that place also looks interesting (and unusual).

These places are usually really cold for most of the year right?

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Thanks! Turkmenistan is cool, they has this awesome Darvaza gas crater I’d always love to visit. As well as Tajikstan and Ukbekistan. I guess Kyrgyzstan is still the easiest to visit among those, considering it’s visa free now for a lot of nationalities. Quite cold all year round but can get hot in the summer.

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Cool thanks. Seems like an area I should check out.

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Sure, you’ll like it! Could be a bit similar to Xinjiang but I feel it’s much more pleasant. I liked Xinjiang, but the nature is more untouched in Central Asia, in Xinjiang I remember they make a gate on some Tian Shan mountain and made it like a disneyland. Sure you can see more nature if you go further to Altay area but then it’s better just go to Central Asia.

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I could see how amazing the breeze over there could be.

Thanks Mcsamm, it was a really wonderful trip

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you know a friend of mine was recently asking me to come on a cycling trip to Kyrgyzstan. Do you recall the state of the roads? I was kind of thinking they might be in bad shape but there is really no basis for me feeling that way.

Roads between cities are more smooth than I thought, but to the remote mountainous regions are very bad, you'll need a 4WD to cross the little streams etc. Maybe your friend has heard about railbiking? I heard it's a thing in Central Asia too.

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