10 Incredible Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan

Written By: Clair Robinson

Named the Pearl of Central Asia, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan is a small country mostly covered by mountains and almost untouched by tourism. These attributes make the perfect combination to live a memorable trip!

As I toured the country, I experienced many moments that I will never forget and I am sharing 10 of them in photos with you.

Kyrgyzstan Travel – Top 10

And if those pictures convince you to plan your next holiday, check out my Destination Guide to Kyrgyzstan with many more photos and detailed planning information.

1. Explore the Skazka Canyon

visit kyrgyzstan | skazka canyon

Why visit Kyrgyzstan? For the Beautiful Landscape.

Not far south of the Issyk -Kul Lake, you can find the Skazka Canyon, also called Fairy-Tale Canyon.

Plan enough time to go explore on your own, climb this rock, and look out over this landscape of intriguing shapes and colors.

  • Interested in travel to Kyrgyzstan, you may also like Dave and Deb’s travels Kazakhstan

2. Listen to Kyrgyz Music

travel to Kyrgyzstan | music
Listing to young girls playing the traditional Kyrgyz Music


At the Burana Tower, an old minaret surrounded by stunning scenery, we met with 2 young Kyrgyz girls and their music teacher.

They practiced in front of us on their traditional guitars. And, seeing how interested we were, their teacher started singing for us too!

Her love for music was contagious.

Check the video at the bottom of my dedicated article if you want to hear how this sounded.

3. Get an Allergy Just for the View

Kyrgyzstan travel | flowers in a field
Sunrise at Issyk Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan

Early morning I had ordered a cab to go watch the sunrise on the eastern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake.

As the sun got higher I spotted a huge field of flowers and decided to go capture the beauty even though I was sure to get an annoying allergy.

Don’t you think this view was worth the sneezing?

4. Hike in the Altyn Arashan Valley

Hike in the Altyn Arashan Valley, Kyrgyzstan

Altyn Arashan is an isolated valley east of Issyk-Kul Lake. Famous for its hot springs, it is also a great place to hike. Imagine those horses trotting past you all at once!

Enjoying these photos of Kyrgyzstan, check out our photo story from Kazakhstan

5. Observe Locals at the Karakol Animal Market

Kyrgyzstan tourism | animal market

Every Sunday, Karakol welcomes nomads and sedentary Kyrgyz from the whole region.

They come for the animal market where you can find mostly horses, sheep and cows.

They are not yet used to travelers and are happy to exchange as much as possible (they only speak Kyrgyz and Russian). But watching them do business was already fascinating.

6. Go Further than the Seven Bulls

travel kyrgyzstan | seven bulls
Dragon Gorge, near Jeti Oguz, Kyrgzystan

One of the most famous geological features in Kyrgyzstan is Jeti Oguz and its Seven Bulls.

This is not what you see on the photo above.

I decided to climb on the hill opposite to take better photos and discovered that it actually continues into the Dragon Gorge which is impressive too.

7. Sleep in Yurts at Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

yurts in kyrgyzstan | travel

One of my favorite nights in Kyrgyzstan was the yurt stay at Song-Kul Lake.

It was freezing at 3000 meters (9850ft) but the profound silence and majestic landscapes were all I needed.

They are Yurts in Kyrgyzstan but in Mongolia they are called Ghers: Check out Share the View, a Look Back at Mongolia

8. Spend Time Admiring Horses

travel kyrgyzstan | horses at sunset
Horses are everywhere in Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz love their horses. How many they own determines how rich they are (except in the cities…).

So they are well taken care of.

Many times I just stopped and admired them. On the photo above, it was during sunset at Song-Kul Lake.

Love horses? Check out Icelandic Horse – Pure Beauty 

9. Stop and Admire Painting-like Landscapes

kyrgyzstan tours
Admiring painting-like landscapes in Kyrgyzstan

The roads in the center of the country are lesser known.

The few tourists traveling to Kyrgyzstan often focus on the more famous locations.

However I was blown away by the many landscapes I drove by, that look just like paintings. I promise, this was not altered by filters or post-processing!

Thinking of a trip to Kyrgyzstan ? You may want to drive: Here’s our tips for driving from England to Mongolia

10. Get stuck between 2 walls of Ice and horses

travel to kyrgyzstan | horses at mountain pass
Horses at snowy mountain pass, Kyrgyzstan

This is one moment I would never have imagined: driving at a mountain pass between two walls of ice and being stuck because of horses and cows!

So what do you think? Is Kyrgyzstan your next destination?

Kyrgyzstan Travel | 10 Incredible reasons to visit Kyrcyzstan

Read Next: Mongolia in Photos

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About Clair Robinson

Claire is the French Traveler and Travel Planning Addict behind ZigZag On Earth where she shares her growing collection of destination guides, with detailed location articles and plenty of beautiful photos. Follow Claire at: ZigZagOnEarth / Facebook / Pinterest

Leave a Comment

17 thoughts on “10 Incredible Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan”

  1. Hello Claire,
    Thanks for the beautiful and inspirational write-up and the incredible pics! Inspired enough now to go and visit this gem.
    What time do you recommend to visit? I would like to have a mix of both ice and grass and would also love to hike the Highlands.
    I am not a confident driver in icy and high altitude mountains. Do you know someone who can be a good guide as well a driver?

    Reply
  2. I have visited Kyrgyzstan many times and can vouch for the fact that it is a wonderful country to visit. Not perhaps, the easiest to get around, but the scenery and people more than make up for the challenges of travel. They have a great community based tourism organisation that can arrange all kinds of home stays and I very much recommend this. Try googling cbt Kyrgyzstan. Don’t just stick to the beaten track too. The Kyrgyz have difficult lives as economically the country is in poor shape, so they need all the help they can get from tourism.

    Reply
  3. Everybody flocks to Paris and Switzerland. Your article convinced me that there several other destinations worth exploring. I absolutely loved your photos. They are stunning. Kyrgyzstan looks like an explored country. Maybe that is why it is so beautiful.

    Reply
  4. Hi Kami. This is a real problem. So many new countries to see and so many places I want to visit again… How was it in November?

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  5. Kyrgyzstan is amazing! I was there in November and even if it wasn’t the best time to visit weather-wise I still enjoyed it big time and now I want to return there really badly! And those pictures make me want to go there even more!

    Reply
  6. Kyrgyzstan is a country that doesn’t get a lot of love so it’s great to read about it. Horses are actually an interesting reason to love a country – and that’s an amazing landscape of the mountains.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, Claire! Beautiful photos and definitely a place I’d love to discover one day – especially if it’s free from big tourists crowds ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  8. Okay you convinced me it’s worth it! Cannot say Kyrgystan was on my list of “must go to” countries but you provide evidence enough. Except for one aspect…an important consideration…what’s the food like? I avoid countries which only feature meat and potatoes if Zi can. Terrific photos. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply