Issyk Kul means ‘warm lake’, never freezes. It’s the second largest lake in the world with a length of 182 km, a width of 60 km and lies at 1606m altitude. Titicaca lake at the border of Peru/Bolivia is the largest mountain lake in the world.
2. Son Kul Lake: A large freshwater lake at an altitude of 3016 m, which has an area of 270 km². A plateau where nomads families and their cattle live a traditional lifestyle and their homes called yurts can be seen scattered throughout the plateau. The lake is important for the nomads and their cattle and is considered sacred by the local community. It is also an important breeding ground for birds such as the Indian goose.
3. Tash Rabat:
Tash Rabat (stone Inn) is a well preserved Caravanserai dating back to the 15th century. It takes you along the historic silk road where traders travelled on their way to and from China. Tash Rabat is located in a desolate but beautiful area. See how the nomads live and how their horses and cattle graze on this unspoiled land.
4. Ala Archa national park:
The Ala Archa national park is situated only 45 minutes away from the capital city. The pristine nature is all around you. The park ranges around 200 km² and includes 50 mountain tops, 20 glaciers, various waterfalls and 2 wild water rivers. There’s a large diversity of wild animals to be seen. A fine spot to relax, enjoy a walk or hike to a mountain top. For locals it’s a favorite place to spend time together, often with a picnic!
5. Jeti Oguz national park:
Jeti Oguz means ‘seven bulls’. This national park offers wonderful hiking routes where wild rivers, high mountains and red rocks can be seen. Enjoy the natural beauty. See the well known erratic red colored rock formations ‘the seven bulls’ and the ‘broken heart’ mountain. It is a protected natural monument. Take a pleasant walk in the surroundings or climb to the peaks.
6. A shared place - Sary Chelek and Arslanbob:
This is one of the most beautiful regions of Kyrgyzstan. The rare lynx and many other species find their natural habitat inbetween the rich flora and fauna, with more than 1000 plant species. Valleys, flower meadows, snow-capped peaks, imposing mountain lakes, the beautiful vistas are breathtaking. Sary Chelek mountain lake (1873 m) is the third largest mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan and homes clear waters full of fish, a hidden beauty. It’s like a fairytale.
Arslanbob is home to the largest walnut tree forest on earth. The first known export from Kyrgyzstan to Europe was the Arslanbob walnut. A friendly village from where you can hike to the grand waterfall, or its smaller sized neighbor. Horseback riding and skiing in the winter, these are a few possible activities to enjoy while here.
A fine place to spend time.
7. Fairy Tale canyon:
Skazka (Fairy Tale) canyon. Over the years the wind has shaped the rock formations which have warm red and earthy colors. It’s fascinating to explore this wonderful natural phenomenon.
8. Burana tower:
Burana, an area in the Chuy valley 10 km south of Tokmok. You find the Burana tower, a minaret dating from the 11th century. The original height was 46 meters, but damage has been done due to various earthquakes in the past. The tower is now 24,6 meters high. The last restorations were done in the 70’s. There are also ruins and a field with petroglyphs to be found in this area. This is what remains of Balasagun, the city created by an Iranian folk (Soghdians) in the 9th century. This was the capital city of the Karachids until it was conquered by the Mongols in 1218. The cemetery was used until the 14th century. The old stone sculptures are called balbals. These sculptures date back to the 6th century. People think that the memorial sculptures were meant to honor the deceased. Balbal is derived from the Turkish language and means grandfather. In the Mongol language barimal means handmade statue. The accompanying museum gives information over these historic items.
Bishkek is the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. Squares, green parks and monuments alternate each other. Bishkek has been called the greenest capital city of the world. The Russian influences from the Soviet time are still visible, just look for the statue of Lenin.
The impressive Ala-Too plaza (Ala-Too range is a limb of the Tian Shan mountains). This is a meeting spot for the Kyrgyz folk and festivals are often held here. In the past political demonstrations took place at this plaza.
See ‘the White House’ of Kyrgyzstan, a colossal building where the partys once held their meetings during the time of the Kyrgyz SSR. These days the White House is used as a presidential palace. Meet the huge statue of Manas, the national hero of Kyrgyzstan. The airport is named after this man.
A walk along the large green Erdinkik Boulevard will give you a good impression of the daily life of the Kyrgyz people in Bishkek. Families, friends and lovers enjoy their free time here.
Oak Park is one of the oldest parks of Bishkek. The beautiful old oak trees will cool you down during warm summer days. Discover the outdoor museum of statues and you will find various important monuments.
Panfilov Park is a traditional and entertaining amusement park to visit during your stay.
The Osh Bazaar is one of the biggest bazaars in the country. You will find all sorts of food, home hardware, clothing, souvenirs and musical instruments. A fondly visited place.
Bishkek has a wide variety of restaurants and cafes, nice for an in between stop while taking in all your impressions.
Osh is the second largest and the oldest city of Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley. It has numerous interesting monuments, including the largest bazaar of Central Asia, in ancient times an important market along the historic Silk Road. Russian influences are visible everywhere. A Russian Orthodox Church, the largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan and a mosque Rabat Abdul Khan from the 16th century are also absolute musts to visit.
The UNESCO World Heritage site is the Sulayman mountain, previously an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims, is now known and loved because of the great views of the mountain across the valley.
Another place of interest just outside our top 10 is Karakol:
This is the fourth largest city of Kyrgyzstan. The city was founded in 1869 and is the oldest remaining settlement nearby Issyk Kul Lake. In the past mostly explorers, tradesmen and officers of the Russian army resided here. Take a walk through this intriguing city and its constructions, like the well preserved wooden Russian orthodox church, the Dungan mosque (ethnic Chinese muslim minority). Walk through the Kupecheskiy Proezd street, an old village street dating from the 19th century in Russian style.