Unbeatable world giant, Everest is and remains, the highest mountain in the world with its 8848 meters! The “roof of the world” is internationally renowned and still attracts enthusiasts every year (it takes courage to tackle it), to conquest this colossus of stones. Kyrgyzstan, less known than the Himalayas, is not to be pitied with more than 90% of its territory covered by mountainous terrain. A natural border between China and Kyrgyzstan, the mountain range of “Tian Shan” (literally in Chinese, “celestial mountains”) culminates with the Jengish Chokusu Peak at 7439 meters! Of course, it still takes 1.4 kilometers to reach the same altitude as Everest one, but it is already an amazing record! The Kyrgyz mountainous terrain therefore offers many opportunities for outdoor activities. For the most hardened mountaineering is a must with no less than 5 peaks at over 7000 meters above sea level. The hiking trails are virtually unlimited even on the outskirts of the capital Bishkek! Whether visiting most parts of the country, or a particular region such as around Lake Issyk-Kul. Moreover, it is not only a question of walking in a breathtaking nature but also to discover the history and the culture of this millenary country at the same time.
Issyk-Kul is its name, in Kyrgyz language, it means “hot lake” because it does not freeze even by negative temperature. Its waters, bright blue, offer a temperate and mild microclimate. This alpine lake is the second largest in the world after Lake Titicaca in the Andes. Issyk-Kul is 182 km long and 60 km wide, with a total area of 6236 km² at an altitude of 1606 meters! The maximum depth of the lake is 660 meters and partly explains that it does not freeze in winter. Many legends and myths around its formation exist, each one more interesting than the other and will be the subject of a future post. Historically, quite recent excavations have uncovered remains and relics of Scythian civilizations. The water is clear all the year and in summer its temperature can fluctuate from 12 to 18 ° C! Around the lake, tourist activities are very varied. Hiking, sunbathing at the beach, demonstrations of the nomadic art of falconers (Salburun) linking the bow and hunting Taïgan, mounting a traditional yurt or songs and music of the local folklore.
Who did not marvel, discovering this famous scene in the film Rambo III, directed by Peter Macdonald and released in 1988, during which Rambo lends itself to this typical Central Asian game that is Bouzkachi. The goal of the game is not so far from modern football, since it involves depositing in a huge cauldron (Kazan) the carcass of a goat that the opposing team tries to steal you by all means allowed ( and this includes a few punches or a few whips)! The action of the film being in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, I use the term of Bouzkachi whereas in Kyrgyzstan one will speak instead of Ulak Tartysh or Kökbörü. The rules and practice, however, remain the same! This nomadic tradition, a game reserved for the Kyrgyz men, is rather muscular and dangerous and the value of a man is measured by his courage during this battle.
crédits @zafer dincer
Kyrgyzstan is a nerve center in Central Asia for East-West and North-South movements since the beginning of time. Indeed, many arteries of the Silk Road cross its territory and have left the mark of a refined culture and the transmission of many knowledge. Culinarily, Kyrgyzstan is rich of culinary traditions of neighboring countries. A rich variety of salads, starters, pasta with their spicy sauces or not, such as Laghman, but also Ashlam-Fu, a Chinese-style entrée that is served cold in the summer and consists of fresh pasta and starch , vinegar, soy sauce, spices and eggs. Meat is unavoidable, served cold, hot, broth, in Chinese ravioli, samsys, it is the key ingredient of all Kyrgyz dishes in this country following their nomadic origins in the steppes. The royal dish is also called the Besh Barmak, literally “five fingers” because it must be eaten, by hand, so without cutlery, during traditional ceremonies and consists of boiled mutton and pasta. Thus, formerly nomads under the yurt proceeded so during family or clan meetings. Notices to vegetarians and other vegans … I will make you fine right away, the culinary influences being numerous, the cuisine adapted to your needs is available. The Chinese, Korean and Japanese minorities make you available, salads, tofu and other vegetarian specialties!
Following the 2018 World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan and the wide media coverage of this event, Lonely Planet has positioned the Kyrgyz Republic 5th in a ranking of 10 countries to visit in 2019! One of the reasons for this growing success is the quality of tourism that is practiced there. Authentic, close to local people, secured but with a hint of unexpectedness and surprise. It is not a question of traveling there to see the landscape only but to make an experience, to live an adventure and thus keep unforgettable memories.
There was a time when the stunning administrative heaviness of Soviet style could weigh on your desire to travel in this wonderful country! Fortunately, it’s the past! Today, nothing is easier for a European, an Englishman or an American to go to Kyrgyzstan for tourism. Most European citizens have a 60-day entry free of charge. Want to know if you need a visa to enter? Contact us by email.
The Kyrgyz are one of the last peoples on earth to use the yurt, locally called “Boz Uy” and literally means “gray house” because of the color of the felt used to dress the structure. Installed in the “jailoo” the mountain green pastures, it is an experience out of the ordinary! The space of a few hours or even for a few days, you can enjoy peace unequaled. Some writers also use the “yurt” or “dacha” in remote areas to focus on writing away from the tumult of our society.
crédits @ahmet dogan
Kyrgyzstan can boast of breathtaking landscapes, either because of their beauty or sometimes because of their strangeness. This is particularly the case, among others, in the fairytale canyon of Issyk-Koul famous for its shapes evoking animals or other quirks but also the impression of being on another planet! Photo and video shootings are very popular and give rise to unforgettable memories.
Kyrgyzstan is a very affordable destination in Asia! Tourism is not yet as developed as in Thailand or Indonesia and this is an important part of its charm! In addition both the flight and the tour are quite affordable with offers starting from 800 € (flights included) for a week on site and many activities. Group trips (from 4 people and above) are highly advantageous and allow very attractive prices.
Outstanding features of the Kyrgyz, a welcoming, memorable and smiling hospitality. On the Silk Road, it was an immutable rule known to all, the traveler prevails over the resident and any attention paid to him is considered as the basic of politeness! It is not so surprising that while you are in the middle of nature for a hike, some nomad shepherds come to you and guest you under the yurt for a snack or a meal. In such cases, it is good practice to leave a small gift in return, a typical object from your home country for example. The important thing is the gesture and therefore the respect induced by the latter.