If you’ve read any of our previous blog posts discussing the gem of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, then you know that the country is a mountainous region with remnants of ancient civilizations, amazing carb-loaded dishes, semi-nomadic living and most definitely a country with many many activities to do. So as you are adding to your bucket list for 2023, include Kyrgyzstan travel as one and check out our Kyrgyzstan travel guide 2023 for unique activities to do!
1. Things to Do in Bishkek and What to Do in Bishkek
Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan is one of the most interesting capital cities, arguably in the world. The reason for that is Bishkek is a mix of the modernity of city life and still holds the Kyrgyz culture at bay with remnants of Soviet architecture and landmarks.
Even from the city you can still see the beautiful, breathtaking mountains and enjoy an escape to nature that is close by, such as the Ala Archa National Park, which we will talk about a bit later in this blog.
When visiting Bishkek, some of the things you can do is visit the open markets in the city, which are some of the largest in Central Asia. Test your senses to local dried fruit and nuts that are unique to the country or simply go to the Dordoy Bazaar, one of Asia’s greatest public marketplaces where you can buy wholesale.
If you’re keener on sightseeing, then don’t forget to see the architecture surrounding the Ala-Too square, known for its brutalist architecture and the Manas Statue as well as the Victory Square.
2. Places to Visit in Kyrgyzstan that Are Breathtaking
Nature in Kyrgyzstan is unmatched for and one of the most enticing parts of the country that many people come to travel for. Even when you’re located in the capital city, you can still venture to the countryside for a deep breath of fresh air.
Some of the best places to visit in Kyrgyzstan that are breathtaking are quite among many, but we want to point out some of our favorite places. First on the list is the Ala Archa National Park. Ala Archa refers to the juniper trees and while you visit the protected park you have opportunities to Kayak on the lake, hike the trails, trek or even take the time to identify species of plants, animals and birds. If you want to explore like the locals, even go for a picnic!
Another breathtaking site to visit is the Jety-Oguz Canyon. The name, translating to Seven Bulls, is simply visually metaphorically for just that. The red rock formations symbolize bulls with a story amongst locals. Upon your visit to Jety-Oguz, you can also visit the radon-hydrogen sulfide springs, which have been known to heal many health issues.
Then, of course, there is the Issyk-Ata Valley, which is known as the Pearl of Kyrgyzstan because the water never freezes over. Kyrgyzstan holds over 2000 lakes that were melted by glaciers and this is one of them. The Issyk-Ata Valley as with Jety-Oguz has amazing hiking trails, and places to trek and you can also heal with the hot springs.
3. Where to Go in Kyrgyzstan for Unique Activities
Kyrgyzstan is nothing short of unique activities to enjoy and revel in. The country is full of semi-nomadic and cultural activities and traditions to be involved with, and we will share some of the semi-nomadic activities below for you to enjoy that are most certainly unique and unforgettable.
For some unique activities to enjoy in Kyrgyzstan, we suggest you stop by the Dungan Mosque in Karakol, which was created without any nails. While you visit the Mosque, which also serves as a cultural center, you can have the opportunity to learn how to make Dungan cuisine.
Another unique activity in Kyrgyzstan is to not only stay in a Yurt, but learn how to put together a Yurt. When staying on Son-Kul Lake, you can have a chance to build and stay in a Yurt. Son-Kul Lake has some of the most impressive nature surrounding the lake. When you are participating in the process of building a Yurt with your loved ones which we deem as experiential tourism where you can connect better to the land and people. Building a Yurt takes about a few hours and locals will guide you through it. Most impressively, Yurts don’t require nails, a natural phenomenon and most certainly unique.
And yurts, take us to our next point about semi-nomadic activities to do in Kyrgyzstan.
4. Semi-Nomadic Activities to Do in Kyrgyzstan
First and foremost, you cannot visit Kyrgyzstan without seeing one of the most magnificent sites of semi-nomadic living and seeing the eagle hunting demonstrations is one of the best Kyrgyzstan travel activities to do! Eagle hunting was birthed in Central Asia and was a very vital tool during the cold winter months. Now, it is merely passed on as a tradition to keep it alive, but shows an amazing communication method between the hunter and the animal. Training takes about 3 to 4 years before the eagle and the hunter is successful with one another. To train an eagle, you can see the eagle hunter or known as the Berkutchi use stuffed fox fur to see the eagle in action.
With semi-nomadic living also comes to a huge amount of horseback riding that is infamous throughout the country. You can even go on a horse-trekking tour or go on a leisurely horseback riding tour throughout the countryside. However, one of the most unique activities in Kyrgyzstan to see with horses in action is the Kok Boru traditional horse game. This has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list simply for its preservation and fascination. Two teams play on horseback where players try to maneuver a goat carcass. The winner gets the goat and then eats it later! If you’re lucky enough to attend, you can go to the World Nomad Games to see it in action!
While this is not really an activity, you can still participate in its making, but most certainly not to miss is trying Kymyz, which by the way, if you’re interested in food in Kyrgyzstan, we have the blog for you! Kymyz is fresh mare milk and goes through a fermentation process. Some nomads drink it up to 5 times a day because it is known to help relax the nervous system and digestion. This is the ultimate Kyrgyzstan travel activity to not miss and is most certainly unique!
5. Some of the Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyrgyzstan
If you’re a travel enthusiast, then you most likely are familiar with the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and if you love to travel, then try to create a UNESCO list that maybe you can cross off with each destination you visit.
Kyrgyzstan is not shy of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to see. One of them is the impressive Burana Tower which was built in the 11th century and has beautiful views from the top of its towering minaret and is one of the most famous sites to see in Central Asia. Located next to the Burana Tower,
Then, of course, you can visit the Tien-Shan mountain which spans three countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The diverse site is also a great place to hike, trek and simply learn about the history and culture of the importance of the mountains. Located next to Burana, the Tien Shan mountains are just beautifully coated with golden fields.
2023 is here and it’s time to make the best out of our travels with some planning ahead of time. If you’re looking for a treasure to visit in Central Asia, then look no further than Kyrgyzstan and while you’re at it, take this guide for the ultimate Kyrgyzstan travel tips! Don’t do all the planning alone and let us do the planning for you with unique activities always in mind! Check out our website now!