42 Amazing Places To Visit In Kyrgyzstan
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Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean whose surreal atmosphere makes it one of the upcoming destinations for worldwide vacationers, who are keen on the best places to visit in Kyrgyzstan. This amazing nation is known for its fascinating historical landmarks with large open doors for aficionados of outdoor activities that are characterized by special geography made off to a great extent untouched mountains, moving summer pastures, and stark ridges that are lit up by the semi-itinerant, shepherd, and yurt-staying cultures. But this beautiful country is yet to be known by travelers from all over the world even though the country’s beauty is stunning. It’s impossible to imagine the history and culture of Kyrgyzstan tourism without Tien Shan and Pamir mountain ranges. Visit Kyrgyzstan, the land of celestial mountains, to get to know about the true nomadic lifestyle and unveil the real spirit of freedom and happiness. Now, let’s find out some of the amazing places to visit in Kyrgyzstan.
Here are the 42 Amazing Places To Visit In Kyrgyzstan:
1. Altyn-Arashan Thermal Resort
Altyn-Arashan Thermal Resort is situated in the picturesque Altyn-Arashan gorge, 2600 meters above sea level, with spruce forest and green meadows on the banks of the Arashan River. This resort is renowned for its unique natural beauty, majestic mountains, raging mountain river, clean air, stunning scenery, where the atmosphere of tranquility and solitude with nature. This was built on the basis of hot springs with high mineral content and radioactivity. The springs contain radon and are used in the treatment of diseases relating to the nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems. It is also a romantic place that I especially recommend you. So, don’t miss a chance to visit this healing Altyn-Arashan Thermal Resort of Kyrgyzstan tourism.
2. Saimaluu Tash State Natural Park
Situated in the Toguz Toro district of the Jalal Abad province, along the Kugart River, Saimaluu Tash State Natural Park sits on a total area of 32050 hectares. 16 species of mammals, 45 species of birds, and 1500 species of plants are registered in the park. Saimaluu Tash means ‘patterned stone’ in Kyrgyz. Rock carvings are the main cultural and historical value of the park. The area has the largest accumulation of petroglyphs (about 90,000 stones) in Central Asia. Though this park, established in 2001 in the eastern part of the Jalal-Abad Region, is most famous for its petroglyphs, it is also known for its role in protecting the biodiversity of the region. So, I am sure you won’t like to miss the amazing park on your trip to the Jalal Abad province of Kyrgyzstan.
3. Ala-Archa National Park
The Ala Archa National Park is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976 and located approximately 40 km south of the capital city of Bishkek whose gorgeous landscapes dot the countryside, crisscrossed by epic hiking trails. It is also a big draw for tourists visiting Central Asia who wants a quick trek outside of big city life which is in the narrow valley of an ordinary small river that you may see a concentration of wonderful landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and amazing rock formations. Though it’s very possible to explore the mountains of Kyrgyzstan year-round, the best season is generally considered to be July-September to explore this park by making it a must-visit for any traveler.
4. Ak-Sai Valley
Ak-Sai Valley is a broad alpine valley located in the border area between At Bashy and Torugart which is situated at an altitude of 2900-3800 meters, in inner Tien Shan. Ak-Sai Valley contains no large trees or shrubbery, just shallow grassland where a small stream runs through the valley. There are several hunting bases in the valley since this area is the natural habitat of both the coveted Marco Polo Sheep and Siberian Ibex. Do you know? The lowest temperature ever recorded in Kyrgyzstan was in this valley: -56.3°C. So, if you love the vegetation consists of short, thick grass that covers numerous swamps and lakes at moderate altitudes then I am sure Ak-Sai Valley is the perfect place for you to explore while traveling to Kyrgyzstan.
5. Ak-Suu Gorge
Also called the Semenov Gorge, Ak-Suu Gorge has located 40 km from Cholpon-Ata. The length of the gorge is about 30 km and the river called Kichi Ak-Suu runs through the bottom of the gorge. Gray and reddish granites cover the bottom: the rapid river flow beats into white foam, that’s why the name of the river is Ak-Suu which means “White River”. The slopes of the gorge are covered with Tien Shan fir trees and fragrant mountain herbs. “Aksu” resort is located a few kilometers from the reserve, housing a sanatorium, and about 30 thermal radon sources. It treats diseases of the central nervous system, in particular, ICP – cerebral palsy. After the resort, the gorge widens, and the famous gigantic Tien-Shan first appears on the slopes in its lower part. Further, you see two stunningly beautiful waterfalls 25 and 30 m high. Slender spruce trees grow on waterfalls’ both sides, complementing the fascinating picture of falling water with lively green colors. There is also a moraine-glacial lake Kashka-Suu with clean meltwater. One of the most famous sights of the gorge is the huge trapezoid Aksu wall covered with ice and reaching the highest point of 5022 m. that’s what makes Ak-Suu Gorge one of the most popular places for mountain hiking adventures.
6. Alamedin Gorge
Alamedin Gorge (1,800 – 2,000 m) is located roughly 30 kilometers outside of Bishkek and is a popular destination with Bishkek locals. Juniper, birch, black currant, common cockle, rose hips, and sea buckthorn is just some examples of the area’s rich flora. The fresh mountain air combined with Alamedin Gorge’s beautiful scenery makes it a prime destination for day trips from Bishkek, picnics, and hiking. The river that flows through the gorge is also called Alamedin. Going farther up through the gorge, you can see steep cliffs that look like ruins of ancient fortresses. There are also peaks Aitmatov (4650 meters) and Kyrgyzstan (4860 meters) which always attract tourists’ attention. There’s a small waterfall (10-12 m) hidden back in the gorge that makes a good hiking destination, especially in the winter when it freezes in place! Other popular features in the gorge are the natural pools and hot springs that are rich in minerals such as calcium salt, iron, and magnesium and provide travelers with some relaxing spots to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
7. Song Kul Lake
Song-Kul Lake is an alpine lake that lies at an altitude of 3016 m and has an area of about 270 km² and a volume of 2.64 km³. It is the second-largest lake in Kyrgyzstan with an area of 270 square kilometers and is three times bigger than the Zurich lake by surface and its maximum depth reaches just around 22 meters. Song Kul Lake is one of the highlights of Kyrgyzstan. The lake is fed by several mountain rivers where the spacious meadows around the lake have been used as summer pastures by nomadic shepherds since ancient times. Visit Song-Kul Lake to experience Kyrgyzstan’s pristine nature. Son-Kul Lake is a mountain lake in northern Naryn Province, virtually in the center of Kyrgyzstan where its name translates from Kyrgyz as “the last lake”. Encompassed by a high mountain level, Song-Kul Lake has no trees. Despite the fact that there are no trees on the high fields, there are a lot of herbs, including chamomile, sagebrush, lichen, monk’s top, and brilliant root, a considerable lot of which are prized for their medicinal characteristics.
8. Kel-Tor Gorge
Located 90 km from Bishkek, Kel-Tor Gorge is an offshoot of the Kegety Gorge, with a river of the same name and amazing landscape. The name Kel Tor is literally translated as “Dead Lake” which is the most popular feature in the gorge that is famous for its unusually clear turquoise water. The Kel-Tor Gorge is rich in spruce forests, herbs (sage, St. John’s wort, thyme), and varieties of berries (mountain ash, honeysuckle, wild rose, barberry). Kel Tor Gorge’s picturesque beauty provides an excellent destination for hikers as well as bird watchers which is home to a wide variety of bird species including falcons, gyrfalcons, and golden eagles. I am sure you won’t be disappointed at all after visiting this beautiful gorge. So don’t miss to explore it while you’re in Kyrgyzstan
9. Sulaiman Too
Located in the center of Osh city, Sulaiman Too Mountain is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site listed from Kyrgyzstan and was once a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage. Some historical and theological works, written sources, and ancient manuscripts mention that 366 of the 124 thousand prophets sent down by God in human history had visited this mountain. Sulaiman Too is a historical and architectural complex at the top and on the slopes of the mountain, where many historical monuments of different eras – such as caves with ancient petroglyphs, the Takht-i Suleiman Mosque, Ravat Abdulla Mosque, the Asaf ibn Burhiya Mausoleum, and the historical museum with a rich collection of archaeological, ethnographic, and zoological exhibits – can be found. Almost every one of these places is a unique ritual object, surrounded by a veil of mystery and legend. So, if you’re a history lover then this place is definitely for you. And you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city. Don’t forget your camera!
10. Kegety Gorge
Located 75 km from the city of Bishkek on the northern slope of Kyrgyz Ala-Too that has a rich flora, Kegety Gorge extends itself along the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Mountain Range for a total of 30 kilometers that is considered one of Kyrgyzstan’s silk road most beautiful and is popular with horseback riders. Its tall grasslands, barberry, rowan, wild rose, and fir forests largely contribute to the beauty of the gorge. Kegety Gorge is home to numerous streams, alpine meadows, and spruce forests. The Kegety river, which flows through the gorge, has many tributaries. The largest of them is the Kel-Tor river (the right tributary) which flows down through a smaller gorge with a beautiful landscape. The main source of the Kel-Tor river flows through moraine passes under the ground and breaks out roaring at a certain point in a forested area but one stream in particular crescendos into a beautiful waterfall that is one of the most visited features within Kegety Gorge. The falls are 20 meters high and are located just 100 meters from the main road in the gorge. So don’t miss to visit this amazing gorge where natural and climatic features of the Kegety Gorge are favorable for hiking and trekking, as well as picnics.
11. Abshyr Ata Waterfall
The Abshyr Ata Waterfall has located 70 km from the city of Osh, in the Abshyr Sai valley (sitting 1500-2500 meters above sea level). One has to walk about 3 km along the river and through the gorge to see this unique creation of nature. A powerful water flow breaks out from a hole on a steep cliff (1.5-2 meters in diameter) at a height of 12-15 meters. Low-mineralized water is believed to have healing properties. The water contains mineral salts. It is considered sacred, so you can always see here many people willing to fill a vessel with it. According to a legend, once upon a time, a mysterious stranger struck the rock with his staff, and milk started to flow out of it. After this case, Abshir-Ata became a sacred place where pilgrims came from all around, but later, when people no longer cherish the source, there began to flow simple water. That’s why you should visit this waterfall when you’re in Osh.
12. Issyk-Kul Lake
Issyk-Kul is an endorheic lake in the Northern Tian Shan mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan surrounded on two sides by the Terskey Alatoo and Kungey Ala-Too ranges. The extraordinary diversity of landscape types around Issyk-Kul Lake offers ideal living conditions for a great number of plant and animal species. It is widely believed that the name Issyk Kul in Kyrgyz means ‘hot lake,’ because the water in the lake never freezes. The name of the lake also bears religious significance. Characteristic are the high mountain valleys, the so-called syrts, high mountain mats with rich flower-bloom, and the vast high plateaus with traditional pasture. Issyk-Kul Lake is one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in the world. The coast is famous for its exceptional landscape and particular maritime climate. It is also the largest health resort zone in Central Asia, with numerous health resorts, hotels, and private guest houses, making it a top destination.
13. Naryn State Reserve
The Naryn State Reserve is located in the eastern part of the Naryn province which is a 37,000-hectare reserve that was established to preserve Kyrgyzstan’s alpine meadows and coniferous forests. The reserve is the starting point of the Naryn River and envelopes part of the Naryn Too Mountain Range. The primary task of the reserve is the protection and conservation of the region’s flora and fauna. It is home to 1870 plants and 50 animal species. The most commonly found plants are spruce, rowan, willow, juniper, wild rose, and currants. Deer, mountain goats, mountain sheep, bears, wolves, snow leopards, lynxes, and martens are just some of the animals protected by the reserve. The Naryn National Reserve in Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan is another magnificent wild area of this beautiful country Kyrgyzstan. Wild, unspoiled landscapes beyond as far as you can see, flora and fauna abound and it is truly magical. So, you have to visit this state reserve for sure while you’re in Kyrgyzstan.
14. Ornok Petroglyphs
The outskirts of the Ornok village, in the Issyk-Kul province, host priceless historical monuments, such as petroglyphs and burial mounds. Ornok is a kind of real open-air museum, keeping the exhibits of bronze and iron ages, as well as the early Middle Ages. These exhibits are petroglyphs put on the surface of more than 2000 stone boulders where you can find the images of ancient humans and animals such as the mountain goat with curled horns, deer – the totemic animal of the local tribe Bugu, dogs, leopards, horses, camels. In addition to the petroglyphs in the archaeological complex, Orn’ok can also be found mounds and fragments of ancient buildings. So, even if you slept through history class, there is something mysterious and timeless about petroglyphs – puzzling over the messages, events, and culture communicated to us from ancient peoples and civilizations in the village of Ornok. Ornok is unique in that its petroglyphs depict a great deal of detail in regards to clothing and costumes as well as warriors engaged in battle. As a bonus, you can see the remains of ancient structures and burial mounds at Ornok as well.
15. Sarychat-Eеrtash State Reserve
Situated in the Jeti-Oguz district of the Issyk-Kul province, Sarychat-Eеrtash State Reserve is a flagship protected area, located high in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan covering the basins of the Sarychat and Bordu rivers on the southern slope of Teskei Ala-Too. This 150,000-hectare nature reserve is a key site for snow leopards and is also home to other important alpine species such as Marco Polo sheep and ibex. The primary task of the reserve is the preservation of the alpine ecosystems and endangered species. So, if you want to witness some mountain sheep, alpine ibex, snow leopards, etc. then don’t forget to explore Sarychat-Eеrtash State Reserve.
16. Sarkent National Nature Reserve
The Sarkent National Nature Reserve is located in the Leilek district of Bakten province. The park covers an area of 40,000 hectares which was established to preserve the biological diversity of natural systems and is home to animals listed in the Red Book, such as brown bears, snow leopards, lynxes, golden eagles, saker falcons, and Himalayan vultures. The landscape is characterized by juniper forests. Five beautiful lakes and massive juniper forests are located on the territory of Sarkent. In Yurt Camp, which is located at the recreational territory of the park where you can enjoy the beautiful nature, plunge into the traditional life of people, taste delicious drink kymyz (mare’s milk) and ayran, as well as improve health with the help of clear mountain air and useful glacier water. I am sure that you will not miss exploring this amazing nature reserve on your trip to Batken, Kyrgyzstan.
17. Kel-Suu Lake
Located in the Naryn province, in the Kakshaal Too range of Inner Tien Shan which is situated at an altitude of 3400 meters above sea level, Kel-Suu Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan. Secluded high up in the mountains that skirt along the Chinese border, Lake Kel Suu offers breathtaking views both on the steep climb up to the lake as well as at its shores. Surrounded by high rocky cliffs, it was formed as a result of large rockfalls that blocked the narrow channel of the river. Kel-Suu stretches for more than 12 km and is 2 km wide whose depth varies, depending on the season of the year – reaching the maximum depth towards the end of summer as a result of the melting snow and ice in the mountains. The water in the lake is fresh and exhibits a greenish color where you can experience the lake in its full beauty by going for a ride on a motorboat. Kel Suu Lake is an interesting and unexplored place for diving that also makes for excellent kayaking that is undoubtedly worth a visit.
18. Issyk-Ata Gorge
Located on the northern slopes of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range, 77 km east of the city of Bishkek, Issyk-Ata Gorge is well known not only for its gorgeous climatic conditions but also for its excellent balneotherapy resources. However, the most popular features in the gorge are the hot springs said to have healing properties that help treat a number of diseases (balneotherapy). There’s a resort nearby as well as a 2nd – 7th century stone carving of a Buddha healer, further contributing to the belief that the spring has true healing powers that were recognized even centuries ago. But if you go deep into the gorge, there are several lakes with glaciers in the side gorges behind. The main gorge continues further to the south and ends with glaciers and the pass to East Karakol beyond the Kyrgyz Ridge. Mountain slopes above 2800 meters are covered with juniper forests. Surrounded by high slopes and cliffs, the gorge has a spectacular landscape.
19. Karavshin Gorge
The Karavshin Gorge is situated in the Turkestan Range where this marvelous piece of nature contains rocky mountains, fast-flowing rivers, clean spring waters, and green meadows that much resemble the South American Steppes, giving itself the nickname “The Asian Patagonia,” as deemed by lovers of the outdoors. It is frequently visited by tourists and mountain climbers, as there is a number of interesting itineraries for lovers of challenging climbs. There are other gorges in the upper reaches of the valley: Ak-Su (Lyailyak) and Kara-Su. Peaks Slesova, Bird, Ortotyubek are located in the gorge Ak-Su. There are peaks Asan, Usen, Pyramid, and Yellow wall in Kara-Su George. This picturesque place is unique because there are a lot of interesting routes. The road to the gorge Karavshin is, first of all, a sultry heat, apricot oasis, but in the end, a heavenly beautiful place waits for you.
20. Korona Peak
Consisting of six rocky towers that look like a crown of a medieval king, Korona Peak is one of the most beautiful peaks of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too ranges, popular among climbers from around the world. Korona Peak contains rock walls that range from 600 – 900 meters tall. The crown’s points are so steep that they can’t even collect snow, making them even more prominent sitting on top of the glacier. It is the highest peak in Ala Archa National Park. The name of this high peak is no coincidence; six mountain towers resemble a majestic crown when viewed from a distance. You already know that the towers are so steep that the snow does not manage to stay on their tops and walls, which adds to the splendor of the landscape. Korona Peak is a popular destination with climbers from all over the world. The best months to climb the peak are July and August. So, if you’re a climber then visiting this peak is a must for you.
21. Too-Ashu Pass
Too-Ashu Pass, literally “mountain pass”, is a high mountain pass 135 km from Bishkek, on the main highway, linking the northern and southern regions of Kyrgyzstan. The altitude of the pass is 3400 meters above sea level. The road is serpentine and views from it are truly breathtaking. It also has breathtaking mountain scenery that sports ice caps year-round. A ski resort is located near the southern end of the pass and is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders come winter. At the end of Too Ashu Pass, the land opens up into the Suusamyr Valley. I have already mentioned that the road in this place is really breathtaking, so don’t forget to keep your eyes open for this indescribable mountain scenery but it is very windy here where the mountains are covered with ice caps all year round. But the air in the Pass is uniquely fresh and clean, and every person inhaling it understands that such air they never breathe in.
22. Barskoon Gorge
The Barskoon Gorge is located on the southern shore of the Issyk Kul Lake, above the Barskoon village, 90 km from Karakol that is one of the most beautiful gorges on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul, famous for high waterfalls unique names, such as ‘Tears of the Leopard,’ ‘White Beard,’ ‘Splashes of Champagne,’ and ‘The Bowl of Manas’. Do you know? In 1965, the first astronaut Yuri Gagarin visited this place and enjoyed its beautiful landscape. Two monuments were later installed in his memory. Barskoon Gorge is very attractive for travelers both for its natural beauty and cultural attractions. Through the gorge runs the road to the Kumtor gold mine, and it is noteworthy that in many small tributaries of the river can be seen the pieces of golden sand shining in the sun. Don’t miss a chance to miss it.
23. Eki Naryn Valley
Located 45 km from the town of Naryn and sitting at an altitude of 2000 meters, Eki Naryn Valley has a picturesque gorge cut through the town. The banks of the Naryn River carve a pleasant canyon through the town. In the local Kyrgyz language, Eki Naryn means ‘Two Naryn’. The valley lies at the meeting point of two of the largest rivers of the Naryn province where the view of the valley is profound and majestic complemented with horse riding trips across the valley. There’s a national park in the valley full of lofty pine trees which houses some rather diverse wildlife: mountain goats, bear, wild boars, the endangered snow leopard, etc. The Eki Naryn Valley attracts cyclists, trekkers, and anglers. So, are you one of them who likes to do these activities?
24. Manjyly-Ata Valley
The Manjyly-Ata Valley, also called the Valley of Sacred Springs, is located on the southern shore of Issyk Kul Lake between the Kaji-Sai and Tong villages. Known as the Valley of Sacred Springs for the 17 larger springs that reside there that are rumored to contain miraculous, healing properties. Some of the springs are said to help treat various diseases while others are said to bring happiness and wealth. The valley is just cut up by many gorges, located between the clay hills. The Manjyly-Ata Valley was named after a wise healer named Manjyly who would help cure people of various illnesses and diseases. Since medicine was not available during his time, he would procure herbs and other natural forms of treatment for the sick. When he died, the place he was buried is said to have burst forth with these springs that have healing properties. Each spring is said to cure a different ailment. But now the Manjyly Ata Valley is considered a sacred place of pilgrimage.
25. Chong Ak Suu Gorge
Located on the northern shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake, on the slopes of Kungei Ala-Too, covered with lush green grass and pine forests, 60 kilometers from the city of Cholpon-Ata, Chong Ak Suu Gorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Issyk-Kul where its three beautiful moraine lakes are among the main attractions of the gorge. The slopes of the gorge are quite flat, covered with forests of conifers. At the bottom of the gorge, there is a river, carrying streams of glacier water. Wild sea buckthorn, raspberry, and barberry grow on its banks. From June to September yurts are set in Chong-Ak-Suu, the inhabitants of which welcome travelers and help them to get acquainted with the nomadic way of life. If your dream is to spend a night in yurts then I definitely suggest you visiting Chong Ak Suu Gorge while traveling to Issyk-Kul.
26. Ala-Kul Lake
Situated at the altitude of 3532 m in the pass of the same name, the pearl of Terskey Ala-Too hidden high in the mountains is a glacial lake Ala-Kul Lake. Although the surface area of this glacial lake is just under 1.5 km2, the waters reach a depth of more than 70 meters. This is a motley lake, its colors entirely contingent on the weather. Lake Ala-Kul is situated in a colorful bowl of rocky ridges with white tops. There are two ways to get to the lake: through the pass or traveling from the valley Altyn-Arashan. This natural lake is a place regularly sought-after by hikers who come to explore the region. Nestled in the mountains, the glacial Ala-Kul Lake is magnificent but can only be reached by hike. Its beauty is renowned to travelers and has become a popular destination for hikers. The picturesque hike offers the opportunity to meet some wild animals, herds of yaks or sheep, and cross some shepherd’s yurts. From the Ala Kul Pass, you will have a breathtaking view of the Karakol, Djiguit, and Oguz Bashi peaks. The unspoiled nature that surrounds the lake will leave you speechless and give you the opportunity to meditate and relax. So, don’t miss it.
27. Sary Chelek Reserve
The Sary Chelek Reserve is located in Jalal-Abad Region in western Kyrgyzstan which was established in 1959, and in 1978 it was designated as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO that is located at altitudes from 1,200–4,250 metres above sea level. The main part of the area comprises a high mountain basin protected to the north, west, and east by mountain ridges which is one of the most beautiful sights in Kyrgyzstan that is also considered one of the gems of Kyrgyzstan. It is a great place to hike, observe nature or simply get away from it all. The Lake’s picturesque shores are thought by many to be the most beautiful in Kyrgyzstan whose steep slopes are covered with pine, silver fir, and Myrtle trees. These lowland steppes, ridges with snow-capped peaks, rapid rivers, mountain lakes, and blossoming valleys and alpine meadows, with their varied flora and fauna make it a must-visit for travelers from all over the world.
28. Boom Gorge
Boom Gorge is an antecedent gorge, located 112 km from Bishkek and is a natural gateway connecting the Issyk-Kul basin with Chui valley. The gorge cuts, in a general north-south direction, across one of Tian Shan’s mountain range systems. The range east of the gorge is known as Kyungey Ala-Too, the one to the west is the Kyrgyz Ala-Too. The length of the gorge is 22 km. Inside the Boom Gorge, you will see commanding mountain peaks; some are tall and rocky, some smooth and round. Near the entrance to the gorge is a recently erected monument to commemorate the lives of the victims that died during the Urkun exodus in 1916. Also near the entrance are cool springs that provide a refreshing place to stop and walk around for a bit. The sector of the Chu river in the Boom gorge has long been a very attractive destination for enthusiasts of rafting and kayaking whose beautiful landscape draws a lot of hikers as well.
29. Arslanbob Walnut Forests
Arslanbob Walnut Forests is a village, subdistrict, valley, mountain range, and a large wild walnut forest in the Jalal-Abad Region of Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyzstan’s first known export to Europe was the Arslanbob walnut. It is guarded by the craggy facade of the Babash Ata mountains and wrapped by the lush sprawl of walnut forests, the largest in the world that provides the perfect refuge for a weekend escape from Osh where you can hike through the largest walnut forest in the world. This fairy-tale walnut forest of Arslanbob in southern Kyrgyzstan is a year-round destination for hiking, skiing, horse riding, and food enthusiasts. Inhabited by some of the friendliest people in all of Kyrgyzstan, this village with a picturesque setting is one of the must-see places for any visitor to southern Kyrgyzstan which you shouldn’t miss at all as the walnut forests of Arslanbob are a rare masterpiece of nature with their beauty and diversity of plant species.
30. Suusamyr Valley
Being one of the most exquisite and beloved areas in Kyrgyzstan silk road, Suusamyr Valley is one of the largest alpine valleys, located at an altitude of 2000-3200 meters between Kyrgyz Ala-Too, Suusamyr Too, and Djumgal Too ranges that stretches more than 150 km from the west, starting from the Ala-Bel Pass, to the east, up to the Kokomeren River. Do you know? In the summer, the entire valley is decorated in tall, lush grass, making it some of the best pastureland in the whole country, popular with local nomads as well as mountain climbers and travelers looking for a peaceful spot to enjoy the crisp mountain air. The entire surface of the valley is covered with thick lush green meadows. Being the birthplace of Kodjomkul, the greatest Kyrgyz wrestler of the 20th century, Suusamyr is one of those places in Kyrgyzstan which comes to mind when you think of jailoo, koumiss, paragliding, skiing, and heli-skiing.
31. Fairy Tale Canyon
Located on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake, 4 km from Tosor village, the Fairy Tale Canyon is s a true natural wonder where moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake from Karakol town, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes. The canyon received its name from its incredible sandstone rock formations that will make you feel like you’ve entered a fairy tale. Do you know? Water, wind, and sun have produced whimsical, fabulous shapes here. While some resemble mythical creatures (dragon ridge), the others look like other ordinary animals (camels, hippos, and elephants), while others portray amazing intricate structures such as castles, towers, and even China’s Great Wall. Not only are the shapes inside Fairy Tale Canyon unique, but the colors of the rocks are varied and rich. It’s an excellent destination for photography enthusiasts, families on vacation, and hikers.
32. Alai Valley
Alai Valley is located in the southernmost area of Kyrgyzstan at 2240-3536 meters above sea level, the average height is 3000 meters. The Alay Valley (Alai Valley) called by locals simply ‘Alay’ (‘Alai’) is one of the most picturesque parts of the Pamir-Alai. The valley stretches 174 km from west to east. It features a number of rich summer pastures hidden in its gorges, while the Trans Alay Range is characterized by very high, inaccessible, ever white summits, which are massive and light at the same time, seeming rather try to reach the sun and the sky than to press upon the earth. The climate of the Alay Valley varies, as its average altitudes decrease from east to west. So, the eastern part of the valley features alpine steppe landscapes, while the climate in its western portion is much milder, the area covered mainly with alpine grass and even suitable for cultivating cereals. So explore the best of the Alay Valley on your Kyrgyzstan trip and discover one of the most stunning mountain regions in the world that are still unknown for now where this off-the-beaten-track combines some of the best landscapes, trekking, and nomadic cultural experiences in all of Kyrgyzstan.
33. Kirov Reservoir
The Kirov Reservoir is located in the Chon-Kapka gorge that covers an area of 39 sq. km and reaches depths of up to seven meters. The reservoir was built for the purpose of irrigation for lands in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. But with picturesque scenery, the coastal areas are ideal for fishing as well as other recreational activities. So, that’s why many people travel to Kirov Reservoir to take advantage of the nice setting for outdoor games, activities, picnics, and fishing. Fish found within the reservoir include Snow Trout, Osman, common carp, Grass Carp, and Silver Carp.
34. Kyrgyz Ata National Park
Kyrgyz Ata National Park is 40 km from the city of Osh, on the northern slope of the Alai Range. Its territory is located at medium altitudes. Juniper forests are well-preserved in the park where you can relax in solitude surrounded by the cool juniper forests of the Kyrgyz Ata National Reserve. The park has an area of 11172 hectares. It was created to preserve the flora and fauna of the Pamir-Alai mountain system. The sound of flowing water and birdsong provides a serene environment for hiking along ancient nomadic trails. Keen eyes may spot furry marmots, soaring eagles, and other birdlife. Walk around the summer camps of local Kyrgyz herdsmen busy with milking cows and mares. Spend one (or more) evening under the wide starry sky and sleep soundly after hours of fun in the fresh mountain air. This park is unique since many historical and cultural monuments are located here such as ancient settlements and burial grounds. Kyrgyz-Ata National Park offers a variety of options for lovers of ecotourism: hiking and horseback riding tours in the scenic gorges, as well as cultural and educational tours to monuments of ancient history
35. Ai Kol Lake
The Ai Kol Lake which means “Moon Lake”, is located on the northern slope of the Turkestan Mountain Range about 3000 meters above sea level. It is a small lake surrounded by large cliffs where you can observe its beauty only from afar. You need to go a long way to see the lake at a height of about 3000 m. The shore of the lake is surrounded by sheer cliffs, so you can’t go down, so the lake can be seen only through a small pass in spurs. The two streams flow into the lake. The water level rises in the summer and it falls down in winter, so the lake is covered with ice. The Ai Kol Lake is a real treasure, hidden in the highlands, which fascinates and captivates with its beauty and inaccessibility that you will not like to miss at all.
36. Aigul Tash Mountain
The Aigul Tash mountain is located at the entrance of the Kara Bulak village which is home to an amazingly beautiful flower whose red and yellow petals endemic to the area, called Aigul, that blooms in April. According to legend, a maiden named Aigul was unable to withstand the news that the man that she loved had died in battle, and threw herself off the cliff of this very mountain. When spring came, wonderful flowers started growing in the places where the maiden’s drops of blood had fallen. People named the flowers Aigul and the mountain Aigul-Tash, after the maiden. The flower is listed in the Red Book. As a result, the rare blossoms that grow on this mountain live a short, but radiant life. Their presence adds a unique beauty to the springtime scenery in the region of Kyrgyzstan silk road making it must visit place while traveling to Batken.
37. Jeti Oguz Gorge
Located 28 kilometers to the southwest of the town of Karakol, Jeti Oguz Gorge is a picturesque sandstone formation whose name in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls” and is symbolic of the 35 km long wall of huge, red-brown cliffs that resemble seven furious bulls standing in a file together. The Jaralangan Jurok (Broken Heart Rock), located at the entrance to the gorge, is especially aesthetically romantic. Legend says that this is the heart of a beautiful woman who died of a broken heart after two suitors killed each other fighting over her. These two rock formations have become symbols of the Issyk-Kul region and are favorite images for photographs and paintings. Jeti-Oguz is also famous for its hot springs with radon and hydrogen sulfide-enriched water. At the springhead, where the water emerges from underground at an altitude of 2200 m, there is a resort. The water in these springs is useful for the treatment of rheumatism, as well as gastric and nervous diseases. So, don’t miss to visit.
38. Chong-Kemin Valley
There is an amazingly beautiful valley between Kungey Ala-Too and Ile Alatau ranges that stretches more than 100 km from east to west which is called Chong-Kemin Valley. Chong-Kemin is a unique natural complex that includes a gorge, a valley, and a stormy river. The river in the valley is also called Chong Kemin and it flows into the Chu river where the Boom Gorge starts. It is a well-known destination among white water rafting and kayaking enthusiasts and also it is known as one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful locales, the Chong-Kemin valley is popular with those who enjoy extreme sports. The Chong-Kemin valley is a popular spot amongst those who truly appreciate natural beauty, as it remains – many say – in its virgin state where you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities from hiking to fishing and horseback riding. So, don’t miss it.
39. Besh Tash National Park
Home to 11 plant species listed in the Red Book such as the Persian Mountain Ash and Semenov Fir, Besh Tash National Park is 13 km from Talas and located on both sides of the Besh Tash river. It’s encompassed by mountain ranges from the Talas Ala-Too on 3 sides. Founded in 1996, it covers an area of over 32,000 hectares that contains 800+ plant species, 2,000+ insect species, and a number of rare animals such as the golden eagle, Turkestan Lynx, and the snow leopard. A magnificent valley of the same name lies around it. A unique park zone runs along the two banks of this beautiful river. The length of the territory of the Besh Tash National Park is about 30 km. So, if you care to indulge in a big of hiking, there’s a beautiful alpine lake that’s about 28 meters deep at an elevation of 3,000 meters within the park. Also within the Besh Tash National Park is a glacier-fed river where anglers can find rainbow trout, I am sure you will love to visit this amazing park but don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for rare fauna, including snow leopards, that inhabit the area.
40. Manas Peak
The Manas Peak is the highest point that majestic at 4,488 meters of the Talas Ala-Too range located in its western part, earning its right to be named after Kyrgyzstan’s legendary hero. Manas. Manas is Kyrgyzstan’s most famous figure and according to legend, was responsible for uniting the 40 nomadic tribes of Kyrgyzstan. Its slopes are so steep that no snow and ice ever cling to the mountainsides. Named after the great Kyrgyz hero Manas, this peak is the symbol of independence. Manas Peak is one of the Western Tien Shan’s highest peaks and is the highest in the Talas Ala-Too Ridge. So, climbing to its top requires considerably strong skills and enormous efforts due to the steepness of the slopes. Considered one of the most breathtaking peaks in Kyrgyzstan, Manas Peak is an excellent choice for adventure climbing tours but again it contains several challenging rock faces and ascents that are sometimes as steep as 50 degrees.
41. Chatyr-Kul Lake
Chatyr-Kul Lake is an endorheic alpine lake in the Tian Shan mountains in At-Bashi District of Naryn Province which lies in the lower part of Chatyr-Kul Depression near the Torugart Pass border crossing into China. The name of the lake means “Celestial Lake” in Kyrgyz. Do you know? In the winter, the water surface of this lake is covered with about a meter thick layer of ice. In the spring, the lake is filled with streams of mountain rivers, which flow down from the glaciers where the southeastern shore of the lake is swampy, while the northern shore is rocky. Some of the animal species that live in the surrounding area include wild ducks, mountain geese, snow leopards, marmots, and mountain goats. Chatyr-Kul lake is a part of the Karatal-Japyryk State Reserve. Don’t miss out on Lake Chatyr-Kul when you travel to Naryn Province because it will be an experience of a lifetime.
Located on the southern shore of Issyk Kul Lake, near the village of Kara-Koo, 1609 meters above sea level, Tuz-Kol which is also named as Kara Kol, meaning ‘dead lake’ is the saltiest lake in Kyrgyzstan with a perimeter of 1500 meters and depth of 11 meters. It is 1 km long and 0,5 wide and possesses unique mud that is believed to have healing properties. This lake is often compared to the Dead Sea in Israel. The water in the lake is so dense that swimming in it is like floating. Now some fact about this lake – According to scientific data, the amount of salt in the lake is 132 grams per liter. The high concentration of salt helps cure many diseases, such as psoriasis and other dermatological, gynecological, and musculoskeletal diseases. The silt mud along the coast formed as a result of microorganism activities has long been used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes. So, if you want to get some health benefits then I would highly recommend you to visit this dead lake of Kyrgyzstan.