Springtime in Kyrgyzstan: What’s There to Do?
When springtime finally rolls around in Kyrgyzstan, it’s a monumental breath of fresh air. The country finally sheds its icy exterior and people start clamoring to get to the mountains and lakes to enjoy a bit of good ol’ fashioned outdoor activity, which is only natural because springtime in Kyrgyzstan is gorgeous. The whole country adorns itself with a fresh coat of flowers and neon green grass, giving nature a party atmosphere that’s infectious.
For people that aren’t familiar with Kyrgyzstan, there are some really cool things to do come spring. One of our favorite activities is actually off-road motorcycle riding, but not many people share our zeal, so if you’re not into motorcycles, cycling is a good (and healthier) alternative. Actually, Kyrgyzstan is one giant cycling/trekking/horseback riding opportunity seeing as how it’s almost entirely wilderness. So at pretty much any destination you visit in Kyrgyzstan, all of these are viable options of things to do.
Lake Issyk Kul is by far one of the most popular places for tourism in Kyrgyzstan. It’s a massive mountain lake (6,236 sq km, 2,408 sq miles) encased in snowcapped mountains. Think of the mountains as the peaks of a crown with the lake contained in the middle. You can enjoy some swimming or take a jeep or cycling tour around the lake, which makes quite a journey. There are a bunch of villages that ring the lake, so it’s a nice place to also get a taste of the local culture and shop at some small bazars. If you hit it at the right time, you can also check out some local festivals.
Nature and photographer enthusiasts should also consider a trip to Skazka (Fairytale Canyon), Jeti-Oguz, or Ala-Archa National Park.
Both Skazka and Jeti-Oguz have some impressive rock formations. The formations in Skazka really do look like they popped out of a fairy tale. Some resemble entire castles, some animals, and one looks like a section of the Great Wall of China. Jeti-Oguz is a village that sits underneath 7 bull-shaped rock formations. It also has a waterfall nearby that makes for a nice excursion.
Ala-Archa National Park and Gorge have some striking springtime mountain scenery. It’s great for trekking and taking in some of Kyrgyzstan’s impeccable natural beauty. The Park has over 50 mountain peaks, 20 glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, and an alpinist cemetery.
For history lovers, some other popular springtime tourism destinations in Kyrgyzstan are Tash Rabat and San Tash Pass. Tash Rabat is an ancient inn (caravanserai) that merchants and travelers used to use when crossing the Silk Road. It’s a remarkable structure not far from the town of At-Bashi, perched at an over 3,000metre elevation. The design is symmetrical with a large domed room situated in the center surrounded by 30 smaller rooms.
San Tash is a pass close to both the Kazakh and Chinese borders that holds a gargantuan pile of stones. It’s famous because of the story that surrounding the stones. Legend goes that an ancient Khan was about to go to war with his men to gain wealth when he met an old man who made a request of him involving the stones. In the end, the Khan learned a valuable lesson about war from his elder.
If cultural tourism is more up your alley, there are tours available that let you stay with nomadic families. Kyrgyzstan has a long history of nomadic traditions and the nomadic lifestyle is still alive and well in Kyrgyzstan’s mountains. You can sleep in a yurt, eat with local families, and see what the life of a nomad is like.
Kyrgyzstan in the spring is ripe with opportunities for great travelling experiences. Just decide what kind of trip you want or things you want to do. Go trekking in the mountains? Have a nomadic adventure? Check out some historical places? Relax by an alpine lake? Options are limitless.