Summer in Kyrgyzstan: Take Advantage!

Tien Shan

You know, when it comes to summer, I have a hard time pinpointing my favorite thing about the season.

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Anyone that knows me knows that good food is high on my priority list and the fresh fruits and veggies of Kyrgyzstan in summer are to die for!  Exhibit one: those massive, juicy white melons that soak your elbows when you eat them!

That being said, summertime in Kyrgyzstan has a lot more going for it than just the food. The whole vibe of the country changes and there’s so much potential for fun stuff to do. Summer is prime time for lots of outdoor activities, sightseeing, and traveling in Kyrgyzstan. The Tien Shan and Pamir Mountains are resplendent in beauty and vibrant with life. Everyone in the country is out and about in summer and nomadic families start taking their herds to pasture in the high mountain jailoos(summer pastures). There’s a mass exodus out of the larger cities and people go for a little R&R by Lake Issyk Kul or some of the smaller nearby villages. The wind blowing in the mountains resembles the relieved exhale of the country’s population as they enjoy the blooming scenery and cooler temperatures of the mountains. The air is just filled with potential!

If you’re looking for things to do in Kyrgyzstan this summer, you won’t have to look for long!  Everywhere you turn, there’s something cool to do.  

If you are interested in engaging cultural experiences, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time with Kyrgyz people, learning about their life and traditions. You can sit at the feet of an experienced eagle hunter and learn about traditional nomadic hunting techniques. You can spend the night with a nomadic family in the mountains and get a dose of local cuisine and culture. For the more adventurous, get down and dirty by taking lessons from nomadic families where you’ll learn how to master various skills necessary for nomadic life in Kyrgyzstan: herding, cooking, horseback riding, milking horses, making traditional felt carpets, etiquette, etc.  

Extreme sports more up your alley? White water rafting is at its peak in the summer and the rapids of Kyrgyzstan’s rivers will give you the challenge you’re looking for. Some rivers, like the Chu River have rapids that a bit more manageable for people that want to ease into things. Other rivers, like the Chong-Kemin and Kekemeren sport 4 and 5 class rapids!

If you’re a bigger fan of air than water, try paragliding in Kyrgyzstan. Paragliding flights are offered in several different places around the country. If you’d like, you can even tour the country via paragliding!  Pick the places you want to see and paraglide through those areas for a big picture tour of Kyrgyzstan. 

For those that prefer sticking to the ground, there are always trekking, cycling, jeep, and horseback riding tours available. In summer, the mountains of Kyrgyzstan are great for these activities.  Summer temperatures at lower elevations can be brutal, but in the higher altitudes of the mountains, nature will cool you off.  

Kyrgyzstan’s many alpine lakes are awesome in the summer. There are lakes that are so high and remote, that you can only reach them in the summertime anyway, like Lake Kel Suu, a surreal turquoise lake enclosed by steep cliffs peppered with caves near the Chinese border. 

Kyrgyzstan’s gorges and canyons, of which there are many, are also popular places for hiking and horseback riding. Mountain climbers can work on summiting some of the peaks of the Tien Shan and Pamirs as well. Some nice peaks include Boris Eltsin Peak (5168m) in the Tien Shan Mountains and Lenin Peak (7134m) in the Pamir Mountains. 

Whatever you want to do this summer, you’ll have great weather for it, beautiful green scenery, and plenty of friendly people out and about to meet along the way. Just choose the adventure you want to have and go for it;summer is no season for regrets!