Bishkek has the look of a Soviet city mixed with some Central Asian architecture, but also has a large amount of green space and a beautiful backdrop of the Ala-Too mountains. The city is built on a grid pattern making it easy to negotiate. The heart of the city, is Ala-Too square where the freedom monument is situated. The city has a good selection of restaurants, bars and clubs and a huge market called Dordoi Bazar, located just out from the centre, where very cheap imported goods can be obtained.


Eastern Kyrgyzstan

The main draw of Eastern Kyrgyzstan, is Lake Issyk -Kul which is the second largest saline lake in the world and is a Biosphere Reserve. There are towns around the lake with  beaches and places to rent boats. Also close to the lake is a petroglyph site where rock carvings can be seen that date back over 3000 years. To the south of Issyk-Kul there are good opportunities for mountain biking and hiking, particularly around the town of Karakol.

Central Kyrgyzstan

The provinces of Jalal-Abad and Naryn make up central Kyrgyzstan. They are regions of geographical contrasts with lakes, forests and mountain ranges. The city of Jalal-Abad has a large Uzbek population and has quite a relaxed feel with wide tree-lined streets. North-east of Jalal-Abad lies Saimaluu-Tash petroglyph site where a huge collection of etchings date back to around 2000 BC. The region around Arslanbob is a very attractive part of Kyrgyzstan with a beautiful walnut forest and wonderful trekking opportunities in the surrounding mountains. Another stunning area in the province is around Lake Sary-Chelek which again lends itself to some excellent hiking opportunities. Similarly, in Naryn Province there are some beautiful scenic places such as Kol-Ukok mountain lake and Lake Song-Kol. The historical site of Tash Rabat is a Silk Road era, carevanserai that is remarkably well preserved and worth the trip to this remote valley.

Western Kyrgyzstan

The small province of Talas is situated in north-west Kyrgyzstan. It has some dramatic scenery. The Besh-Tash National Park has a vast array of flora and fauna and some excellent hiking routes.

Southern Kyrgyzstan

Southern Kyrgyzstan, comprises of the provinces of Osh and Batken. The city of Osh is Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city. It is an interesting place to wander around with numerous restaurants and bazaars and many homestays. South-west of Osh can be found another petroglyph site known as the Celestial Horses of Aravan which date back to 100 BC.

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