42 Reasons To Love Kyrgyzstan


It’s time for the next installment in my “42” series and in this case I think it will be more helpful than in most others. While I had an amazing experience traveling in Kyrgyzstan, I well realize that for most people it’s not on the travel radar and little to nothing is known about it. That’s been at the heart of my coverage so far, to help bring this fascinating Central Asian country to life and in today’s post I want to share 42 reasons why I love traveling there and what I think makes it so very special.

  1. Discovering the deliciousness that are fried lava beans.
  2. Walking around the leafy capital city, Bishkek.
  3. Trying to learn some basic phrases to make getting around easier.
  4. Haggling for something good at a local bazaar.
  5. Learning the history behind the Soviet era statues and artwork.
  6. Trying your hand at horse riding.
  7. First bite into a delicious plate of plov.Kyrgyzstan
  8. Seeking inner peace in the gorgeous Barskoon Valley.
  9. Enjoying water life on Lake Issyk-Kul
  10. Admiring the many Russian Orthodox churches around the country.
  11. Talking to and getting to know the wonderful people who live there.
  12. Eating your way around Karakol on a special food tour
  13. Learning about the country’s ancient past at Burana Tower.
  14. Education in 19th century Russian life by visiting the wooden church in Karakol.Kyrgyzstan
  15. Spending the night in a yurt.
  16. Stopping off to admire a field of petroglyphs from a people long since vanished.
  17. Skiing, trekking, mountaineering, this is truly the capital of adventure sports in Asia.
  18. No visa required for most passports.
  19. When you mistakenly pour fermented mare’s milk over your cereal…
  20. Watching your first match of dead goat polo
  21. Enjoying the truly delicious national cuisine.
  22. Learning how to make a proper Osh plov.
  23. Participating in community-based tourism, like dinner in a Dungan Village.
  24. Walking through the Mars-like landscape of Fairytale Canyon
  25. The legend of Manas and why the epic poem means so much to the Kyrgyz people.
  26. Resisting the temptation to buy a kalpak, the traditional hat worn by Kyrgyz men.Kyrgyzstan
  27. Visiting the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage site in Osh.
  28. Exploring the alpine mountains on a trek
  29. Appreciating the fact that the best rice in the world really does come from Uzgen.
  30. Partaking in the up and coming hipster revolution in Bishkek.
  31. Immersion into all things Silk Road, from ancient times to the present.
  32. Learning how to make a yurt.
  33. Visiting the colorful Dungan mosque in Karakol.
  34. Watching traditional sports like eagle hunting and horseback wrestling.Kyrgyzstan
  35. Warm-hearted people who call Kyrgyzstan home.
  36. Eating your weight in boorsok, delicious pieces of fried dough.
  37. If you’re adventurous, using the shared vans called Marshrutkas as your method of transport.
  38. Appreciating felt-based artwork.
  39. Gaining inspiration in the glow of the red rocks at Djety Oguz.
  40. Easy to reach thanks to convenient and comfortable connections on Turkish Airlines.
  41. Walking around Karakol on a special local-led tour
  42. Knowing that your first visit won’t be your last.


This trip was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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