Formerly known as Kirghizia and officially as Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country in Central Asia. It is a landlocked country bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest, and China to the east. Kyrgyzstan’s capital and largest city is Bishkek. The climate in Kyrgyzstan varies per region, with the south-western Fergana valley having a subtropical climate and extremely hot summers, the northern foothills having a temperate climate, and the Tian Shan varying from dry continental to polar climate, depending on elevation.
What to see & do
Among the well-known tourist destinations in Kyrgyzstan is Issyk Kul Lake, with a number of hotels, vacation resorts, boarding houses, and sanatoriums along its northern shore. The popular beach areas in the region are in Cholpon-Ata city and the surrounding places including Kara-Oi, Bosteri, and Korumdy. As a mountainous country, trekking and camping are the adventure activities worth trying in Kyrgyzstan. Camping spots in the country include Osh, the area between Naryn City and the Torugart pass, and the mountains and glaciers around Karakol in Issyk Kul. Tourists can hire local guides and porters from many tour companies in Bishkek and in the provincial capitals. Skiing is also thriving in Kyrgyzstan. 45 kilometres or 28 miles from Bishkek, on the way to Issyk Ata valley is the well-equipped ski base of Toguz Bulak. There is also a ski base in the Karakol Valley National Park. Osh, the second largest city of Kyrgyzstan, is culturally vibrant, diverse, and exotic, and is home to Central Asia’s biggest and busiest outdoor market.
How to get around within Kyrgyzstan
The most common and accessible modes of transportation within Kyrgyzstan are minibuses (marshrutkas) and shared taxis, which can be found mostly at every village centre or bus station. Arranging a private taxi is also possible by purchasing all the seats at the station or directly contacting a taxi firm. Long-distance bike treks are also common in the country, especially around Issyk Kul, passing through the southern mountains to Tajikistan. Hitchhiking can also be done, but drivers expect a little fee for petrol. Car rentals are also available for tourists who want to explore Kyrgyzstan in their own
way. For travelling long-distance within the country, there are several daily flights available between Bishkek and Osh, as well as a few flights between Bishkek, Jalalabad, and Batken. By train, the only domestic rail link is between Balykchy to Tokmok through Bishkek, Karabalta, and on to the Kazakh border.
How to get there
Manas International Airport in the capital Bishkek is the main international airport of Kyrgyzstan, located 25 kilometres or 16 miles north-northwest of the city. The airport is a hub for Air Bishkek, Avia Traffic Company, and Kyrgyzstan Air Company. Other airlines that operate here include Aeroflot, Air Astana, Air Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, East Air, flydubai, Iran Air Tours, Pegasus Airlines, Air Manas, S7 Airlines, Sky Bishkek, Turkish Airlines, Tajik Air, Ukraine International Airlines, Ural Airlines, Uzbekistan Airlines, and Yakutia Airlines. There are also buses that travel to Bishkek from Almaty, as well as trains from Moscow.
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