A white yurt decorated with red ornaments in Kyrgyzstan’s beautiful landscape
Text by Ian Bongso-Seldrup
Images from Shutterstock
Nestled comfortably within Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is home to a range of natural and cultural wonders. Should you ever pay a visit to this marvellous country, here are 4 breathtaking destinations we recommend visiting.
- JETI-ÖGÜZ ROCKS
A well-known landmark that is the subject of songs, paintings and various local legends, Jeti-Ögüz is a unique geological formation that resembles seven angry red bulls. A favourite among hikers, the region, located at an altitude of 2,200 metres in the country’s extreme east, is known for its fresh mountain air and excellent views.
- ISSYK KUL
The planet’s second-largest saline lake is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan, earning it the name “hot lake” in Kyrgyz because the salt prevents it from freezing. Head to one of the country’s undisputed beauty spots for the lovely views, healing waters and decent beaches.
A venerable city that was once one of the major trading towns on the Silk Road, Osh retains much of its exotic history in its massive bazaar in the city’s north. Haggle your way to a few bargain souvenirs before paying a visit to a few remnants of Soviet influence (including a rare statue of Lenin). Plan an excursion to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, with its numerous ancient places of worship and caves with petroglyphs.
- ALTYN ARASHAN
Near the eastern city of Karakol and Issyk Kullake, Altyn Arashan (“Golden Spa”) is a picturesque valley that’s home to a number of basic hot-spring developments – as well as a handful of bears and snow leopards. Permits are required to hike in the area, but the excellent trekking routes and spa rewards afterwards make the trouble worthwhile.
To find out about more eye-opening destinations to visit in Central Asia, get your copy of Asian Geographic Issue 4 / 2020 here.