Best attractions in Kyrgyzstan: Top 15

Relatively recently discovered by tourists, the sights of Kyrgyzstan attract the national colors. Here you can feel the true spirit of Asia and even live for a while as a nomad, shop at local bazaars, where everyone haggles with everyone else, and look at the ruins of ancient times. Knowing what to see in Kyrgyzstan and reading the reviews of other people who have already been to this peculiar state, you will be able to compose a convenient and rich itinerary. Our rating of the best sights with descriptions and photos is based on the opinion of travelers and statistics of attendance. But everyone has his own tastes, so use the information below to choose interesting places for you specifically.

What to see in Kyrgyzstan first

Attractions in Kyrgyzstan are, first of all, natural beauty. Pristine virgin forests, mountain rivers and lakes, waterfalls and hot springs, unreachable mountain peaks, desert areas and areas completely covered with ice are at the disposal of foreigners. It is difficult to describe all the wonders to see in Kyrgyzstan in one review, but we have tried to tell you about the most fascinating of them, adding to the list no less interesting monuments of history, culture and architecture to see. Please take into account that you may have to sacrifice usual comfort and/or time to see some of them, because some of them are situated far from populated areas.

Here are the options for you to see in Kyrgyzstan and be 100% satisfied with your trip:

1. Tien-Shan Mountains

Tien-Shan Mountains

Tien-Shan Mountains - located on the territories of five countries at once, this mountain system is perfectly visible even from the Earth’s orbit. The Tien Shan Mountains extend for 2.5 thousand kilometers, and any climber would want to climb the Peak Pobeda, which is included in the list of seven-thousanders. People who are sincerely in love with mountains and those who have never seen really high peaks come here. The views opening from the height of the bird’s flight remain in the memory forever, so this attraction of Kyrgyzstan will never cease to be of interest to tourists.

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2. Lake Issyk-Kul

The transparent surface of Lake Issyk-Kul

Lake Issyk-Kul is a popular beach vacation spot, the peculiarity of which are comfortable climatic conditions, or rather a combination of mountain and sea climate, and a gentle entrance to the water. The great depth of the lake (maximum value - 702 meters) allows you to swim and do water sports, and considerable size provides opportunities for recreation of a large number of tourists. Plus is the fact that the area is landscaped - there are umbrellas, sun loungers, cafes and bars, rental equipment, etc. It is an interesting fact that this attraction of Kyrgyzstan brings the most money to the state budget compared to other tourist sites. It is better to go here in the summer, when the water temperature is most comfortable for swimming.

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3. Altyn Arashan Gorge

Natural landscape of Altyn Arashan Gorge

Altyn Arashan Gorge is the best thing to visit in Kyrgyzstan for lovers of bathing in mineral springs. There is a choice of reservoirs with different types of healing waters. They are especially useful for patients with nervous disorders, heart, kidney and bone pathologies. Located in a very picturesque place near the village of Ak-Suu, at a distance of nearly thirty kilometers from Lake Issyk-Kul. The resort operates since the first half of the sixties of the twentieth century, and the maximum temperature up to +41 degrees Celsius. It is not uncommon for couples in love to spend time here.

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4. Sacred mountain Sulaiman-Too

Museum on Sacred Mountain Sulaiman-Too in Osh

Often tours in Kyrgyzstan include the sacred mountain Sulaiman-Too in their itinerary. It is a limestone mountain massif with a length of about 1,140 meters, which in 2009 was included first among the others in the number of monuments under the protection of UNESCO. Tourists are invited not only to make the ascent, but also to visit the museum and admire with their own eyes the structures preserved from past eras. If you are not afraid of confined spaces, it is worth taking a closer look at one or more of the caves.

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5. Ala Archa Gorge

Ala Archa Gorge in Ala Archa National Park

The Ala Archa Gorge is a government-designated protected area, the division into zones with different types of climate makes it unique. The diversity of plant and animal species is also a pleasant surprise, and the steep slopes nearby are ideal for mountaineering training.

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Feel the atmosphere of Kyrgyzstan in this beautiful video!

6. Arslanbob

The Big Walnut Forest in Arslanbob Ekrem Canli

Arslanbob: village, resort, tract, waterfalls, walnut forest is a favorite holiday settlement among those who love hiking. During the walk, you can see walnut trees that are hundreds of years old and feel complete unity with nature. If trekking isn’t for you, book an off-road vehicle tour to see the incredible Kyrgyz countryside.

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7. Jety Oguz Gorge

The Jety Oguz Gorge or the Rocks of the Seven Bulls

Jety Oguz Gorge is a place that is present in all travel guides, which tells what to see in Kyrgyzstan for active tourists. Located on the southern side of the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and attracts an unusual red hue of rocky mountains. You can also go to the thermal springs in the resort area, which is very close. With many of the rocks of the gorge associated mystical stories and legends.

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8. Caravanserai Tash-Rabat

The Tash-Rabat Caravanserai is an architectural monument of the early Middle Ages

The Tash-Rabat Caravanserai is an ancient building on the territory of modern Naryn province, dating back to the fifteenth century. Previously, a monastery was erected on this site, but in the Middle Ages it was arranged as a place of temporary residence for traders traveling to the Fergana Valley. Nearby begins the territory of China, and nearby flows one of the winding and turbulent tributaries of the Kara-Koyun River.

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9. Burana Tower

View of Burana Tower

Burana Tower is an important historical monument of Kyrgyzstan, which is a multi-level complex built in the 10th-11th century, of which only the minaret remains intact. The tower rises to a height of almost 22 meters, although the original height was about forty meters. If you have a desire, there are sculptures and tombstones of ancient times with petroglyphs within walking distance. For the construction of the building was used red brick, some of which has survived to this day. Twelve kilometers away is the town of Tokmak.

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10. Gumbez Manas Mausoleum

Facade of the mausoleum of the epic hero Manas Miflhanc

The mausoleum of Gumbez Manas is a burial complex made of burnt brick with Arabic inscriptions and traditional ornaments, as well as a pointed dome. It is often visited not only by foreign tourists, but also by locals. If the legend is to be believed, it was erected by the most talented architects of Samarkand and Bukhara, although there is a reference to the burial of the daughter of one of the emirs outside the structure.

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Kyrgyz sights: what else to visit in Kyrgyzstan

The list of sights of Kyrgyzstan can go on for a very long time, but if we talk about those that have gained the most fame, they include:

11. Saimaly-Tash Petroglyphs

Saimaly-Tash Petroglyphs in the Mountains of the Fergana Range

The petroglyphs of Saimaly-Tash are one of the world’s treasures in the heart of the Fergana Range, representing three groups of clusters of rock drawings created with tools made of bronze and iron. Most of the themes of the images are related to animals, in particular their domestication and hunting. In one area there are pictures of chariot rides, made without much detail. The nearest settlement is Jalal-Abad, and the petroglyphs themselves are at an altitude of 3 to 4.5 thousand meters, which makes them not too accessible to ordinary travelers. The total number of drawings exceeds twenty thousand.

Official site: http://www.gumilev-center.

12. Inylchek Glacier

Panorama of Inylchek Glacier

The Inylchek Glacier is the largest glaciated tree-shaped formation in existence, occupying over 500 square kilometers. It is joined by over seventy smaller glaciers, which form its crown.

13. Sary-Chelek Lake

Freshwater Lake Sary-Chelek

Sary-Chelek Lake is a lake formed about ten thousand years ago at an altitude of more than 1800 meters, which is worth coming for a walk along the picturesque coast, the study of unusual flora and fauna, as well as a memorable picnic in nature.

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14. Son-Kul Lake (Sonkyol)

Water surface of Son-Kul Lake

Son-Kul Lake (Son-Kul) is a wonderful body of water, hidden inside the Tian-Shan, at an altitude of over 3 thousand meters, covering an area of 270 square kilometers. The lake (or rather, part of its coastal area) has the status of a reserve of national importance, and many of the animals and plants found here are classified as rare.

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15. Bazaar in Osh

Dried fruits and spices at the Osh Bazaar Thomas Depenbusch (Depi)

Osh bazaar is a landmark of Kyrgyzstan which attracts every visitor to the country because here you can buy good quality local and foreign products at good prices and enjoy the haggling process. The first time they traded here was two thousand years ago and since then the range of goods is constantly growing, but the market place remains unchanged. Unlike other bazaars, the stalls are open every day, so you don’t have to choose a day to visit.

There is a lot of things to see in Kyrgyzstan in one day, but on the other hand, there is not so much time to travel around. You should come here at least for 5-7 days, and better for 2-4 weeks, during which you will fall in love with the nature and feel the degree of hospitality of the locals. To avoid time delays, see on the map where the most interesting sights of Kyrgyzstan are located.

Tourists who come here for the first time, it is extremely undesirable to go to the mountains by yourself. There is a risk of encountering wild animals, getting injured, getting lost, and in winter - get caught under a snow avalanche. The best guides in Kyrgyzstan are locals, most of whom have been working with tourists for a long time and are ready to show you beautiful places for a reasonable fee. It is not difficult to find an escort to see the architectural and historical monuments. If you want to find a suitable guide in advance. Good luck with sightseeing in Kyrgyzstan! Also read about the best sights of Kazakhstan and get inspired for your next trip to Central Asia!