Of all the Stan’s in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is the most talked about amongst travellers, and for good reason. No visa hassle, open borders, forward thinking people, stunning mountains and community based tourism projects will ensure that Kyrgyzstan will always stay near the top of the Central Asian wish list.

Here are 10 Reasons Why Kyrgyzstan Is OutSTANding.

1. Community Based Tourism Projects: There is nowhere quite like Kyrgyzstan for witnessing local culture in its natural form. CBT and Shepard’s Life are two companies that allow travellers to bridge the gap between visitors and villagers. When in Kyrgyzstan, head to the nearest CBT or Shepard’s life projects and embark on great adventures at reasonable prices all while supporting local economies. Travel doesn’t get much better than that. For more about CBT and Shepard’s Life Click Here!

CBT Reason Kyrgyzstan is outstanding
Look Out For These CBT Offices Around Kyrgyzstan!

2. Scenery: Coming from Canada, we may be a couple of natural beauty snobs, but witnessing the raw, rugged nature of Kyrgyzstan’s countryside is a real pleasure. 94% of the country is mountainous and with Tourist Information Offices, CBT and Shepard’s Life, the summer pastures, alpine lakes and soaring peaks are all at your disposal.

Look Out For These CBT Offices Around Kyrgyzstan!
Enjoy The Scenery Of Kyrgyzstan… It’s OutSTANding!

3. Treks: There are literally hundreds of trekking opportunities in Kyrgyzstan already planned out and marked and there are hundreds more waiting to be explored. The valleys, cliffs and mountain ranges around Karakol can keep any trekker busy for weeks. With treks ranging from day trips to week-long adventures, there is something for all skill levels. There are also treks between major destinations, so instead of taking public transport, you can just load up on supplies and walk yourself.

Trekking Near Karakol, Kyrgyzstan is outstanding
Trekking Near Karakol

4. Horse Treks: Most treks can also be done on horseback and in Kyrgyzstan there are plenty of places to rent a horse. The best way to do a horse trek is to hire a guide from CBT or Shepard’s Life and set out over a mountain pass. One place that we highly recommend for a horse trek is the 3,800 meter pass to stunning Song-Kol Lake (3,000 meters).

Horse Trekking To Song-Kol Kyrgyzstan
Horse Trekking To Song-Kol

Click Here To Read More About Horse Trekking To Song-Kol.

5. Other Travellers: This can be said of the entire region, travellers in Central Asia are adventurous, intrepid and culturally aware. You’ll never see mini-skirts and reggae bars here. People are here for trekking and the stories around the hostel dinner tables will be funny, exciting and informative for your onward travel. This is one place where everyone is in for an experience.

Hostels & Homestays Are A Great Place To Meet Other Travellers In Kyrgyzstan
Hostels & Homestays Are A Great Place To Meet Other Travellers In Kyrgyzstan

6. Homestays: Before coming to Kyrgyzstan we didn’t really know what a homestay was. What they are is a perfect way for travellers to live with local families and support villagers instead of hotels and hostels. Generally you get your own room in a homestay (if you want) and if you arrange through CBT or Shepard’s Life, they try to ensure that you are the only tourist(s) there. If you’re single or in a group of 5, you’ll have the friendly local family all to yourself. The family will cook delicious home-made food for you and offer you more chai (tea) than you can drink, but aside from that they just go about their daily business and leave you to explore the surroundings.

homestay family Kyrgyzstan
Nick Meets A Local Boy While Blogging In A Homestay

7. Drives: In many places, you hop on a bus simply to get from point A to point B, but in Kyrgyzstan (and most Central Asian Countries) the drives between your destinations are phenomenal. Cruising over mountain passes, past alpine lakes and through rock tunnels will ensure that every drive is an adventure in itself. Local transport is relatively cheap and if you want the best views, opt for a shared taxi (only slightly more expensive than buses).

Shared Taxi In Kyrgyzstan
Hop In A Cheap Shared Taxi In Kyrgyzstan And Enjoy The Ride!

8. Beaches: That’s right, this landlocked nation has some stunning beaches, most of which fringe the dazzling Lake Issyk Kul’s northern and southern shores. Issyk-Kul (1,700 meters) is the largest lake in the country and the second largest alpine lake in the world. The beaches of Cholpon-Ata are stunning, but often crowded with Russian and Kazakh vacationers. Although the sand can be a bit dirty in the north, the snow-capped peaks reflecting off the lake’s surface make up for it. Try Tamga on the southern shores for a more relaxed, quiet and authentically Kyrgyz atmosphere.

A Beach In Kyrgyzstan
A Beach In Kyrgyzstan? That’s Right!

9: Being Off The Beaten Path: If you’ve come to Kyrgyzstan, or anywhere in this region, you definitely have a thirst for adventure and the heart of an explorer. Kyrgyzstan offers the intrepid traveller authentic experiences and epic trips both lost in time and drenched in culture. The ease of travel here makes being off the beaten path feel as smooth as a freeway!

Off The Beaten Path Is Smooth As A Freeway!
Off The Beaten Path Is Easy! It’s as Smooth As A Freeway!

10: Ease Of Travel: For somewhere with so few tourists, Kyrgyzstan is really set up well for travellers. There are free visas available at all land borders and airports, the public transport is cheap and easy, CBT helps you get in the door of real families, there are great hostels and the country is littered with excellent homestay options. You will no doubt be surprised at just how easy it is to be intrepid in this incredible country.

We spent three amazing weeks in Kyrgyzstan and we could have spent three months. There are just so many opportunities for adventure in this tiny, mountainous, Central Asian nation. It’s one of those places that has it all and rewards travellers with everything they could hope for in a trip, tour, holiday or vacation. We will definitely be planning our return journey to this mesmerizing county in the near future. Kyrgyzstan is truly outSTANding!

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Kyrgyzstan Videos

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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18 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Kyrgyzstan Is OutSTANding

  1. This is amazing! I never knew Kyrgyzstan was such a beautiful country. The horseback riding sounds like so much fun!

  2. I love writing and sharing about the Stan countries because not many people know much about them. Kyrgyzstan in particular has SO much to offer and is fast becoming a target on tourist’s radar 🙂


  3. Hey Scott!
    No worries, the Stans and Georgia aren’t changing all that fast…they’ll still be pretty much the same when you get around to coming here 🙂

    ps, definitely come here!

  4. I love seeing posts like this as it’s somewhere I’ve never thought of visiting, I love the freeway photo it looks so deserted!

  5. Damnit, we almost leaft Turkey and headed to Georgia and the Stans, but it just didn’t work out. You are really making me regret this! Good stuff as usual guys.

  6. I spent 2 weeks in Kyrgyzstan and, as you said, it could have been perfectly 2 months and I will still enjoy and have fan! Today is exactly one year since I crossed the border from Korday in Kazakhstan to Bishkek and you guys made me feel a little bit nostalgic! A little bit of my heart still remains in KY and I think it will stay forever, after so many adventures, homestays and lovely people I meet on the way *_*

  7. I knew I’d like this post the second I read the rather punny title. Central Asia has fascinated me for a while, but I’ve yet to make it there. Not sure if I’d head to Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan first…probably Kyrgyzstan, given that it’s visa free. Also, I had no idea that Issyk Kul had beaches there! One thing I’ve noticed missing from this list is food, though – too much mutton?

  8. We know exactly what you mean! We could’ve stayed longer as well. We already think about the adventures we had there, and it was only like 2 months ago!

    Thanks for the comment. Happy travels 🙂

  9. Hey Tom,
    We highly recommend Central Asia! Travel days can be a bit difficult, the food a bit boring after awhile, but that doesn’t matter. All of the positive things totally outweigh anything that’s a bit of a “downside”.

    Kyrgyzstan is the easiest to travel to and through. Uzbekistan is also very easy.

    Hopefully you get there one day 🙂

    Happy travels.

  10. Kyrgyzstan’s scenery looks awesome- I love your photo of the beach with mountains in the background. Interesting destination!

  11. Thanks Katie,

    Kyrgyzstan truly is outstanding 🙂 There’s so much on offer in this little country.

  12. my friends and i were travelling to Kyrgyzstan by MAY 2016 would you please advise me where are best location to stay with local tribes member or isolated area, or best on for photography… im photographer by hobby.

  13. Hm, I would suggest getting in touch with the CBT (community based tourism) groups there and see what they can suggest.

  14. Hi Nick and Dariece! Thanks so much for putting this blog together. We are a Swiss couple who love trekking and hiking and want to go a couple of weeks to Kyrgyzstan to do so. Have until now done trekking mostly in Europe or other places where water is “safe”. How is it with the drinking water when you are in the middle of the mountains in Kyrgyzstan? Did you have problems with your tummy?

    Thanks so much!

  15. Hi Juan,

    We drank the water straight from the mountains! Not the slow moving river water, but there are mini waterfalls that you can fill up from (not waterfalls, but water that is being filtered from the rocks). We also had purification tablets for good measure. No tummy issues.

  16. Trekking and camping in Kyrgyzstan have always been a very exciting experience to me. Thanks for reminding me that!

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