Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan was a part of erstwhile USSR and declared independence in 1991. The country of Kyrgyzstan is one of the famous tourist attractions of the world. 90 percent of the territory of Kyrgyzstan is covered with mountains. It offers plenty of attractions such as beautiful mountains, spectacular lakes, magnificent religious monuments and some of the best museums. The country boosts some of the finest cities which would provide you insight into Russian Muslim culture. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Kyrgyzstan along with your family are listed below:

1. Bishkek

The city of Bishkek is one of the major tourist destinations of Kyrgyzstan and its capital also. Bishkek is located at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level. Bishkek was built on the site of a fort called Pishpek constructed by the Khan of Kokand during the year 1825 and destroyed by the Russians in 1862. Russians and Ukrainians began to settle here in the latter decades of the 19th century, planting beets, wheat and potatoes in the fertile valleys. The city was renamed Frunze during the year 1926, in respect of Mikhail Frunze, the Soviet general who won Central Asia for the Bolsheviks in the Civil War. The city was again renamed Bishkek when Kyrgyzstan declared its independence in the year 1991.

2. Ak-Beshim

Ak-Beshim is undoubtedly one of the major tourist attractions of Kyrgyzstan, are the ruins of the ancient town. You will find it situated in Tokmak and neighboring the Burana Tower, The mounds and ridges at Ak-Beshim delineate a large town which has yielded remains of a Nestorian church and a Buddhist temple from the 7th and 8th centuries. Ak-Beshim is considered to have been the most prominent town in its time. The site has since been reliably identified as Suyab. It is indeed one of the thriving and powerful cities of the country and offers plenty of attractions.

3. Ala-Archa Canyon

The Ala-Archa canyon is positioned in the highest, central part of the Kyrgyz Ridge which is renowned for its eternal snow-stretching for around 200 km. The Ala-Archa canyon is the center of the Ala-Archa National Park that is considered as one of the major tourist attractions in Kyrgyzstan. The national park is located 45 km from the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek. The park occupies an area of 19,500 square kilometers. The Ala-Archa, the Adygene, and the Ak-Sai are the largest rivers in the national park.

4. The State Museum of History

The State Museum of History is one of the prominent tourist attractions of Kyrgyzstan. Here you can witness a museum with two yurts, a small archaeology display and a beguiling exhibit of Kyrgyz carpets, embroidery and other applied crafts. Highlights of the history section include a giant koumis skin, photographs of Kyrgyz victims of purges of the Stalin period during the late 1930s and the exhumation of their mass grave at Chon Tash near Bishkek.

5. Osh Bazaar

The Osh Bazaar on Kievskaya Str. is the biggest market in Kyrgyzstan. You will find wide variety of every day products in this huge market. This market is an ideal place for tourist also to bring back home some of the finest products of Kyrgyzstan. It is a typical eastern bazaar, which is noisy and full of local color.

6. Kyrgyz State Academic Theatre

The Kyrgyz State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Kyrgyzstan. It is the cultural centre of the country. The construction of the building began before the World War II but it was completed during the year 1955.

7. Burana Tower

The Burana archeological and architectural complex is located 12 km towards the south of Tokmak. It is believed that for centuries, all that remained of Balasagun were the topless, 25-meter minaret and the overgrown mound of the old citadel. Originally, minaret was 37 to 38 meters high; sadly during the sixteenth century an earthquake smashed the memorial very badly. You will also find the ruins of three mausoleums, near the minaret. The site first attracted attention of archaeologists in the late 1880s. There is also a small museum displaying excavated objects.

8. Burana

The city of Burana is one of the prominent places of the country, both historically and culturally. You will find only central ruins of inner city (shakhristan), measuring 570 to 600 meters, were preserved from the primary square of the medieval city. It is also amazing to know that the layer of the city hides various remains of building of the 10th to 14th centuries. Balasagun was the birthplace of the poet Jusup Balasagun whose works was the brilliant example of the high Islamic culture in Medieval Central Asia.

9. Cholpon-Ata

Cholpon-Ata is situated at an altitude of 1609 meters above the sea level, is among the most visited tourist attractions of the country. You will find it towards the northern side of the Issyk-Kul Lake. In this beautiful region you will find plenty of most vital mountain gorges of Kungei, Ala-Too, Chon-Koi-Suu and Cholpon-Ata. Cholpon-Ata is definitely worth visiting, once here you can also enjoy number of waterfalls, lakes, and forests.

10. Issyk-Kul Lake

The meaning of Issyk-Kul is “hot lake” in Kyrgyz. You will find it at 1609m above the sea level and occupies an area of 6206 square km, making it the second largest alpine lake in the world. About 134 rivers flow into the lake. No river flow out of Issyk-Kul so the lake accumulates all mineral substances carried here by the rivers and rains. You will find that the water of this lake is very light and transparent; in clear weather one can see the lake’s bottom. The lake is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of the country.

11. Karakol

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Kyrgyzstan is Karakol that is to be found located closely to the Lake Issyk-Kul and near the highest mountains. It is considered to be an ideal destination from where you can explore the lakeshore easily. It’s a low-rise town, famous for its apple orchards and Sunday market (one of the best in Central Asia). The town offers some of the best tourist attractions such as, The Dungan’s wooden Mosque, built without a single nail in the style of a Buddhist pagoda, a Russian Orthodox Church, the Museum of History and oriental bazaar.

12. Osh

The Osh region is the largest region of Kyrgyzstan that is located towards the southern part of Pamir-Alai and includes the hilly lowlands of the Ferghana Valley. This region of Kyrgyzstan offers some of the best attractions and is largely visited by the tourist. The geography of the region is one of contrasts. At one edge of the Ferghana Valley gentle hills rise into mid-sized mountains and then gradually into high altitude ranges. You will find more than 150 rivers in the Osh region. More than 100 lakes and waterfalls are hidden within mountain gorges and valleys. The mountainous area surrounding the Osh region is famous for many of its spectacular caves. Tourists are attracted today to the bazaar in Osh with its distinct oriental colors and the aromatic smells of spices and fruits.

13. Tash – Rabat

You will find this stone fortress Tash-Rabat at the altitude of 3530 m, 80 km far from Torugart and 90 km from Naryn town. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations of Kyrgyzstan. Recent investigations have shown that this monument dates back to the 10th century. It is believed to be the monastery of Nestorian-Christians or Buddhist who came here before the Mongolian invasion and before the spreading of Islam in Tian Shan. It is the only construction in Central Asia made of stone, used like a fort by the refugees or hermits.

14. Uzgen

Another most famous tourist destination of Kyrgyzstan is the Uzgen town, which is positioned on the right bank of the mountain river Kara-Darya. The town was discovered during the 8th century. During the 13th century it was destroyed by Genghis Khan and only the Uzgen Tower (Minaret) and three mausoleums preserved. Today all that you can find here is sites of ancient settlement; the ruins of the citadel and shakhristan (inner city). Uzgen Minaret of the 10-12th centuries that was constructed near the Muslim mosque is also worth seeing.

15. Holy Trinity Cathedral

The country of Kyrgyzstan is rich in natural beauty but that isn’t the only thing this country has to offer. It can also offer some of the best historical and cultural attractions. Among which one of the prominent is the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karakol. The original church was constructed after the town was established. It was replaced by a stone church which got destroyed by an 1890 earthquake. The Holy Trinity Cathedral that stands today was reconstructed in 1961 and is one of the top tourist attractions in Kyrgyzstan.

16. Sulayman Mountains

The Sulayman Mountain is one of the extremely popular tourist attractions of Kyrgyzstan, this magnificent mountains are referred by many name like Taht-I-Suleiman, Sulayman Rock or Sulayman Throne. The Sulayman Mountain is the only World Heritage Site in the nation of Kyrgyzstan. It is located in the city of Osh and was once a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage. Sulayman is a prophet in the Qur’an, and the mountain contains a shrine that supposedly marks his grave.

17. Ala-Archa Mountains

Ala-Archa National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kyrgyzstan. It is a spectacular mountain valley from the Tian Shan Mountain range. Today the Ala-Archa Mountains are considered to be the most favorite tourist spots especially among adventure lovers. This region is famous for activates such as horse riding, trekking etc. You will find visitor from different part of the country gather here for camping and leisure.

18. Thopli Kluchi

Thoppli kluchi is indeed one of the most popular and upcoming tourist destinations in Kyrgyzstan, there are plenty of attractions to be explored here. You will also find a Natural Hot Water swimming pool at this place which is known as Sulfar Lake. The panoramic view of mountains and valleys from these resorts are breath taking, Fresh air and clean atmosphere around this place will rejuvenate your body and mind. This place is blessed with abundant of natural beauty that surely awaits you.

19. Almaty

Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, and still its largest city. The city of Almaty is famous tourist destination as it offers some of the spectacular attractions. It is also the financial and cultural center of Central Asia. On a clear day you can witness the beautifully rugged, snow capped mountains, right at the city’s doorstep towards the south. In Almaty you will also find a little beautiful mountain range bordering the city to the east. Almaty hosted the Asian Winter Games 2011 and England vs. Kazakhstan WC2010 football game on 6 June 2009.

20. Song Kul

Song Kul is a high alpine lake in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. This lake that is extremely popular tourist spot is also the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan that measure 18x29km wide, 13 meters deep after the magnificent lake called the Issyk kul. Its name, meaning “following lake”, is popularly considered to refer to this relation. You will find that that lake is surrounded by a broad summer pasture and then mountains.

21. JalalaBat

Jalalabat is the administrative and economic centre of Jalal-Abad Province towards the southwestern part of Kyrgyzstan. Jalalabat is one of the interesting places to visit here and located at the north-eastern end of the Fergana valley along the Kugart river valley, in the foothills of the Babash Ata Mountains, very close to Uzbekistan border.

22. Animal Markets

One of the exceptionally famous markets of Kyrgyzstan is the Animal Market. It is said that you will not find the match for Kashgar’s Sunday Market; it is one of the best Animal Markets in Central Asia. The market is divided into two compounds, one for sheep and goats; the other, for horses, cattle and the occasional camel.

23. WWII monument

Located in Bishkek, it is one of the Kyrgyzstan most popular sights to witness. Victory Square is a weedy plaza where a huge yurt-shaped World War II monument, erected on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, sprawls across the whole city block. It is among the most visited tourist spots in the country’s capital. On weekends it’s the destination for an endless stream of wedding parties posing for photographs.

24. Chinese Mosque

The Chinese Mosque is one of the exceptionally constructed mosques that are immensely popular. From the outside it will give you a look of a Mongolian Buddhist temple to be found on the corner of Bektenov and Jusup Abdrakhmanov is in fact a mosque, constructed without nails, completed during the year 1910 after three years’ work by a Chinese architect and 20 Chinese artisans, for the local Dungan community. The mosque was closed by the Bolsheviks from 1933 to 1943, but since then has again become a place of worship.

25. Regional Museum

The Regional Museum is one of Karakol’s interesting tourist attractions. It is considered to be one of the modest Regional Museums. You will find it in a sturdy colonial brick building, once the home of a wealthy landowner. The museum can be best explored with the help of a guide. You will find some of the interesting artifacts on display such as the work on the petroglyphs around Issyk-Köl, a few Scythian bronze artefacts, a Soviet history of the Kyrgyz union with Russia, some Kyrgyz applied art, and photographs of old Karakol.

26. Dubovy Park

Dubovy Park is one of Bishkek’s famous parks to enjoy a picnic or simply relaxing. It is full of strollers on warm Sundays, has a few open-air cafés and some modern sculpture and funnily enough, century-old oaks. Inside the park you will also find an open-air art gallery. Nearby is the Erkindik (Freedom) Statue, formerly a statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police.

27. Balykchy

Balykchy is another most famous tourist destination of Kyrgyzstan. It is the gateway to Issyk Kul that is to be found on the western bank of the lake. During the ancient times, it was famous as the center of the lake’s fishing fleet, but has suffered a major decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is interesting to note the micro-climates of the Issyk Kul, especially around Balykchy as there is little green or snow at all times.

29. Kochkor

Kochkor is among the most fascinating little towns of Kyrgyzstan. You will find it towards the southwest of Lake Issyk-Kul that most travelers pass through on their way to Song Kul Lake or Sarala Saz jailoo. You can spend some best time here enjoying the spectacular scenery on horses. Summers are considered ideal to visit here to witness more yurts and animals grazing on Song Kul’s shores.

28. Frunzwe House-Museum

One of Bishkek’s interesting museums is the Frunzwe House-Museum. It is said that this thatched cottage is the place where the little Frunze played with his toy soldiers. You will find some of the best collections of his life in this two-storey Frunzwe House-Museum. On display you can find, Frunze as a military and family man, plus the requisite posters, weapons, flags and statues – has itself become a piece of history.

29. Dordoy Bazaar

Dordoy Bazaar is one of the most popular bazaars of Kyrgyzstan to be found in Osh. It is also known as Tolchok, which means ‘jostling crowd’. It is a large weekend flea market of imported consumer goods and junk about 7km north of the centre. You might strike gold with the occasional North Face jacket here.

30. Historical-Cultural Museum

The region of Osh also offer a fine museum called the Historical and cultural museum of Kyrgyzstan Sights. It is a typical Soviet subtlety, a hole was blasted in the side of this holy mountain into one of its numerous caves, and a grotesque sheet-metal front stuck on – a carbuncle now visible from great distances. What you will get to see inside is a series of badly lit exhibits of potsherds, old masonry, rocks, bugs and mangy stuffed animals.

31. Ala-Too Sqare

Ala-Too Sqare is the sea of concrete ceased to be called Lenin Sq during the year 1991. Lenin is said to have enjoyed the centre stage on his platform until the year 2003, when he was demoted from the square behind the museum and replaced by (yet) another statue of Erkindik (Freedom). The Kyrgyz flag in the square is lowered every day at dusk.

32. Historical Museum

The Historical Museum that was constructed during the Osh 3000 celebrations is one of the most popular tourist spot in the region of Osh. The museum is considered to be the best of the three Historical Archaeological Museums. The museum prominently focuses on local archaeology and ethnography but gives very less information in English. You can also find some great weapons, displayed as if caught up in mad whirlwind.

33. Dom Druzhby

Dom Druzhby is to be found in the country’s capital is one of the interesting places to visit. The noticeably older structure northeast of Ala-Too Sq at Pushkin 68, used to be the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Kyrgyz ASSR, declared in the year 1926. Today it is home to the Dom Druzhby community centre for advocacy and self-help groups, as well as a drab zoology museum.

34. ‘White House’

The White House is one of the famous spots of Bishkek and considered as an unmarked marble palace full of chandeliered offices right towards the west of the square, the ‘White House’, is the seat of the Kyrgyzstan government that also contains the president’s office and the republic’s parliament. You will find right behind this, a beautiful Panfilov Park, full of rusting rides and arcades.

35. Kyrgyz Style

In Bishkek you will find a nonprofit able organization that sells high-quality shyrdaks, ala kiyiz (felt rugs featuring coloured panels), hats, bags and slippers to support social development in Kyrgyzstan. It is a best place to do your shopping at very reasonable prices. You will find it on the ground floor, accessed from the back of the apartment block.

36. State Museum of Fine Arts

The state museum of Find Arts of Bishkek is one of the fairly interesting places to visit. The putrefying State Museum of Fine Arts is also referred as the Gapar Aitiev Museum of Applied Art. The museum features some of the find collections such as the Kyrgyz embroidery, jewellery, utensils, eye- popping felt rugs, works by local artists, and a startling collection of reproduction Egyptian and classical statues.

37. Historical Archaeological Museum Complex

The Historical Archaeological Museum of Osh is one of the interesting places to visit here. You will find it quite close to the Solomon’s Throne; collective three museums are referred to as the Historical Archaeological Museum Complex. All three of this museum offers some of the interesting collections.

38. Chuy

You will find this amazing town of Chui towards the extreme east of Uruguay, in the Rocha Department, 340 kilometres northeast of Montevideo. You will find it right on the border with Brazil, separated from its Brazilian sister town of Chui only by a shared avenue that serves as the border, and by the Arroyo Chuy (stream) to the east. During the year 2004, it had a population of 10,401 inhabitants.

39. Vefa Centre

The Vefa Center to be found at the country’s capital Bishkek is considered to be one of the best places for Shopping. You will find an American-style, air-conditioned mall, stocking Western brands at Western prices. The cinema on the 3rd floor screens Hollywood blockbusters dubbed in Russian around Som180. The place is ideal for enjoying weekends.

40. Toktogul Reservoir

Toktogul Reservoir is situated in the Jalal-Abad Province of Kyrgyzstan, is the largest of the reservoirs on the path of the Naryn River. The reservoir was formed during the year 1976, the construction of the reservoir last for 14 years. Archaeologists excavated barrows dating back as far as the 8th century AD before the sites were lost. The Toktogul Hydroelectric Station, the reservoir’s hydro-electric plant, has installed capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, which makes it the largest power plant in the country.

41. Mosque of Pervomayskoe

Mosque in Pervomayskoe is one of the most famous mosques of the region. It is not only respected because it is a religious institution but also because of its distinctive design and structure. You will find there 3 symmetrical windows beside the structure, with a tall tower-like construction beside it. The roofs have a silver color inflection to attract and beautify the building even after several generations have passed.

42. Naryn

Naryn is at the center of Naryn Province with five districts. The path that leads to this destination is sandy, almost like a desert, with lots of snow-coated mountain tops setting. Red, rusty orange, brown, light brown are the hues that cover the mountain’s body. One of the famous places to visit here is At-Bashi River that serves as a border from two countries. Here you also find Jumgal and Kochkor districts that also have bodies of water that connects to the main river. Tian-Shan, another district of this region is the most populated district of all since 98% of Kyrgyz lives here.

43. Kant

It is said that the region of Kant is a unique place to spend vacation, so head towards Kant to some of the best attractions of Kyrgyzstan. Kant is a Kyrgyz word for sugar which implies that you will be having a sweet and delicious treat when you go to these five marvelous locations. You can also find Abdysh Ata Brewery here, as the city is known for being the most industrialized center, you can find their largest brewery here that is also recognized in other countries for producing tasty drinks.

44. Frunze

Plan a trip to Frunze in Kyrgyzstan to discover some of the new things and learn from it. Actually, Frunze was the former name of the Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. However, it is still regarded as a traditional attraction simply because it was named after the country’s hero.

45. Tokmok

The Tokmok region of Kyrgyzstan is considered to have various undiscovered sceneries that you wouldn’t want to miss. The city of Tokmok is found towards the northern part of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan that has an altitude of 816 meter above sea level. The major tourist attraction of this place is instituted in the middle of Chui Valley where three destinations can be witnessed. You can also find the ruins of Ak-Beshim. This archaeological site has many buried artifacts that consist of Uyghur scripts and Sogdian inscriptions from the Kyrgyz ancestors.

46. Talas

Talas, is one of the beautiful paces to visit in Kyrgyzstan. It is a small town towards the northwest area of the country located near the Talas River. It offers a lot of wonderful sites in every place you go. For one, the mountainous setting and consigned valley can uphold a very exhilarating experience once you get to see it. You will also find a famous five-rock Besh-Tash valley and Besh-Tash National Park, close to the town. These attractions are a site to behold especially when men in horses gallop their way home.

47. Issyk-Kul

Issyk-Kul is one of the extremely beautiful places of Kyrgyzstan. It is unknown to many that this place offers abundant of eye-catching sceneries. Issyk-Kul, the largest lake that can be found in this nation, this lake is considered to be the tenth largest lake by volume nationwide. Next to the Caspian Sea, it also holds the crown for being the second largest saline lake ever discovered.

48. Chon-Kemin

The Chon-Kemin gorge and valley is among the most scenic localities in the land of Kyrgyzstan and represent a unique natural complex encompasses a gorge, valley and the Chon-Kemin River flowing along the Chon-Kemin water gap. The length of the Chon-Kemin River is 116 km. There are 7 lakes in its river basin. The river crosses a specially protected territory of the Chon-Kemin State Natural National Park.

49. Batken

One of the famous destination of Kyrgyzstan is located towards the South West of the Republic, and consists of four mountainous regions, with altitudes ranging from 400 to 5621m asl. The oblast was created during the year 1999. The oblast contains numerous enclaves belonging to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, created when the borders of the republics were settled by a commission of the Soviet Union in the time of Joseph Stalin. Altogether you can find 7 enclaves some very small, not much more than the size of a farm.

50. Besh-Aral State Reserve

Besh-Aral state reserve was established during the year 1979 towards the extreme South West corner of the Djalal Abad oblast, its main motive is to preserves the exceptional natural complex and forests of the Chatkal valley and also to partially protect the habitat of the Menzbir marmot and to protect the natural habitat of vegetation of Greig and Cauffman tulips.

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