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Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, known for its natural beauty, including rugged mountains, glaciers, and lakes, with the Tien Shan mountain range covering a significant portion of the country. It has a rich history, influenced by various cultures and empires such as the Silk Road, Persian, Turkic, Mongolian interests, and more recently, the Soviet Union, making it a melting pot of Eastern traditions and Soviet heritage.

Its capital, Bishkek, is marked by its Soviet-era architecture, bustling bazaars, and a growing contemporary cultural scene, mirroring the country's blend of historical influences and modern aspirations.

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Exploring Bishkek

morning:Start your day with a visit to Ala-Too Square and take in the beautiful fountains and monuments. Then head to Oak Park for a relaxing stroll among the trees. Try the local specialty, shashlik, at Faiza for breakfast.

afternoon:Visit the State Museum of Fine Arts to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan. Afterward, explore Osh Bazaar for a vibrant shopping experience. Have a delightful lunch at Navat, known for its traditional Kyrgyz cuisine.

evening:End the day with a lively atmosphere at Metro Pub, where you can enjoy some refreshing drinks and live music.

day 2

Nature and Culture in Karakol

morning:Embark on a scenic drive to Jeti-Ögüz and witness the spectacular red rock formations. Don't miss the chance to savor a delectable breakfast at Jety-Oguz resort for a perfect start to the day.

afternoon:Discover the history of Karakol at the Przewalski Museum and then wander through the Dungan Mosque for its distinctive architecture. Try the aromatic laghman for lunch at Arzu.

evening:Experience the vibrant local culture at the Karakol Night Market, offering a variety of traditional crafts and street food.

day 3

Adventure in Ala-Archa

morning:Set out for a thrilling hike in Ala-Archa National Park, reveling in the breathtaking mountain landscapes. Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Adem Jash Guest House to prepare for the adventure.

afternoon:Continue your exploration of the park's natural beauty, and don't miss the exhilarating views of Ak-Sai Waterfall. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the stunning scenery.

evening:Head to Beryozka for a cozy dinner and soak in the tranquil ambience after a day of outdoor adventure.

day 4

Historical and Nomadic Experience in Song-Kul

morning:Embark on a horseback ride to explore the captivating expanse of Song-Kul Lake and its surroundings. Indulge in a hearty breakfast at a yurt camp to start the day with energy.

afternoon:Engage in traditional Kyrgyz activities such as felt-making and dairy processing to experience the nomadic way of life. Savor a delightful lunch of beshbarmak, a beloved Kyrgyz dish, at a local yurt.

evening:Experience the warm hospitality of the nomadic people and gather around the campfire for an evening of storytelling and traditional music.

Kyrgyzstan Famous Food

Must-Try local dishes

Beshbarmak

A traditional dish featuring boiled meat (usually lamb or beef) served with thin noodles and an onion sauce. Can be found at traditional Kyrgyz homes known as yurts, as well as local restaurants in Bishkek such as Navat.

Must-Try!

Laghman

A hearty noodle dish with mixed vegetables and your choice of meat, typically beef or mutton. Recommended places to try laghman include U Parovozov in Bishkek and local eateries in Osh.

Samsa

Samsa are savory pastries filled with minced meat, onions, and spices, then baked until golden and crispy. Look for samsa at Osh Bazaar in Bishkek and at small local bakeries across the country.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Osh Bazaar

One of the largest and most vibrant markets in Bishkek, offering a wide variety of fresh produce, spices, dried fruits, and street food such as kebabs, plov (pilaf), and traditional snacks like kurut (dried yogurt balls).

Dordoi Bazaar

Located on the outskirts of Bishkek, this bustling market is renowned for its diverse selection of street food stalls serving everything from fried dumplings to grilled meats and refreshing beverages like bozo (fermented millet drink).

Dietary Restrictions

Navigating dietary restrictions locally

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

While traditional Kyrgyz cuisine is meat-centric, many restaurants in urban areas offer vegetarian-friendly dishes such as fresh salads, vegetable plov, and bean soups. Look for establishments like Arzu or Vegano Hooligano in Bishkek, which specialize in vegetarian and vegan fare.

Vegetarian, Vegan

Gluten-free Options

Those requiring gluten-free options will find that many traditional Kyrgyz dishes are naturally free of gluten. Additionally, international restaurants and cafes in Bishkek and other cities often have gluten-free options clearly marked on their menus, such as those at Napoli Pizza or Book Cafe.

Gluten-free

Restaurants & Cafés

Best places to eat and drink in Kyrgyzstan

Supara Ethno-Complex

Situated in a picturesque setting outside Bishkek, Supara offers a diverse menu of traditional Kyrgyz dishes, and provides a great introduction to the country's culinary heritage.

Zhirgal Bishkek

An elegant restaurant in Bishkek known for its modern take on Kyrgyz cuisine, offering an extensive selection of dishes that cater to various dietary preferences.

Sierra Coffee

A popular chain across Kyrgyzstan that provides a range of coffee drinks, snacks, and light meals, along with options suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions.

Things to do in Kyrgyzstan

Unique local experiences...

Popular cities in Kyrgyzstan

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