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34 Photos that will Make You Book a Ticket to Kyrgyzstan
Updated December 2023, 34 Photos that will make you book a ticket to Kyrgyzstan was originally written in September 2019
It’s easy to see why Kyrgyzstan is the adventure star of Central Asia. With what seems like endless trekking opportunities, staggering mountains, green valleys, glaciers, horse trekking, alpine lakes and hospitality Kyrgyzstan has really solidified its place as the gateway to Central Asia for most adventure travelers.
After 5 trips now under my belt to Kyrgyzstan here are some of my favorite Kyrgyzstan photos that will hopefully put Kyrgyzstan on your bucketlist.
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One of the most notable features of Jeti Oguz is the famed red-rock ‘Seven Bulls’. For the best views make your way up the trail on the hill opposite the road from the Seven Bulls.
Learn how to visit Jeti Oguz & the Valley of Flowers
Kok Boru at World Nomad Games 2018 in Cholpon Ata. Kok Boru, also called Buzkashi is a brutal sport popular in Central Asia where riders on horseback try to get a goat or calf carcass into a goal.
Sunset at Sary Chelek. In 1978 Sary Chelek was listed as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Learn more about Sary Chelek and how you can visit the area here.
On my first trip to Kyrgyzstan this was my first welcome to the country coming from Tajikistan and a wild adventure up the Pamir Highway. This rainbow-striped colorful mountain sits smack in the middle of no-man’s-land between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as you make your way to the Bordöbö border crossing in Kyzyl Art Pass.
Everything you need to know for the Kyzyl Art Border Crossing
Take on the ultimate road trip: The Pamir Highway Travel Guide
Jeti Oguz is home to several more epic trekking possibilities in Kyrgyzstan, including the beautiful pastures here in the Valley of Flowers.
Altyn Arashan is home to some of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful treks, located just outside the city of Karakol. Many may opt to trek here from Karakol while others will take the bumpy ride in an old Soviet-era military truck to reach the area.
The views over the city of Osh from the top of Suleman Too. Osh’s Fergana Valley surroundings are quite flat, but Suleman Too gives Osh quite the striking feature with a craggy mountain that seems to rise out of nowhere smack in the middle of the city. Allegedly the Prophet Mohammed prayed here at one time making the mountain a famous pilgrimage site.
Plan your stay with my Osh Travel Guide + 5 things to do
The brilliant blue Naryn River passing through a canyon in the middle of Kyrgyzstan.
Snowcapped peaks in early October forming the backdrop behind the village of Tamga.
Without a doubt, this is one of my all-time favorite photos. This is a Kyrgyz cemetery located near the village of Jumgal.
Start planning: The Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide
Issykul is a large saline lake located in eastern Kyrgystan. Issykul means ‘warm lake’ in the Kyrgyz language, owing to the lake never freezing in the winter despite its harsh surroundings.
The Kyrgyz have long been known to be exceptional horse riders, even from a young age.
Laghman pictured above is a staple dish found on many a menu throughout Central Asia. The dish traces its roots back to the Uyghur population that hails from Xinjiang province in China but with a wide diaspora that can be found in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Don’t miss out on some of the best laghman while in Karakol.
Feast between treks: The best dishes you have to try in Karakol
An eagle hunting demonstration in the Issykul region. Eagle hunting has an extensive history in Central Asia, especially Kyrgyzstan.
The green-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral located in the heart of Karakol.
Plan your visit: Karakol Travel Guide + 13 Things To Do In Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
The icy waters flowing through Kyrgyzstan’s Chon Kemin Valley.
The minaret of Balasagun (now known as Burana Tower) standing at 25 meters was once the center of the Karakhanid Khanate.
An old MIG fighter jet atop a hill in Tamga.
Ala Archa National Park dusted in snow in early October. With much trekking potential, this area can offer great day trips and even overnight hikes from Bishkek.
Saying goodbye to the towering Pamir Mountains as we moved north toward Osh.
The Balbals of Burana. These stone figures are believed to be grave markers left behind by Turkic nomads long ago.
Just starting to plan your visit? Grab a copy of Bradt’s Kyrgyzstan guidebook
Like a heart with a wedge driven through it, the golden-red Broken Heart in Kyrgyzstan is a feature of legend. Like many folklore of Central Asia, it ends tragically. In this case, two men fought to the death over a beautiful woman who loved both men. The split rock represents her broken heart.
Kyrgyzstan’s Karakol is a melting pot of culture and one place that this is heavily represented is in Karakol’s diversity in cuisine. Pictured here is a bowl of Ashlyan Fu, a cold noodle dish. Ashlyan Fu is a staple dish for the Dungan minority that lives in and around Karakol. For those wanting to experience a Dungan family meal in Karakol, I highly recommend booking a Dungan food tour with Destination Karakol (trust me, I’ve now done it twice).
A golden eagle.
Plan the perfect trip: A Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan itinerary
The orange and pink hues of Skazka Canyon (often called Fairytale Canyon), south of Issykul.
Sunset over the ‘Seven Bulls’ of Jeti Oguz.
Ceiling details of the Dungan Mosque in Karakol. This mosque features unique details not seen in most mosque designs.
Our first welcome to Kyrgyzstan on my most recent trip was a cup of Kumis (that’s horse milk) just after crossing the Karkara border from Kazakhstan, followed by a horse milking demonstration by our lovely host.
Holding up a golden eagle as it splays its wings.
Ata Beyit Memorial Complex just outside Bishkek pays respect to the 137 victims killed and buried in a mass grave during the 1938 Great Purge under the orders of Stalin. One man in the village saw what happened here and only told his daughter. The woman would hold the secret until after Kyrgyzstan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sheep in a pin at the busy Tokmok Sunday Animal Bazaar located a short distance from Bishkek. Traders come from all around Chuy Valley to buy, sell and trade livestock in the early morning hours each Sunday.
Looking for a Sunday day trip from Bishkek? Visit the Sunday Tokmok Animal Market
Artfully stacked and displayed non (bread) at the Osh Bazaar in Bishkek.
Plan your time in Bishkek: The 10 Best Things To Do In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Yurts lined up along Issykul Lake.
Have Any Questions About Kyrgyzstan After Scrolling Through Some Of My Favorite Kyrgyzstan Photos?
Ask your Kyrgyzstan questions in the comments section below.