Kyrgyzstan tourism is poised for an explosion in the coming years. This charming Central Asian country is easily one of the hottest emerging travel destinations on the planet.
With gorgeous, mountains, a fascinating culture, and a rapidly developing tourist infrastructure, Kyrgyzstan’s tourism scene is expanding rapidly. Go now before the masses arrive to experience Kyrgyzstan at its best.
Why Kyrgyzstan Tourism is Poised for a Boom
Kyrgyzstan, a little-visited country in Central Asia, offers everything you need for your next cultural exploration or hiking adventure:
- Amazing hiking is just a day trip away from the capital – Check out our guide on the incredible hiking in Ala Archa National Park, less than an hour from Bishkek.
- Kyrgyzstan does not require a visa for many nationalities – Unlike most of its neighboring countries, you can likely save the hassle and cost of a visa (but, like always, be sure to check your specific nationality).
- It is relatively affordable – This is especially true if your home currency in the US Dollar, which has gained significantly against the Som over the past two years. A hostel dorm bed costs about $9, a budget double room about $25. A decent meal at a local restaurant might run you $4. A bus from Bishkek to Karakol or Osh will cost $8-$12.
- The people are super friendly – Tourism is still a novelty in Kyrgyzstan, so the locals are very keen to interact with foreigners.
- There is a well-established Community Based Tourism program – Through this excellent program, you can go horse-trekking, hiking, see falconeering, stay in yurt camps, and more. Best of all, the program is designed to ensure your money goes to the locals. Learn more about CBT and all the amazing things you can do in Krygystan at http://cbtkyrgyzstan.kg/.
- The landscape stuns – Seriously, the mountains here are incredible. The Travel Lemming has lived near mountains most of his life, and is sometimes numb to mountain landscapes. But Kyrgyzstan’s deliver. Outside of Svaneti, Georgia, I have a hard time thinking of an areas that compares to the landscapes here.
- Safety in Kyrgyzstan– Despite what you may think, Kyrgyzstan is a perfectly safe and stable country to visit. Kyrgyzstan’s tourism is on the upswing, but many locals will still be fascinated just to encounter foreigners.
- When to Visit – Unless you want to ski, you should visit in summer. Any other time you are looking at mountain passes potentially being closed and the seasonal yurt camps yet to be set up.
- Language – Kyrgyz and Russian are widely spoken here. English is not, though in Bishkek service personnel and young folks generally know enough to help out.
- Money – Kyrgyzstan calls their currency Som and, as of May, 2017, one USD exchanges to 67 Som.
- Flights – There are a handful of international flights to Bishkek, mostly from within Central Asia, though there are also direct flights from Delhi and the Middle East. It is also very easy to get between Bishkek and Almaty, Kazakhstan, which has a wider array of direct flights from Europe and the Gulf.
- Where to Stay in Bishkek – [disclosure: affiliate link] I stayed in the excellent Interhouse, Bishkek, a very clean and friendly hostel with nice private rooms on offer in addition to dorms. They also have other locations across the country.
- Getting to Almaty – Check out our guide on getting from Bishkek to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where you can enjoy Central Asia’s cosmopolitan city and more abundant air connections.
Find out More about Kyrgyzstan Tourism
- Check out our post on hiking Ala Archa National Park.
- Go the CBT website for trip ideas and more.
- Visit Carivanistan – the leading online resource for the Silk Road.
Lastly, be sure to get your free copy of my e-book with 99 Travel Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to make your journey better!