The Kyrgyz Republic

The land of hills and horses

According to an ancient proverb, horses are "the wings of the Kyrgyz", and it’s here you’ll find them running free - to the backdrop of some beautiful mountains.

The complexity of Kyrgyzstan’s name alone is often enough to put off even the most ardent traveller.
Yet though it has acquired the spurious title of least heard-of country on the globe, as awarded by Time Magazine, the experience of visiting this nation is far less daunting than its spelling suggests.

Getting there can be tricky. Flights aren‘t exactly direct, and most people arrive from China or a Central Asian neighbour by bus or train.
A word on this; handing over a few Som to a guard for entry, unofficially of course, is not as harrowing as it may first seem.

And once in, you will find the friendly manner of the Kyrgyz people to be incredibly warm. A regular family will welcome you in to a humble abode and lavish you with all the bread, jam and tea they own.
Do not reject until you‘ve had enough, but do reciprocate with a small gift, preferably an item they cannot purchase locally.

You will certainly meet fellow travellers along the way, as the sporadic nature of accommodation and transport dictates.
And a shared taxi will often save you many hours of journeying through the mountainous regions that comprise around 85% of the Republic. But here it is definitely the case that in the voyage lies half the fun.
For extreme trekkers and climbers, Kyrgyzstan is fast becoming a badly kept secret, but if conquering 6000+m mountains is not your cuppa, do not despair.

The rolling green pastures and smaller mountains make for a multitude of day hikes and 2 to 4 day treks. And if you’re not one for mass organisation and carrying heavy loads then look no further than Community Based Tourism and Shepherd’s Life.
Both organisations specialise in three areas:

Accommodation - providing homestays for walkers visiting rural areas where there are no or few...