Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

Etymology

“Kyrgyz” is believed to have been derived from the Turkic word for “forty”, in reference to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans against the Uyghurs. Literally, Kyrgyz means We are forty. At the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghurs dominated much of Central Asia (including Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Jazz Band Bar – The only place where you can enjoy real Live Jazz. [facebook]

Startup Grind Bishkek – Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in 200 cities and 85 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, & investors. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Fdating – Free Kyrgyzstan dating, Kyrgyzstan women. [fdating]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Advantour – Advantour Company offers you tours to Bishkek. Excursions and walking tours, hotels booking in Bishkek, guides and translators. [advantour]

Free Tours in Bishkek – Come and explore Bishkek with young, local people that are both born and raised in the city. Fueled by our love and passion for their city, you can expect a warm welcome and a fascinating introduction to the city. The guides speak fluent English and have seen the world, so we know exactly how things work! See the wonderful must-see landmarks and the local favorites! [free tour]

Intrepid Travel – Tucked into the heart of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s skyline is dominated by craggy peaks and alpine lakes. Pull on your boots and get trekking to really experience its spectacular beauty. You’re likely to come across spectacular glaciers, be invited into a yurt for some yoghurt or ushered to the sidelines of a ferocious game of goat polo. [intrepid travel]

Trip to Kyrgyzstan – Throughout your journey you will enjoy the sights of nature and majestic mountains. Here, far away from civilization you will feel yourself like a true nomad, who simply enjoys his way of living. [trip to kyrgyzstan]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Absorb Arslanbob’s natural beauty – The walnut forests surrounding the ethnic Uzbek village of Arslanbob in the Jalal-Abad province are among the largest in the world and central to the local economy. The landscape here is exceptionally beautiful and perfect for summer hiking, skiing in winter or simply walking. Stop for a drink in the main square and watch the locals play chess. [world travel guide]

Bag a bargain at Osh market – The chaotic swell of people that duck and weave around Osh market make it one of Kyrgyzstan’s main attractions. It’s one of the largest in Central Asia and an excellent place to people watch or buy souvenirs, fruits, spices and everything else under the sun. [world travel guide]

Dare to climb Central Tien Shan – Central Tien-Shan, in the far east of the country, is for the truly intrepid as it contains the nation’s two highest peaks. Access is usually by helicopter and offers challenging mountaineering and glacier walks. For experienced climbers only, a trek in Tien Shan will reward with a disappearing lake and supposed UFO landing site. Mountaineering and border permits are required. [world travel guide]

Explore the spectacular Ala-Archa Canyon – South of Bishkek, and within easy reach of the capital for day trips, this rugged valley of alpine meadows, pine forest, towering mountain peaks and fast-flowing streams offers superb scenery within the confines of a national park. Whether you want to hike, rock climb or ski, do so surrounded by natural beauty. [world travel guide]

Get pampered at Jeti-Ögüz Sanatorium – One of Issyk-Kul’s last remaining spas, the Jeti-Ögüz sanatorium offers its guests Kyrgyz-style pampering. Aside from the massages, pools, and surrounding red rock formations, it’s worth a visit just to wander around the eerie building that could be lifted straight from a David Lynch film. [world travel guide]

Hike to Tash Rabat – This isolated monument is probably Kyrgyzstan’s most remarkable Silk Road site. Half-buried on a hillside some 3,500m up (11,483ft), this former caravanserai was built in the 15th century on the site of what may have been a Nestorian Christian monastery. As well as being an attraction in itself, Tash Rabat is a great starting point for hiking. [world travel guide]

Horse ride to Lake Song-kol – The beautiful 3,000m-high (9,840ft) Song-Kol is the jewel in the crown of Kyrgyzstan’s gorgeous mountain scenery. Visit in the summer when horse treks to the lake can be arranged from Kochkor and a stay in a yurt to complete the experience. Community Based Tourism can help arrange horse treks to Song-Kol. [world travel guide]

Marvel at the Manas Ordu Complex – Close to the town of Talas is a large memorial complex dedicated to Manas, the legendary 10th-century Kyrgyz hero. Although it is unclear whether or not Manas is actually buried here, there is a mausoleum here that is a place of great reverence to most Kyrgyz. [world travel guide]

Seek out Solomon’s Mount for picturesque panoramas – The city of Osh in the south of the country has a central rocky outcrop known locally as Solomon’s Throne because the legendary king was once supposed to have slept here. The top is marked with a small shrine called Babur’s House, an important pilgrimage site for Uzbeks. [world travel guide]

Seek out the striking Burana Tower – South of Tokmok, though close enough to Bishkek for a day excursion, this tower is actually a minaret – all that remains of the 10th-century Karakhanid city of Balasagun. As well as the tower and visitor centre the site also has an interesting array of balbals, Turkic stone grave markers. [world travel guide]

Stroll the boulevards of Bishkek – The Kyrgyzstan capital is a relaxed city with wide boulevards, leafy parks and clear views of the snow-capped Ala-Too mountain range to the south. Although specific sights are limited, the city is a pleasant place to wander, with good hotels and restaurants and interesting museums like the State Historical Museum. [world travel guide]

Swim in Lake Issyk-Kul – Relax on Cholpon-Ata beach after a swim in Lake Issyk-Kul, the second highest alpine lake in the world. Meaning “warm lake” in Kyrgyz (it is said never to freeze over), Lake Issyk-Kul is popular come summer and the nearby valleys make for enjoyable walking. Once you’ve dried off, head for a spot of karaoke on the town’s main street. [world travel guide]

Take a camera and capture the colours of Sary-Chelek – The Sary-Chelek Biosphere Reserve has the best environmental elements of Kyrgyzstan in one place, with a series of forests, meadows and lakes. Central to this large biosphere reserve, which is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and 160 species of bird, is the beautiful cobalt-blue lake of Sary-Chelek. Visit in autumn when the leaves turn yellow. [world travel guide]

Trek the Altyn Arashan Valley – A number of treks start in Karakol, the major town near Lake Issyk-Kul. The most popular is the three-day hike around the Altyn Arashan Valley. The path is easy to follow and can be done without a guide, and although day two is hard going, the views from the highest point of the trek make the effort worthwhile. [world travel guide]

Uncover Uzbek petroglyphs – There are petroglyphs all over Kyrgyzstan but some of the most accessible can be seen close to Cholpon-Ata, near Lake Issyk-Kul. Alternatively, visit the Saimaluu-Tash collection, where there are thousands of prehistoric rock carvings spread across two glacial marines. It was a sacred site as early as 2000BC and is still revered by people of the Tien Shan today. [world travel guide]

Watch eagle hunting at Bokonbaevo – Hunting with eagles is an ancient Kyrgyz tradition that is in danger of dying out. The small town of Bokonbaevo on Lake Issyk-Kul’s southern shore is one of the best places to see this in action and demonstrations can be arranged with the local CBT (Community Based Tourism) coordinator. [world travel guide]

Festivals

Festivals

Birds of Prey Festival – Traditionally, birds of prey such as the falcon and the golden eagle were captured as chicks and trained by nomadic people to hunt small animals for food. Just one bird could support an entire settlement’s protein diet, making thema held in high value and treated as members of the tribe. The Birds of Prey Festival takes place every August, with proud owners bringing their avian treasures to take part in contests. Visits to sacred sites, horse games and folklore shows are also highlights of the event. [iexplore]

Independence Day – The August national holiday of Independence Day is marked with pride and celebration all over Kyrgyzstan. In the capital, parades and exhibitions take place, and folk events, concerts, and demonstrations form part of the revelry. [iexplore]

Kyrgyz Kochu Festival – This unique Kyrgyzstan event is celebrated in August and marks the annual migration of nomadic herders and their flock from the high summer pastures to winter in the lowlands. National games, horse races, eating and drinking, folk music, dancing, and hordes of animals dressed up for the occasion are the centerpiece. [iexplore]

National Horse Festival – Horses have been central to the Kyrgyz way of life for untold centuries, with a plethora of contests and games evolving to test the skills of riders and their mounts. The National Horse Festival every July is one of the country’s most popular events, featuring races, team games such as Ulak Tartysh (a form of polo), Kyz Kuumai (the chase between horsemen and horsewomen), Tyiyn Enmei (riders picking up a coin on the ground at full gallop), and the spectacular Kurosh (wrestling on horseback). The rules date back centuries, making the event a not to miss experience for visitors. [iexplore]

Navroz Spring Festival – This incredibly ancient Central Asian festival celebrates renewal and rebirth around the spring equinox after the harsh, icy winter. Held over two days in April, it’s an Islamic adaptation of one of mankind’s oldest rituals. Highlights include traditional games, music, dance, drama, bazaars, markets, and lots of partying. [iexplore]

New Year – As with the rest of the world, the New Year is welcomed in Kyrgyzstan with parties, fireworks and a variety of other fun events. [iexplore]

Orthodox Easter – Orthodox Easter usually occurs in Kyrgyzstan in April, about two weeks after it is celebrated in Western Christianity. The event is marked by candlelit church services, parades of holy images and icons and family get-togethers. [iexplore]

Ramadan – The Islamic month of Ramadan is the religion’s most important event in Kyrgyzstan, taking place according to the Muslim calendar usually in August or September, with the devout fasting between sun-up and sundown. They hit the streets every evening to feast and be merry with friends and the month ends with Eid al-Fitr, a joyful day of feasting and family parties. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus – Efficient bus routes are extended to almost every area of Kyrgyzstan. You may find buses jam packed with people but that’s the essence of the country.  If you want to get yourself indulged in the conventions of the country just like a native, a travel in a crowded bus would give you a lovely experience. Besides, this bus transport is the safest, cheapest and reliable method of domestic travel in the country. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Car Hire – Car-hire facilities are not available in the region. However, tourists can enjoy packages from tourism companies that provide a car and a driver-cum-guide. Driving by tourist themselves is also not a good idea as the roads are not smooth and neither is the police system. That means you may have to take too many risks. The police may deliberately ask foreigners to pull over and to give bribes for their release. Few chances of robbery also exist. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Mini-buses- “Marshrutki” – These are Mercedes and other vans being driven in various directions of the country. Marshrutki are inexpensive (4 soms for Osh city and Karakul 5 soms for Bishkek) and can take you almost anywhere. However, you different Mars are heading to different destinations and you have to ask somewhere where the bus will go before you get on board. You also have to make the bus driver stop by loudly saying “ostanovite pojaluista zdes” as soon as your destination arrives. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Rail Network – There is not a very wide rail way network in Kazakhstan because of the nature of the land and possibly the needlessness felt by the authority. There exists only a single railway line that runs between Bishkek, Balykchi and the west of Issyk-Kul Lake. A possible path into the country from Uzbekistan is served by the rail link between it and the Osh city of Kyrgyzstan. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Taxi – A distinct feature of the country is the availability of shared taxis at almost every part of the region. You just have to make sure that the taxis are not shared with strangers and suspicious-looking people. However, over all the drive is smooth and lovely. You also have the opportunity to make the taxi private by buying all the seats at once. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Trolleybuses – These are the big electric-powered vehicles. They are inexpensive and pokey. It is not a very good idea to travel in these as most of them are not in a good condition and can get disconnected from wires causing a noisy stop. [kyrgyz.net.my]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Bishkek Twitter Developer Community – This meetup is for everyone interested in working with Twitter’s developer products and APIs. We organize events which aim to bring developers, Twitter engineers, and various partners together for technical talks and networking. [meetup]

Docker Bishkek – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker. Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. [meetup]

Meteor Kyrgyzstan – Meet other developers using Meteor. Share your knowledge, apps, and get feedback from others. Meteor is an open-source platform for building top-quality web apps in a fraction of the time, whether you’re an expert developer or just getting started. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Living in Kyrgystan – There are quite a few expats living in Bishkek, the capital city. Most expats work for NGOs or in the mining or development sectors. There is also a high demand for teachers in this central Asian country. Expats should be prepared for a very unique experience in Kyrgyzstan. [expat woman]

Your Expat Community in Kyrgyzstan – Salamatsyngby and welcome to our community for expats in Kyrgyzstan! At InterNations we run a global community for expats in all corners of the world, including many living and working in central Asia. When you join our expat community in Kyrgyzstan, you’ll have the opportunity to gain first-hand insights into what life is really like in this mysterious and relatively unspoiled country. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Labrys Kyrgyzstan – LGBTIQA organization “Labrys” is a grassroots platform for advancement and protection of the human rights of LGBTIQA people in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia equipped with advocacy instruments moved by different generations of activists. [labrys]

Resources

Resources

Places in Kyrgyzstan

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