Relax at a natural spa
Kyrgyzstan, with its mountains and all the natural water flowing down from the peaks, is well known for the natural spa services that it offers to tourists. Visitors who wish to have a relaxing getaway have a variety of options all over the country for spa services.
One of the popular places for spa relaxation is Djalal Abad, a city that has played host to travelers since the days of the Silk Route. According to legend, the waters in the Hozret-Ayub-Paigambar spa here in Djalal Abad can cure lepers from their condition. Kurort, the Djalal Abad sanatorium, is known for its salty waters with curative properties. Visitors from all over the world collect bottles of this therapeutic water.
It is worthwhile to visit other spas in the country aside from those found in Djalal Abad. Relaxing at a spa amidst a rustic setting and sometimes with a mountain view is a refreshing experience that will energize you for another day of travel around Kyrgyzstan.
Hike in the mountains
A country that is this abundant with mountains must mean that there are likewise abundant hiking opportunities. And yes, there are numerous hiking spots in Kyrgyzstan. In fact, you can talk with the locals to accompany you in hiking up any hill or mountain that is near where you are.
One of the popular hiking spots in Kyrgyzstan is the Lenin Peak. With a height of 7,134 meters, it is the third highest peak in what was formerly the Soviet Union. It is located in the borders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and is also known as Kuh-i-Gamo, which means “Warm Mountain.” The peak is known for the ease of hiking and climbing up, so it is frequented by hikers and climbers from all over the world. However, it is still best to exercise caution as the rapidly changing weather at high altitudes can prove to be dangerous.
Most of the other hiking spots in Kyrgyzstan can be found in the Tian Shan mountain range, some of which are PobedyPeak, Khan-TengriMountain, and MuztagAtaPeak.
Shop at Osh
Nothing comes close to the unique experience that you can find when you go shopping to the legendary Osh Bazaar at the center of Bishkek.
The Osh Bazaar is a flea market that traces its roots back to the ancient times. You can find almost everything that Kyrgyzstan has to offer in this colorful and vibrant market. The Osh Bazaar is not a “fixed-price” market; therefore, your negotiation and bargaining skills will be put to the test. If you haggle effectively, you can come away with the best deals possible.
Popular items in the bazaar include unique fabrics, tasty sweets, and durable furniture. People from all countries, cultures, and social classes converge in Osh Bazaar to buy and sell what they want and need.
The best time to visit the Osh Bazaar is in the morning. This is to avoid the congestion that happens later in the day. Congestion can become annoying, ruining what could otherwise be a good shopping experience.
Ride a horse
Horses are very valuable in Kyrgyzstan. The mountainous geography of the country makes horse riding a very appropriate and comfortable means of travel. And because of their importance, the horses of Kyrgyzstan are well taken care of to ensure that they are in their best shape.
One of the popular horse riding spots in Kyrgyzstan is Lake Song-Kol. This lake is much smaller than Issyk Kul Lake but is considered more beautiful. The surrounding area is perfect for horse riding, allowing you to enjoy every angle of the great view.
You can rent horses from the locals, who will also accompany you on your horse ride to ensure that you don’t encounter any problems with the horse. If it would be your first time in riding a horse, they will also gladly teach you the basics so that you can enjoy the experience of horse riding in Kyrgyzstan.
Volunteer to help
While most tourists go to Kyrgyzstan for vacation purposes, some take the trip to volunteer to help the poverty-stricken country. In fact, once told of the opportunity, some tourists take time off their short stay in the country to volunteer.
In Bishkek alone, there are hundreds of non-government organizations (NGOs) that provide help to the less fortunate. Simply go to an NGO and state your intention to help. They will gladly accept you and inform you of possible volunteering activities.
But if they ask you to pay so that you can volunteer your services, leave immediately – it is most likely a scam.
Habitat for Humanity is an international NGO that has a strong presence in Kyrgyzstan. It aims to build and provide good homes to those in need. You may opt to volunteer with this NGO, which might give you an opportunity to help construct a wall for a family’s future home.
Volunteering is a physically demanding activity, but this is greatly outweighed by the good feeling that you can get from knowing that you are helping a family own a roof and walls over their heads – a place they can call home.