Issyk Kul province is famous not only for the amazing lake, but also for bunch of more touristic attractions. The next place that we must check out is Karakol city. Visiting Karakol in winter is the best option and here is why:
Karakol is famous for its amazing mountains and snow in great condition. Therefore, it already became number one ski-resort in the whole country! The resort itself is located just 20-30 minutes away from the city itself. There are so many opportunities to enjoy winter vacations as much as possible besides skiing: free-ride, snowmobile, paragliding and snowboarding. There are lifts as well for those, who is tired of skiing and just want to relax and enjoy the view of nature from above.
The prices are pretty affordable, or even cheaper than in foreign countries. So, it is more fun to come with a huge company, such as family and friends. There are nice hotels to stay for some days and rentals, in case you do not have the necessary equipment for skiing.
It is now time to introduce you to one of the most famous and most visited places of Kyrgyzstan. It is Issyk Kul, which is translated as “Warm Lake” from Kyrgyz language. The lake is not ordinary and there are pretty many reasons…
The pearl of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk Kul is the world’s second largest alpine lake after Titikaka. Unlike many other lakes, Issyk-Kul’s water is crystal clear. The nature around is breathtaking, thanks to the majestic glaciers surrounding the lake.
It is such a natural wonder that many rivers flow into the lake, but there is none which goes out of it. At the same time, the level of water never goes higher than the limit!
The fact that the ancient city of Chigu Chen was found under Issyk-Kul also makes it more mysterious. Just imagine people living as a whole nation just some centuries ago at the bottom of this lake…
Let us make this one of our virtual tour something a bit different. We will avoid any kind of monuments, museums, resorts or other attractions. It will be a nice trip to the nice forest in the south of Kyrgyzstan, Jalal-Abad province. The forest is not the typical one with usual trees, but the one filled with walnuts.
Arslanbab is the biggest by the territory walnut forest in the world. The trees can live for several centuries and still give the same huge amount of fruit every year. There are some legends as well, that say Alexander the Great came to these places years ago and first discovered the walnuts. He took some back to Greece and it was spread to the world under the name of “Greek walnuts”.
There are pretty big amount of visitors every year, who come to enjoy this calming area, located on the mountain ranges and a beautiful waterfall nearby. Arslanbab walnut forest is now one of the most precious treasures of not only Kyrgyzstan, but also the whole planet.
Stoned doors can only mean mountain and caves huh? Actually, it is just the literal meaning of ancient caravanserai, called Tash Rabat. I’ll share one of the nice articles I read about it with you here.
“There are the caravanserais, that served as inns for the travelers of the great Silk Road. The one in Kyrgyzstan’s Naryn province is called Tash Rabat. It is situated in the middle of nowhere, so far away from civilization.
Some argue that Tash Rabat may have been a Christian or Buddhist monastery before it was turned into a caravanserai, but there is little evidence to support this theory. However, it is incredible how great it still looks going through so many centuries. It was built only with stones, which may be the reason why it is so stable and got the name Tash Rabat, which means “Stone Door”.
It would be a nice experience to visit that ancient caravanserai, however, the extreme isolation among the mountains and hard weather conditions make it difficult to reach whenever the person wants. However, in suitable weather, it will be a nice trip back to history and there is a possibility as well to stay in one of the yurts nearby for a night.”
How fun it is to visit and explore new places, to travel wherever you can afford and enjoy the luxury of life! What if health improvement is added to the trip as well? Exactly, two rabbits with one shot!
Health improvement tours are offered in forms of medicinal hot springs, yurt camps dedicated to kymyz cleanses, or health resorts and spas.
There are several hot spring destinations all around Kyrgyzstan, such as the Altyn Arashan. Those hot springs are known to help treat diseases connected to the endocrine, cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. There are resorts around them to accommodate visitors and give them more comfort during procedures.
In the Suusamyr Valley there are special yurt camps that offer kymyz treatments. This unique drink made of horse milk is said to clean out the body, help people with recurring stomach problems, and boost energy.
The best health resorts and spas in Kyrgyzstan are located around the shores of Lake Issyk Kul. Therapeutic massage, acupuncture, mud treatments as well as physiotherapy, phototherapy, and hydrotherapy treatments are of the few choices to the visitors.
Although Kyrgyz nation is known as nomadic, today’s Kyrgyzstan’s territory went through some big historical events and was the evident of famous civilizations. The tower Burana is one of the proofs of this fact…
Burana Tower is seven kilometers away from the city of Tokmok. It is an 11th century minaret, and one of the first buildings of such type in Central Asia. The original height of minaret was 45 meters. Today the tower is 24.6 meters high due to the natural disasters.
In the 10th to 12th centuries, Karakhanids khanate was a great feudal state of Central Asia. The founders, “karakhans”, lived in the Tien-Shan. For a short time in the second half of the 10th century they conquered a large territory. One of the capitals of this state was Balasagun. Karakhanids’ time was the period of new towns and settlements, improved big cities.
Burana tower, mausoleums and other buildings found after archeological excavations are the witnesses of that build up. The town’s life declined slowly by years, because people left it, the buildings fell apart and finally in the 15th century it ceased to exit.
Observing different types of yurts gives a person so much intrigue, that it becomes a dream to spend there some time for real. It is even better to go as a guest and taste the national cuisine! Wishing everyone to have that chance one day, I would now like to introduce some traditions of meeting guests in Kyrgyzstan.
A guest is given the highest honor possible in this country. They say: “A guest is as great as father”. So, at Kyrgyz homes, even the “sinks” to wash hands come to the guest themselves! Guest gets the most honorable sit and is offered the best meal. Kyrgyz people are used to share the best of what they have with guests, even something they eat only once a year… So it would be really very polite to show gratitude and praise whatever they serve.
Here is a whole process of meeting guests and serving them at nomad’s yurt. Enjoy and get ready for your own experience in future as well!
If you visit Kyrgyzstan, local people will be happy to take you to the ethnic tours and share their culture and traditions with you. Since they have been nomads till very recent years, yurts – the tents , where they used to live before, will be the must see place. Yurts were very compact and comfortable to move around for nomads. The way how the things are perfectly organized in that tiny yurt may amaze you. There are certain rules which are supposed to be followed by the family members inside the “house”.
For the person, who is used to western comfort, it will be really hard to get used to their lifestyle. However, get ready for a big surprise: there are more and more modern yurts, which can be compared even to 5-star hotels!
I am honored to welcome you guys to our virtual tour to Silk Road today! Since the road is pretty long and full of different sights, I would like to start off with one of the smallest countries, through which the silkway passed through.
Kyrgyzstan is that very heart of Central Asia, which is gloried for its rich history and untouched nature. It is the land of nomads, who were able to survive through tough conditions of nature and different periods of history. They now are the citizens of an independent Republic of Kyrgyzstan, which just celebrated its 23rd Anniversary this year.
Despite its young age and small territory, Kyrgyzstan was able to attract plenty of tourists from all over the world. Its beautiful mountains and valleys, unique atmosphere of the past can create one of the best asia tours for the guests from abroad.
If to say the truth, I decided to do my thing here, which is spreading my love for Asia to everyone reading this blog. Central Asia is my home, it is the place I lived through thick and thin. This is the land which was the evident of world changing historical events through thousands of years!
The last but not least, Central Asian countries, such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are one of the few amount of countries, which still keep their culture and traditions and live with them. It definitely does deserve a special attention. I’ve had the joy of guiding a lot of tourists around Central Asia, and now I feel like doing it even at home, from my comfort zone. I’ll be sharing every precious information for tour travel lovers.