“But where is that, the Kirgything?” This is often the first question we are asked when we talk about Kyrgyzstan. To answer this, a bit of geography is essential. This small mountainous country in Central Asia is over 90% covered by mountains and is located between China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and finally, Tajikistan. Once this answer has been given, “OK but why trekking in Kyrgyzstan?” is often the next question. We will try to answer them. But before, a short video of a trek to get up.
For its mountains of course!
As indicated in the introduction, the country is covered. The Tian Shan massif is indeed very present in the country. The peaks can reach more than 7000 meters! At this altitude, it is more mountaineering than treks. This is why the lower altitude mountains are more often the playground for walkers.
For its hospitable people
The Kyrgyz are a nomadic people who live a lot from animal husbandry. As often with nomads, hospitality is an important value. We saw this many times during our stay. It is true that underdeveloped tourism promotes these warm contacts. In addition, there is a deep respect for the “elders”. Even the police avoid fining a person of respectable age!
To see how far we have come since the Soviet period
Kyrgyzstan obtained its independence during the fall of the USSR in 1991. If the power struggles rocked the country until 2011, we can see that the attachment which the Kyrgyzs showed for democracy carried its fruits. Several presidents who are a little too interventionist have paid the price. Since 2011, however, power has been stable and the country perfectly calm. It is therefore possible to see the Soviet impact in cities, especially Bishkek, as well as the integration of Russians into the population.
Kyrgyzstan has had a history between Asia and the East. The country’s minorities are present and integrated. The result of all these mixes is varied and pleasant cuisine for a European palate. Desserts are not well represented, but this is the case throughout Asia.
But by the way, on horseback or on foot, the Kyrgyz trek?
The horse is omnipresent in the country. It is common to come across a rider, even in town, when it is of medium or small size. If you are a horse rider, there is no doubt that this is the most traditional way to visit the country. Be careful, however, to have already gone horseback riding in the mountains! To have seen them overlap on rocks or slippery paths with steep slopes, it is better to have a first experience of this type of riding. For non-riders, walking is a great way to explore the Kyrgyz mountains. Besides, when it’s cold, it allows you to warm up more efficiently than when you’re on horseback.