Outdoor Adventure

By foot, on horseback, or bicycle; Kyrgyzstan is the best country in the region to get out into the mountains and back in touch with nature.

Ak-Suu From Jyrgalan to Karakol and on to the Southern Shore, this mountainous region to the east of Issyk-Köl is prime territory for mountain adventure.

Alay Valley Stretching right up to the heights of the Pamir, Kyrgyzstan's far south is a mountain playground of high peaks and yurt homestays.

Naryn Ride for days, seeing no-one but the shepherds who call these valleys their summer homes. Naryn's best routes are remote, but the investment of time and energy more than pays off.

Son-Köl The classic horse-trek-and-yurt-stay combo remains popular for a reason – there's a breathtaking quality to this wide mountain pasture that can't be denied.

Spectacular Mountain Lakes

Of the country's nearly 2000 lakes, it's no surprise that the most impressive offer shimmering reflections of scenic mountain peaks as a backdrop.

Köl-Suu The journey is almost as good as the destination on the trip to this remote lake cutting through an impressive rocky gorge.

Sary-Chelek Locals love this large lake surrounded by lush forest, and you'll understand why once you see it.

Ala-Köl Ak-Suu's most popular hike passes through this sublime peak-packed lake whose colour changes with the clouds.

Boz-Uchuk A pair of small lakes near Jyrgalan that leave a larger-than-life impression on visitors.

Tulpar Köl Largest of a string of 42 lakes at the foot of mighty Peak Lenin, near Sary-Mogol.

Diverse Ethnic Cuisine

The country's ethnic diversity translates into a wide variety of cuisines and dishes. Sample them all for the full flavour of Kyrgyzstan.

Karakol Sample ashlyanfu (cold noodles, jelly, vinegar & eggs) from the Dungan community, azu (meat fried with pickles and vegetables, often served atop french fries) from your favourite Tatar, laghman (long, stout noodle soup) straight from an Uyghur kitchen; or better yet take the local-food tour and give 'em all a go.

Uzgen Widely known as the best plov (pilaf of rice and fried vegetables) around, this traditional Uzbek town is the place to chow down.

Osh Mighty Osh samsa (samosas) test whether your eyes really are larger than your stomach.

Naryn Kyrgyz locals knows the country's best, or at least meatiest, beshbarmak (flat noodles with meat or vegetable broth) comes from here.

Silk Road History

Kyrgyzstan's Silk Road remnants seem all the more impressive with rugged mountain backdrops that bring visitors back to the perils of ancient journeys.

Tash Rabat Ancient caravanserai stopping point for traders and travellers.

Uzgen 11th- and 12th-century minarets from the capital of a once-great empire.

Burana Tower The only remains of an important Karakhanid city.

Osh Over 3000 years old, Kyrgyzstan's 'Southern Capital' maintains a living link to the Silk Road history of the region.