Hiking Near Bishkek: 12 Kaminov

While there is plenty to do in Bishkek, the main reason many people choose to study there is to experience the breathtaking landscape of Kyrgyzstan’s countryside. The SRAS program organizes hiking excursions to Ala-Archa and around Issyk-Kul, but there are also free weekends when you can hike independently to lesser-known areas. My friend Allie and […]

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A Weekend Excursion in Issyk-Kul

Just a few hours after stepping off the plane, I was whisked away on an excursion to Issyk-Kul. I found myself on a van full of students I didn’t know, but with whom I quickly became friends. The ride out to the Issyk-Kul region was a long four hours over bumpy roads with a driver […]

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek ~$400 for a 6-day trip I am currently a student in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan but I love traveling in general. Therefore, when my friend studying in Moscow asked me if I’d be interested in taking a trip to Georgia to meet up, I obviously said “Yes.” I planned out a six-day […]

Home Sweet Yurt

Yurts are felt-covered, portable housing that have long been used throughout Central Asia. Although the region is urbanizing, the Kyrgyz still know and follow the traditional customs that surround the traditional yurt. Hospitality is revered in the traditionally poor country of Kyrgyzstan. As soon as they see a new arrival, neighbors will come to meet […]

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan Glaciers and Vodka Baths A Review of Kyrgyz Summer Adventure, an SRAS educational program One of my absolute favorite things about travelling is the sensations one experiences when waking up and falling asleep in a foreign country. While not thoroughly confusing, it is disorienting enough to give one a pleasant reminder […]

Ruh-Ordo Complex – a Day Trip from Bishkek

Ruh-Ordo Complex/ Культурный центр Рух-Ордо Address: Чолпон-Ата, Киргизия Hours 9-5 Monday-Sunday Admission: 300 som Ruhordo.kg If you visit Lake Issyk-Kul during the summer, check out the Ruh-Ordo Complex at Cholpon-Ata. This complex is an open air museum with beaches that boats an array of sculptures and cultural pieces, along with buildings devoted to Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, […]

Kyrgyz Horse Games – a Day Trip from Bishkek

National Kyrgyz Horse Games / Националные конно-спортивные игры Address: Ипподром near Cholpon-Ata on Issyk-Kul Free This year elections for the Issyk-Kul region were coming. This does not affect life much as a temporary student in Kyrgyzstan except that it means that the Бир Бол political party set up the Horse Games with free entrance for anyone! […]

Supara Ethno-Complex, Bishkek

Supara Ethno-Complex/Супара Этно-Комплекс Supara.kg 1a Karagul Akmata Str., Kok-Jar village Meals from 340 som Супара Этно-Комплекс (Supara Ethno-Complex) on the scenic outskirts of Bishkek, was developed over the past several years by Tabyldy Egemberdiev, president of the enormously popular Шоро (Shoro) Company, which produces traditional Kyrgyz drinks, among other things. Egemberdiev’s wife, Janyl, was a […]

Chong-Kemin Valley, Kyrgyzstan

Mist, Mud, and Mountains in Beautiful Chong-Kemin Weekend Trip ~1000 som Chong-Kemin Valley is home to villages, a national park, and a state reserve just two and a half hours from Bishkek by marshrutka. I visited a village in the valley with two friends in March, travelling through CBT (Community Based Tourism). With more time […]

Meros Silk Paper Factory in Samarkand

Meros Silk Paper Factory/Бумажная Фабрика «Мерос» Koni Ghil/Кони Гил Tour cost: 3000 sum/$1.25 The Meros Silk Paper Factory was one of the last stops on this November’s trip from Bishkek to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, organized by SRAS and The London School of Bishkek as part of the Central Asian Studies study abroad program. Just outside Samarkand, […]

Central Asian Plov Center in Tashkent

Central Asian Plov Center/Среднеазиатский Центр Плова 1 Iftihor St./ул. Ифтихор, д. 1 Hours: 10:00-14:00 Entrées from 5000 sum ($2) Though I have tried плов (plov, or pilaf) in only one restaurant in Uzbekistan’s capital, I feel confident recommending Central Asian Plov Center as a worthwhile destination in Tashkent for both the food quality and the […]

Ata-Beyit Memorial Complex in Chong-Tash

Ata-Beyit/Ата-бейит Day Trip from Bishkek Ата-бейит (Ata-Beyit, Kyrgyz for “Grave of Our Fathers”) is a memorial complex located in Chong-Tash, a village and skiing destination in the Chui Province about 15 miles south of Bishkek. The site honors two dark episodes in Kyrgyzstan’s history: mass murders that occurred in 1938 at the hands of the […]

Lake Song-Kol in Naryn Province

Lake Song-Kol/Сонкёль Weekend Trip from Bishkek Horse Treking Budget: 11,300 soms Lake Song-Kol (Russian Сонкёль, Kyrgyz Соңкөл), the largest fresh water lake in Kyrgyzstan, lies at 9,895 ft in the peaks of mountains in Naryn Province. It’s one of the most magical places I have ever visited. I loved it more than the larger, more […]

Kok-Tobe, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kok-Tobe (Көк-Төбе) Almaty, Kazakhstan My time spent in Kazakhstan was brief, only two or three days, but in those brief moments I spent in Almaty, I lived true. In that time I had dinner and went shot for shot with politically eccentric dissidents, whose views were united only in their hatred for President Nazarbayev, saw […]

The Do’s and Please Dont’s of Turkmenistan

Let’s face it everyone, Turkmenistan has a reputation that precedes it. The country has often been associated with the trope of the eccentric “hermit kingdom.” Characteristics such as extreme cults of personality surrounding their leaders, isolationism, strict control of all information within the country by the government, downright bizarre laws and a high functioning propaganda […]

Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan

Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan / Cоюз пешеходного туризма Кыргызстана Website: tuk.kg Location: Kiev Street 168 Phone: 0556 10 19 33 Email: trek@elcat.kg Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9-5pm, Thursday: 9-7pm, Saturday: 10-12pm (equipment rentals only) When moving to a foreign country, it is always difficult figuring out how to do the things you want to do. […]

Long and Winding Road from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan

This past weekend, I visited Osh, the “southern capital” of Kyrgyzstan. I’ve always wanted to go because I heard the 620-kilometer Bishkek-Osh Highway, the only main road connecting Russia with the south of Central Asia, was gorgeous. I also wanted to see “the south.” People always talk about Kyrgyzstan’s cultural, linguistic, and political “north-south divide,” […]

Weekend in Bokunbaeva, Kyrgyzstan

The best parts of Kyrgyzstan summers are weekend getaways to Lake Issyk Kul, one of the world’s deepest and highest lakes. Issyk Kul, which means “hot lake” in Kyrgyz, is the ultimate beach destination. It’s “hot” because it never freezes – but that is due to its salt content, not because it’s actually hot. Lake […]

Seven Things to Love in Almaty

Seven Things to Love in Almaty By Eirene Busa For those looking for a spring weekend getaway in Central Asia (and who isn’t?), book a trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and previous capital. Almaty is clean, modern, full of spacious, well-manicured parks, and it has a stunning backdrop of the snow-covered Ala-Too Mountains (or, […]

Top Ten Reasons Americans Should Visit Turkmenistan

This past week, I took a break from Kyrgyzstan and spent a few days traveling through Turkmenistan, visiting the cities of Ashgabad, Mary, Merv, Geok-Tepe, and Turkmenabad. This trip was arranged by The School of Russian and Asian Studies and The London School of Bishkek for participants of The Central Asian Studies study abroad program. […]