|One essential region missing from my collection of global
adventures was Central Asia and the Russian domain. Realizing this void, I
decided to make the Inner Asian steppes my next adventure. My initial
destination was Uzbekistan. The ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara had
intrigued me for a long time; however, realizing that the bureaucratic process
of obtaining an Uzbekistani visa was going to potentially be a very time
consuming and expensive process, I turned my attention to Uzbekistan's remote
eastern neighbor, Kyrgyzstan.
Landlocked Kyrgyzstan has become one of
the safest and easily accessible of the Central Asian republics. Kyrgyzstan
does not have to oil money of neighboring Kazakhstan, nor the sites and ancient
cities of Uzbekistan - however, it does possess some of the region's most
authentic nomadic culture as well as dramatic alpine landscape. To help
rejuvenate its staggering economy, the Kyrgyz govenment has wisely decided to
invest in its tourism potential by handing out visas upon arrival to tourists
from western countries - unlinke it's bordering Central Asian states.
Kyrgyzstan is now an excellent destination to immerse yourself in nomadic
herder culture while camping out in the jailoos in a yurt, or do some world
class trekking in the countries Eastern Tien Shen mountain range.
spent about 10 days in Kyrgyzstan. I arrived in the capital city bishkek early
in the morning and after a day of sightseeing in the capital city, headed off
east for the countries real attractions; the lakes, mountains, and jailoos.
After a couple of days lounging on the lakeside beaches of Issy-Kul, I then
headed to the sleepy alpine town of Karakol to do some trekking and horse
riding in the Tien Shen Mountains. I was also sure to visit Karakol's excellent
Sunday animal market. After Karakol, it was then off to Lake Song Kol to spend
a couple of nights living and horse riding with a nomadic family in their