Discovery Kyrgyzstan
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008

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From Editor

Kyrgyzstan - Land of the Tien ShanI recently had the tremendous pleasure to participate in a blitz Press Trip around the Kyrgyz Republic by invitation of DMO, the Destination Marketing Organization.

Together with colleague travel writers and journalist from Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium I was treated to the highlights of what this relatively young destination offers the curious visitor. And what a varied program it was under the most competent and charming care of Yuliya.

In Bishkek we were accommodated at the gorgeous and beautifully appointed Hyatt Regency. Dinner at the tastefully furnished twelve chimneys restaurant in the foot hills outside of town was hosted by OSCE, which gave us an opportunity to ask questions and better understand the present political situation. There is no reason not to travel to the Kyrgyz Republic, on the contrary, that was the message we took with us also after the press conference and a cocktail reception on our last night in Bishkek, when we got the chance to mingle with the movers and shakers in tourism.

A unique indigenous culture draws an ever increasing number of visitors. Lovely village home stays, overnights in a yurt, the Jailoo high up in the mountains, with semi-nomadic Kyrgyz, allow one to experience the genuine lifestyle of those who live a few hours drive from the capital. It is exemplary that those who wish to provide this type of tourism services are organized in various associations, who very evidently have received advise and hands-on help to create an identity for themselves and a means of promoting their existence through very well made brochures. Once in the country, a visitor is able to get good information.

Eagle Hunting Show, Petroglyphs, Horse riding games, Millennia old monuments, Crafts and Home cooking had us scramble off our coach at regular intervals. I was completely smitten by the carpets, hand bags and souvenirs made from felt; a true knack for design, they have, the Kyrgyz; the shop at Kochgor village, the crafts at Cholpon Ata made for great shopping. So do the Camp shop, the Cacsa outlet and Tumor Boutique in Bishkek. Temperatures did not permit us to dip into the lake but I guess we all pictured ourselves on the wide sandy beach at the upscale but very affordable Raduga Resort on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul where we spent the night. A very pleasant boat ride across Issyk Kul brought us straight to Cholpan Ata Yacht Club, where we could have rented diving and snorkeling gear to explore the depth of the greenest water you can imagine.

And there is so much more we could have done; horse riding, trekking, mountain climbing, rafting and so on.

It is absolutely possible and even recommendable, to travel as an individual or with a few friends or family in a small group and have one of the local travel agents, whose address you find in this issue's advertisement section, put together a tailor made program. You have 10 days to spend in the Kyrgyz Republic? You will not be bored. You have 3 days? Not to worry, the distances are not such as to prevent you from getting a good variety of activities.

Truly, the Kyrgyz Republic is a real discovery of a genuinely different and as of yet unspoiled world and I for one know I will be back.

Andrea Leuenberger

CIM IF Tourism Development Bukhara Uzbekistan
Editor-in-Chief Discovery Central Asia Travel Magazine

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #5

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