Make sure you pack your walking shoes when you head to Kyrgyzstan as once you see this stunning mountainous country you will want to head for the hills. This sparsely populated country, rich in nomadic traditions, has a wild beauty with vast lakes and alpine valleys.
Bishkek with its leafy streets, parks and its backdrop of mountains, is a capital city struggling to establish its identity but still worth a stop here even if just to track down the statue of Lenin which has been demoted to a small square location.
Vast Lake Issuk-Kol is the place to head for with its emerald-green water flanked by red desert on one side and snow-capped mountains on the other. Trek into Karakol Canyon with its panoramic views, discover prehistoric petroglyphs and try Kyrgyz-style treatments in a sanatorium.
Get close to the people and get involved in community initiatives and stay with a family in a traditional yurt where you must try a glass of fermented horse's milk. Throw yourself into the tumult of the daily bazaar at Osh, haggle for souvenirs or just sit back and people watch.
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