Kyrgyzstan is a small Central Asian country bordering on China in the east and southeast, Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the west and Tajikistan in the south. Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country, defined by two major ranges: Tian Shan and Pamir. Both ranges offer excellent trekking opportunities through stunningly beautiful alpine landscapes, across high passes and pastures dotted with yurts of the Kyrgyz nomads.
The mighty 2800 km long Tian Shan range runs in a roughly east-west direction, starting in the Chinese provice of Xinjiang, right across Kyrgyzstan, and ending in Uzbekistan. The central and highest part of Tian Shan is in the eastern tip of Kyrgyzstan. Peaks here rise up over 7000 m. Kyrgyzstan's highest is Jengish Chokosu (7439 m), also known as Peak Pobeda, right on the China-Kyrgyzstan border. Second highest is nearby Khan Tengri (7010 m), on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In between them is the Inylchek Glacier. A great area for adventurous (and strenuous) high altitude treks.
As you turn west, the Tian Shan divides into northern ranges along the border with Kazakhstan, and the main southern Tian Shan ranges along the border with China. Roughly in between are the large Issyk-Kul lake, and the Naryn River which flows west into the Fergana Valley. The northern ranges include Kyrgyz Ala Too, Kungey Ala Too, Talas Ala Too and Chatkal, and continue into Uzbekistan. These ranges are generally easily accessible and you can do multi-day hikes through beautiful scenery, past hot springs, forests and snow capped peaks.
The central and southern Tian Shan ranges include Terskey Ala Too, Kok Shaal Too, Atbashi, Fergana, Kainy Too, Mai Bash and many more extremely remote mountains and valleys. Reaching them can be a true challenge, and it is not uncommon to go by helicopter.
Eventually the Tian Shan meet the Pamir mountain system and Turkestan range, which also continues west into Uzbekistan. The Turkestan range is another great destination for trekking and climbing, with spectacular granite rock faces and stunning alpine summer pastures where Kyrgyz nomads herd their flocks.
Hiking season in Kyrgyzstan is summertime, from June or July till September or October, depending on where (how high) you go. Landscapes are vast and empty, trails are unmarked or absent altogether. Good maps are hard to come by, often sketchy or not very detailed (1:200.000), and to ask any nomads which way to go you will need at least some basic knowledge of the Kyrgyz language. Camping is common, and you have to bring along all you need. But then, there is a wide choice of Kyrgyz trekking companies in the capital Bishkek offering their services, transportation, guides, permits (particularly for border areas!), porters, camping gear etc.
- Reisgids Kyrgyz Republic - Kyrgizië | Odyssey
- Kyrgyz Republic Kyrgyzstan: Heart of Central Asia - Odyssey Publications (Kirgizië/Kirgizstan) De Odyssey reisgids is een degelijke Engelstalige gids met achtergrondinformatie over cultuur en populatie, praktische informatie, hints voor de bezoeker, openbaar vervoer, accommodaties, foto’s en kaarten. This unique and stunningly illustrated book,... Read more
- Reisgids Kyrgyzstan - Kirgizië | Bradt
- Following the break-up of the USSR, Kyrgyzstan soon earned a reputation as the most hospitable and least repressive of the newly emerged central Asian republics. Unlike some of its neighbours, it has actively encouraged foreign tourism and has pursued a policy of supporting community projects with an emphasis on adventure tourism. The Bradt... Read more
- Reisgids Central Asia - Kazachstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizië en Tajikistan | Lonely Planet
- De perfecte reisgids voor zowel de georganiseerde als de zelfstandige reiziger. Naast een algemene inleiding van het land / streek vol met praktische informatie over hoe je er het beste kunt reizen: slapen, eten, vervoer, excursies ... alles kun je er in vinden. Met Kazachstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizië en Tajikistan. Multi-country... Read more
- Reisgids Kirgistan - Kirgizië | Trescher Verlag
- Goede Duitstalige reisgids met veel culturele beschrijvingen. Daarnaast ook aandacht voor praktische zaken als overnachten en rondreizen. Bijzondere duitse uitgever, vaak als eerste een boek over een bepaald gebied of land. Im Westen immer noch wenig bekannt, bietet das mittelasiatische Land am Fuße des mächtigen Tien-Schan-Gebirges seinen... Read more
- Reisgids Silk Roads - A Route and Planning Guide (Zijderoute) | Trailblazer
- The Silk Road was never a single thread across Asia but an intricate web of shorter routes - Silk Roads - which together linked the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. This guidebook is the first to cover these routes in their entirety and with it you can retrace the Golden Road to Samarkand, follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great,... Read more
- Also available from:
- Bol.com, Netherlands
- Bishkek City Journal, City Notebook for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- Travel & Languages Travel (special interest) Guides (general) International Books Read more
- Inylchek (Tien Shan)
- Exceptionally detailed and informative topographic map at 1:100,000 of the Inylchek area in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, prepared by the German Alpine Club using data from the Kyrgyz national survey organization plus satellite imagery. Topography is shown by contours at 50m intervals with relief shading, plus numerous spot heights and... Read more
- Tien Shan: Lake Issyk-Kul North 100K Goskartografiya Trekking Map
- The area between Lake Issyk-Kul and the Kazakhstan border on a contoured and GPS compatible, double-sided topographic map at 1:100,000 from Goskartografiya in Bishkek, with all place names in the Cyrillic alphabet and an English map legend. Coverage extends eastwards from Orlovka, just west of the E125 road linking the lake with Tokmok, to... Read more
- Tien Shan: Bishkek & Kyrgyz Range - Küngöy Ala-Too Range 100K Gostartografiya Trekking Map
- Two separate areas of the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan on a contoured and GPS compatible, double-sided topographic map at 1:100,000 from Goskartografiya in Bishkek, with place names in the Cyrillic alphabet and an English map legend. On one side is the Kyrgyz Range, with coverage extending from Bishkek southwards to its high summits... Read more
- Bishkek Goskartografiya Map
- Bishkek street plan at 1:20,000 from the Goskartografiya in an English language edition with an index including extensive lists of various places of interest and services, plus a list of old street names.The plan is very clearly laid out, with principal traffic arteries highlighted and main streets annotated with selected house numbers for... Read more
- Kirgizië - Wandelreis
- De weidse landschappen, machtige bergen en vriendelijke nomadenbevolking maken deze trekkingreis tot een absolute topbestemming in ons reisaanbod. Rijden door onwezenlijke erosie-landschappen en groene dorpen, wandelen vergezeld door lokale paardenmannen in het Terskey Allatoo hooggebergte, doorsneden door vele Kaska suu's (zilveren rivieren). Read more