Bucket list destination: 5 reasons to visit Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
It’s not as far away as you think…
Recently, I had the privilege of hopping on a plane and not knowing the destination. Wizz Air hosted its third rendition of the Get Lost flights and I was lucky enough to join in on the chaos. Part of the fun was not knowing where we were headed.
When landing in Bishkek, other than it being a beautiful mountainous place – I truthfully knew next to nothing about the city or country. However, I wasn’t surprised when I learned just how spectacular the people, culture and nature of the place are.
So if you were on the hunt for a new destination to visit and needed reasons to choose Kyrgyzstan then look no further because I can guarantee a stunning getaway.
Here are five reasons why you should visit Kyrgyzstan.
A culture that is so vastly different in the best way
The culture is incredibly rich and there is so much to learn about their heritage.
While on our trip to nowhere (read Kyrgyzstan) we were guided by an incredible team of locals who explained the ins and outs of the rich culture of the Kyrgyz people.
Kyrgyz people are big meat eaters, mainly consuming goat, beef, chicken and on special occasions horse as the meat is rather expensive (according to our guides). So be aware that certain dishes will contain horse meat.
There is also a tradition that providing certain cuts of meat at gatherings to specific people denotes the level of respect that the host has for the guest.
Family values are extremely important for example, it is important for the men in the family to remember up to seven generations of family names as a sign of respect for their ancestors.
Sports also feature prominently in the Kyrgyz culture. One of the sports is called Kyz Kuumai: traditionally and historically in this sport, when a girl is ready to be married, the race will be set up whereby a selected group of boys will chase a girl while both mounted on horses while she gallops away. In order to win the game and her hand in marriage one of the boys must successfully kiss her on the cheek.
The Kyrgyzstan flag depicts a sun with forty-rayed points representing the forty different tribes of the nation while the sweeping lines on the inside of the sun represent the culture of the nation through the support beams of a yurt.
Just a stone’s throw away
Located in Central Asia, bordering Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakstan and China, the flight out of the UAE is only a three-and-a-half-hour journey.
This means it is the perfect quick escape for those looking for some fresh air, unmatched stunning greenery, and crisp weather. The country is made up of 93 per cent mountainous area which consists of the Tian Shan and Palmir mountain systems.
You can fly to the capital city, Bishkek from Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Flights out of Dubai start from Dhs897 when booking with FlyDubai.
One of the main reasons to visit any country, especially Kyrgyzstan, is the people. Never have I met more friendly, proud and intriguing people. Every single interaction with a Kyrgyzstani was full of laughter, smiles and positivity.
Even though there was a very obvious language barrier between us, we managed to communicate and not one takeaway had been negative. Always willing to help with directions, smiling at each other in the streets and including us in birthday celebrations when we visited a bar.
There is a sense of security when walking through the city, little children playing on their own in a park, or getting off the bus and walking around. You definitely don’t feel on edge or unsafe.
So picturesque it could be a Microsoft screensaver
When we landed in the city, our pilot, Captain Derek stated that Kyrgyzstan was the Switzerland of Asia, and after experiencing the nature we can only agree.
Looking outside your window it almost feels fake, the white capped mountains around you, everywhere you look. Foliage and shrubbery naturally surround the streets. Roots lifting the road from century old oak and pine trees. The air is fresh and smells crisp with a hint of pine and is always welcome first thing in the morning.
Rich and interesting history
The Kyrgyz people were originally a migratory people, before being overrun by the Mongols in the 7th century, along with the Chinese and the Uzbeks until the 19th century when the Soviet Union overtook the country.
The Russian takeover was met with many revolts of the power however the Soviet Union remained in a position of power until 1991 when Kyrgyzstan became an independent power once again.
Since then, the country experienced three revolutions in the span of one year between 2005 and 2006 until the governmental system settled on democratic presidential elections.
Images: What’s On