I decided to venture to Kyrgyzstan based on the recommendation of a fellow traveler on my last Advantour trip and was equally surprised and delighted by the country. Kyrgyzstan may not have the cultural landmarks found in other Central Asian countries, but the Tien Shan mountains and its alpine lakes are certainly spectacular. Spending an evening with the nomads at Son Kul lake in a yurt is certainly an experience I won’t forget anytime soon, swimming in Issyk Kul was refreshing and much more pleasant than the ocean, watching several games of ulak tartysh was certainly interesting and special thanks to our tour guide Azamatt and driver Gena for our repeated road side photo shoot stops.
Because tourism is still developing in Kyrgyzstan, you are also privy to these more authentic and intimate experiences. For example, I originally assumed our eagle hunting demonstration would involve 5 other tour groups and just provide some basic information about the tradition, but no. Instead, it was just our tour group in the mountains with the eagles and their handlers. We got up close to the animals, saw their training techniques and even watched one of the eagles catch a rabbit. Another evening we were due to see some performers and instead of being in some fancy restaurant, we sat in the kitchen of a local family and had the musicians perform just for us on the other side of the table.
Once again, Advantour really delivered with a budget friendly tour that provided a number of wonderful memories.