Things to do in Kyrgyzstan…
Saddle up. With a network of trails suiting every rider from novice to expert, and traversing everywhere from low-lying valleys, to steep hills and every rider’s Shagri-la, the Tian Shan, or 'Mountains of Heaven', horse riding is the very lifeblood of Kyrgyzstan. Not only will you experience the landscape from a liberating perspective, but you’ll see herds of horses gallop freely in the towards their shepherd masters – a privileged insight into a very traditional culture.
Understand local culture. Kyrgyzstan is still largely untouched and hugely undiscovered; centuries-old culture and tradition is still very much at its core, so much so that if Genghis Khan rode across its timeless landscape today, he’d feel utterly at home. The true adventure of the country is to be had when you seize the unexpected opportunities that come your way – the locals are known for their curiosity as much as for their hospitality, so if you’re asked into a family yurt for some food, or to join a nomadic shepherd on a ride, say yes.
Travel with older children. Eschewing the ‘are we nearly there yets?’ and ‘I feel sicks’ that long-distance travel inevitably throws up (pardon the pun), Kyrgysztan is actually pretty family-friendly, and especially so for a ‘Stan’. It is best explored on horse back, by trekking around huge, shimmering lakes, climbing lofty mountains and spending nights under the starts in yurts – all things that teens will love.