Bishkek, Burana, Lake Sol, Tash Rabat
16.06.2016 - 24.06.2016
I spent a couple of days relaxing in Bishkek, and seeing the sights, and I was also very lucky in meeting up with Steven who, along with his partner Saule, runs the amazing Central Asian travel website Caravanistan. Steven had actually been liaising with me prior to my trip and it was great serendipity meeting him in person in Bishkek. I was able to get a few more tips for my remaining time, and he introduced me to the unusual but tasty Kyrgyz stringy cheese snack enjoyed with beer! The beer consumed also.
Rather than negotiate multiple daily forms of transport around the country, I took the more convenient and efficient option and made travel arrangements with a company that took me on a big loop from Burana Tower in the north, to Lake Sol for two nights, and lastly down to an old stone caravanserai near the border with China. There was no hiking this time, but was a wonderful complement to Tajik scenery because Kyrgyz is also mountainous, but green. So very green. Lush valleys throughout, and equally pristine beauty.
Lake Sol is dotted with yurts, and I stayed in a yurt each night of this trip. The first night I did wake up extremely cold, but I learnt my lesson after that, securing plenty of blankets the next two nights. There were more tourists in Kyrgyzstan, although not overly busy when I was there. The Kyrgyz host families were all very lovely and accommodating, not to mention that the freshly baked bread on the first night was one of the most delicious breads I've tasted. Meals were simple but tasty: usually bread, jams, eggs, noodle soups and a plate of sliced tomato and cucumber. The drive itself gave stunning views, for example, during the drive to the caravanserai in the south, the dramatic, ice-covered Tian Shan mountains penned us in on the east like a giant wall, the natural border with China.
After the tour, I had one more day back in Bishkek before continuing to Kazakhstan.