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Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

In the heart of Central Asia, on the route of the ancient Silk Road and part of the Soviet Bloc until independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan has an intriguing blend of cultures and historical heritage.  It is also a country of scenic splendor with nearly 80% of the land covered by soaring mountain peaks; the Tien Shan, the Pamir Alay and Kyrgyz Alatau are the ranges that dominate the landscape in this relatively small country. However, the highest mountains of all can be found just across the border in neighbouring China where K2 stands as the loftiest and most foreboding of all the peaks in the region. 

The journey to China from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, follows both the ancient trading road and the route taken by explorers such as Younghusband and Shipton as they travelled east across high passes before reaching the foot of K2.  In fact, the area was first explored in depth and mapped by Eric Shipton on his 1937 ‘Blank on the Map’ expedition. Even a hardened traveller like Shipton was overwhelmed by the scenery when her wrote “the cliffs and ridges of K2 rose out of the glacier in one stupendous sweep to the summit of the mountain 12,000ft above. The sight was beyond my comprehension and I sat gazing at it with a kind of timid fascination…”

Today, the region remains remote and little travelled offering a superb challenge to trekkers looking for something away from the well-trodden paths of the Himalaya yet with equally stunning scenery and breathtaking views. The trek to the impressive peak of Khan Tengri with a thrilling helicopter flight from the Inylchek Base Camp is undoubtedly the best trekking holiday in Kyrgyzstan to discover the region’s scenic splendours. Combine this with the traditional welcome of the semi-nomadic Kyrgyz people and the historic interest of Bishkek and the Silk Road, and you will find that a trekking holiday to Kyrgyzstan and its neighbouring lands, provides an unforgettable experience.

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