The best things about traveling in Kyrgyzstan 

I absolutely adore Kyrgyzstan and I think it’s one of the best countries to visit in the world, especially if you’re into mountains. Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country and is 94% mountains. As you can imagine, there’s some stunning views here to be seen. It’s a haven for trekkers, for horse riders and for people who just want to enjoy nature and see something special. Unfortunately, Central Asia has gotten a bad rep so you won’t find as many travelers here like in Southeast Asia for example. But that definitely works in your favor, if you want to avoid the crowds. 

But since Kyrgyzstan isn’t a well developed tourist destination (yet), it can still be a bit frustrating to travel there. There are times when nothing works your way. Still, I think it’s so worth visiting Kyrgyzstan. It definitely became one of my favorite countries, and I’ve visited more than 60 now. Here are some of the best things about traveling in Kyrgyzstan. 

The people 

There aren’t many people in the world that are as hospitable as the Kyrgyz. They will invite you to their home, give you all the food you can imagine and so much more. Kyrgyz people are very curious about foreigners and love to learn more about the world and to chat a bit in English. If you go to the villages, there’ll be more than one family who’ll want to invite you over for dinner. The people really is the best thing about Kyrgyzstan and traveling here wouldn’t be as much fun if then locals weren’t as lovely as they are. 

The nature 

Kyrgyzstan is all about nature, so if that’s not really your scene, you might not be as fascinated with it. But if you do, it’ll be one of the most amazing countries to visit. Every corner you turn, there’s a beautiful mountain to see. There’s lakes, valleys, charming roads, vast lands, and even beaches in Issyk-Kul. The nature here is jaw droppingly beautiful and is perfect for those who loves to hike and immerse themselves in nature. 

The affordability 

Traveling around Kyrgyzstan is extremely affordable which is perfect for those who are on a tighter budget. You could easily get away with 10 USD per day if you only eat in local places and stay in hostels. If you want to hike with a guide, the costs will go up a bit. But if you’re good with maps and will bring all of your hiking gear yourself, you can hike for almost no money at all. You might have to pay a fee to some national parks, but that’s basically it. You should also try horseback riding when you’re in Kyrgyzstan. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places to do it, it’s also really affordable to ride horses here. 

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Making friends on your travels

How to make friends while traveling

My friends has never understood why I love solo traveling. The first thing they say is that it must be incredibly lonely to travel alone. But that’s actually the complete opposite of how I feel when I’m solo traveling – In fact, I’m hardly ever alone! That’s the beauty of traveling solo, you meet way more people than you would if you were with a friend (usually, at least). But if you’re one of those people who’s wondering how to get friends while traveling solo, I’ll tell you how. Here it goes:

Stay in hostels

One of the best ways to get friends is to stay in a hostel. There’s always travelers there who are just as eager as you to make new friends. Some hostels also make sure that people socialize with each other by hosting different types of events such as pub crawls or BBQ nights. If you want to get to know people, stay in hostel dorms. It’s a real pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s also a great way to socialize. What’s also good about hostels is that you can find people from literally all over the world here and usually in all ages. People love staying in hostels, not because it’s the most comfortable and clean alternative (sometimes it’s the opposite of that), but because it’s social and fun.

Become a member on couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a wonderful platform because not only can you find locals who are willing to host you for free in their house, but you can also find friends there. Couchsurfing at people’s houses is also a way of meeting locals or expats who lives there. Besides getting hosted by people, there’s also weekly events in bigger cities where you can meet up with other travelers.

Make friends on transit

It might sound strange, but I’ve always made a friend while in transit. Whether it’s a long bus ride or crossing the border control together, I’ve always found another traveler to chat with.

Go on walking tours

Another great way to meet people is by doing the free walking tours that some cities offer. I’ve often gone on free walking tours and found a few solo travelers who are in the same situation as I am. Although we might not be staying in the same hostel, we’ve always exchanged numbers and then met up for dinner or so afterwards.

Find your community abroad

Perhaps you’re a travel blogger, Instagrammer, expat or you just want to meet people from the same country as you. These days, everyone uses social media for literally everything so do your research and find your community abroad that you can connect with.

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Common mistakes while hiking

The most common beginner mistakes in hiking 

Hiking is one of the best activities to do when you’re traveling and if you choose your destination well, you’ll be able to hike a lot. I was recently in Kyrgyzstan and the main thing to do there is hiking. But since I’m not an avid hiker, I made a few beginner mistakes. Here’s what I did wrong (and what most beginner hikers do wrong, too). 

Drink and eat too little 

I thought the best thing to do before a hike was to not stuff my face with too much. I was scared of getting sick or feeling too full so I couldn’t properly hike. But this was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made, because if you don’t get enough energy, you’ll be way too exhausted to even finish the hike. It’s equally as important to eat a lot after a hike, even if you feel too tired for it. It’s also extremely important to get enough water in your body, so try to monitor what you’re eating and drinking. 

Not considering the weather 

The weather, in the mountains especially, changes rapidly. It might be sunshine and rainbows when you start your hiking, but when you get further up, it might start raining cats and dogs. So make sure to pack warmer clothes with you, rain jackets, rain cover for your bag and bring a pair of extra clothes that you can change out of when your other clothes are soaked. It’s always better to bring a few extra pieces of clothing, especially if you know that it will get cold at night. 

Not bringing proper hiking gear

If you’re one of those people who hike in sneakers – please, invest in a good pair of hiking shoes that are waterproof and good for your ankles! Hiking in sneakers is not a good idea, especially if it rains or you have to go through wet terrain. A good pair of hiking shoes is probably the most important investment when you’re going hiking, but so many underestimate this and bring their sneakers thinking everything’ll be alright. Don’t be one of those people. 

Not hiking your own hike 

No one wants to be the slowest person in the group, but it’s important to know your limits. Perhaps the people in your group are very experienced hikers and can therefore hike in a much faster pace than you. Don’t let others influence you negatively though. Do your own hike, set your own pace and know your body’s limits. I recently did a day hike with three guys who were totally okay with high altitude so they could hike way faster than I could. But as a petite woman who does get affected by high altitude, I was really struggling to keep up with them. I tried to, but I simply couldn’t. In the end, I was just exhausted when we came to our goal and couldn’t even enjoy the view. Was it worth it? Probably not. Next time, I will just do it in my own pace. And besides – who said hiking is a competition anyway? 

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