Immerse Yourself in Nomadic Culture
Welcome to a land defined by a connection to nature and cultural heritage. A land where yurts aren’t a novelty, but a way of life. A land where golden eagles soar high into the sky, taking flight from the arms of nomadic hunters. A land where craftswomen keep alive traditions of felt-making for future generations. And a land where it all unfolds amidst unspoiled nature. Welcome to the South Shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
Nomadic culture and artistic traditions have been preserved in South Shore over centuries, including secretly during the Soviet era. These features emerged even stronger and more pronounced as locals reassert their Kyrgyz heritage and pride. This makes South Shore a dynamic travel destination where cultural activities showcase ancient traditions and outdoor adventures highlight the region’s unique landscape — all in an experiential way that we hope you come to appreciate just as much as we do.
Experience the nomadic spirit.
Most noted for its deep connection to ancient nomadic culture and traditions, the South Shore of Lake Issyk-Kul offers travelers from all over the world a range of compelling and memorable travel experiences. The thread of nomadic culture is tangible in every aspect of life in South Shore. Dine at one of the region's yurt camps or guest houses and you'll sample traditional Kyrgyz dishes. Or visit a local handicrafts workshop for a hands-on experience with the nomadic art of making shyrdaks (traditional felt carpets). You can even watch a demonstration of Salbuurun, an ancient hunting technique requiring a horse, hound, and golden eagle to work in perfect harmony with the hunter.
Ringed by snowcapped peaks, the South Shore offers trekkers sweeping panoramas on even the shortest half-day treks, along with achingly pretty meadows, mid-mountain forests, and picturesque alpine lakes on full- and multi-day treks. Find out which trek is right for you.
Learn about Salbuurun, traditional Kyrgyz hunting, with experts from the Salbuurun Federation. See in action how golden eagles, taigan hunting dogs, and hunters on horseback work together. And, don't forget to get your own photo with a golden eagle!
From the waters of Lake Issyk-Kul to the Terskey Ala-Too sub-range of the Tian Shan Mountains, you’ll find an array of contours, colors and unique geological formations along the South Shore. Find out about these natural attractions, and how to visit them.
MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL SITES
The museums, historic ruins, and cultural heritage villages along the South Shore provide travelers with a timeline of historic moments that shaped Central Asia, some of which pre-date the Silk Road. Visit some of the historical sites and museums that help tell this story.
YURT BUILDING WORKSHOP
Yurts are an integral component of Kyrgyz nomadic culture that connect the past to the present. In this yurt-building workshop in Kyzyl-Tuu village you'll not only have the unique opportunity to learn from master craftsmen how yurts are constructed, but you'll also build your own yurt!
KYRGYZ HANDICRAFTS COURSE
Traditional Kyrgyz nomadic handicrafts are not only unique and beautiful, but their designs tell a rich story of nature and culture. Learn more about this in a shyrdak and ala kiyiz workshop. See the felt-making process and then craft your own souvenir to remember your visit.
While the nomadic culture may first draw you to South Shore, it won't take long before you discover the region's incredible natural diversity. With Lake Issyk-Kul to the north and the Teskey Ala-Too range of the Tian Shan Mountains to the south, travelers visiting Kyrgyzstan's Shore Shore can choose any number of outdoor adventures in every direction. Horseback ride to a glacier one day and trek through vibrant red rock canyons the next. Perhaps you dream of a relaxing by the lake, or you prefer spending an afternoon at the region's museums and heritage sites.
No matter the adventure you seek, every moment in South Shore becomes an opportunity to experience the beauty and heritage of Kyrgyzstan's fascinating nomadic culture.