Kyrgyzstan: Through the lens

Kyrgyzstan mesmerised us with its natural beauty. The country of jagged snow capped mountains, deep blue alpine lakes and rolling summer pastures was one of the highlights of our trip, and there's no better way to show it off than through the photos we took. So take a seat and scroll through some of our favourite shots.


Osh, sitting next to the Uzbekistan border, was our first stop. With a large Uzbek population the city had a heavy Islamic influence mixed in with the nomadic Kyrgyz culture. After weeks of flat roads we were excited for the mountains ahead, even though they'd bring much pain to the legs. 


Our days were spent enjoying the first signs of spring, and hiking some beautiful trails, while applying for our Chinese visas.  


After following the main highway between Osh and Bishkek for a few days we decided it was time for some off road adventures. 


It wasn't all beautiful scenery though. Steep inclines and dirt roads meant more pushing than cycling on some sections.  


At one point our road even turned into a river.   


All that hard work was worth it with views like this from the campsite.


Although getting back to civilisation meant crossing this extremely dodgy bridge, with a raging river only meters below and several planks missing. 


We knew it was time for a couple of days rest when we discovered Lake Toktogul, one of our favourite campsites of the trip.  


With fresh fish straight from the local fisherman and gorgeous sunsets, it really was difficult to leave. 


Especially as it meant climbing 3200m passes surrounded by snowy mountains. Manon was all smiles in her fancy hat, even though a couple of French girls we met were appalled by her style. 


When we saw this dirt road heading through the mountains we ditched all plans to go to Bishkek and headed off into the unknown.  


The next few days turned out to be some of the best cycling we've had, following this small road through a towering gorge and discovering remote Kyrgyz towns. 


We finally made it to the famed summer pastures (jailoos), which were filled with yurts and nomad living off the land. 


A beautiful, dynamic grandma named Gidda Appa ran a guesthouse with yurts, where we stayed a couple of days. Without a word a common language she chatted to us all day, and explained the details of the nomadic Kyrgyz culture. 


Back on the road we found herds of our new favourite animal, and even considered ditching the bikes for a couple of camels. 


The scenery in east of the country was a bizarre mix of red deserts and snow capped mountains. 


Issy-Kul, the second highest alpine lake in the world even has its own sandy beaches, a welcome sight after 3 weeks in the mountains.  


Kyrgyzstan is famous for its stunning mountain treks, and we were more than happy to ditch the bikes for a few days walking.  


The 5 hour hike to Altyn Arashan finishes in a beautiful valley dotted with thermal hot springs, which were a welcome respite for our complaining legs.  


A trip to Kyrgyzstan isn't complete without a horse ride. After detailing her 10 years experience, Manon convinced a local to lend us horses for the day.  


We didn't mention Ben had never ridden a horse before... 


Back on the bikes, and cycling towards China, we were sad to say goodbye to this beautiful country!