TOP 10 things to do during winter in Kyrgyzstan
Coming up with ideas for things to do during winter is not an easy task. Especially in Kyrgyzstan where we consider winter the season of indulgence and gladly accept our laziness, love of sweets, and blame the gained extra kilograms on one single day - New Years eve. We tried compile a list of Top Ten winter activities in Kyrgyzstan in hopes of inspiring you and ourselves to get out more this upcoming winter.
10) Ice Skating
Despite it's growing popularity among city dwellers Bishkek doesn't offer many options for ice skating enthusiasts. There are 4 ice skating rinks within city limits, all indoor. Best one being the city ice skating rink "Gorodskoy katok" ("Городской каток") with the biggest surface area (60X30 meters), indoor cafe, instructor assistance and ice skate rental. Those who prefer open outdoor ice skating will have to travel out of Bishkek to one of the outdoor rinks. Closest one is at cafe "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ("Хижина Дяди Тома") by Manas International Airport. Cafe's patio overlooking the ice skating area (120X40 meters) is perfect for a family day trip with occasional refuge from the cold inside the cafe with hot meals and drinks.
Cost: "Gorodskoy katok" ("Городской каток") - 1 hour 400 som (adult), 350 som (kids 6 - 12 years old), 200 som (kids up to 5 years), 50 som (spectator)
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" ("Хижина Дяди Тома") - 200 som (ice skate rental not inlcuded), 500 som (ice skate rental included) per day.
Note: Being outdoor Uncle Tom's ice skating rink is weather dependent and as of November 29th, 2019 it's not yet open. We suggest giving them a call before heading out there to make sure it's open. +996 555 930 808
Update: Since we’ve published the blog two venues announced opening outdoor rinks.
Dordoi Plaza 2
Works from 10 AM till 22:00
Сost: 200 som - 45 minutes
Ice skate rental: 50 som
Works from 10 AM till 22:00
Cost: 400 som (adult), 250 (kids) - all day
Ice skate rental: Included in the price
9) New Years Eve and Christmas
You might get your Christmas presents a tad bit early if you are celebrating it here in Kyrgyzstan. According to Swedish engineers Kyrgyzstan is the optimal place for Santa to start his deliveries location of the country allows him avoid detours and make deliveries efficient.
One of the biggest holidays in Kyrgyzstan, celebrated by almost every family around the country. City hall puts considerable efforts into preperation and celebration of this event. In fact mayor's office spent little over a quarter of a million US dollars for the festivies last year. So, do not miss the fireworks show that starts exactly at midnight, which is a must-see, if you happened to find yourself in Bishkek on the 31st of December. There are live performances and shows prior to fireworks show. New Year's eve in Bishkek is rich for events organzied by different private and public venues. We have an event category called Christmas and New Years Eve where we list all of the events celebrating the holidays.
8) In Search of Hygge
"Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special"
Here at Tenti we have been obsessing with the concept of hygge which consequently led to us wanting to learn "how to" hygge. Armed with a quote from Confucious himself (I hear and i forget, I see and i remember, I do and i understand) and a book on hygge by Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living) we decided to put together a getaway trip to Chong Kemin in search of hygge for the friends of Tenti.
Converstaions by a fireplace, comfort foods, smores, view of the snowy hills, gluewine, and hot chocolate are on the list of things we've prepared for this getaway.
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7) Events on Tenti
This item on the list is not about one single event or activity and it's presented to you by nepotism and narcissism. One and a half year our event page has been providing our audience with hourly updated events around the country, so bare with us while we gloat for a second.
There are 15 to 50 events on any given day. Listing starting from relaxed family-friendly to adventours extreme sport events Tenti's event page is a great source of inspiration for captivating experiences.
Cost: Case by case. Some events listed on the event page require tickets and some don't.
For most onset of winter means the advent of tv show binge watching and brooding over missed chances to go hiking in the summer. Though winter is not considered active season we suggest entertaining the idea of going snowshoeing. Unlike snowboarding and skiing, snowshoeing's learning curve is quite short, but burns twice as much calories as walking and it's great for endurance training. Combine it with one or few activites on the list, throw in a banya or sauna visit and have yourself a splendid winter adventure.
Cost: Snowshoe rental starts at 250 som a day.
5) Hunting with Eagles a.k.a Eagle Hunting
A form of falconry that dates back to first or second millennium BC (“Hunting with Eagles”, n.d.). With the First days of winter eagle handlers take off on horseback into the mountains with their eagles perched on their arms. Between late fall and early spring eagle handlers are permitted by law to go hunting. They use this opportunity to keep their eagle hunting skills sharp and keep them fit and ready for when they are released. Besides keeping the age-old tradition alive eagle hunting helps control the population of over abundant jackal population in check. Plus the government pays 2000 som per jackal and 6000 som per wolf.
4) Heli Skiing
Probably the priceiest one on the list, but one that needs little to no convincing of its worthiness for consideration. Memories of this adrenaline inducing trip will stay with you for years to come and grant you with incredible views of mountain peaks, glistening fresh powder, well-deserved bragging rights, and a captivating bar story for your aresnal.
Cost: Price of Heli Skiing varies depending on number of days and length of vertical drop and can range from 700$ to 5000$.
P.S. Currently heli skiing is not available. If you’d like to get an update when it becomes available - shoot us an email and we’ll email you as soon as it’s available again.
3) Staying In a Yurt
Staying in a yurt always makes the top ten on the list of "reasons to visit Kyrgyzstan" blogs around the internet. Which we can't dissagre with, but this is probably the first time it makes "top ten things to do in winter" blog. Suggestion to stay in a yurt in minus temperature with snow all around it will most likely to be greeted with surprise, but we assure you - it is most definitely a worthy consideriration and here's why:
Sitting in a cozy warm yurt with friends or family listening to crackling fire coming from the wood stove inside, with comforting sound of boiling water on top of it for your hot cholcolate or cocoa is a much needed feeling during cold and grey winter days.
So, round up your friends, put together a playlist with cozy music, pack a book, and enjoy our top 5 acitivity on our list.
Cost: Prices start at 1500 som per day (per person)
2) Horseback Trek to Song Kol
Horseback trek to song kol sits comfortable on this list ranking #. Challenging yet extremly rewarding activity takes you on horseback over snowy 3600 meters pass to the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. Since the activity has you staying overnight in a yurt it's the same activity as number# but with a pinch of adventure and a tablespoon of crazy. This horseback journey is rewarded by absorbing all of your senses in the experience and the serenty of song kol.
Cost: Varies depending on group size and number days. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not known as skiing or snowboarding destination (let's be honest the country is barely known as any kind of destination) Kyrgyzstan still has few surprises up its sleaves for winter sports-lovers. There are 12 ski bases around the counrty, offering slopes starting at 1200 meters above sea levels up to 3000 m.s.l. as well as backcountry and heliskiing options taking you as high as 3800 meters. The fact that Kyrgyztan is not yet popular skiing/snowboarding destination gives you the advantage of enjoying uncrowded slopes and endless untouched powder.
Cost: For prices and other information refer to place listings on our website, under ski resorts.