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    Bishkek a New Travel Hub


    Bishkek is like grand symphony. It takes you high. It moves you to dip more into it. It stays with you for long. Bishkek is urban. Bishkek is picturesque. Bishkek is emerging as a new tourism hub on the global map. In last few years the government in Kyrgyzstan have laid strong foot forward for tourism infrastructure development. This led to lot of tourist visiting the country and Bishkek in special from different parts of the world. Bishkek, capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan is speaks loudest of its natural beauty. Let us explore Bishkek and its element that makes Bishkek a popular travel destination in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia.

    One of the special thing about Bishkek is that Bishkek is relatively new city with limited historical sites unlike some other places in Central Asia. Another specialty of Bishkek is that it is tucked  in the Tien Shan mountain range in the Chui Valley that makes it a great place to start your trip to mountains and alpine lakes of Tien Shan. Heart winning people, great hospitality, a well planned city, thunderous mountain places, liberal visa regime all create a crescendo of surprises and makes you fall in love with the place. After all this one must be itching to know what places to see in Bishkek. Well, here are some places in Bishkek you must see once you happen to be in and around Bishkek.

    Ala-Too Square

    The main city square is a vast expanse of concrete that ceased to be called Lenin square in 1991, and is the site of frequent political demonstrations and regular festivals.  At night many vendors set up photograph and karaoke booths, and there's a synchronized sound and light show in time with the fountains, however travelers should avoid visiting the square after dark.

    State Historical Museum

    This was earlier called the Lenin Museum. The museum has 3 story ground floor houses temporary exhibits while first floor houses permanent exhibits depicting natural and political history of the country and Soviet heritage. There is statue of Lenin on the south side. This museum sits between Ala-Too Square and the Parliament building.

    Ala Archa National Park

    The Ala Archa National Park is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan The park, which includes the gorge of the Ala-archa river and the mountains surrounding it, is a popular destination point for weekend picnickers, hikers, horse trekkers, skiers as well as mountain climbers looking for challenging ice, rock and mixed routes. The park is open year round, although the most popular season is late summer and early fall.

    Burana Tower

    It is a nice tower surrounded by some beautiful countryside. The Burana Tower is a large minaret and is located about 80 km east of the Bishkek, near the town of Tokmok. The tower represents grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums. An external staircase and steep, winding stairway inside the tower enables visitors to climb to the top. The entire site, including the mausoleums, castle foundations and grave markers, now functions as museum and there is a small building on the site containing historical information as well as artefacts found at the site and in the surrounding region.

    Song Kol Lake

    Song Kol is an alpine lake in northern Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan. It lies at an altitude of 3016 m, and has an area of about 270 km2. Lake's maximum length is 29 km, breadth about 18 km, and extreme depth f 13.2 m. It is the second largest lake after Issyk Kul Lake, and the largest fresh water lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is surrounded by a broad summer pasture and then mountains. Its beauty is greatly praised, but it is rather inaccessible. The best approach seems to be the 85 km road from Sary-Bulak on the main north-south highway, Other routes require 4x4s. There are no facilities on the lake, but local herders will provide supplies and rent yurts. The area is inhabited and safely accessible only from June to September.

    Osh Bazaar

    If you are looking for Kyrgyz snack, this is the city's best known food bazaar. There are hundreds of products to choose from, especially in the spring and summer months when produce is fresh from farms in the outskirts of town. There is a separate clothes market south of the main produce bazaar. To get there you can take trolleybus. Like any crowded space, be wary of pick-pockets; however visiting the Osh Bazaar is a rewarding trip. There are also smaller markets including Alamedin Bazaar and Ortosay Bazaar, which are open daily but are at their largest and most interesting at weekends. Dordoi Bazaar is Central Asia largest market of imports, mostly from China.

    Apart from  these sites in Bishkek one can also see other places of interest like Panfilov park, Dordoi Bazaar, Central Mosque, Tower with chimes, Manas Museum, M Frunze Museum and more.

    Things to do and shop

    Bishkek is a pleasant city. One can do lot of activities in and around Bishkek. You can swim in Karven club and you can get massage at various Spas here as well. You can go for trekking and hiking in  the mountains in and around Bishkek. You can go for skiing in winters too.

    If you want to fit in with the locals, be sure to get one of the stylish Kyrgyz felt hats worn mainly by men. You can also get textiles such as traditional patterned carpets, which are well-made but can be expensive. For cheap souvenirs, head directly for the Osh Bazaar where the prices can be far cheaper if you put your bargaining skills to the test. Dor Doi Bazaar is famous open air market with hundreds of double stack shipping containers.

    Now if you plan to visit Bishkek, budget should not be an issue. The world famous Issyk- kul lake is also just 3 hour drive from Bishkek. Other than skiing activity best time to go to Bshkek is summer season. Bishkek is a pleasant city to wander with numerous leafy parks, tall trees, peppered by Soviet era statues and monuments.

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