Wild Camping in Kyrgyzstan – Overlanders Share Their Favorite Wild Camping Sites

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Do you like camping in the wilderness? Put Kyrgyzstan (Kirgizië in Dutch) on the list as your next destination!

“Kyrgy, what?!” you may stutter.

Simple solution: Open Google Maps and Google “Kyrgyzstan”.

Kyrgyzstan and the Stan Countries

You will see Kyrgyzstan is one of the several ‘Stan countries’ in Central Asia: Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are not far away. Neither are Pakistan and Afghanistan but it’s generally the first five one refers to when talking about Central Asia, or the ‘Stan countries’.

If you like to travel to little known places, Kyrgyzstan is where you want to go. Now. Today. This year! Between now and a few years, some of them, including Kyrgyzstan, will be on the “must-see” lists of every big travel publications.

Wild Camping in Kyrgyzstan

With 90% being mountains, Kyrgyzstan is a country for those who like the wilds, vast spaces, endless roads and tracks. Wild camping in Kyrgyzstan is possible all over the place. Pitch your tent along a lake, sparkling river, on top of a mountain with 360-degree views.

Kyrgyzstan, and Central Asia in general, is rapidly growing in popularity on the overlanders’ itineraries. This summer we had the pleasure of meeting many of them. We asked them to share their favorite wild camp in Kyrgyzstan with us, and through this website with you.

As you will see, many enjoyed camping along Issyk Kul Lake and Song Kul Lake, and each picked their own favorite camping spot. But there are many others. You may find these camping spots – and many others – on the popular iOverlander app.

Camping in Kyrgyzstan is the ultimate way to experience the very best in the country. Sometimes in solitude, sometimes in the company of local people who may offer you a cup of tea – or maybe you brew a coffee for them.

Come Camping in Kyrgyzstan and Let’s Meet!

Get inspired by these awesome images that will give you an idea of Kyrgyzstan’s magnitude and majesty. If you decide to pack your overland rig and drive this way next summer, let us know. We’ll be in the area and would love to meet.

Did you visit Kyrgyzstan this year and do you have a fantastic camping spot to add to this list? Let us know!

 

1. Beyond Chunkurchak Pass (40 kms south of Bishkek)

Why: This is a really beautiful spot where you can camp with an amazing view of the mountains behind.

It’s passed the ski resort and to access it you need a 4×4 vehicle. The trail can be quite challenging at some point but not too long. It’s fun for some off-road driving.

You will camp not far from a roulotte (a type of caravan) and the farmer will come back in the evening with few cows. He may offer you some fresh milk. This a perfect place to watch a sunset. And the lights of Bishkek in the distance. (We joined our friends there, so we can’t claim to have found it).

GPS Waypoint: 42.65934, 74.58355

Shared by: Stephanie & Leigh. Follow GrizzlyNBear here.

Wild camping in Kyrgyzstan (©GrizzlyNbear)
©Fabian and Caroline, A Distant Call
How’s that for a morning view? @GrizzlyNBear

2. Song Kul Lake (south side)

Why: It’s right by the beautiful lake. It can get quite cold until mid-June so if you are there around then you may want to place yourself a little bit away from the lake. If you are there anytime after 20th June it will be wonderful.

A couple of Nomadic families around with their cattle and Yurt camp, making for a great local experience while interacting with them. No facilities. (The local folk have a compost toilet and may offer you tea and bread as you come and meet them.)

GPS Coordinates: 41.78290, 75.16450

Shared by: Barath Seth. Follow Terra Quest Expeditions here.

Check it Out: Overlanding Memoirs and Handbooks to Get You on the Road

©Bharat Seth

3. Wild spot Chatkal Valley/Kara-Buura Pass

Why: At the North end of the scenic Chatkal Valley and just before the spectacular Kara-Buura Pass, you will find this plateau overlooking the Chatkal River. It lies a bit hidden from the road, amidst beautiful surroundings. No shadow, only a little protection from wind. Just a shepherd came along with 800 sheep and goats.

GPS waypoint: 42.105084, 71.550966

Driving tip: It’s a beautiful drive from Ala Buka to Talas. Not many travelers here. In the Chatkal Valley you will find gas, food, and ATMs.

Kodak moment: The Kara-Buura Pass from the south offers spectacular views.

Shared by: Marijke van der Veen. Follow Joost & Marijke here.

Wild Camping Chatkal Valley, Kyrgyzstan (©Marijke van der Veen)
Wild Camping Chatkal Valley (©Marijke van der Veen)
Kara Buura Pass, Kyrgyzstan (©Marijke van der Veen)
Kaara Buura Pass, 3302m (©Marijke van der Veen)

4. 360˚- View Wild Camp

Why: Very nice campsite on top of a high mountain pass with a 360 panoramic view, overlooking a large desert looking valley with snowy mountains all around you. We took this scenic dirt road because we visited Tash Rabat the following day (approx. 60 kms).

GPS waypoint: 41.093315, 75.022767

Driving tip: follow the dirt road up the pass and use your GPS device to drive the last 500 meters to the campsite, it is of the main dirt road.

Kodak moment: while driving towards the camp spot you pass an impressive Muslim cemetery.

Shared by: Dennis van Dokkum. Follow Raw Travel here.

@Dennis van Dokkum
@Dennis van Dokkum

 

Check it Out: The Road Trip t-shirt Collection

 

5. Song Kul Lake (south side)

Why: Fantastic scenery of the lake in the mountains. Very lovely yurt camps where you can buy fresh bread and, if you want, enjoy dinner and breakfast. There where horses and cows on the meadows. For us, this is so typical of what Kyrgyzstan is like. Over 3000 meters, so maybe some days are windy but in the hot summer in Kyrgyzstan it is very good weather for relaxing (we stayed two nights).

GPS Waypoint: 41.76065, 75.11626

Shared by: Tobias Wunsche

Read More: Camping Chairs for Your Overland Journey; the Pros and Cons

@Tobias Wunsche

6. Issyk Kul Lake (north shore)

Why: Good swimming, shadow, and the possibility of a campfire. Possible for big rigs. Camping on the beach in the shadow of trees close to Cholpon Alta. Take the winding dirt road passed some cemeteries down to the beach.

GPS Waypoint: 42.64250, 77.11500

Shared by: Bert DeRuiter. Follow ww2xplore here.

Wild Camp in Kyrgyzstan
@Bert DeRuiter

7. Road to Chonashupass

Why: Open flat place. Small stream above it. Quiet and nice view on forested mountains. Good for big rigs. It’s on the road to Chonashupass, 100 m. after the barrier and behind bushes (out of sight from the road).

GPS Waypoint: 42.59194, 78.88139

Shared by: Bert DeRuiter. Follow ww2xplore here.

Wild Camp in Kyrgyzstan
@Bert DeRuiter

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Thank you for your support — Karin-Marijke & Coen

8. River Bolgart

Why: The route through the valleys of the Bolgart River and Jil-Suu River, via the Tosor Pass to the village Tosor near Ysyk-Köl is only feasible with 4×4 and sturdy tires. Most of the bridges are washed away but the way is no problem with heavy offroad trucks. The only bridge that I did not dare to pass with my 3.5t vehicle had a bypass across the river.

But those who do meet the challenge will be rewarded with amazing landscapes and lots of tranquil spots for overnight stays. This spot offers potable water from a small fountain in the mountain slope and the nearby locals sell home-made cheese, fresh bread, cow’s and camel’s milk as well as kumys.

GPS Waypoint: 41.72547, 76.89327

Shared by: Aris. Follow Weg-statt-wecker here.

overland camp in Kyrgyzstan
@Aris

9. Issyk Kul Lake – Private Beach

Why: Central Asia’s beach life. After following a dirt track we arrived at this place. We camped on the beach direct at the lake but we needed 4×4 to reach the place because the sand was quite deep. Its’ been a while since we experienced real beach life. This is the perfect place to swim, relax and enjoy the sunrise and sunset.

GPS Waypoint: 42.410258, 77.802842

Shared by: Michel & Renee. Follow Overlanding the World here.

Overland camp on Yssykul Lake, Kyrgyzstan
@Michel van Oijen

10. Besh Tash National Park

Why: In the lovely Besh Tash National Park are several campingspots by the river. The road/track follows the river up to a small lake. A path goes up to a bigger lake. Along the road you have wide views over green valleys, many yurts and herds. It offers a great day trip, or you can sleep in the park. Entrance fee is 220 som/person.

GPS waypoint: 42.394930, 72.279440 (Entrance to the park)

Driving tip: From Talas, take the road via Arashan. (west of the airport).

Kodak moment: Typical Kyrgyz landscapes with green meadows, herds, yurts and snow capped mountains.

Shared by: Marijke van der Veen. Follow Joost & Marijke here.

Besh-Tash National Park, Kyrgyzstan (©Marijke van der Veen)
Besh-Tash National Park (©Marijke van der Veen)
Besh-Tash National Park, Kyrgyzstan (©Marijke van der Veen)
Besh-Tash National Park (©Marijke van der Veen)

11. Chu River (near Kochkor)

Why: We loved this place because of the gentle flowing, crystal clear river. It was hidden from the sun and the wind within the trees. There was a nice flat bit next to the river where we set up our table and chairs for dinner with a view.

GPS Waypoint: 42.25051, 75.82998

Shared by: Charlie & Chris. Follow Starry Nighs & Insect Bites here.

overland camp in Kyrgyzstan
@Starrynightsandinsectbites

12. In the Mountains above Jety-Oguz, near Karakol

Why: It’s a narrow valley with a wild, cold river and lots of forest around. There’s a rough track leading up there. It’s a meadow with horses and cows next to and below the track, 4×4 is recommended because the meadow is soft when wet. It’s quiet and scenic and there’s firewood around and we had only one visitor on a horse in the night to ask for „Schnaps“ 😉

GPS Waypoint: 42.2823149, 78.3060408

Shared by: Fabian & Carolin. Follow A Distant Call here.

Overland Camp near Jeti Oguz (©A Distant Call)
@A Distant Call
Overland Camp near Jeti Oguz (©A Distant Call)
@A Distant Call

13. Song Kul Lake (northwest side)

Why: Beautiful stretch of private beach on the lake. Great to relax after driving the western pass to  Song Kul Lake.

Where: 41.89271, 75.03419

Shared by: Mijke & Dennis. Follow them here.

Song Kul Lake (©Mijke en Dennis)
@Mijke & Dennis

14. Issyk Kul Lake (east side)

Why: This place offers all the good things about Kyrgyzstan. It is a quiet place at one of the lakes of this beautiful country and offers views of the snowy peaks of the Tian Shan mountains. Enjoy the sunset and wake up by a herd of sheep passing by your tent owls flying by.

Where: 42.59132, 78.18785

Shared by: Karlijn & Maarten. Follow them here.

Overland Camp Issuk Kul Lake (©Karlijn & Maarten)
@Karlijn & Maarten
owl on Issuk Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan (@Karlijn & Maarten
@Karlijn & Maarten

15. Near the Tosor Pass

Why: This is camping in Kyrgyzstan’s wilderness at its best, right along a fast-running river, mountains partly hidden in clouds giving an extra touch to that otherworldly feeling. Yet it isn’t entirely remote (although if you drive a bit further, it is).

Here lives a family who own/take care of (not sure) a hot bath. When arriving here after a tough ride up the Tosor Pass, and it’s cold, a hot bath (43-degree Celsius!) with a view of the river is just what you need to reenergize.

How awesome is that?

Where: 41.864804, 77.038520 (at 2,976-meter altitude)

Shared by: Karin-Marijke & Coen. Follow Landcruising Adventure here.

Overland camp in Kyrgyzstan along river (©Karin-Marijke Vis)

Tips, Suggestions, Contribute?

Question about camping in Kyrgyzstan? Fire away in the comment section below. Would you like to see your favorite overland camp in Kyrgyzstan added to this list? Let us know!

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(click on the images to look inside)

 

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