Backpacking Information on Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN

Population: 5.3 million (UN, 2005)

Capital: Bishkek

Area: 199,900 sq km (77,182 sq miles)

Major languages: Kyrgyz, Russian

Major religions: Islam, Christianity

Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 71 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 1 som = 100 tyiyns

The barren, hot, and impoverished fields of the Kyrgyz Republic used to be a sleepy back border of the Soviet Union. Now, it is the best kept secret for travellers and tourism. Kyrgyzstan has become a vivacious nation that is no longer defined by dominating powers, having proven this recently by temporarily ousting its president and the entailing capitalist government. National tourist promotions state Kyrgyzstan as meaning “40 towns”, but locals recommend it to be not so. Kyrgyzstan from the sound of its name elicits an impression of a strange and mysterious place unknown to the world for the most part, but the name which actually means in Kyrgyz “immortal” or “indestructible” suggests an interesting culture that would name its nation such. Kyrgyzstan has the most liberal tourist visa policies in Central Asia and an economy to match Kazakhstan’s prowess.

GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE

Kyrgyzstan (42 52 N, 74 36 E) is a mountainous region dominated by the Tien Shan range, which in Kyrgyz means “Celestial mountains”. The traveller will find wild and rugged snow-capped mountains that give an admiration surpassing that of the Swiss Alps. And with 93% of the region mountainous, the nation is a wonderful place to be for nature-lovers. The republic is also a site for glaciers and high altitude lakes, the highest point being Jengish Chokusu at a height of 7,439 metres which is absolutely beautiful for hiking. The lowest point is 132 metres above sea level, the Kara Daryya. The climate is dry continental to polar in Tien Shan, temperate in the the north foothill zone, and subtropical in the southwest, at Fergana Valley.

PEOPLE & CULTURE

Of the 5,431,747 Kyrgyztanis in 2009, the Kyrgyz (Turkic group) comprise a fat demographic of around 70% of the population. Uzbeks (14.5%) are concentrated in the south, and the Russians (9%), in the north. The sizeable minority of Russians in the region explains the culture that remains and, also RUSSIAN as the official language. KYRGYZ, on the other hand, is the language of the state used in the parliament and at home. ENGLISH is spoken for its deemed significance and has been given the spotlight in education since the 1960’s, but English is widely spoken by the Kyrgyzstani youth who have been taught since primary school or have been learning the language as exchange students in the U.K. or Germany. Kyrgyzstan is a largely Islamic with 76% of the country as Muslims, while Russian Orthodox followers have a significant population of 20%. As a semi-nomadic society, agriculture is an important sector of the republic where livestock is the largest agricultural activity.

ATTRACTION

Still a lot of the big cities are modern like Bishkek. Nonetheless, the charm of Kyrgyzstan depends on its nature culture. The stunning beauty of Kyrgyzstan appeals to the traveller who mostly loves the outdoors. Song-kul’s simplistic life amongst the grandiose of its pristine pastures and Lake Izzyk-kul’s versatility for sailing, surfing, boating, scuba diving and fishing are the main attractions of Kyrgyzstan. Izzyk translates to “hot” because it is the lake that never freezes even in winter seasons. Hiking is just superb in the hills around this lake. What a sight! The best part about Kyrgyzstan, there is no traffic. The rationale: public transport is a developing concept in these parts. The people of Kyrgyzstan make travel even more worthwhile with their naturally generous and respectful nature, so a traveller should know when planning to stay with a Kyrgyzstani family. Hospitality is uber important to the Kyrgyz people, which is why the Kyrgyzstanis host their guests in a generous manner to a point where they will offer you anything and everything they have.

FOOD

Food is a significant part of Kyrgyz hospitality and might it be said that Kyrgyz cuisine is one of the best offerings you’ll get out of such hospitality. Meat is a primary ingredient in any Kyrgyz meal like horse meat or mutton. There are numerous dessert recipes in the Kyrgyz cuisine that are universal in Central Asia like meat dumplings (manty), noodles and meat (besh barmak), meat and veggie soup (shorpa), or fried meat and rice (paloo). And a Kyrgyz meal never ends without simple delicious desserts, from a nan-and-cream cheese/jam combo or fresh fruits to the most popular choymo tokach or tan mosho cookies made of intertwined leavened dough, fried in oil, and powdered with sugar. Khalvaitar is another ultra-delightful dessert is khalvaitar from mixing flour with sugar fried in sheep’s tail fat. Chak-chak, made of dough sugared with honey is also very popular in Kyrgyzstan or bliny, a Russian dessert of pancakes filled with cheese or jam. In Kyrgyzstan, less is indeed more.

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Josh

Backpacking Addictz

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Mozambique For Scuba Diving, Backpacking, Beaches and Privacy!

Mozambique is an up-and-coming tourist destination – a diamond in the rough which is rapidly being polished up to a sunny sparkle and attracting tourists from all over the world. Scuba divers love it for the world-class diving. Beach lovers love it for the pristine beaches. Backpackers love it for the hostels and accommodations on the beaches. Lovers of luxury love it for the privacy and upscale, idyllic lodges and resorts.

Travelers who enjoy activities like scuba diving, water sports and adventure travel are always hungry for new places to explore and conquer. In these days of easy travel it can be a challenge to find new and unique places to one-up your buddies – so maybe Mozambique will provide the solution.

Mozambique is a diverse and still-developing country and there is no question that the main reason for its rising popularity is the spectacular Mozambican coastline. The almost 2,500 km (1,550 miles) of unspoiled beauty and palm-fringed beaches are met by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, along with its lagoons, coral reefs, and hundreds of unspoiled islands. There are plenty of activities other than diving and snorkeling, such as sailing, sport fishing, salt water fly fishing, canoeing, water skiing, jet skiing and windsurfing.

Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony on the southeast coast of Africa on the Indian Ocean and separated from Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel. Scuba divers can experience swimming with whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and dugong – and the courageous can opt for shark encounters. It is also popular with nature lovers and those with an interest in bird watching and wildlife photography. Be sure to read up on the environmental concerns in the area and the rules and regulations that are in place to protect and preserve the natural beauty,

When traveling to less developed countries it is always important to remember that the medical facilities may be below the standard we are used to. In Mozambique serious problems may require medical evacuation to South Africa. Therefore, when choosing travel insurance make sure that it includes medical evacuation by air ambulance and emergency repatriation. Carefully check the insurance policy wording for exclusions or restrictions on scuba diving and water sports activities – especially regarding liability. There’s no question that any type of insurance has baffling terminology which can be hard to read through, so if in doubt always call to clarify.

In the unlikely event that the beaches and islands become boring there are plenty of other activities to explore. Try a dhow cruise or a safari trip, or browse the colorful markets. Many visitors prefer to stay in the south of the country close to the capital city, Maputo, where the roads and transportation systems are better and there is access to a wider range of modern facilities. When it comes to nightlife, there is plenty to do with the jazz bars and street cafes or dancing the night away to the thrilling Mozambican marrabenta rhythms.

Access to funds may be difficult without some prior research and planning. Check out the best way to carry currency or access your funds in Mozambique. The best times to visit are between May and November when the climate is a little cooler and temperatures range from 24-27%u02DAC in coastal areas.

Most visitors and backpackers head north of Maputo to the gorgeous beaches and backpacker lodges at Tofo and on to places like Vilankulo and the Bazaruto Archipelago. The adventurous or those seeking ultimate privacy and exclusivity may prefer to take the road less travelled and venture further north in the country where the scenery becomes even more natural and unspoilt and there are fewer tourists.

This jewel of a country with its dreamy beaches, islands and coral reefs is a place to visit while it is still relatively undiscovered by mainstream tourism. The locals are friendly and eager to give visitors a big smile and warm welcome. While you are busy packing the snorkel, fins, and sunscreen don’t forget your sunglasses – because so much beauty can be dazzling!

Travel Guide for Backpackers

Thailand is one of the world’s famous holiday destinations. Thousands of tourists go on holidays in Thailand every year. This is one place people keep coming back to. Whether it is for the breathtaking beaches, food, photo-walks, or shopping, there is always something new you can look forward to.

Thailand is a large island, which stretches more than 2,000 kilometers from South to North. It is famous for its rich marine life, unique culture, modern urban adventures, and incredible diversity. With its rich history, it still managed to keep its distinct and unique tradition.

Why spend your holidays in Thailand?

It’s not that difficult to find a vacation spot in Thailand. Each of its main regions offers a great experience for every traveller in search of discovery. Tall and misty mountains located in the north shelter rich valleys and exotic hills. In the central region, you will experience unique traditional customs and crafts that have been well preserved over centuries. This is one of the reasons people spend their holidays in Thailand.

Along the breath-taking coastlines of the east and south lie some of the world’s greatest beaches and off-shore islands. You will also see historical monuments in the north-eastern region of Thailand. These sacred Khamer monuments existed from the time of Angkor Wat.

Where to spend your holidays

Bangkok

You cannot miss out Bangkok in your itinerary. Your holidays are not complete without seeing this modern “mecca” of east meets west. Its popular destinations include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Aroon Temples, Thailand National Museum, and Jim Thompson’s House. While you are in the city, make sure you’ll get some Thai recipe like the famous Pad Thai and native Tom Yam Goong. If shopping is your hobby, you can check out Chatuchak Weekend Market. This large strip covers 40 acres and contains over 6,000 stalls. This popular market receives over 300,000 visitors every week.

Phuket

Phuket holidays are your best choice if you love spending your time on a beach. This humble town features stunning natural wonders, pristine white sand beaches, and lush tropical green forests. If you like water sports and other water activities, you’ll find it all here. Experience the adventure of your life paragliding, wind surfing, boating, and jet skiing. Divers and underwater enthusiasts will have a field day exploring the depths while discovering thousands of marine life that thrive in Phuket’s crystal clear waters.

You will also find ancient villages in Phuket. Discover the wonders of their rich culture and tradition. Have a taste of their delicious and exotic dishes like snake blood. You can also have a good time with your kids at the Phuket Aquarium and Orchid Farm. These are just some of the places you can go, once you’ve had your feel of the beach.

Spending holidays in Thailand is truly a remarkable experience. The country characterises authentic Asian culture with its people, arts, and cuisine. Make it your next destination.