Kyrgyz Culture

Naryn dancing girls in traditional holiday costumes Horses grazing in Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan women spreading holiday shyrdak Kalpak saima Kyrgyz felted hat Kyrgyz shepherd tackling goat from herd Shyrdak making Naryn oblast Kyrgyz Family yurt at Song Kul Lake Kyrgyzstan Besh Barmak Dastorkan five fingered meal Dastorkhan yurt meal near At Bashi Kyrgyzstan Naryn Regional At Bashi June Shyrdak Festival Tradiational Felt Kyrgyz Slippers Pointed Toes Saima Samovar bozuy Songkol Lake sundown Sheep herded down road from At Bashy to Naryn

Among some of the many cultural traditions you can come to expect here, the Kyrgyz people
take great pride in their hospitality
take shoes off at the door, but usually wear felt slippers indoors
serve hot tea from small handleless tea cups called “Chinnees” with lots of sugar
(in the north of the country, they only drink black tea & in the south only green)
maintain close ties to extended family and neighbors
are historically nomadic
are very proud of the mountains, alpine lakes and nature in their country
are very concerned about the cold especially for small children & will dress them in many layers
always greet one another when passing by (only the men shake hands with one another)
greet each other with many questions concerning the well-being of their families, health, work, etc.
often ask someone’s age upon first introduction to know how to address that person (polite or informal form)
usually eat later at night sitting on the floor around a low table called a “dastorkhan”
sit and often sleep on colorful narrow floor mattresses called “tushuks”
respect those older than them or women with children by giving up their seats on public transportation
seat guests and respected elders furthest away from the door as a sign of respect
cup their hands and bring them over their face for a blessing when finishing a meal
tend to get married and have children in their early 20s

Kyrgyzstan is dominated by two languages: Kyrgyz and Russian (in some Southern towns close to the border Uzbek is also common). In the northern part of the country and especially in the capital city, Bishkek, Russian is predominantly spoken whereas in most of the rest of the country (and especially where these tours will take us) the Kyrgyz language is dominant. That is why we strive to always have good Kyrgyz, Russian and English speakers available to interpret along the journey. We also promise to do our best assist you with cultural explanations & preempt faux pas so that your experience here will be educational, eye opening and avoiding awkwardness when encountering such a foreign culture. Because our staff includes both locals and foreigners who have gone through much of the cultural shock, we are better prepared than most travel agencies and tour companies to walk you through the intricacies of this distinctly Central Asian journey!