Sleeping in a yurt
There’s no more authentic experience to try in Kyrgyzstan than to sleep under a yurt. Kyrgyz have always been nomads, and they started to settle in cities and villages only under the Soviet Union. This, however, has in no way erased their traditions, and shepherds continue to sleep under yurts.
In summertime, you will also be able to enjoy a night under a yurt in the mountain pastures. There are large touristic camps as well as small shepherd families who put up one or two extra yurts to welcome travelers and make their ends meet. In any case, try to choose a camp where the yurts are authentic Kyrgyz yurts, made of wood and felt only.
In yurts, Kyrgyz traditionally sleep on the ground on small mattresses called “toshoks”. But more and more camps offer beds to add a little comfort to this experience. Yurts are heated at night because it can get really cold in the mountains, even in the middle of summer. You might want to take a sleeping bag with you to keep warm.
Far from civilization, you won’t have any access to Internet or to electricity overall. Shepherds have a small generator that they usually turn on in the evening to light the camp. The sinks are outside in the open air and filled with water manually. Some camps have banyas, or saunas, where you can wash after a hike.
If you chose to stay with a family of shepherds, which is highly recommended, you’ll be able to discover nomads’ life: milk cows, gather herds, make traditional cheese, cook in the yurt, etc.
Sleeping under a yurt is also a great opportunity to enjoy a starry sky with no pollution and admire the Milky Way. In an absolute calm, you’ll get to rest and live an unusual experience!