The best season to come
Kyrgyzstan’s climate is very continental and its seasons are marked with important variations on the thermometer.
Despite a short spring, the months from March to May mark the transition after a harsh winter. Temperatures go up gradually, although it still freezes at night. If you want to travel in Kyrgyzstan at this period, be careful. Some passes may still be blocked with snow, leaving some key spots on your route inaccessible. Beware of avalanches at high altitudes. May and June are very pleasant, with temperatures between 12 (54F) and 27C (81F).
Summer, from mid-June to mid-August, can be very warm especially in Bishkek and the Fergana region, south-west of the country. Temperatures can rise above 40C (104F); the average is around 32C (90F). In the mountains however, the weather is chilly, especially at night. If you’re planning high altitude hikes, take with you warm clothes. For hikes in the valleys, you can wear lighter clothes.
In the mountains, summer is quite short with a cooling at the end of August. September is a good period for traveling in Kyrgyzstan as it’s also the end of the touristic season and will be less crowded.
From November to February, the country is hit by Siberian winds with drops in the temperature to around -25C (-13F). Although the weather is dry, there is strong wind in altitude. Traveling at this period of this year can be difficult and dangerous. Roads are covered with snow and ice and can be closed. However, if you are a fan of skiing or snowboarding, you will love coming to Kyrgyzstan in winter. There are a few bases near Bishkek, but the biggest one is in Karakol in the valley of Kashka-Suu. The base is situated 17km (10.5 miles) away from the city and has 5 lifts that go up to 3040m (9974ft) altitude. Winter is a great time for freeriding too, with the help of motorbikes or horses to take you up the slopes.
Although summer is the best season to visit all the highlights of Kyrgyzstan – its valleys, gorges, lakes and glaciers – spring and fall are also suitable for tourism. If you’re an adventurer and a rider, wintertime will be a great experience.