Kyrgyzstan Weather, climate and geography

Weather & climate

Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. In the lowlands, the temperature ranges from around -6°C (21°F) in January to 24°C (75°F) in July. In the low-lying Fergana Valley of the south temperatures may peak as high as the low 40s in summer.

In the highlands, the temperatures range from between -20° (-4°F in January to 12°C (54°F) in July, although some high mountain valleys can drop as low as -30°C (-22°F) in winter. Rainfall is fairly low throughout the country but there can be heavy snowfalls during winter. The wettest area is the mountains above the Fergana Valley; the driest, the southwest shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. March to May and October to November are usually the wettest months

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Kyrgyzstan is between May and October as getting around outside this period can be difficult. Trekking is best between June and September, although July and August are the busiest times for foreign visitors. The south of the country, and even Bishkek, can be uncomfortably warm at this time of year, so if these are the prime destinations to be visited, spring or autumn may be a better choice.

Geography

The landlocked nation of Kyrgyzstan is bordered to the north by Kazakhstan, to the west by Uzbekistan, and to the south and east by Tajikistan and China. The majestic Tien Shan (Heavenly Mountains) range occupies the greater part of the area and 90% of the country stands above 1,500m, with 71% above 2,000m. The highest peak in Kyrgyzstan is Pik Pobedy at 7,439m (24,406ft) and the lowest point is Kara-Daryya at 132m (433ft). Kyrgyzstan is also home to several sizeable lakes, by far the largest being Lake Issyk-Kul in the northwest of the country, which stands at 1,606m (5,269 ft) above sea level and is the second largest alpine lake in the world. The climate is extreme and varied, ranging from dry continental to polar in the high Tien Shan, from subtropical in the southwest to temperate in the northern foothill zone.

Edited by Jane Duru
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