One of the most exciting opportunities for travelers in Kyrgyzstan is the chance to spend a night in a yurt on the jailoo. Jailoos are the pastures where thousands of Kyrgyz families still spend their summers, grazing their flocks and living much as their nomadic forefathers did thousands of years ago. In the 1930's, a Soviet campaign successfully de-nomadized the Kyrgyz, and the country’s inhabitants now spend winters in not-at-all-portable Soviet-built homes. But every April and May, shepherds load their yurt into the truck (or perch it precariously a top of the Lada), round up the herd, and head to the hills.

To visit the jailoo and spend the night in a family yurt is to experience at first hand the nomadic past so central to the Kyrgyz people.  Here, the traditional Kyrgyz family lives on; the march of progress sweeps permanent winter homes along, but sheer isolation keeps the jailoo frozen in time. Kyrgyz hospitality has free rein here, and portability is king, as it always has been.  Isolated too from urbanization and development, the jailoos retain great natural beauty: clean mountain streams, creeping glaciers, crystal lakes, and endless expanses of grass that fill the eyes and humble the soul.  This is the heart of the Kyrgyz experience.  Arrange a stay on a jailoo through CBT Kochkor, CBT Naryn, or any of the Shepherd’s Life groups.  

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