One of the many Central Asian countries which was once a Soviet republic, Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous and generally rather rugged country arguably best known for its prominence on the ancient Silk Road trade route. There is much more to the country than simply its historical importance, however, with stunning wildlife including snow leopards to be found up in the stunningly beautiful Tian Shan mountain region. If you’re not necessarily looking to trek, Lake Issyk-Kul is the place where the locals head to when temperatures are on the up in the summer. The second largest mountain lake in the world, it surprisingly does not freeze despite the surrounding terrain. For those seeking the hustle and bustle of traditional markets the Jayma Bazaar in Osh is not to be missed, while anyone keen to experience truly traditional accommodation can get a taste of the nomadic lifestyle by staying in a yurt.