Kyrgyzstan’s geographical location as well as its varied topography and altitude result in constantly-changing weather patterns and temperature variations over the seasons. The climate of most of the country is temperate, with only the southern region considered sub-tropical. The distance from the ocean and its closeness to the desert add drought and continental influences to the overall weather and, in the vicinity of massive Lake Issyk-Kul, a marine climate occurs.
Kyrgyzstan enjoys very little rainfall, on average with 247 sunny days a year. Lowland temperatures in the north range from 21°F in January, the coldest month, to 75°F in July and August. The highland regions see winter lows of -14°F or colder and temperatures up to 54°F in the summer. Heavy snowfall is common in winter, especially at altitude. In the north during winter and early spring, freezing winds blow from Siberia and the Arctic Circle, resulting in sharp frosts or even snow as late as April.
In the sub-tropical south, summer highs often exceed 104°F, making sightseeing unbearable and providing a risk of heat stroke to visitors not used to extreme weather. Bishkek can also see spikes in summer to uncomfortable levels, although in general, humidity is low. In regards to the seasons, summer in Kyrgzstan is long, beginning in May and cooling down by September, with unstable weather in spring and fall marking the brief transition period between winter and summer.
Best Time to Visit Kyrgyzstan
The best time to visit Kyrgyzstan is between May and September, when the weather in kinder and transportation is easier. In winter, many roads are closed and, in spring, heavy rainfall makes rural tracks impassable. June in the mountains sees beautiful Alpine flowers for hikers and trekkers, and July and August are cooler in the hills than on the plains. The southern regions are best visited between April and October, although the prime summer months can be unbearably hot for those not used to soaring temperatures. Over the winter, domestic flights are grounded and many tourist facilities are closed, with the exception of the ski resorts in the Tian Shan and Kyrgyz Ala-Too mountains.