Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

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<p>I&#39;m look at a possible trip for my wife and me, most likely in June/July of this year, that would include a&nbsp; short time in Central Asia, specifically, Kazakhstan and/or Kyrgyzstan, and wondered if you have any advice or thoughts on this.<br /><br />We would stay in one or more major cities, primarily - Almaty (was Alma-Ata) Kazakhstan and/or Bishkek (was Frunze) in Kyrgyzstan.&nbsp; Time would likely limit us, I think, to visiting tourist spots in the<br />cities.&nbsp; Are there any worthwhile things to see and/or do in either one in the cities and how many days would this be expected to take?<br /><br />The nearby mountains are also a possibility to consider - the Tien Shan mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul.&nbsp; I don&#39;t know other areas.&nbsp; Though in Kyrgyzstan, the lake is tantalizing close to Almaty, but I don&#39;t know if there are reliable and efficient border crossings that would allow a short trip there.&nbsp; And is it worthwhile to go?&nbsp; Are there interesting things to see and/or do there?<br /><br />Any other suggestions on places to visit?<br /><br />Travel would have to be by cab or tourist buses, preferably.<br /><br />We would travel by air to and from the area using one or both of those cities&#39; airports.<br /><br />About altitude - we&#39;re not going to climb mountains, so relatively easy hiking should be OK.<br /><br />Any suggestions or experience regarding visas, processing at airports, etc.?<br /><br />Any other thoughts, including how many days to allot, hotel recommendations, etc.?<br /><br />Thanks in advance,<br /><br />&nbsp;</p>

Take a look at Top Asia Travel  (www.topasia.kg).  They handled the local arrangements  in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan for my group tour of the 5 'Stans.  They were excellent.  Because of the language difference, you might want to think about a car/driver and a guide.  When our group was scheduled to do an all-day hike near Bishkek, they arranged a local guide to accompany me on an all-day city tour.  Cost was $30.