Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu April 28 2016

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  • Nick and Dariece | April 28, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Arslanbob: Kyrgyzstan's Magical Mountain Village

    Arslanbob: Kyrgyzstan's Magical Mountain Village

    Photos by Goats on the Road

    Have you ever wanted to visit a place with towering mountains, local homestay options, rushing waterfalls, and scenic panoramic viewpoints? If so, Arslanbob should be on your travel bucket list.

    This village of 13,000 people is located at the base of the Baba-Ata Mountains in the country of Kyrgyzstan, which is one of the more popular 'Stan countries for tourists. Even though Arslanbob is located in Kyrgyzstan, the residents here are predominantly Uzbek people, meaning you'll find a different culture in this little village than you would in the rest of the country.

    Central Asia A Homestay Family In Arslanbob

    The best way to really get a feel for Arslanbob is to stay at one of the homestays through CBT (Community Based Tourism). You'll be given a comfortable private room in a local's home, and typically meals will be included in the price, which is a very affordable $7-$10/night.

    READ MORE: Fishing With A 70-Year-Old Man in Kyrgyzstan

    But what really sets Arslanbob apart is its natural surroundings. Again, head into the CBT office to receive up to date advice about hiking and tours. They'll provide you with a guide if you would like one, or will give out a hand-drawn map to those who want to explore independently.

    The best way to get your bearings is to just go for a stroll around the village and see what you come across. The center of town is quite small, with just a couple of little restaurants, schools, shops and a bazaar. As you move further away from the main part of the village, you'll find numerous trails and stunning scenery.

    Crossing The River Arslanbob

    Heading east from the CBT office will bring you to the small, 65 foot high waterfall, while heading north, you'll arrive at the big, 290 foot waterfall! During the off-season, you'll have the falls practically to yourself, but keep in mind that during the shoulder/off-season, you'll need to bring your own water, as there won't be any vendors along the trail.

    If you're feeling more adventurous, you can opt for the overnight trek (about 15 miles) which heads out past the Big Waterfall, through the Halfsummers Pastures and the Walnut Grove, before returning back to the village. Guides can be hired for this route, and although 15 miles may not sound all that strenuous for a two-day hike, the elevation gain is around 4,450 feet.

    waterfall arslanbob

    For those who like to walk, but not necessarily go on any backbreaking treks, you can hike alongside the river, and up to the Panorama Viewpoint. This is a great spot to relax with a book and enjoy the breathtaking views. Another option is to go fishing with a local fisherman. Spend the night under the stars in a tent, while fishing in the evening and early morning. Regardless of whether or not you catch anything, just being out in nature, alongside a beautiful river with the locals is a memory you'll never forget.

    arslanbob kyrgyzstan

    Even though all of these outdoor activities are amazing, the piece de resistance is the Walnut Grove! Just past the path to the Panorama Viewpoint, the trees start to close in and the area becomes very dense, very fast. Spanning 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres), this is the largest walnut forest in the world. During the months of September to November, local families camp out in the forest in order to harvest as many walnuts as they can during this important season. The families earn $3 for every 6.5 pounds of nuts collected. This is an excellent wage for the people of Arslanbob, as teachers only earn around $70 a month (according to this article).

    READ MORE: Don't Miss Out on These Hikes With Breathtaking Views

    Delicious Ripe Walnuts Of Arslanbob

    We recommend spending a few hours out in the forest collecting a couple of walnuts for yourself to eat (they literally fall from the trees), and enjoying the peace and quiet. But, the best part about this forest is the local people you will encounter. We found the people of Arslanbob to be very friendly and welcoming, not only in the homestays, but also out in the walnut grove.

    Arslanbob may be small in size, but there are numerous activities to be had. Plan to visit for at least two nights, preferably five.

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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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