Chui region is probably the first place you will see in Kyrgyzstan, as everything starts here: the airport with international flights, English speaking organisations, agencies and companies that can help you arrange your tour.
The nation’s capital, Bishkek, is in the Chui region, so it is considered to be the center of economic, migration, and transportation flow in the country. Chui region (think Star Wars) is located in the north of Kyrgyzstan and is the most developed and industrialized region of the country, from the Tsarist and Soviet time to the present day.
The Chui region has a lot to offer: endless mountain ranges and peaks, beautiful valleys and gorges, waterfalls and lakes, hot springs, a wide range of activities (from horse riding to rafting and paragliding) and so much more that will make you fall in love with the country. The good news is that there are many startup projects that aim to bring tourism to a new level, slightly more people speak English and definitely more people are used to foreigners than in other regions. Let’s say the Chui region and Bishkek is the “Silicon Valley and New York” of Kyrgyzstan (though you understand that the comparison is not literal) and all modern open-minded people can be found here. Keeping that in mind, when you see Bishkek you’ll be able to imagine how the rest of the country might look like and slightly lower your expectations towards facilities (bathrooms, hot water, toilets, etc.).
If you do not have much time to travel around, then you can simply explore the Chui region and within a couple of days get the full “Kyrgyzstan” experience that would include horse riding in the mountains, hiking, climbing (if you wish), visiting waterfalls or paragliding, checking out the ruins of the Great Silk Road, and partying in the clubs, and tasting local food.
Another interesting thing to mention is that the world also knows about the Chui region, as it shares the name of the drug “Chui hashish” or simply “Chuikov”. Cannabis is thought to have originated in Central Asia and documented use stretches back over 2000 years. This is wild cannabis, not large scale farmed plant, more of Kyrgyzstan’s wild nature.
The Chui region is a lovely place that welcomes every single person who crosses its border and I hope you will be one of them. Welcome!