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Exploring Kyrgyzstan

Classic Kyrgyzstan: Yurts and Mountains

Kyrgyzstan will delight any traveller looking for huge, untamed mountain vistas, remoteness and a thriving local culture.  This 10 day trip takes in the capital, Bishkek before heading into the rugged wilderness.  Trek through Ala-Archa National Park, explore the shores of lakes Issy Kul and Son Kul and sleep in traditional yurt tents as the Kyrgyz have done for millenia. Son Kul Yurt is open from mid-May to the end of September.

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 - WELCOME TO BISHKEK

Your private driver and local guide will give you a warm welcome when you arrive in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. This city lies at the foot of snow-capped mountains and you will go on a guided sightseeing tour, visiting the main sights of the city. See the main square called Ala Too (formerly known as Lenin Square) where you can watch the guard changing ceremony before moving onto the State History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and Frunze House Museum. Frunze was the famous Bolshevik general after whom the city was named until Kygyz independence in 1991. You will also walk around the open-air art gallery in Oak Park and visit Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar

DAY 2 - WALKS IN ALA ARCHA NATIONAL PARK

Ala-Archa National park is situated south of Bishkek at an altitude of between 1600-4800m and as you can imagine, the scenery is stunning. Today, take a full day excursion into the mountains to Ala Archa National Park, with a mountain picnic. This is an area of great scenic beauty with green valleys, fir forests and high glaciers. Your guide will take you on walks along pristine trails by streams and waterfalls with magnificent views over Ala Archa Canyon. Return to Bishkek where you stay overnight.

DAY 3 - EXPERIENCE CHON KEMIN VALLEY

Leaving the busy city of Bishkek, drive overland with your guide to Burana Tower Historical complex near Tokmok, to stop and visit the minaret and ancient stone memorials. Continue to the stunning Chon Kemin Valley where you will spend the night and enjoy a cooking class. Along the gorges of Kyrgyz Ala-Too, in the Chon-Kemin valley, light forests of spruce, juniper, birch, maple and mountain ash are found. In the afternoon take a guided walking tour around the village to meet the local people and learn about their traditional village life – preparing food and tending to their cattle. Next head to the Kalmak Ashu gorge for a hiking trip or enjoy horseback riding (optional)  through the beautiful Chon Kemin Valley and Kol Say Valley.

DAY 4 - SCENIC DRIVE TO TEPKE VILLAGE

Today’s drive is breath-taking as you follow eastern part of Lake Issy Kul with beautiful lake and mountain views. Along the way stop to see petroglyphs near Cholpon Ata with ancient drawings on the stones of ibex, goat and hunters. Carry on to the small village Tepke where you will spend the night at Reina Kench Eco-Farm. Go on a guided tour of the farm with its unique botanical garden, apple orchards, and horse stables – you will be able to see first hand what makes Kyrgyz horses so different. This evening a local family will prepare a flavoursome home cooked dinner, using mostly their own produce grown on site.

DAY 5 - RUSSIAN TOWN & BOKONBEYEVO VILLAGE

Leaving Tepke, drive along the edge of Lake Issyk Kul to the small town of Karakol. Explore the backstreets full of Russian Style cottages, the Chinese Dungan Mosque,  Holy Trinity Cathedral built all of wood in 1985 and walk around the main bazaar. Next stop is the Skazka Canyon, a canyon filled with fantastical sandstone shapes which is known locally as Fairytale Canyon. Continue driving to your yurt camp located by Bokonbeyevo village

DAY 6 - KYRGYZ CULTURE & LAKE ISSY KUL

Today, explore the lesser visited southern shores of Lake Issyk Kul – a real highlight of your trip. Begin your day meeting with a local eagle hunter who will explain the importance of these majestic animals to nomadic survival and demonstrate the art of using these splendid raptors to catch hares and other small mammals. Later, visit a family run felt workshop in Bokonbayevo, where you will learn about this important craft in Kyrgyz culture. Finish the day with a trip to Barskoon Gorge where you can enjoy time relaxing in the gorge or walk to the waterfalls which are surrounded by dense forest of Tien Shan fir trees and high spruce trees.

DAY 7 - JOURNEY TO SON KUL LAKE

After breakfast drive through picturesque mountains to Son Kul Lake, stopping along the way in Kochkorka village to visit a small museum. On arrival in Son Kul Lake you will stay in a yurt, the traditional home of Kyrgyz nomads. Overnight in a basic yurt camp.

DAY 8 - ALPINE LAKES, MOUNTAINS & TRADITIONAL LIFE

Son Kul Lake is a mountain lake in the Central Tian Shan Range and is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, lying at an altitude of 3016m above sea level with a total area of an incredible 275 sq km.  Spend the morning exploring either on foot or horseback. There is plenty to see aside from the spectacular scenery, there are yurts in the summer pastures and you will have an opportunity to witness traditional Kyrgyz life. Visit a local family in their yurt and you may even help with the milking or making a batch of Kykyz which is a dairy product similar to Kefir.  In the afternoon relax or continue exploring before finishing the day by an open fire beneath the stars.

DAY 9 - OVERLAND TO BISHKEK

This morning leave with your local guide and driver on a road trip through a huge landscape which will take up most of the day, as you drive north from quiet Son Kol to the relative metropolis of Bishkek through the vast Ala Too mountain range.

DAY 10 - DEPART BISHKEK

This morning we will ensure you are taken to the airport in plenty of time for your international flight.

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This itinerary costs from £1650 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from as little as £570 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

INCLUDED:
  • Prices start from £1650 per person
  • 9 nights accommodation on B&B basis
  • Accompanied by an English speaking guide throughout.
  • Private vehicle and transfers
  • All entrance fees for excursions
  • Lunch on Days 2, 7 & 8
  • Dinner on Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8
  • Local taxes
  • Meals for guides and drivers
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABAT bonded to you are financially protected
Make a booking

Kyrgyzstan will delight any traveller looking for huge, untamed mountain vistas, remoteness and a thriving local culture.  This 10 day trip takes in the capital, Bishkek before heading into the rugged wilderness.  Trek through Ala-Archa National Park, explore the shores of lakes Issy Kul and Son Kul and sleep in traditional yurt tents as the Kyrgyz have done for millenia. Son Kul Yurt is open from mid-May to the end of September.

Bishkek
Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan lies at the foot of snow-capped mountains and is the starting point for our Kyrgyzstan tours. Staying in good quality accommodation, you can head off on a rewarding guided sightseeing tour to visit the main sights of the city, open-air art galleries and Osh Bazaar.
Cholpon Ata
Cholpon Ata is the main town on the north shore of Issyk Kul Lake. In the summer months visitors can stay at one of the large resorts, relax on the beach, swim in the crystalline water or go white water rafting on the Chu River.
Bokonbaev
Bokonbaev village is an administrative centre of Ton region that covers most of the south shore of Issyk Kul Lake. You can stay in a traditional yurt by the lake, see an eagle hunting show and swim in the world’s second largest alpine lake.
Son Kul Lake
Soak in the huge vistas and open spaces on the shores of this magnificent mountain lake, lying at an altitude of 3016m above sea level. Stay overnight in a yurt, see how the Kyrgz nomads live and ride horses around Son Kul Lake.
Jety-Oguz Canyon
Jety-Oguz Canyon is a unique geographical formation of red sandstone cliffs, surrounded by the Teskei Ala-Too mountains. Here you can sleep in a yurt, go horseback riding or enjoy walks through the canyon with the famous view of the Seven Bulls, soaking up the scenery of the picturesque hills and valleys.
Karakol
Karakol town was founded by Russian pioneers in 1869. It’s a small town with the oldest Orthodox Church in Kyrgyzstan, a Chinese-style Muslim mosque and a colourful bazaar and livestock market. The Hillside Karakol Boutique Hotel is a great place to stay in Karakol.

Tash Rabat
Located in a remote valley in the far south of Kyrgyzstan in the Naryn Region, Tash Rabat is famous for its Silk Road caravanserais which were an extensive network of traveler’s inns along old caravan roads. Based in a yurt, you can enjoy leisurely walks or ride horses through the mountain valleys.
Chon Kemin Valley
Chon Kemin valley National Park is a beautiful part of Kyrgyzstan, with lush green valleys where forested mountains tower over meandering rivers and rare wildlife roams. The area is great for horse riding, trekking and fishing, and you can stay in Ahu Guesthouse, one of the best guesthouses in Kyrgyzstan.

Sary Chelek Biosphere
Sary Chelek Biosphere Reserve is a beautiful, protected nature reserve. Situated up among the steep rocky slopes of the surrounding mountains, approximately 1870 metres above sea level, Sary Chelek is the largest of the seven lakes within the nature reserve and is home to hundreds of species of animals and plants.

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