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Exploring Kyrgyzstan

Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Adventure

These two countries embody the wild, remote, mountainous landscapes of Central Asia and this tour is a great way to discover them.  See prehistoric rock carvings and hike around Altyn Emel National Park and hike along fantastic canyons that rival the Grand Canyon in the USA.  Alpine lakes hidden among fir forests provide fantastic walking and you will meet the hunters who use giant raptors to catch their prey. There are opportunities to go horse riding and enjoy the cafes of modern Bishkek which has a liberal, artistic attitude.

Your Itinerary


On arrival in Almaty your local guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel, where you have some time at leisure.  Today enjoy a sightseeing tour of Almaty. Highlights include Panflilov Park, Memorial of Glory and Eternal Flame, Zenkov Russian Cathedral constructed entirely from wood. Next explore the bustling Zelyony (Green) Bazzar, before ending this fascinating day by taking the mountain road to Kok Tibe Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic city views of Almaty.


This morning, travel to the world’s largest collection of rock paintings – Tamgaly Tas, which is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Tamgaly tas is a unique place, with over 4000 rock carvings dated back to the Bronze age. Head into Altyn Emel National Park and take in the surreal red and white coloured Aktau-Katytau Mountains. From here scale the Singing Barchan Dune, which is an imposing 120 metres high and 1.5 kilometres long, to admire the views before heading to your guesthouse for the night.


Altyn Emel National Park is a huge area of nearly 4,600 square kilometres lying to the northeast of Lake Kapshagay containing expanses of sprawling desert, towering mountains and rocky terrain . It was probably created by small volcanoes, erupted and immediately cooled down million years ago. The park is one of the few places in the country with freely roaming goitered gazelles, argali, tau-teke ibex and Asiatic wild ass. Today enjoy a full day excursion into the national park with your guide exploring this unique place on short walks or by vehicle.


Depart to Charyn Canyon. The Valley is a natural counterpart of the Great Canyon of the river Colorado in the USA, 80km long and 200 -300 metres in depth. Erosion and weathering have left bizarre shapes like fantastic sculptures and exposed the many colours of the earth. This afternoon continue driving overland to Kolsai lake., where we stay overnight.


In the foothills of the Tien Shan range lie the Kolsai and Kandy lakes. Surrounded by fir trees and alpine meadows they are the perfect setting for a hike and you can either go with your guide on a moderate walk or enjoy a  leisurely boat ride along the Lower Kolsai Lake.

Kaindy lake is at an altitude of 1667 metres, this beautiful lake appeared after an earthquake in 1911 and is famous for its forest of submerged spruce trees which rise out of the lake’s sapphire waters and still have foliage – an incredible sight!  Walk around the lake and through the forests with your guide enjoying stunning mountain views.


Today drive south and cross the Karakara border into Kyrgyzstan. Continue through stunning alpine mountain scenery and skirt around the eastern side of Lake Issy Kul to the small town of Karakol.  The town of Karakol was founded in the 19th century and  is situated at the foot of Terskey Ala-Too mountain range. The town has about 65,000 inhabitants and is the administrative center of IssykKul region. Explore the town which is full of Russian Style cottages, the Chinese Dungan Mosque, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, built all of wood in 1985, and walk around the main bazaar.


After breakfast drive to Jety Oguz canyon. This picturesque gorge, not far from Karakol, is one of the most beautiful and famous canyons in Kyrgyzstan The name ‘Jety Oguz’ means Seven Bulls and comes from the seven towering red-brown cliffs which stand shoulder to shoulder. Trek through the gorge  passing tumbling waterfalls and sprawling meadows of wildflowers to a panoramic view point. There are many legends about the red rocks and after lunch you can go horse riding along the canyon to the magnificent Oguz-Bashi peak. Afterwards drive to the small town of Tamga on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains.


Today is spent exploring Tamga and the surrounding quieter area of the Lake and the nature reserve. Once a thriving town servicing the famous sanatorium – where cosmonauts and sports people trained and recuperated in the heyday of the Soviet Union- today it is a dusty Kyrgyz village. Look around the sanatorium as well as the Christian/Muslim cemetery and rock art before meeting a local eagle hunter who will explain one of Central Asia’s most cherished nomadic traditions. Witness a demonstration of the art of using these regal birds to catch hares and other small animals. Next drive to the village of Barskoon (1700m), once part of the Silk Road and built around a military post in the 19th century It is the gateway to the Barskoon Gorge and Valley where you can some time exploring the gorge and walking through pastures to picturesque waterfalls. Return to Tamga where you stay overnight in your guesthouse.


Leaving Tamga with your local guide, drive overland following the western edge of Lake Issy kul. to Chon Kemin Valley and overnight. Along the gorges of Kyrgyz Ala-Too, in the Chon-Kemin valley, light forests of spruce, juniper, birch, maple and mountain ash are found. Spend the day exploring the beautiful valley and enjoy a guided walking tour around the village to meet the local people and learn about traditional village life – preparing food, tending to their cattle and raising their families. Next head to the Kalmak Ashu gorge for a hiking trip or enjoy horseback riding through the beautiful Chon Kemin Valley and Kol Say Valley.


After a relaxing morning you may be able to witness the famous horseback game Ulak Tartish, a wild, traditional sport of nomads which is played on horseback throughout Central Asia. Later drive to Bishkek stopping on the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul at Tokmok to visit the restored 11th century Burana Tower and ancient stone memorials. Continue to Bishkek where you will spend the night.


Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Bishkek including the main square called Ala Too (formerly Lenin Square) where you can watch the guard changing ceremony, 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. Stroll around Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar and the open-air art gallery in Oak Park. Enjoy your final dinner in a traditional Kyrgyz restaurant.


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



This itinerary costs from £2590 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from £750 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?

  • Prices start from £2590 per person
  • 11 nights accommodation on B&B basis
  • Accompanied by an English speaking guide throughout.
  • Private vehicle and transfers
  • Internal flights (three)
  • All entrance fees for excursions
  • Lunch on Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8
  • Dinner on Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 & 11
  • Local taxes
  • Meals for guides and drivers
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are financially protected
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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 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 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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