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Exploring Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan Encompassed

A comprehensive tour around this magnificent Central Asian country traveling off the beaten track to remote areas where you will hike to pristine alpine lakes through fantastic mountain scenery.  A perfect trip for those who enjoy wildlife, fabulous scenery and being outdoors, camp in traditional yurts and learn about how these interesting people have lived along the Silk Road for millennia. Learn how Kyrgyzstan is developing community based  tourism by staying at one of its homestays.

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 - ARRIVE IN 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 - IMPRESSIVE MOUNTAINS & DRIVE TO CHYCHKAN GORGE

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, enjoy an 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. After your picnic lunch return to the capital and drive south along the Bishkek-Osh Road to Chychkan Gorge in the northern part of the Jalal-Abad Region where a turbulent river flows along the bottom of the gorge on its way into the Toktogul Reservoir.

DAY 3 - JOURNEY TO SARY CHELEK

Today drive to Sary Chelek Biosphere Reserve, 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 with depths reaching over 200 metres. The lake is home to hundreds of species of animals and plants and you will stay overnight in a CBT (Community Based Tourism) homestay close to the shores of the lake.

DAY 4 - MOUNTAIN WALKS & STUNNING LAKES

Enjoy an exciting day walking the trails along Sary Chelek lakes, which are surrounded by towering cliffs and mountains, spotting wildlife and wildflowers along the way. The turquoise and emerald green lakes are stunning, with smaller ones hidden within lush spruce and hick juniper tree forests which reflect on the water surface. Find a great spot for a picnic lunch and even enjoy a swim in the lukewarm summer water.

DAY 5 - LEAFY VILLAGE OF ARSLANBOB

After breakfast journey south following the slow mountain road which passes through the small town of Tash Kumyr before arriving in the Uzbek village of Arslanbob. The rural village of Arslanbob nestles at 1600m beneath the granite cliffs of sacred Mt Babash-Ata (4,465m) and is known as Arstnbap in Kyrgyz. This vast woodland is filled with walnut and fruit trees and boasts the single largest Walnut area in the world. Arslanbob is at the forefront of the outstanding Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism project and this evening your base in a local homestay.

DAY 6 - EXPLORE THE WALNUT FOREST

Spend the day, either on foot or on horseback, with your guide walking through the Arslanbob walnut groves – sometimes referred to as ‘The Royal Woods of Kyrgyzstan’. These trees, which produce a large quantity of walnuts, grow on the mountain slopes and can live up to 1,000 years reaching up to 30 metres. This is beautiful walking country with spectacular views and you will see a beautiful 23 metre high waterfall nestled deep in the forest.

DAY 7 - DRIVING THROUGH NOMAD’S LAND

After breakfast drive through the Tien Shan Mountains on route to Kazaram.  This splendid range stretches for 1500 miles marking the land border between Kyrgyzstan and China. There are high mountain passes and sometimes the road is reduced to gravel through erosion and landslides so the going can be slow. One of the highlights today is crossing the Kaldama Pass (3062m), providing impressive photo stops along the way. Arrive in the village of Kazarman located in Jalalabat Oblast and stay overnight in a local home stay.

DAY 8 - TRAVEL TO SON KUL LAKE

Continue your journey through the mountains down to Son Kul Lake, a mountain lake in the Central Tian Shan Range which 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. This fresh water lake is full of fish such as lake herring, which was brought here by Kyrgyz ichthyologists in 1968. The summer pastures are dotted with yurts, the traditional home of Kyrgyz nomads, and you will overnight in a basic yurt camp near the lake shore in a yurt.

DAY 9 - ALPINE LAKE & KYRGYZ CULTURE

This morning explore the shores of the lake either on foot or horseback. There is plenty to see aside from the spectacular scenery 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.  This fermented mare’s milk is the Kyrgyz national drink.  In the afternoon relax or continue exploring before finishing the day by an open fire beneath the stars.

DAY 10 - TRAVEL TO TASH-RABAT

Today drive to Tash Rabat via Moldo-Bel and Mels passes. located in a remote valley in the far south of Kyrgyzstan in the Naryn Region, Tash Rabat is famous for its Silk Road caravanserais, an extensive network of traveler’s inns along old caravan roads. These were either located at cities along the way or as outposts of civilization in isolated regions, providing shelter from the hostile natural environment and from bandits.

DAY 11 - WILD & REMOTE KYRGYZSTAN

Tracing the footsteps of countless travellers along the Silk Road, spend the day with your local guide walking or by horseback seeing the sites of this wild and remote place. Highlights include the ancient caravanserai of Tash-Rabat located 3150 m above sea level, in the picturesque spot surrounded by the mountains of the At-Bashin ridge. Tash-Rabat was constructed in the 9th – 11th centuries and was originally a monastery before becoming an overnight settlement for Silk Road caravans.

DAY 12 - OVERLAND TO KEL SUU LAKE

A long drive today as you make your way to Kel Suu lake lake located in Ak-Sai valley in the Naryn region which borders China. Due to its inaccessibility – lying  3500 – 3600 m above sea level – this lake is not often visited by tourists and is certainly one of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Kyrgyzstan. It has a particularly unusual feature, after which it was named.

Kel – Suu translates from Kyrgyz as ‘incoming water’ and indeed, sometimes the lake disappears, leaking into underground caves and grottoes before later returning. Spend the night under canvas in a tented camp for two nights.

DAY 13 - AMAZING KEL SUU LAKE

Spend the day trekking around the lake exploring caves and enjoying the amazing scenery.

During the walk you can find free grazing flocks of sheep, herds of horses and yaks, large numbers of marmots and there is a high probability of seeing soaring golden eagles and vultures overhead. You will also see a natural dam, blocking the exit of water from the lake, and the route passes where water flows from almost under the feet and rushes down a stormy mountain stream.

DAY 14 - TRAVEL TO NARYN

After breakfast, leave the lake and drive to Naryn via Kyndy pass (3398 m) and Ak-Muz village. The town was established as a fortress on the caravan route in 1868 and is situated on both banks of the Naryn River (one of the main headwaters of the Syr Darya), which cuts a picturesque gorge through the town. After checking into your hotel, visit the State Historical Museum, Central Mosque and the Main Square.

DAY 15 - DRIVE TO BISHKEK

This morning drive to Bishkek stopping at the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, Tokmok and visiting the restored 11th century Burana Tower and ancient stone memorials. Continue to Bishkek where the tour ends.

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DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £2550 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 £2550 per person
  • 14 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 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 & 14
  • Dinner on Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13
  • Local taxes
  • Border permit
  • Meals for guides and drivers
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are financially protected
Make a booking

A comprehensive tour around this magnificent Central Asian country traveling off the beaten track to remote areas where you will hike to pristine alpine lakes through fantastic mountain scenery.  A perfect trip for those who enjoy wildlife, fabulous scenery and being outdoors, camp in traditional yurts and learn about how these interesting people have lived along the Silk Road for millennia. Learn how Kyrgyzstan is developing community based  tourism by staying at one of its homestays.

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.

Your adventure starts here!

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