This tour will show you how different the Kyrgyzstan may be based on the location. If the eastern part of the country has Issyk-Kul lake and is a tourist zone for the whole summer, the western part of the country is absolutely wild and humanless. Wide steppe Suusamyr in the west has only rare yurts and local houses on the huge territory which is absolutely different from the shores of Issyk-Kul lake where all the hotels and guest houses are full of people.
Our tour will start in Bishkek – the capital of Kyrgyzstan where you will have an excursion and after that the road will take us to one of the most wonderful places in Central Asia – second biggest alpine lake in the world, Lake Issyk-Kul. After spending there some time we will continue exploring Kyrgyzstan with visiting the town which still has the spirit of tsarist Russia and the beautiful mountain gorge called Djeti-Oguz (seven bulls) with the huge red stone formations reminding of seven bulls going one after another into the “eternity”.
The next place which will be a great experience for you is the place of Son-Kul lake. The lake surrounded only by meadows, hills and mountains give your eyes so much relaxation as there are no skyscrapers, tall buildings, there are no trees and even no bushes that could disturb your sight. The yurts, that you may find on the shores of the lake look like white minarets and take your thought somewhere high, you start to feel that you are a part of a huge world and you are not its center anymore, you are a small piece of the whole.
Best time: June - September
Activity: Rest, Auto-tour, Excursions
Duration: 11 days
|Day 1||Bishkek. Airport "Manas". City tour.||yurt||B/L/D|
|Day 2||Excursion to Ala-Archa gorge.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 3||Transfer to Shamsy gorge. Horseback riding.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 4||Transfer to Cholpon-Ata.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 5||Day in Cholpon-Ata.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 6||Grigoriev gorge. Karakol.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 7||Transfer to Djeti-Oguz gorge.||yurt||B/L/D|
|Day 8||Transfer to Bokonbaevo village.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 9||Transfer to Son-Kul lake.||yurt||B/L/D|
|Day 10||Transfer to Kyzyk-Oi village.||Homestay||B/L/D|
|Day 11||Transfer back to Bishkek through Suusamyr valley.||yurt||B/-/-|
Price for groups:
2 – 3 pax - 1299 USD per person
4 – 5 pax - 929 USD per person
6 – 7 pax - 868 USD per person
8 – 9 pax - 808 USD per person
10 + pax - 780 USD per person
1. Transport according to the program (driver will speak English)
2. Accommodation in the houses of locals
3. Meals – full board (B/L/D)
4. Excursions according to the program
5. Water 1 l. per day per person
6. Horseback riding in Shamsy.
Price does NOT include:
1. Any changes in the program
2. Alcohol beverages
3. Excursions not included in the program
4. Tips for guide, driver and hotel personnel
5. Any personal expenses in hotel: international calls, bar, etc.
6. Visa (Please look over this information in case you need visa)
Duration: 11 days
Location: Kyrgyzstan. Issyk-Kul. Son-Kul.
Best time: June - September
Activity: Rest, Auto-tour, Excursions
People quantity: 2 – 12
Day 1. Bishkek
Arrival to Bishkek, meeting at the “Manas” airport, Transfer to Bishkek. Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan and the biggest city in the country. It’s a distinctive administrative unit and is a town of the Republican Submission. The very first name of it was Pishpek, then it was called Frunze and only in 1991 it finally got the name it has now - Bishkek . Its population is about 1 million people. The town is located on the north of Kyrgyzstan in Chu valley at the foot of Tian-Shan mountains about 40km from Kyrgyz ridge and about 25km from Kazakh border.
Bishkek has many places for you to see. There are some large museums, the most interesting are: the Historical National museum, the Arts museum and the museum of M.V. Frunze. The center of the town is dappled by the show bills of Opera and Ballet Theater, Russian and Kyrgyz theaters, Bishkek Theater of Drama and National Philharmonic of T.Satylganov.
There are many places reminding people of the Soviet Union period of time. The influence of that epoch is mostly felt in the center where you may still see the row of soviet architecture buildings: Philharmonic, Government building, Historical museum, Victory monument. But you will also be able to see the modern samples of Kyrgyz architecture: Manas monument, monument of Courage, the monuments of akyns (Kyrgyz poets), manaschi (Kyrgyz Manas legend tellers) and local rulers of different times. The interesting fact is that Bishkek is the only town in Central Asia that still has the monument of V. I. Lenin on the central square.
Bishkek remembers its history and will definitely tell it to everybody who wants to visit this small but cozy capital. The town is also known to be the most ecological town of the world due to a lot of green parks keeping the shadow and coolness even on the hottest summer day.
Day 2. Ala-Archa
Today after breakfast we will go to the national park Ala-Archa where we will spend our time seeing a great Kyrgyz nature. The park is located in 40 km from Bishkek on the slopes of Kyrgyz Ala-Too.
Ala-Archa is translated from Kyrgyz language as “motley juniper”. The gorge got its name due to a great amount of juniper covering its slopes. As different kinds of juniper have different colors and the gorge seems to be very colorful.
Almost all treks and hiking trips start from the same named alpine camp “Ala-Archa”, located at the forest zone on the height of 2100m over the sea level. The camp first consisted of tents in 1951 and then grew into the modern size. This was the second important place in Soviet Union after Caucasus, a kind of climbing Mecca of Central Asia. Many nowadays known climbers started their climbing career here. The camp itself is located not far from a world known Ak-Sai glacier, surrounded by many summits of different difficulty level which attracts all the climbers.
We will have a little hike to a beautiful waterfall and come back to Bishkek in the evening.
Day 3. Bishkek – Shamsy
In the morning after the breakfast we will be transferred to Shamsy gorge where we will have a little horseback riding. On the way we will visit the historical-architectural complex of Burana Tower.
Burana tower (minaret) is located on the territory of an ancient settlement 90km far from Bishkek. The historians and archeologists proved that the settlement was once the capital of Karakhanid Khanate and was called Balasagun founded in 10th century AC. Burana tower is the central monument of this complex. After the excursion we will continue our tour and go into the mountains. The horses in the gorge will be already waiting for us. After two and a half hours riding we will finally get to the gorge called Tuura-Kayin where our cooks will already have our lunch prepared. After lunch we will have free time to walk around, go to a little forest or ride on a horse a little bit more. We will have dinner in the evening and will overnight in the house of local shepherd.
Day 4. Cholpon-Ata
In the morning after the breakfast we will be transferred to Cholpon-Ata – the town which is located on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul lake. Issyk-Kul Lake is the second biggest mountain lake after Titicaca in South America; it is one of 25 biggest and 7 deepest lakes in the world. The length of this lake from west to east is 178 km, from south to north is 64km, depth is 668m. Issyk-Kul Lake ranks second in the transparency of water after Lake Baikal. The climate here is very soft, the average temperature of the summer is +17 C, it seems that at such a low temperature of summer the winters should be severe but vice versa the winters here are quite warm, average temperature in January is -3 C. The number of hours of sunshine is 2700 that is even more than at the Black Sea. The local people call this lake the “Pearl of Kyrgyzstan”. As a small bead put on the chain of mountain ridges it definitely justifies this name. The “Pearl” is located on the height of 1609 m above the sea level and enclosed from two sides by the ranges with the poetic names Terskey-Ala-Too (turned from the sun) and Kungey-Ala-Too (turned to the sun). Arrival. Accommodation. Free time for rest and enjoying yourself.
Day 5. Issyk-Kul
All day today we will spend on the shore of Issyk-Kul. In the morning we will visit Cholpon-Ata petrogliphs (stone inscriptions) left on the stones by ancient artists. On the territory of 42 hectares there is a great amount of stones of different size with petrogliphs, which were drawn by the ancient settlers of this territory. To see all the pictures in this open air museum one will need several days, each drawing is very interesting and contains the whole history of ancient people.
There are many places like that around Kyrgyzstan and the one in Cholpon-Ata contains pictures of the Bronze Epoch. First tribes to leave their pictures were Andron (II mil. BC.), then Saki who left the pictures of the “animal style” and the very late stone inscriptions are dated by Turkic time (VI-IXc. AC.). The cotton copy of the biggest boulder we may see in the historical-cultural museum in Cholpon-Ata town. The artist put on the canvas which is of the same size as the real stone a herd of mountain goats, a group of hunters and tamed snow leopards. The stone inscriptions you will see have the pictures of leopards, single and pairs of deer, camels, riders which prove the fact that Great Silk Road was once going through these territories. We will also visit the historical museum of Cholpon-Ata. Rest.
Day 6. Karakol
In the morning after having breakfast we will go to Karakol town. On the way we may visit Georgiev gorge and if the weather allows us we will have hike to the mountain lake. Arrival to Karakol. After having some rest we will have a little walk around the town, visit an ancient Dungan Mosque, and a Holy Trinity wooden Church which was first built without a single nail. Free time, rest, dinner.
Day 7. Djeti-Oguz
After breakfast we will drive to Djeti-Oguz by the eastern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. The gorge is located in 60 km to the west of Karakol on the northern slopes of Terskey-Ala-Too. This is one of the most beautiful places in Kyrgyzstan. For 25 km on both sides of the gorge the fir trees are growing at first merging into small groups and then turning into huge forest mass. The gorge finally becomes a wide Kok-Djayik valley which is totally covered by fir forests up to the very top of the ridge. Over the forest zone (about 3000 m) in the wide valley of about 15 km there are amazing subalpine and alpine meadows called Djailoo.
During the spring and the summer Djeti-Oguz gorge turns into a kind of flower holiday, among which you may see the silver stars of Edelweiss flowers, alpine daisies and asters, and nard (golden root). In the Autumn the gorge is being a colorful canvas as it’s covered not only by coniferous forests but also by the leaf trees.
From the northern Karakol and Oguz-Bashi summits’ slopes Archa-Tor and Ailanysh rivers start their flows and at the end combine into Djeti-Oguz river. Today we may have a little hike to a beautiful waterfall. Today we will stay in Kyrgyz yurts.
Day 8. Djeti-Oguz – Bokonbaevo village
After breakfast we will go to one of the villages on the shores of the great mountainous lake. We will have free time in the evening to enjoy the waters of the lake and make great pictures of the sunset on the shores of the second biggest alpine lake in the world. Issyk-Kul is translated from Kyrgyz language as the warm lake and it clearly follows its name as it never freezes in winter even despite its high location. But before that we will get to Tamga village and have a little hike to the place called TamgaTash. This is a sacred place for Buddhist. Many pilgrims come here every year and spend 2, 3 days near the stone. The stone has Buddhist script on it and all the letters are clearly seen and very good preserved. Near the stone you may see many bushes with ribbons tied to their branches. It’s a Buddhist tradition to make wishes. You may try to do the same and who knows maybe your deepest dream will finally come true. Free evening to have a good rest and enjoy the view of the lake. Overnight.
Day 9. Bokonbaevo – Kochkorka – Son-Kul.
In the morning we will enjoy the view of Terskey-Ala-Too ridge and after breakfast will continue our way. We will see the amazing change of landscapes like in kaleidoscope. The first place we will visit today is the “Fairy Tale” gorge. The whole originality of the place is the frozen in bizarre forms colorful rocks, like after the eruption. Solid clusters made of limestone and sandstone are bulging from the colorful soil and the place looks like the ruins of ancient castles. The most surprising is that the architect and sculptor of the place is the nature that used only water, sun and wind as instruments. Besides the fancy castles and fairy figures there the structures can also be considered as many-domed churches, and crenellated walls with loopholes; so for example - Sandy fence, which is very much like a "Chinese wall", stretching for several kilometers along the southern shore of Lake Issyk- Kul.
After that we will drive to Kochkorka village where we will have lunch and see the crafts show. You will see how Kyrgyz people make their carpets and will have a chance to visit the handicrafts museum where you may even buy some souvenirs for your relatives and friends. After that we will be transferred to an amazing mountain lake Son-Kul which is opened only in summer as all the roads and the lake itself is covered with snow for the rest of the year. Dinner and overnight in local yurts.
Day 10. Son-Kul - Kyzyl-Oi.
We will leave Son-Kul and go to Suusamyr valley. At first stopping at Djumgal valley which is about the same size as Suusamyr valley but much drier. Mountain slopes surrounding the valley are almost snowless. The river Djumgal counts only on subterranean waters and that’s why it’s a wide hollow river which may be forded in many places. Djumgal river flows into Kekemeren which is being the culmination of our day. We will stay in Kyzyl-Oi village for lunch and will enjoy the view of one of the most beautiful rivers in Kyrgyzstan.
Kekemeren means the “Blue flow”. It flows through the canyon with steep walls of the 500 meters height then goes into the valley and further into the canyon again… It comes to Naryn river going first through Kavak ridge being a big turbulent and high-water river deep curved into the bottom of the valley. It gives its cold waters to Naryn cooling the river for over a degree. Overnight.
Day 11. Kyzyl-Oi - Bishkek.
We continue going to Suusamyr and soon we will dive to the main Kyrgyz road going from Bishkek to Osh and come into the green wide valley (steppe). The mountains surrounding it gave the valley so much space that for a moment one may forget being in the harsh mountain country. Here you may see many nomads who brought their yurts for the summer time. On the green grass canvas all these yurts look like white minarets. Going back to Bishkek. Arrival. Accommodation.
Day 12. Flight home from “Manas” airport.