Caves and different natural monuments of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is really rich in the wonders of the nature let it be picturesque gorges or unique landscapes, geothermal sources or misterious caves populated by bats and filled with various formations. Here you feel the smell of history when the Paleolithic sea splashed, ancient tribes populated this territory, the Great Silk Road run its way, pilgrims visited sacred caves and Suleiman-Too Mount in Osh city as in Uzgen town the Karakhanids ruled.

This program allows to touch the history, merge with the nature, get to know yourself through it.You will enjoy the brilliant dawns over the Martian landscapes and red sunsets painting rocks to the purple and scarlet colors.  You will plunge into the crystal clear waters of springs or bath in thermomineral water washing away the day tiredness. Though it is not that tiredness which you feel in the city.  That is a pleasant languor from the very interesting day full of impressions.

That is not all!  Go with us and you will be able to see the unusual beauty!      

Destinations: Oash, Dzhalal-Abad and Batken regions, Kyrgyzstan

Duration: 14 days

Best period: April - October

Expert guide: Alexei Dudashvili, Candidate of  Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, co-author of Caves of the Osh Hills book

Days  Program  Accommodation  Nutrition 
Day 1  Meeting at Manas International Airport. Transfer  to Bishkek.   Hotel   -/-/D
Day 2  Transfer to Mailuu-Suu town.    Apartments/guest house  B/L/D 
Day 3   Transfer to Osh. Rest.  Hotel  B/L/D 
Day 4   Sightseeing in Osh.  Hotel  B/L/D
Day 5   Transfer to the Tuya-Muyun Massif.  Tents  B/L/D 
Day 6   Walking to the Bel-Uruk Plateau and transfer to the Abshir-Sai. Transfer to  the Uluu-Too Mountains.  Tents  B/L/D
Day 7   Transfer to Kadamzhai.  Tents  B/L/D 
Day 8   Transfer via Batken to the Madygen Region.  Tents  B/L/D 
Day 9   Excursions in the Sary-Too Region.  Tents  B/L/D 
Day10   Transfer to Aravan settlement. Visiting of the Kan-i-Gut Cave .  Tents  B/L/D
Day11   Visiting of the Chil-Ustun Massif caves.  Tents   B/L/D
Day12   Visiting of the Chil-Ustun Cave.    Tents   B/L/D
Day13   Transfer to the Chichkan Gorge via Osh city.  Tents   B/L/D 
Day14   Transfer to Bishkek.  Hotel   B/L/D




 Day 1. Bishkek.

     Meeting at Manas International Airport.  Transfer to Bishkek. Accommodation in a hotel. Briefing after dinner.  Guests’ wishes.

 Day 2. Bishkek – Mailuu-Suu.

     After breakfast transfer to Mailuu-Suu town by the strategic Bishkek-Osh road.

    The way will cross the Kyrgyz Ridge including three passes of up to 3500 m above sea level via the picturesque Suusamyr Valley (2800 m above sea level) which  is filled with the smell of grasses in summer and that attracts beekeepers. Shepherds bring their flocks of sheep and herds of horses for horse milk (kumys) production to that place. In many yurts local housewives make kumys and other dairy products.

    Further we will drive through the lovely Chichkan Gorge along the same name river.  We will stop for lunch on the shore of the Toktogul Reservoir  where you can rest and bath. Then we will see totally different landscapes and different natural monuments. We will enter the Fergan Valley. Arrival in Mailuu-Suu town.  Accommodation in a hotel. Dinner in a cafe.

 Day 3.  Mailuu-Suu – Osh.

     After breakfast together with the local professional guide we will visit the Dinosaurs Plateau.

     Here on the sloping limestone plateau dinosaur’s footprints (or rather a flying dinosaur (pterosaur)) are preserved. It provides an excellent view of the town and its surroundings with wonderful landscapes. Our guide will hold an excursion into the history and archeology of the region as well as in the development of many mining fields situated here.

     The history of the town and its surroundings during the Soviet period is rather interesting. City tour.

     After dinner our way will be going by Dzhalal-Abad town. The town is famous for the one of the oldest Central Asian resorts. The resort is located above the town and is surrounded by the  thickets of pistachio and almond. There thermal mineral water and mud of various composition have  balneological properties.

    Then we will drive by the ancient city of Uzgen where we will visit the historical and archaeological complex of the IX-XI centuries with the ancient minaret which was built during Karakhanids era as the mausoleum of their rulers.

    We will continue to the ancient city of Osh (southern capital of Kyrgyzstan). Accommodation in a hotel in Osh. Dinner at a restaurant with national and European cuisines.

 Day 4. Osh.

     Osh city tour. We will visit the Osh-3000 historical and archaeological complex and the main shrine which Muslims call "wonder of the world" - Suleiman-Too Mount located in the city center and towering above it by more than 70 meters. We will visit one of the best regional museums  in Central Asia and the Oriental Bazaar which is about 2000 years old. Visit to the Mineralogical Museum accumulating also samples of cave formations and the Orlov Cave in which the historical museum was opened.

     Lunch at the restaurant. Free program: souvenir shops, walking around the city. After the excursion  return to the hotel. Dinner.

 Day 5. Osh – Tuya-Muyun Mountains.

     After breakfast we head to the famous Osh Hills karst region. Our way passes by the desert hills and the fertile Naukat Valley to the famous karst massif named Tuya-Muyun.

     Arrival in the Tuya-Muyun. The karst landscape, numerous caves, parched plateau, rich history of this region exploration by the great scientists make it unique and attractive.

     The excursion to the same name plateau and Fersman Cave mine. The history of exploration and development of precious mineral deposits to create the first atomic bomb in the Soviet Union. The cave is for fans of extreme. Cave’s depth is 240 m. The cave has hydro thermo karst origin i.e. formed by hot mineral solutes from the depths of the Earth's crust. Hot solutes formed a number of different minerals here. Ore containing various mineral compounds was processed at the Isolit plant in Mailuu-Suu where to our previous visit was not accidental.

     The excursion to the Large Barite Cave (length – 120 m) found by the academic Fersman.  The cave is famous for the rare barite deposit discovered by Fersman.  The cave is easily accessible due to the entrance tunnel in the limestone massif but fans of extreme will be offered to make a vertical descent into the cave through the natural 20 meters deep input well as Fersman did.

     After lunch visit to the famous Surprise Cave.  Lenth - 150 m, total length of tunnels – 350 m. The way to the cave lies along the exotic Dangi Canyon translating as «narrow».

     Vertical sides of the canyon up to 150 m, hovering eagles in the sky strip, numerous caves, rock paintings make the canyon excursion fascinating. You can get to the cave by the right bank trail of the raging Aravan-Sai River. In some places while overcoming difficult parts in the canyon and in the cave the belaying is needed.

The cave is interesting for its formations, for example, calcite corallites or pentagonal crystals.

    After cave visit the camp setting in the Barberry Gorge. Dinner. Evening bonfire. There is a small waterfall of clean drinking water coming from the karst massif nearby where you can take a cool shower and wash clothes. Overnight.

 Day 6. Tuya-Muyun - Uluu-Too.

     In the morning after breakfast camp packing and hiking along the Barberry Gorge to the plateau of the Bel-Uruk Mountains.  Then descent to the Naukat Valley on the southern slope of the massif. 

     There is a wonderful view from the plateau onto the Alai Ridge as well as the Naukat Valley. Mineralogy fans can find geodes with rock-crystal, morion, agate and marble onyx.

     The vehicle will be waiting for us at the foot of the slope and take to the Abshir-Sai Gorge with the same name waterfall. The waterfall is the vaucluse striking  with a huge flow from the vertical limestone cliffs with a height of about 30 m. At the foot the waterfall forms a massive travertine. That place is a shrine where the locals have to plunge into the stone baths formed by the waterfall to be cleaned of sins.

    Such waterfall and geological formation speak for the strong karstation of the region.

    Transfer to the foothill of Uluu-Too Mount and the camp setting on the shore of the Naiman Reservoir. Dinner. Overnight.

 Day 7. Uluu-Too – Kadamzhai settlement.

    After breakfast visit to the Uluu-Too Cave.  It is a shrine place. It used to be very beautiful.  There was a wide range of formations like stalagmites, stalactites, corallites and aragonites.  Due to the rich deposit of the marble onyx it was savagely looted. But still nowadays it is attractive for photographs and bats researches.

    The cave is represented by the different stone formations of aragonites, stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates. The walls and ceiling are in red and grey colored stains, concentric patterns of lines and sagging onyx. Length - 145 m.

     After the cave we will observe the alone standing stalagnate which is located near the cave on the day side in the small grotto. That is a unique geological monument speaking for the paleo karst origin of  the area.

     After light dinner we will go to the mining Kadamzhai settlement where is the largest mercury-antimony plant.

     Setting up the camp in the recreation area where the bathing ponds are filled with thermal mineral water flowing from the foot of the rock massif. Recreation. Dinner. Overnight

Day 8. Kadamzhai – Batken - Madygen.

     After breakfast we will drive via the amazing landscapes, stone deserts and fertile oasis in the Madygen Gorge and through Batken town.

     Our way will turn to  the north in the Sokh River region where we will visit the Ak-Turpak gypsum cave. The cave is formed in the gypsum rock. There the gypsum-selenite crystals are nestled by bats. The cave has a large volume and is a shrine where pilgrims spend rituals.

     In Batken we will stop for food shopping. Further our road runs along the deserted but splendid colorful landscape. The color spectrum of those extraordinary hills indicates the presence of various metal impurities and minerals in the clay rocks oxidating under interaction with the forces of nature.

     On the way we will see the amazing colorful landscapes created by the sun, wind and water. In the sediments of the dry gorges fossils of the ancient inhabitants of the Paleolithic sea and geodes of rock-crystal, chalcedony and gypsum crystals can be found.

     Arrival in Madygen. Madygen is an oasis in the desert. Wedging out springs form a small river which in turn formed the canyon. Excursion in the canyon.

    Setting up the camp. Dinner. Overnight.

 Day 9. Sary-Too Massif.

    After breakfast the excursion to the  Martian landscapes of the Sary-Too region. You will see the fantastic views created by the nature which we can call the unique geological monuments. The excursion to the geological layers with the fossils of sea fauna of the Jurassic-Cretaceous period.

The excursion to the remains of the ancient melting furnaces.   Metal searching amateurs can try to find artifacts. Return to the camp. Dinner. Evening bonfire. Overnight.

 Day 10. Madygen – Kan-i-Gut Cave – Aravan village.

     After breakfast we pack the camp and move to the famous Kan-i-Gut Cave (Death mine). That is the largest underground volume in Kyrgyzstan. Length – more than 6 кm. 

     Our route will go over the one of the debris cones on which long awaited water runs in spring overflowing with numerous streams. The chalcedony in the form of relatively large spherical secretions, gypsum and numerous fossilized shells can be found in the alluvial-proluvial deposits which are brought by water from exposed geological horizons in the north.

     Not far from the cave in the picturesque gorge where the coal mining sites are located one can observe the ancient melting furnaces of the VII a.c. The ore was melted there using old technologies. Different metals like silver and lead mined in Kan-i-Gut were separated from each other. After exploration of the furnaces we will arrive to the cave.

      Visit to the cave. The excursion to the hall with the stone "camel" with "diamond eyes" as it was described by the unlucky people who were sent to the cave to search for treasures and silver mining  in their improbable tales. The great Avicenna in his works described the cave as the following (and there is the first information about it): "The sages hid all the gold and jewelry in different parts of the world and it is not easy to obtain them. For example, in the country of  Maverannahr there is a city which lies in the mountains named Isfara. In its area there is a place called Gut. The sages left the treasures in that place and casted spell on them. Descriptions and stories about this are innumerable."

     The cave is famous because for almost 1500 years the silver and lead ores had been extracted there. In different times the mining technologies strongly differed from each other which is evidenced by the various parts, galleries, tunnels and halls of the cave.  Their length accounts for about 6500 m. The cave being surrounded by the legends and rich history attracts speleologists, geologists, historians and archeologists. 

      After the cave and surroundings  exploration we will be passing and taking pictures of the landscapes on the way to the Osh Hills karst region and Aravan settlement.

      Arrival in Aravan. The Osh Hills is a "Mekka" for speleologists.  There in the limestone thickness composing the five karst outliers rising above the fertile valleys apart from each other about 60 caves of the different length are located. Each cave is interesting in its own way. Some of them have been used by the ancient people as shelters and later they were repositories for the hidden treasures and jewels of the Orient. Many of the caves are still religious. Some of them contain rare artifacts from different historical eras, such as the inscriptions on the stalagnates, rock carvings, remains of pottery and more.

     The camping place is located in the relict walnut grove at the territory of the Cherbak sanatorium. Accommodation. Those who wish can spend a night in the tents or on couches under the crowns of plum, cherry plum, walnuts and other.  Preparation for the visit to the Chil-Ustun Cave and other.   

      Dinner. Night bonfire. Introduction to the history of that region caves exploration. Lecture about local region. Overnight.

 Day 11. Chil-Ustun Massif caves.

      Visit to the Duvakhon-Unkur Cave (Pass-through Cave). The cave is famous for the accumulation of the thick layer of bats guano inhabiting this place by a large colony and two entrances one of which used to be closed by the slab of limestone lining nearby.

      One of the entrances faces the plateau with a splendid view on to the Aravan Valley. Cave’s length – about 110 m. The Pass-through Cave was used by bandits (basmachi)  who fought against the Soviet power  in the 20-30s as the shelter.  Some artifacts of that period as well as more ancient such as clay lamps and fragments of ceramic pottery were found there. 

      After the cave we are transferred to the Cherbak Grove and attend the Ashkhon Cave. Geologists presume that the cave has a limestone conjunction of 33 meters with the Chil-Ustun Cave.

      Climbing session after lunch to be prepared for the ascent to the Chil-Ustun Cave. Evening dinner, bonfire and stories about the nature of Kyrgyzstan.

 Day 12. Chil-Ustun Cave.

    In the morning ascent to the Chil-Ustun Cave. The approaches to the cave are rather difficult and even dangerous. The day before our guides arranged a rope belaying along the path over precipice of 70-100 meters deep. The length of belaying is about 400 meters. On the way you will ascent two 20 meters high vertical rock walls. 

    At first sight one may think that the cave is inaccessible for the inexperienced tourist.  But the cave generously grants daredevils.  The cave is often visited including children.  The initial fear disappears after the first hall. The cave is one of the most beautiful in Central Asia.  The third and one of the best-looking halls is filled with the amazing stone formations. The giant stalagnates prop the vault of the hall.  The small lakes and the diversity of cave formations make a fascinating tour. The halls are connected by narrow passages where you have to crawl. In spring after ample precipitations those passages are filled with water which makes the second and third halls inaccessible.

    After the exciting visit to the cave descent into the Charbak Grove. Dinner. Overnight.

 Day 13. Aravan Osh - Itagar Gorge.

     In the morning camp packing and departure to Bishkek. Stops in the picturesque spots.  

     Arrival in the Itagar Gorge adjacent to the Chichkan Gorge at the beautiful Saz-Kul Lake. Camp setting. Dinner. Farewell bonfire.

 Day 14. Transfer to Bishkek.                                   

     Breakfast, camp packing and departure to Bishkek. Accommodation in the hotel.

 Price for groups (twin/double accommodation): 

4 pax   –  $1320 per person

6 pax   –  $1280 per person

8 pax   –  $1160 per person

10 pax  -  $1030 per person 

12 pax   - $ 950 per person

 Single supplement: $84 per person

Accommodation in Mailuu-Suu in apartments or guest house

 Price includes:

1) Tents

2) Kitchen and dining equipment

3) Caremates

4) Special belaying gear

5) Guide

6) Cook

7) Transport

8) Nutrition

9) Accommodation in Bishkek, Osh and Mayluu-Suu in hotels, guest house or apartments

10) Camp sites fee

Price does not include: 

1) Single tent supplement (you can rent a tent from us for 2500 soms for the whole trip).
2) Personal gear rent (sleeping bag and etc.).
3) Personal expenses.

Pleasant bonus from the Asia Mountains Company:

Corporate style bandana

Price for groups: 

4 pax    USD 1,320 per person
6 pax    USD 1,280 per person
8 pax    USD 1,160 per person
10 pax  USD 1,030 per person 
12 pax  USD   950 per person

Price includes:

1. Tents (DBL).
2. Kitchen and dining equipment.
3. Sleeping matrasses.
4. Special belaying gear.
5. Guide.
6. Cook.
7. Transport.
8. Meals according to the program.
9. DBL or more accommodation in Bishkek, Osh and Mayluu-Suu in hotels, guest house or apartments.
10. Camp sites fee.

Price does not include: 

1. SGL tent supplement (you can rent a tent from us for 2,500 soms (local currency) for the whole trip).
2. SGL accommodation according to the program.
3.Personal gear rent (sleeping bag and etc.).
4. Personal expenditures.

Pleasant bonus from the Asia Mountains Company: Corporate style bandana