Kyrgyzstan - Land of the Nomads

An enigma, wild, remote and very less-trodden, Kyrgyzstan is the odd "Stan" more so for its sheer mountain splendor, picturesque alpine lakes and the imposing Tian Shan mountains that its recent official name change to the Kyrgyz Republic. Enter into the land of the nomads, albeit changing soon!

HIGHLIGHTS

Uncover the best of Kyrgyzstan's most iconic sites

Stay in boutique and charming hotels, guesthouses and yurts

Sample the most palettable traditional Kyrgyz cuisine

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE BISHKEK

Arrive Bishkek Manas Intl Airport early this morning where you will be met and transferred to the Hyatt Regency Bishkek for check in and rest. 

In the late morning, embark on a city tour of Bishkek, capital city of Kyrgyzstan where we will see the main sites of the young but historical city including the Monument of Manas the Great, the Statue of Kurmanjan Datka, the Lenin Statue. Walk on the Ala Too Square, built in 1984 to celebrate its independence from the former USSR. No visit of Bishkek is complete without a visit to the famous Osh Market where you get a glimpse of local life, spices, condiments and local produce. Also completed in 1984 is the Victory Square, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII. 

Overnight: Hyatt Regency, Bishkek (including guaranteed early check in)

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: BISHKEK / CHON KEMIN VALLEY

We leave Bishkek this morning after a good rest as we journey east to the Chon Kemin ValleyThe Chon-Kemin gorge and valley, one of the most picturesque localities in the territory of Kyrgyzstan represent a unique natural complex comprising a gorge, valley and the Chon-Kemin River flowing along the Chon-Kemin water gap. This day is going to be interesting because we enjoy a rafting adventure where the Chon Kemin river fits all levels of difficulties, from the easiest to the tough rapids. Depending on your suitability, we customize an appropriate paddling program for you. Thereafter, we transfer to a local guest house for lunch and following that, you have the opportunity for an afternoon hiking or horse riding (OPTIONAL) at the nearest gorge. Chon-Kemin is a unique natural reserve where the natural landscapes are preserved almost in virgin state. The glaciers are neighbouring with green coniferous forests and steppe regions. The valley protected with ranges from three sides lies at the height from 1400 to 2800 m above sea level. If there are warmth reigning and green meadows blooming bellow in the valley, then there are permanent snow covering the ranges of Kungei-Ala-Too and Zailiyskiy-Ala-Too at the height of 4700 m.

Overnight: Ashu Guest House, Chon Kemin Valley

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: CHON KEMIN VALLEY / TEPKE VILLAGE (KARAKOL)

This morning, we start driving to the Issyk Kul Lake to Cholpon Ata town. Upon arrival we visit local petroglyphs site under the clear sky to get acquainted to the history of the Saka-Usun periods at the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan before enjoying lunch in a local cafe. Thereafter, continue our drive to Tepke Village where we will stay the night at the Reina Kench Guest House near a horse farm, renowned for the breeding of Kyrgyz horses. Join your fellow travelers for a bonfire ritual and celebrate the great nature and vast plains of life in the Kyrgyz countryside. 

Overnight: Reina Kench Guest House, 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: TEPKE VILLAGE (KARAKOL) / KARKARA

A rejuvenated morning after breakfast begins with a tour of the horse farm and stable where we gain insights into the special types of racing horses and a chance for a little hiking around the pristine area. Following lunch, we continue our journey to the Karkara Gorge where today, we will be staying in a nomadic yurt, set up on beautiful alpine meadows at an altitude of 2200m - an amazing place for trekking and good nature-immersing. Here we are flexible to do something on our own where it’s possible to walk around, ride horses or mountain biking or just relax by the river, taking a relaxed approach to the slow life. 

Overnight: Yurt Tent, Karkara

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: KARKARA / HELI TOUR TO SOUTH ENGILCHEK BASE CAMP / KARAKOL TOWN

An early rise today as we embark on an exciting helicopter excursion to the world's second-largest glacier, the Engilchek Glacier for one of the most incredible ice paradise in the world. We spend some time at the Khan Tengri Base Camp at 3,600m altitude walking and admiring the magnificent peaks - Pobeda (7,439m) and Khan Tengri (7,010m) subject to weather conditions. Thereafter, we will fly back to Karkara for lunch and continue our journey to Karakol town where we spend the night at the luxurious and cozy Green Yard Hotel, located at the foot of the Tian Shan Mountains. This evening, we enjoy a dinner experience at an ethnic Dungan village family where you are warmly welcome to their home to celebrate the diversity of Dungan cuisine over an elaborate home-cooked meal while learning about the fascinating story of why this Muslim Chinese group immigrated to the region 140 years ago, how they made the area their home, and how families today keep their traditional culture and cuisine alive.

Overnight: Green Yard Hotel, Karakol Town

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: KARAKOL TOWN / DJETY OGUZ CANYON / SKAZKA CANYON / BOKONBAEV

We leave Karakol today driving along the southern shores of Issyk Kul Lake and visit the different canyons with unique landscapes and mountain formations. First on our way is the Djety Oguz Canyon literally-translated to "Seven Bulls",  which comes from the fact that the rocks look like seven bulls. As you approach the valley, you pass another rock formation, which resembles a “broken heart” and legend says that this is the heart of a beautiful woman who died of a broken heart after two suitors killed each other fighting over her.

Visit a local waterfall and then drive further to the next interesting place – Skazka Canyon. with its unique volcanic formation and interesting “Eolian” castles. The canyon was named due to its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by wind into fabulous sculptures and formations. Some formations in Skazka have been named for their similarity to well-known objects. For example, one set of ridges in the canyon is named "The Chinese Wall" due to its similarity to the Great Wall of China. You can also find what appear to be statues of a hippopotamus, snake, dragon, sleeping giant and even whole castles. Because the different rocks have amazing colors, the rocky statues not only have unusual shapes, but also magical colors. Enjoy a picnic-styled lunch when the opportunity arises at a nice setting and thereafter, we continue to Bokonbaev village where we will stay in a Kyrgyz ethnic yurt camp. 

Overnight: Yurt Camp, Bokonbaev

Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: BOKONBAEV / KOCHKOR / SON KUL LAKE

In the morning, we will enjoy an insight into the old traditions of eagle hunting meeting a local eagle hunter, who takes us to the closet slopes to demonstrate the skills of birds of prey. The Golden Eagle is the biggest raptor, who is the king in the air. Thereafter, we drive to Kochkor village to visit one of the biggest women’s coop, souvenir shopping and take part in the “Shyrdak show” yourself and try to make your own felt rug! Shyrdak is a traditional carpet used by nomads to cover the floor. The technology of carpet making is included into the UNESCO list of World Heritage. It is a hard labor that has a lot of subtleties (color choice, decorative patterns, and production techniques. After lunch, we then continue to Son Kul Lake, driving the next 3 hours along the spectacular road to the high altitude Lake to reach the yurt camp. Here we will taste the local lifestyle, meet nomads, see their houses called yurts and also spend the night in a yurt like a real shepherd. 

Overnight: Yurt Camp, Son Kul Lake

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8: SON KUL LAKE

We spend a full day in Son Kul Lake devoting our day to hiking around the gorgeous surroundings, horseback riding with vast expansive views as well as visiting authentic nomad yurts and interacting with locals. Before dinner today, you have the chance to visit the locals enjoying one of their favorite sport playing traditional horseback riding games such as "Kok Boru" polo on horses, "Tyin Enmey" picking up money from the ground on full speed and "Kurosh wrestling on a horse and traditional racing. After a fun day, there is no better thing to do than mingling around the bonfire, learning to sing local songs and dance. 

Overnight: Yurt Camp, Son Kul Lake

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9: SON KUL LAKE / BISHKEK

Sadly, we leave Son Kul Lake heading back to Bishkek. En route, we will drive through Kochkor village, the Kuvaky Pass and the dramatic Boom Gorge before reaching Tokmok town - gateway to the UNESCO-listed and imposing Burana Tower architectural complex. The minaret was constructed in Balasagun town, one of the capitals of the Karakhanid State that existed between the 8th to 12th Centuries AD. Here we explore the ruins of one of the most important trading point at the Great Silk Road and also visit a little local museum tells about that civilization by items of ancient. Our attention will be drawn by the collection of Balbals - Turkic ancient tomb stones and stone carvings called petroglyphs. Lunch soon follows in Tokmok before we continue our drive back into Bishkek where after check in, we celebrate an epic journey with dinner in a local restaurant to the beats and rhythms of Kyrgyz folklore music. 

Overnight: Hyatt Regency, Bishkek 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10: DEPART BISHKEK

An unforgettable journey and adventure comes to an end as we make our way to Bishkek Manas Intl Airport for your onward journey home or continue your adventures in Central Asia. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

The only 5 star hotel in Bishkek, the Hyatt Regency Bishkek is conveniently located in the center of the capital city overlooking the awe inspiring Tien-Shan Mountain range and part of the ancient trading route The Silk Road, right in the center of the Bishkek’s business and government district and cultural area including the Kyrgyz Republic Opera House and Art Museum offering luxurious and well-appointed rooms for the discerning traveler. 

Hyatt Regency, Bishkek

Ashu guest house is a cozy guest house which encapsulates both Kyrgiz traditions and European service. The guest house amenities have cottages with 17 comfortable rooms.  Rooms are small yet clean and adequate with small en suite bathrooms. There are gardens to sit in and meals are served in the second floor dining room or on its terrace.

Ashu Guest House, Chon Kemin Valley

Agro Complex Reina-Kench, which is situated in Tepke Village (Issyk-Kul region), has a total area of 27 hectares. While visiting this place, you can fully enjoy horse-riding, archery, hiking and many activities in this cozy family-owned guesthouse with comfortable rooms. 

Reina Kench Guest House, Tepke Village (Karakol)

Green Yard hotel is located at the foot of Tian-Shian mountains, in the southern part of Karakol town in a quiet and idyllic area with homely hospitality, established in 2002 as a small family guest house. Modern and spacious rooms offer a comfortable stay for travelers in need of a good rest. 

Green Yard Hotel, Karakol Town

The definitive lodging experience in Kyrgyzstan - Yurt camps are set up in the great outdoors and remote pristine areas of Kyrgyzstan in a portable tent/camp allowing you the opportunity of a lifetime to experience life under the stars, the romance of nomadic lifestyle and disconnect from the hustle and bustle. 

Yurt Camps

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