The Land of Nomads
Tour duration: 10 days
Kyrgyzstan is considered to be one of the last countries in the world with an authentic taste of nomadic life. Through centuries Kyrgyz people have been carrying traditional lifestyle based on their cattle breeding and ethnographical roots. Their life is strongly interwoven with legends and national heroes of the past. Most of semi-nomadic families still follow a tenor of life established by their ancestors. Supplemented with amazing mountain landscapes, friendliness of people and bright colors of traditional Asia this trip will immerse you in the outstanding environment of the nomad’s land.
Day 1. Arrival in Bishkek
Arrival in Bishkek. Transfer to the hotel for a rest. Bishkek is a capital and the largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located at the foothill of magnificent Kyrgyz Ala-Tau mountain range. Bishkek is a city of many green parks and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks and thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees which provide shade in the hot summers. The city is believed to be the greenest in Central Asia with more trees per head of population than any other. Our sightseeing tour includes: blooming Osh Bazaar, Historical Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Ala-Too square, the main square of the country. The square serves as a place for state events and celebrations and includes many monuments, open-air picture gallery, famous Oak Park, marble government buildings and theaters.
Accommodation: Hotel Silk Road Lodge ****
Day 2. Transfer to Cholpon-Ata, 300 km
On the way to the second largest mountainous lake in the world we make a stop at Karakhanid’s minaret of the 12 century - Burana tower. Nowadays it is a museum complex which includes the tower itself, reconstructions of mausoleums found on the site, remains of a citadel, collection of balbals (grave stones used by nomadic Turkic peoples), petroglyphs (stone carvings) and a small museum. Further transfer through Boom gorge and along northern shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake to Cholpon-Ata town. The lake sits in a hollow surrounded by snowcapped peaks of Terskei and Kungei Ala-Tau mountain ranges at the altitude of 1600 m. The Lake is 180 km long, 60 km wide and 700 m deep. 134 streams and rivers flow into the lake but none flows out what is explained by underwater tectonic activity.
In Cholpon-Ata we visit the petroglyphs ‐ a large open-air collection of rock carvings sometimes referred to as a Stone Garden, which covers some 42 hectares and contains a number of prehistoric monumental structures (stone circles, tombs, the remains of a boundary stone wall, balbals) and petroglyphs (dating from the II millennium BC thru the Middle Ages and up to the VI century AD). The stones have plaques giving some information (a short description and a date), and there are several routes marked with arrows around the “stone garden.” Also visit Cholpon‐Alta Museum of History. It exhibits a wide collection of national embroidery.
Accommodation: Hotel Three Crowns ***
Day 3. Transfer to Karakol, 120 km
Transfer to Karakol along beautiful landscapes of the lake and mountains. Excursion to Semenov gorge with amazing view of the lake from the top. The atmosphere of Karakol town will bring you hundred years back and give you an impression of Tsarist Russia. Karakol in previous times had another name – Prjevalsk, in honor of the famous Russian explorer of Asia – Nikolai Prjevalski, whose grave is situated at the shore of Issyk-Kul Lake. Visiting of Prjevalsk Museum. The town was founded in 1869 and constructed in an old Russian style with many buildings from Tsar time.
Dinner with Uighur family to taste national cuisine.
Accommodation: Hotel Green Yard ***
Day 4. Transfer to Son-Kul Lake, 370 km
This morning we head towards the center of Kyrgyz national felt handicrafts – Kochkor. You will visit a local workshop and participate in the manufacturing of national carpets. On the way we visit Jety-Oguz gorge with famous “7 bulls” and “Broken Heart” rocks and canyon "Skazka" (Fairy tale).
Afterwards we proceed to alpine Son-Kul Lake over Kalmak-Ashuu Pass (3300 m). It is the second largest lake after Issyk-Kul Lake and the largest fresh water lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is surrounded by broad summer pastures dotted with yurts, grazing cattle and mountains.
Accommodation: Yurt camp
Day 5. Son-Kul Lake
Relaxing day at the lake. You can enjoy horseback riding, take an easy hike to the mountains to observe an amazing panorama of Son-Kul Lake and mountains, play with children or participate in cooking of national meals.
The evening will be accompanied by a song of Manaschi. The epic poem Manas is central to Kyrgyz traditional culture and character, psychology and spirit. It is recited by specialists known as Manaschi, who hold a special place of respect in Kyrgyz culture.
Accommodation: Yurt camp
Day 6. Transfer to Arslanbob, 350 km
The road to Jalal Abad goes over picturesque Moldo Ashuu (3439m) and Kok Art (3200m) passes. On the way you will see colorful landscapes of Naryn river basin. The river is the largest in Kyrgyzstan, flowing further in Uzbekistan as Syr Darya and feeds Aral Sea.
Day 7. Arslanbob
Arslanbob is a mountain village with the largest naturally grown walnut forest in the world. This morning we take a hike to the local waterfall which is venerated as a holy place among people. During the hike you will see a prayer “cave of forty angels”. The fairy-tale walnut forest will open a scenic view of entire valley. The area is a year-round destination for hiking, backcountry skiing and horseback riding. Arslanbob is just a wonderful place to be, to sit on the doorstep and watch time pass by with a pot of tea.
Day 8. Transfer to Chichkan Gorge, 350 km
Today we head towards Chichkan gorge along spectacular Bishkek – Osh highway via Toktogul water reservoir with a cascade of hydroelectric power stations between Tien-Shan mountain ranges.
Accommodation: Mountain Hotel Oson
Day 9. Transfer to Bishkek, 250 km
The road to Bishkek goes over sky-high Ala-Bel (3120 m) and Tuya-Ashuu (3050 m) passes and along picturesque Suusamyr valley, in summer dotted with hundreds yurts. The valley is a mountain summer pasture for countless herds of cattle. Here local people produce Kyrgyz national drink – Kymus (fermented mare’s milk), sour cheese and butter that they sell along the road.
Accommodation: Hotel Silk Road Lodge ****
Day 10. Departure
Transfer to the airport and departure. End of services.
Tour price and list of services - on request